Lake Hartwell has been fishing great for me this winter! Ive been on them all winter! This weekend was horable fishing conditions for winter fishing with high winds and fridge temps. For me it didn't seem to matter what the weater was... the fishing was great, actually Sunday I had one of the best days all winter even in the high winds. I felt pretty lucky that I could hid frome the wind and catch fish. I have been noticing that the fish have been a little more sluggish due to the cold water, but Ive been lucky to be on some big bodies of fish that picking away a good number of bites hasn't been too much of a prob. It is a little more of a patient bite in the winter. Slow down everything, fish smaller baits and you will put more fish in the boat. Good depths to look... 20-45 have been good for me. The birds also have been working fish great for me this winter. Look for gulls and then start using your graph. Bait is also a key. If you find both the gulls and a large consintration of Bait, odds are the stripers are close. Water temp has been cold...48 degrees... and yes all these fish have been caught on live bait!
Water temp: 48 degrees. Fishing has actually been great up on Lake Jocassee this winter. Now we are catching big numbers of what we call Stockers. These fish are 12-14 inches on average with a few making it over 15 inches. Now what we are all looking for up there are those trophy class fish which have been biting as well. I have been very sucessfull in the backs of the rivers using med shinners or small blue back herring on downrods from 30-60 foot. Now you wont fill the boat with these big fish making a patient wait and fishing for those handfull of bites. More or less saying those big fish will only give you a few shots in a day if any, but if you capitolize and hook and land this fish, it may be the biggest trout of your life. As far as trolling, the main lake has been producing some really large fish. Ive seen some fish go over 7 lbs this winter with a few friends catching a few over 8 and one over 10. Those are studs of trout for anywhere in the country. fishing due to go off the hook in Jocassee standards as the water starts to warm!
By: Phillip Gentry
Capt. Steve Pietrykowski said that the colder and nastier
the weather gets on Lake Jocassee, the better the fish like
Jocassee was established back in the early 1970s as a trophy trout fishery.
Anglers fished for trout in the spring, then moved elsewhere to fish the rest of
the year. But over time, savvy trout fishermen discovered that trolling tactics
that were popular up in the northern states, using downrigger balls and flutter
spoons, also worked well on the deep mountain lake.
believe the only way to catch trout in this lake is by trolling a bunch of
hardware, using downriggers and spoons and heavy tackle,” said guide Steve
Pietrykowski of Fishki Business Charters in Seneca.
“That stuff works –
I do it all the time – but during the winter when the water temperatures are at
their coldest, trout don’t have to hold at 100 feet. We can catch them on live
bait, using light tackle, anywhere from 20 to 40 feet deep.”
Pietrykowski’s target area
during the winter is backwards from what most anglers look for. He heads to the
far end of a creek where the water depths rise from more than 100 feet up to
what is considered a shallow flat at Jocassee: 30 feet of water.
“The wind has been blowing
pretty steady into the backs of these rivers with that last front,” said
Pietrykowski (864-353-3438). “The baitfish are already back here, and the
weather has packed them into the ends of the creeks. I’m hoping we can catch us
a good trout right off the bat.”
Pietrykowski broke out
several light-action crappie rods outfitted with tiny No. 4 hooks and stinger
treble hooks. He opened the lid to his 40-gallon bait tank and scooped out a
small blueback herring, one of nearly 10 dozen he had netted earlier from nearby
Lake Keowee. He hooked the bait through the nose with the main hook and impaled
the tiny treble stinger near the tail. That done, he flipped the split-shot rig
25 feet beyond the moored boat, letting the bait sink slowly in the water.
Through the course of the
morning, the live bait accounted for more than two-dozen rainbow and brown
trout, stockers that were immediately released, plus a handful of fat spotted
and largemouth bass trying to push five pounds before spring arrives, and two
nice browns – one just over, the other just under 20 inches.
As of Hartwell, over all for January the fishing has been pretty good. Now we have had a little rain and a few weather fronts that have pushed through since the new year and that has mixed things up a little. As for water temps last week I recorded 45-47 degrees, now the last few days I have seen 52-58 degrees. Now that is surface temps. It is still chilly down 20 and 30 feet. Trolling umbrella riggs early in the main river channels has been working well, but as the sun comes up keep an eye in the sky for the little white gulls working a specific area. If you see birds that just wont leave an area, that means there are fish feeding somewhere close. Try fan casting small jigs or if you mark fish on the fish finder try a jigging spoon at the same depth the fish are. I also throw free lines out behind the boat and have been picking stripers up.
- Jocassee has been great for January. We are catching good numbers of trout from 15-40 feet on both live bait and Spoons. As of keeper fish, most of the fish are under 15 inches, but a few fish have tipped the scales in the 4-6 pound range which is a better than average trout! Tight lines.
Hartwell is fishing good. Dress warm the mornings are a little chilly. Free lines and downrods with live herring are still working well. Now I seem to have alittle better success on my freelines due to the shallow water I have been finding some of my fish. Good depths to find stripers are from 10-50 foot of water. I seem to have fond most of my stripers in 20-30 feet. Fish are up the major river channels yet, but as it gets colder will back out a little and can be found in the mouths of the rivers in a little deeper water. Tight lines! As of Keowee, Spotted bass are still biting very good. The best bite has been first light and last light. Try using Blueback herring or Large shinners on Downrods in about 45 ft. Tight Lines, Capt Steve Pietrykowski
Lake Hartwell fishing report: Water temp is 55 degrees. There is actually some pretty good fishing to be found right now. A little back ground on the striped bass is that there ideal temp is 55, so if you can find them, they should be active. All this means that they are feeling good right now. Now this time of year is known for the Bait to migrate up the creeks and if you find the bait, you should find the fish. The technical part is that since the whole lake is that temp, that means the fish really can be anywhere in the 56,000 acres along the near 1000 miles of shore line. Last winter was very mild so there wasn't a big Threadfin die off like in other years. This means there is a tun of bait this year, but trust me, if you find the bait you will find fish... It just could be any kind of fish. This time of year it is a mixed bag and meaning to that is if you get a bite, it could be anything. Striper, Hybrid, Spotted bass, Largemouth, Flathead Catfish, Blue Cat, Crappie, White perch....Gosh and the list goes on. This is also one of the best times of the year to catch a Trophy Striper. So if your interested, let me know and I will bring the big rods and pull big baits to catch that lunker. If your on your own, try looking at the backs of the major creeks that flowing in to the lake. Some good depths to look at are the 50 foot and shallower range. I caught them the best in 20 feet the other day. Pulling free lines is a great way to spend a day but if you find the right school of fish you can really rack up the numbers on down rods yet. Good luck everyone...
Tight lines, Capt Steve Pietrykowski
Fishski Business: 864-3