Pro bass angler Martha Goodfellow of Greenville, S.C., said that August isn’t her favorite month to head for the lake, but when she does, she usually heads to Lake Hartwell.
Goodfellow said that in August, hot weather and hot water are going to make a lot of the lake’s largemouth bass — and even spotted bass — lethargic, and the best way to combat less-than-agreeable fish is to find better water quality.
“First, I’m going to go early, meaning I’ll probably be off the water by 10 o’clock in the morning,” said Goodfellow. “Second, I’m going to head for the extreme upper reaches of Lake Hartwell. You’ve got two choices: you can go all the way up the Seneca River to the dam at Lake Keowee, or you can head up the Tugaloo and fish in the moving water.”
Moving water is often the key to fishing Lake Hartwell’s headwaters. You’ll have to be lucky enough to time water releases from Lake Keowee to find the best conditions. Unfortunately, no release schedule is available, as water is only released as needed for operations of the lake’s Duke Energy plant.
When fishing the Tugaloo River, Goodfellow said it’s best to idle into the upper reaches, as the channel becomes very narrow, with outcroppings on either side. She suggested targeting sheltered areas out of any flow of water.
“Baitfish migrate up the river because of the cooler water and the water flow, and bass will target these baitfish, but you won’t find them out in the current,” she said. “It’s best to target any current breaks — like rock piles or laydowns — that bass will hold behind while waiting for food to come by.”
Goodfellow recommended shallow-diving crankbaits in shad patterns or a Zoom Ol’ Monster worm in darker colors if the water is stained or more natural colors in clear water.
The closest access areas to the headwaters of the Tugaloo River are Tobor Access, Mullins Ford, and Choestoa Park, all in Oconee County. The Clemson Park and Recreation Area in Pickens County is a convenient access to the upper reaches of the Seneca River.