With school and deer hunting season in full swing, anglers are finding the boat traffic light and the striper fishing hot on Lake Russell, especially for anglers finding the coolest water and using planer boards to put live herring close to the banks.
Richard Hurley of Greenville said he’s found that fishing during the week is also a good idea, and not just because most folks are working instead of crowding the fishing holes. “During the week, the power company runs a lot more water through the dam than they do on the weekends. This cools the water significantly, and that cool water is where the stripers are,” he said.
“In one particular fishing hole, the water temperature has been about 65 degrees during a normal weekend, but that same hole during the week is right around 50 degrees. That’s where we have had the most luck,” Hurley said.
Hurley said they usually put out six rods, all with lines set to planers. They put three rods out of each side of the boat, then troll at approximately 1.2 mph.
“We’ve got the rods in rod holders, and we stagger how much line we let out from each rod. This keeps the lines from getting tangled and covers a good chunk of water with each pass. Lately, we’ve had the most luck from the bait that runs closest to the bank,” Hurley said.
Hurley likes to use medium-power rods with 20 to 25-pound test line, and baits his herring on a 5/0 circle hook. He uses a 3-ounce weight with a 6-foot leader of 15-pound test line.
A good spot for anglers to try is in the tailrace waters below the Lake Hartwell Dam. “The water is always going to be cooler up there because it’s moving, and the more water they’re releasing, the better the striper fishing will be,” said Hurley.
Aside from having live herring and finding the coolest water available, Hurley said two of the most important factors include keeping your trolling speed as close to 1.2 mph as possible, and making sure you are trolling very close to the bank. “Those baits that are farthest from the boat are going to catch the most fish, and if you’re not catching anything, it’s probably because that bait isn’t close enough to the bank. Keep that one running tight to the bank, and you should catch stripers,” he said.
--For another interesting striper article (this one in saltwater), check out Jeff Burleson's article on striper fishing the ICW.