Lake Hartwell fishing report for early March

fishing report
Capt. Nathan Key of Shad Slinger Charters said this weekend will be a great one for fishing thanks to the current warming trend. (Photo courtesy of Shad Slinger Charters)

Warming trend should improve an already good fishing report

The fishing is heating up all over the Carolinas, including at Lake Hartwell in South Carolina’s upstate. This fishing report comes from Capt. Nathan Key of Shad Slinger Fishing Charters, who said this weekend will be a great one for striper/hybrid anglers thanks to the current warming trend. And that warming trend should make the fishing report a little more consistent than it has been.

So far this month, anglers have been able to hook into plenty of fish on most days. That’s especially true for anglers who come prepared to fish for stripers and hybrids as well as spotted bass and crappie. But the fish haven’t come easy every day.

“March is a major transitional period and can be a difficult time of the year to stay on bodies of fish day in and day out. Often during March, the fish move constantly and it can be difficult to find the same fish two days in a row,” said Key (864-940-4747).

Key added that anglers need to keep in mind that this time of year, Lake Hartwell divides into three distinct section. And the fish in each section have their own characteristics.

“The southern end is tailoring more towards the wintertime patterns. The northern end is more of a shallow spring pattern. And the mid-lake area tends to be a mix of both,” he said.

Starting early isn’t a requirement right now

“This is one time of year that the lake tends to fish better in the afternoons than the mornings. So keep that in mind when planning your trips,” he said.

But if you are starting early, Kay said head to the southern end of the lake and start shallow on main lake points and shoals in water ranging from 10 to 25-feet deep. He suggests using planer boards and free lines. As the day progresses, the fish will move deeper. That’s when he switches to down lines and free lines in 35 to 50-foot depths. And he said stay on the move if the bite isn’t hot.

“It can be a numbers game this time of year. So the more areas you fish, the higher your chances of running into a body of fish,” he said.

On the upper end, Key said the fish are staying shallow for most of the day. The fish are often so shallow that it’s tough to graph them, he said.

“Focus on major creeks in each of the river arms and mostly mid-creek to the far back sections. The fish can get really shallow. I usually focus on areas that are holding a high concentration of bait, and target likely fish-holding areas like points and high spots. Planer boards and free lines have been the biggest producers with herring and medium-sized gizzard shad being equally productive,” he said.

Mini Macks are also good choices

Key said casting swimbaits and Mini Macks over high spots and points are also producing some bonus fish.

“The lake level is 659.02 feet as of Wednesday, March 10. Water temps are around the 55-degree mark. A decent warming trend is here with favorable weather forecasted for the weekend. I’d say it will be a great weekend to get out on the lake and start looking for some fish,” said Key.


Click here to read about crappie fishing at Lake Hartwell in March.

JOIN THE CLUB, get unlimited access for $2.99/month

Become the most informed Sportsman you know, with a membership to the Carolina Sportsman Magazine and

About Brian Cope 1998 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply