Lake Hartwell striper fishing report for early April

Lake Hartwell
The striper bite is already going strong at Lake Hartwell. (photo courtesy of Shad Slinger Fishing Charters)

Stripers are biting on all sections of Lake Hartwell

Capt. Nathan Key of Shad Slinger Fishing Charters said the striper bite on Lake Hartwell continues to improve each day as the spring weather warms the lake’s water temperature. But some challenges remain.

The water level is high — two feet over the full pool mark as of April 1. This doesn’t slow down the bite, but it does make accessing some parts of the lake difficult for anglers in certain boats.

“The only thing higher than the water level on Hartwell right now is the pollen count. The lake level is hovering around the 662 mark. That’s two feet over the full pool mark. For those of us with T-tops and towers, it can be difficult to get under many of the bridges with these levels,” said Key.

This time of year, cold fronts are still possible. Key said it’s unclear how much those fronts impact the bite this time of year.

“It’s a toss-up as to how much or how little it will affect things. It’s my experience that these fronts this time of year have less of an effect on those in the cooler winter and fall months,” he said.

Gizzard shad, herring are good bets for bait

Anglers are catching stripers all over the lake, from the lower to upper ends. Lots of fish are shallow, but Key said it’s a bit of a mix all over the lake. But, anglers are finding fish feeding in all areas.

“The lake seems to be fishing equally well from the dam to the northern ends. The fish are feeding mostly shallow. They seemed to have preferred frilliness and planer boards to downlines most of (last) week.

“The south end has seen several larger schools of fish out feeding in open water. Even these fish out in 40 to 100 feet of water still prefer baits presented shallow on frilliness and boards.

“The upper lake has seen bodies of fish more spread out than the south end. They are a little harder to find, but more willing to feed when you do find them,” Key said.

For baits, Key said gizzard shad and herring are producing equally well. He also said bigger bait, which may lead to slightly fewer bite, are producing quality fish.

To stay up-to-date on Lake Hartwell’s fishing report, check out and contact Capt. Nathan Key if you’d like to fish the lake at 864-940-4747.

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Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1838 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

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