Lake Russell’s mixed bag

It’s a great time to catch big bass on Lake Russell this month. (Picture by Brian Cope)

Spotted bass, largemouth and stripers join the fray

On Lake Russell, the majority of bass have finished spawning by May, so they are eating aggressively. And one of their favorite food sources – blueback herring – are dead in the middle of their own spawning ritual, according to guide Wendell Wilson of Elberton, Ga.

“May is a great month to catch some really big largemouth bass on Lake Russell, and it’s also a good time to catch some of the larger spotted bass,” said Wilson.

Swimbaits are excellent choices this month, for both largemouth and spotted bass. Topwater lures and jerkbaits are good options too.

The best place to find the bluebacks this month is in shallow water, especially in the early morning hours.

“You’ll find the herring in shallow water before the sun gets up. And the bass will be right there with them. But the herring are there to spawn. The bass are there to eat the herring,” he said.

Wilson (706-283-3336) likes to start the day by fishing long, shallow points with gradual slopes. That’s where bass will lurk, darting into the pods of baitfish in the shallow water.

Wilson said spotted bass are often in big schools. And that makes for some fun fishing with quick action, especially in the lower two-thirds of Russell this month.

“Some days, we can catch numerous big spotted bass from a single spot,” he said.

Don’t overlook stripers

And even though this is a great time to catch big largemouth and spots, Wilson said those aren’t the only species anglers should expect to catch.

“The striper population on Lake Russell is very healthy. And this time of year, stripers, just like largemouth, are feeding heavily on those blueback herring. You’ll find them on the same points as the bass,” he said.

Anglers specifically targeting stripers can catch them on live baits. But for those happy to catch anything that bites, those same topwater lures, jerkbaits and swimbaits will draw strikes from stripers as well as largemouth and spots.

About Brian Cope 2762 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. 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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