Cooler water spurs stripers, crappie

In September, Lake Russell’s healthy population of crappie will be holding above brush piles that are about 20 feet deep. (Picture by Wendell Wilson)

Lake Russell stripers remain mostly deep

Anglers on Lake Russell can expect striper and crappie fishing to remain strong through September, according to guide Wendell Wilson of Elberton, Ga.

“Stripers and crappie are the best things going for September on Russell,” Wilson said. “You have the opportunity to catch a couple of big stripers. And when the water temperature falls back down to 78 to 79 degrees, crappie fishing really picks up.”

Stripers will still be in the summer pattern and there are two ways to target them, according to Wilson (706-283-3336).

“You can go up into the Hartwell Dam tailrace and free-line herring or big gizzard shad along the river channel. Or you can go down the lake and fish deep water with straight-lined herring down 30 to 50 feet deep,” he said.

Stripers will run 8 to about 15 pounds, he said, with a daily limit including hybrids of two per angler. Hybrids can run up to 6 to 10 pounds. And the lake is full of 3- to 6-pound hybrids that can provide plenty of catch and release action.

Other species are also biting this month

“There may be a few stripers left in the lake that will push over 20 pounds, but we don’t have near the 30-pound fish we had 7 years ago before the gill maggots got in there. Now, if you catch a 20-pounder, it’s a big one.”

Wilson said Russell also has a healthy population of feisty spotted bass that are often a by-catch species for striper-hybrid fishing. Large numbers of spots can be caught when they school up later in the fall.

The crappie will be holding near brush piles in 20 feet of water this month. And anglers can catch them on minnows fished 8 to 12 feet down.

“In September you can expect to catch pretty good quality crappie, 13- to 14-inch fish,” Wilson said.

And if hungry stripers and hybrids and slab crappie are not exactly what you are aiming for, you can just go fishing, Wilson said.

“If you just go and fish with minnows on the bottom in 20 to 25 feet of water, you can expect to catch white and yellow perch, small channel catfish and a few spotted bass,” he said.

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