Two patterns for Lake Hartwell’s September stripers

Chip Hamilton shows off a nice September striper he caught on Lake Hartwell. (Picture by Pat Robertson)

A big change occurs for Lake Hartwell stripers in September

Striper fishing on Lake Hartwell is usually split into two patterns in September, said veteran guide Chip Hamilton (https://lakehartwellfishingcharters.com/).

“The first part of the month they are coming off the summer pattern and they are kind of lethargic and sluggish. Towards the end of the month when the water cools down a little the bite increases tremendously.”

Hamilton said the first couple of weeks of the month, stripers will be located over the river channels in water from 70 to 150 feet deep. But they will be holding in 20 to 30 feet of water.

“They are out in the middle of nowhere, chasing bait. And they will school a little. I usually go to an area where I have seen them before. Sometimes you will only see a couple on top and they will give up the entire school. But they will still be somewhat lethargic.”

Hamilton said he will put out down rods, with live herring down to about 20 feet. He’ll also pull a couple of free lines with live herring, basically the same pattern he runs in the heat of summer.

“A good day will produce about 20 fish. But you will be working pretty hard for them,” he said.

A change occurs this month

Then, as the weather begins to change, with fall just around the corner, the fish change, too, he said.

“More years than not as the weather starts to cool down they will start schooling on top which will carry on right into October.”

The fish will start to migrate into the creeks, not very far in, he said, following the bait as those schools head into the creeks. The quality of fish increases, too, he noted.

“A lot of the bigger fish will start showing up. The bigger stripers you might not have been able to find in August will come in and start showing themselves again. And they are hungry.”

He has caught a lot of 20+ pound fish this time of year. Although he is primarily a live bait fishermen, it is also a good time for artificials, he said.

“Spooners and those who pull umbrella rigs do very well. And with the fish schooling on top, topwater plugs and swim baits can be very productive,” he said.

“In September you have to work to find the fish because they move around, but when you do find them you can sit right there and pick them off.”

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