UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Destination expectation – Lake Hartwell

Clear skies should make sight-fishing a productive technique on day one of the Lake Hartwell FLW Tour event.

Nestled at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina's northwest corner, Oconee County, takes its name from the Cherokee word for "Land Beside the Water." Colloquially, and appropriately known as the Mountain Lakes region, the county boasts a quartet of major water bodies: Jocassee, Keowee, Tugaloo and the host waters for the second Walmart FLW Tour stop of the 2014 season - Lake Hartwell. Abounding with largemouth and spotted bass, Hartwell also boasts hardy populations of striped bass, hybrid bass, black crappie, bream, trout and stocked walleye. Only the black bass will interest FLW Tour competitors, but it's the environment in which these fish roam that most anglers appreciate. "It makes it good for tournament fisherman because it's a big lake and it spreads the field out," said Oklahoma pro Jason Christie, who claimed his first Tour win on Hartwell in 2011. "It doesn't look that big on the map, but there's lots of creeks and place to get away so you don't have to fish on top of other people. There's a lot of fishable water." A look at the lake Lake Hartwell.Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1955 and 1963, Lake Hartwell owes its existence to the namesake dam on the Savannah River, which flows from the union of the Tugaloo and Seneca rivers. Extending 49 miles up the Tugaloo and 45 miles up the Seneca at normal pool elevation, Hartwell Lake comprises nearly 56,000 acres of water with a shoreline of 962 miles. The entire Hartwell "Project" contains 76,450 acres of land and water. Full pool elevation is 660 feet and the lake averages 657.5 feet, with a maximum depth of 180 feet behind the dam. Impoundment began in February 1961, with full pool reached on March 12, 1962. Located in two states (Georgia and South Carolina), Hartwell touches 6 counties (Georgia's Hart, Franklin, and Stephens; South Carolina's Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens). The Hartwell Project initially authorized for hydropower, flood control, and navigation; with recreation, water quality, water supply, and fish and wildlife management later added to its priorities. Interstate 85 bisects Hartwell Lake and makes the area easily accessible to visitors. Each year, millions of people utilize the many public parks, marinas, and campgrounds conveniently located around the lake to pursue a variety of outdoor recreational experiences - making Hartwell one of the most visited Corps lakes in the nation A pro's perspective With the lake spreading out considerably in the lower end, there's more habitat diversity (including the dam) in that region. Nevertheless, Christie said the river arms hold plenty of opportunity, as well. Prespawners will stage on main lake points and other structure but during the spawn, the backs of creeks and protected pockets are where you want to be. As for bait selection, Christie likes a medium-diving crankbait like a Bomber BD-6 for mining the prespawn spots, while the usual assortment of worms, lizards, tubes and creature baits will do the trick for bed fish. Christie also notes that Hartwell's abundance of docks beckons the flipped, pitched or skipped jig, along with the subtle wiggle of a shaky head worm presentation. "Day in and day out, I think a topwater will always produce after the spawn because of the blueback herring in the lake," Christie said. "And it's not just an early morning and late in the evening deal on Hartwell. A topwater like a One Knocker Spook will catch fish all day long. I think most of those fish only go shallow to spawn and they spend the rest of their time chasing blueback herring." History now The Mountain Lakes Region offers plenty of outdoor activities for the entire family.According to the Oconee Historical Society: During the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War, Oconee continued to rely heavily upon agriculture as a means of subsistence and income. The rich soil of the county's many river valleys and its moderate climate enabled the production of many crops, including corn, cotton, tobacco, and apples. Railroad access to the area increased after Reconstruction and the towns of Seneca and Westminster were founded in 1874 and 1875 along new railroad lines. Railroads connected Oconee to the wider world and enabled the growth of the textile industry in the area. Oconee's first textile mill, the Courtenay Manufacturing Company, and the mill village of Newry were built in 1894. Numerous textile mills in Seneca, Walhalla, and Westminster provided jobs for thousands of Oconee residents throughout the 20th century. Following World War II, Oconee County witnessed many changes. The construction of I-85 along the southern portion of the county boosted industry by allowing quick access to nearby hubs like Atlanta and Charlotte. In 1962 the Hartwell Dam and Lake Project was completed and Oconee began to flourish as a recreational destination. A decade later the construction of the Oconee Nuclear Station by Duke Power created lakes Jocassee and Keowee, along with more jobs and recreational opportunities. Natural gems Riley Moore Falls is just one of the compelling points of interest in and around the Seneca, S.C. region.Clean mountain air, verdant landscapes and a cozy sense of seclusion enshroud the Mountain Lakes region and encourage exploration. At the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Sumter National Forest along the county's western edge offers boundless opportunities for the nature lovers. Here, bears, bobcats, wild turkeys and a host of furry and feathered inhabitants beckon binoculars and telephoto lenses. Oconee County also boasts the federally-designated Wild and Scenic Chattooga - site of the movie Deliverance. And in November, 2014, National Geographic included the astounding Jocassee Gorges in its prestigious compilation, "50 of the World's Last Great Places - Destination of a Lifetime." Elsewhere, the county contains more than 150 waterfalls with well-marked trails accessing 29 of them. Fun for the entire family Kayaking on the Chattooga River.Before or after rewarding days on the lake, anglers and their families will enjoy the invigoration of a hike or bike ride through the Mountain Lake's region. Adventurous souls may also challenge the rushing rivers on white water rafting, canoeing or kayaking excursions, while zip lines and various tours offer different views of this unforgettable area. For a variety of outdoor activities, try Nantahala Outdoor Center or Wild Water Rafting. While in town, visit the Campus of Clemson University - which partnered with the Mountain Lakes Convention and Visitors Bureau to host the Tour event. Welcoming visitors, the campus is home to the South Carolina Botanical Garden, where museums and historic homes complement the family-friendly trails and paths through floral opulence. For a fun look at the many ways electricity is created, visit World of Energy Oconee Nuclear Station. Guests find hands-on exhibits, computer games and guided tours, along with nature trails and picnic grounds at the Lake Keowee overlook. Elsewhere, Seneca's Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A nice place for casual strolls, the district includes many historic homes, the Lunny Museum and the Blue Ridge Arts Center, housed in the city's oldest church structure (1882). Also in the historic district, a nice stretch of shops awaits in Ram Cat Alley - so named for the hordes of cats that once hung around the many meat and fish markets in the early 1900's. To the northwest, the Oconee Heritage Center in Walhalla makes its home in the historic Tobacco Warehouse (1892) and features exhibits, festivals and educational programs highlighting the region's history of Native Americans, Immigration, Railroads, New Deal Programs, Textile Mills, Agriculture. The facility's premier attraction is the "Chatooga Canoe," a 32 1/2-foot dugout vessel carbon dated to the late 1700's. Gotta try this At mealtime, locals like: Walhalla Steakhouse (Walhalla) - Despite the name, this place is all about southern comfort food like the famous fried chicken. The steak house is located at 316 E. Main Street in Walhalla, S.C. (864) 638-3311. Brasstown Creek Gathering Place (Westminster) - Get there early for killer barbecue; demand is high and they often sell out of popular items early. Location: 70 Brasstown Rd, Westminster, S.C. (864) 647-2458. Sardis Den (Clemson) - Humble exterior, but this popular sports hangout is well known for its baby back ribs. Location: 520 Old Greenville Hwy #2, Clemson, S.C. (864)654-RIBS (7427). Pixie and Bills (Clemson) - Classy upscale dining with lots of antique decor and waterfront access. Location: 1058 Tiger Boulevard, Clemons, S.C. (864) 654-1210. Calhoun Corners (Clemson) - Located in the historic red brick building of the original train depot, this endearing landmark offers everything from prime rib to shrimp and grits. Location: 103 Clemson Street, Clemson, S.C. (864) 654-7490. For more visitor information, go to scmountainlakes.com.

Tags: article 


Forrest Wood Cup Show Airs Monday

Tune in for the epic finale of the FLW season and watch east Tennessee native Brad Knight earn the win on Arkansas’ Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »


Staff Picks for Holiday Gifts

With Christmas just around the corner, perhaps you could use some help with your shopping. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for an angler or thinking of what to put on your own list for Santa to deliver, Christmas shopping can be a daunting task. Luckily our staff of elves has some pretty good suggestions to cover just about any taste or budget. READ MORE »


An Angler’s Thanksgiving

A number of pros have reasons to be grateful this Thanksgiving holiday as they contemplate the season behind them and what they managed to accomplish. Yet there are others who didn’t make quite as many ripples in the tournament waters this year, but nevertheless have cause to celebrate and look to the future. READ MORE »


Black Friday Deals



Fishing 101: Soft-Plastic Swimbaits

While all swimbaits accomplish the same thing – imitating a prey fish swimming through the water – there are now hundreds of baits from which to choose, and there are models for tackling just about any scenario. READ MORE »


Critter Shots of the Year

You see some things when you’re on the water for 10 months covering tournaments from Florida to California. Most of the time our on-the-water team has its cameras trained on the anglers, but every once in a while something from nature intervenes that is just too cool to pass up. READ MORE »


How to Succeed as a Co-angler

Fishing tournaments as a co-angler is a great first step to take toward a more advanced level of competitive bass fishing. Not only do you get more time on the water, you often end up fishing behind some very experienced anglers that can teach you some valuable lessons. READ MORE »


Episode 9 of FLW TV Airs Tonight

Watch as Ontario native Curtis Richardson qualifies for the Forrest Wood Cup and earns the title of Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American Champion on Kentucky Lake. READ MORE »


Peek Will Sit Out 2016 Tour

Alabama pro Richard Peek will forego the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour season to resolve back problems. Peek, of Centre, Ala., was told by his doctor that he should take off a year from tournament fishing so that surgery or other measures could be performed to correct a spinal deformity and relieve his pain. READ MORE »


2016 BFL All-American Qualifiers

With the completion of the Walmart Bass Fishing League Wild Card at Lake Hartwell – won by Mike Devere – all but The Bass Federation National Championship qualifiers are in place for the 2016 BFL All-American June 8-11 on Lake Barkley presented by the Cadiz-Trigg County Tourism Commission. READ MORE »


Jigging Up Late Fall Smallies

In the North Country, as fall fades and sportsmen settle in for the arrival of winter, many people put the boat away and forsake the water for the woods. For those willing to brave the elements on the lake, however, the reward is some of the best smallmouth bass fishing of the year for some of the biggest fish of the season. READ MORE »


Rayovac FLW Series Registration Opens

This is the week to register for everyone planning on fishing the FLW Series in 2016. Registration has been open for the top 40 pros and co-anglers from each division of the 2015 FLW Series and the top 50 boaters and co-anglers from each division of the 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League (BFL) for some time. Tuesday is when everyone else can begin to get in on the action. READ MORE »


College Championship Airs Tonight

Tune in for the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship to see Patrick Walters and Gettys Brannon of the University of South Carolina capture the title in front of the hometown crowd at Lake Murray. READ MORE »


5 Pros Weigh in on Hanselman

When Ray Hanselman won the 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Championship to cap his season-long dominance of the Texas Division just about everyone tuned in. It wasn’t just the stunning sweep that captivated pros and fans alike; it was how he did it – leading after the second day in every event he fished and winning with stunning margins of 5 pounds, 8 ounces at Amistad, 7-2 at Sam Rayburn, 12 pounds even on Texoma and 8-2 at the Championship. READ MORE »


Episode 7 of FLW TV Airs Tonight

Watch as Shawn Gordon pulls off the win on Grand Lake in Oklahoma and qualifies for the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita in his home state of Arkansas. READ MORE »


How Hanselmania Happened

In case you’ve been stuck in a tree stand or out of social media range and didn’t already know it, Hanselman won all three regular-season Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournaments in 2015. And at the end of October he topped off his stellar run by winning the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River out of Paducah, Ky. READ MORE »


2014 Cup Wins Sports Tourism Award

The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray in Columbia, S.C., was recently named the 2015 Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism for the mid- to large market category by Sports Destination Management magazine. READ MORE »


5 Best Smallmouth Destinations

Fall is the time of year to treat yourself to one last fishing excursion before the snowflakes start to fall. And if you’re going to take a fishing road trip amid a backdrop of autumn’s colorful foliage, it might as well be for fat, angry brown bass, right? READ MORE »


College Championship Field Set

Now that the 2015 FLW College Fishing Conference Championships are complete, 58 teams have earned the opportunity to fish in the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »


2016 FLW College Fishing Rules