UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir


Fish-Off Location Revealed: Lake Russell

Lake Russell will host the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup fish-off between the two members of the FLW College Fishing National Championship-winning team.

At the conclusion of Saturday’s final round of the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship, Weighmaster Chris Jones announced that Lake Russell on the South Carolina-Georgia border will be the site of the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup collegiate fish-off on Sunday.

University of South Carolina anglers Hampton Anderson and Chris Blanchette, who were crowned champions after three days of competition on Lake Keowee, will fish off at Russell in what’s being dubbed the “Battle of the Champions.”

Both anglers will fish from Ranger Z521 bass boats provided by FLW and rigged with Lowrance electronics, Power-Poles, an Evinrude or Mercury outboard, and a Minn Kota or MotorGuide trolling motor. Whichever angler catches the heaviest five-bass limit earns a 2016 Forrest Wood Cup berth. The fish-off will also be documented for an episode of the FLW TV show to air later this year.


The fish-off anglers take off from Sanders Ferry at Russell's northern end.

Tournament Details

Takeoff – Anyone interested in taking part in the Battle of the Champions takeoff can join FLW at the Sanders Ferry boat access (pinpointed on the map above) at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday. The ramp is located on Elberton Hwy, where the 368/184 bridge crosses the Savannah River about eight miles south of Hartwell Dam.

The champs will take off from Sanders Ferry at 7:30 a.m.

Weigh-in – The anglers will be due in around 2:30 p.m. and will weigh in on the Walmart FLW Tour stage at Green Pond Landing on Lake Hartwell at 4 p.m.

Lake Russell's shorelines are protected from development, which creates a very isolated feeling while on the water.

Rules – The winner is the angler with the heaviest five-bass limit. Each fish must measure at least 12 inches to keep. Competitors can receive no outside information or waypoints prior to competition.


This creek is in Russell's mid-lake region.

Lake Russell Details

Originally named Trotters Shoals Lake, the reservoir was constructed on the Savannah River beginning in 1974 and renamed Richard B. Russell some years later. It falls between Lake Hartwell, which is upstream and to the north, and J. Strom Thurmond Lake – better known by tournament anglers as Clarks Hill.

Hartwell Dam marks the upstream boundary for the fish-off on Russell.

Situated on the border of Georgia and South Carolina, Lake Russell is about 26,500 surface acres with 540 miles of primarily forested shorline that is protected from private development.

Water clarity on Russell varies depending on the area of the lake and the amount of recent run-off.

Maximum depth is just shy of 150 feet, but the average is around 40 feet. Visibility is clear to moderately clear – less than on Lake Keowee. Also, outside of the primary navigation channels, timber still stands throughout much of Russell. Some of its backwaters and creeks are filled with trees – many of them still protruding above the surface – that require idle speed to navigate.


Standing timber poses a navigational hazard in many of the creeks and backwaters on Russell.

Bass Fishing on Russell

Lake Russell is a mixed-bag fishery, with largemouths and spotted bass. Its waters are not as clear as at Lake Keowee. Primary cover and structure include clay points, standing timber, humps, drop-offs, ditches and shallow wood.

Gulls dive for baitfish in the open mid-lake basin of Lake Russell.

Blueback herring reside in Russell and at certain times of year draw the attention of the lake’s bass. They could have an impact on the fish-off, especially if some spots are postspawn or still set up on deeper main-lake structure.

The fish-off anglers will take off from the far northern end of the reservoir, where the lake is narrow and somewhat river-like. They’ll have to decide whether to stay in the upper end or make the long run down to the open waters of the lower lake.

Bridges might be good targets for Russell's spotted bass. This one is located mid-lake.

Tags: curtis-niedermier  post-tournament  2016-03-17-lake-keowee 


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