Lake Harding

By Steve McCorkle “Colonel”,

As I write this article, it looks like the next couple of days will be the first days of fall weather. Before today, the outside temperatures were still in the high 80’s and into the 90’s. This year we had a long hot summer and now it looks like the temperatures may actually drop into the 50’s for lows and 70’s for highs. This should begin to turn on the fishing and more fish will be located in shallower water. We are starting to get more rain, especially with the hurricanes that have impacted the gulf and Atlantic coast. The lake is at full pool and sometimes a little above full. The water still remains mostly clear but has seen some stain in some areas, especially in some of the creeks and small coves due to runoff. The water temps are still in the mid 70’s, and I expect the temperatures of the lake to decrease as we have the cooler nighttime temperatures.

I expect fishing to get better as the temperatures begin to decrease into November. Bass should be able to be caught shallow in coves and in the creeks and can be caught on several baits such as swimbaits, Rat-L Traps, spinnerbaits, and even Texas-rig worms. Hydrilla is still growing in several areas of the lake and in some areas has completely taken over some small coves and backwaters, especially upriver. These places would normally hold fish this time of year, but the hydrilla makes fishing some of the locations nearly impossible.

The crappie bite is starting to pick up, and I expect it to get better as the temperatures decrease. Currently the crappie can be caught in the 10 – 12 foot depths around structure and deeper docks. The best technique is to use live minnows using a slip cork to get the bait into this depth range. I expect the crappie to move into some shallower water as the water temperatures fall into the upper 60’s, and if this happens, then crappie jigs and minnows should be productive.

Striped and hybrids can be caught fishing points and ledges, especially rocky areas. I expect that this will continue, but I also believe these fish will move toward shallow areas following the baitfish as the water temperatures begin to fall into November. Striped bass can be caught using similar baits to largemouth bass such as Rat-L Traps, swimbaits and also on live minnows or shad.

Catfish are also still biting and can be caught using chicken livers, hotdogs, stink baits, etc.

All other species of fish are also biting well. During this time of year you basically locate the baitfish and you will find the fish. Good luck fishing!