Striped bass tracking project to begin on Lake Hartwell

HARTWELL — Striped bass fishing is a favorite pastime for many Lake Hartwell anglers. For more than 40 years, the striped bass population in Lake Hartwell has been maintained by stocking small fish into the lake each spring. Given enough time and “groceries,” these striped bass can reach weights of 40 pounds or more.

However, over the last few years, Lake Hartwell anglers have expressed concern about the declining numbers of striped bass in the lake.

“We attribute the decline in the striped bass population to low levels of dissolved oxygen found down deep where striped bass live during the summertime,” Georgia DNR fisheries biologist Anthony Rabern said. “Droughts and floods can have a strong influence on water quality in the lake, especially during the summer months.”

To determine how striped bass in Lake Hartwell respond to harsh summertime conditions when these low oxygen levels occur, DNR biologists are surgically-implanting small radio transmitters into 40 striped bass this winter and will track their movements for the next 12 to 36 months.

“One of the goals for this project is to determine the seasonal migration patterns of striped bass in Lake Hartwell, and identify potential areas in the lake where summertime water quality may be better suited for their survival,” Project Leader Anthony Rabern said. “Another goal is to determine how many striped bass may actually die during the course of the year from either natural causes or from being harvested by anglers.”

It might be possible that some anglers will catch one of these striped bass that has an internal transmitter. If you catch a striped bass with a 3-inch long filament protruding from its belly, the DNR encourages you to report the tag number by calling (888) 824-7472 and to release the fish alive, if possible, so officials can continue to track the fish. If the fish is harvested, instructions will be provided on how to return the transmitter.

This project would not be possible without the combined efforts of both state DNRs, and the support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“In the long run,” Rabern said, “we will use the results from this study to make Lake Hartwell the best fishing destination it can be.”

For more information about the Lake Hartwell Striped Bass Telemetry Project, contact Rabern, at (706) 947-1507.


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Clemson Marina

Join us during Clemson Marina’s biggest boat sales event of the year!  The BIG Splash is coming to Clemson Marina Thursday, March 7th through Saturday, March 9th!  On Saturday (3/9), bring the whole family for a day full of fun!  We’ve got kids entertainment, catfish fry and discount beer provided by The Grill, hourly giveaways, demo rides, and more!  We will have a ton of new and used boats to see, tours of the marina, and local vendors from our area!  You don’t want to miss this fun-filled event!  Doors will be open from 9 AM to 5 PM.

It’s the best deals of the year – dealer discounts up to $3000 OFF select models!  Also, enter for a chance to win an additional $1000 OFF your new boat purchase.  Come see the newest 2019 models of Xpress’s original all-welded aluminum fishing boats, Monterey sport boats, and Veranda Luxury Pontoons with Yamaha Outboard motors that will give you the quality, performance, and features you demand!  We are determined to get you in the boat that you have always wanted!

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Looking back is looking up

After toiling diligently for the past two plus years, it seems the Savannah River Basin has finally freed itself from the drought that began in 2016.

For seven months in 2018 the sub-basins exceeded their rainfall averages (eight for Russell), while November’s and December’s totals provided the coup de grâce or punctuation mark for “The drought is dead!”

(Indeed, December’s totals were so far above the average that when placed on a bar graph they look like an exclamation point.)

The excitement began to morph into concern in late December, as the reservoirs began to fill, runoff increased, and maintenance on Thurmond’s gates required us to maintain levels slightly below full pool.

According to Scott Hyatt, operations project manager at J. Strom Thurmond, work has been going smoothly and the crew is proceeding as quickly as possible. Workers are finishing gate 17 (of 23) and averaging about two weeks per gate. At that rate, the

maintenance should be completed by April.

The heavy rainfall also forced us to delay the fixed weir pool simulation for the recommended fixed crest weir at the New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam, originally scheduled for Jan. 5. Reservoir levels and inflows are still too high for the simulation, but we may still have an opportunity to conduct the simulation in February if rainfall cooperates.

Looking back, though, 2018 ranked third highest all-time for total annual rainfall for the Russell and Thurmond sub-basins (58.61 and 5

8.15 inches) and eighth for Hartwell (71.99 inches). Russell and Thurmond were within 5 inches of their annual rainfall records (63.53 inches (2015) and 64.32 inches (1964), respectively).

As previously mentioned, December was a banner month for the basin. Hartwell registered a hair below 12 inches (compared to its 5.25-inch average) while Russell and Thurmond picked up 9.9 and 9.3 inches (versus 4.2- and 4.1-inch averages), respectively.

The beginning of the year hasn’t approached the gangbusters level of the previous two months, but we’re still on par to reach or exceed January’s average for each of the sub-basins. Each has collected in the vicinity of 3 inches and anywhere from 66-74 percent of its average.

In the past 10 years, more often than not the sub-basins have fallen below average in January. However, the first three months of the year are also the wettest, and in non-drought years really set the stage for the summer full pool.

Thanks, as always, for engaging with us via this forum (and on other social media platforms). We appreciate the feedback.

~ Jeremy S. Buddemeier, Corporate Communications Office

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