Lake Hartwell hosting B.A.S.S. Nation Championship next weekend

Amateur bass anglers from the U.S. and nine foreign nations will compete next week on Lake Hartwell in a tournament that will be the ultimate test of their fishing skills.

The event is the Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Championship presented by Magellan Outdoors. The competition is Oct. 19-21 with the tournament based in Anderson, S.C.

What began as an American sport has grown globally through the B.A.S.S. membership, and specifically through the club network known as the B.A.S.S. Nation. The qualifiers advanced through local, state and regional club tournaments to reach the championship.

Joining anglers from 47 states are those from Mexico, Japan, Australia, Portugal, Italy, Zimbabwe, Namibia, the province of Ontario and the Republic of South Africa.

Also on the qualifier list is the Paralyzed Veterans of America champion and defending championship winner Ryan Lavigne of Gonzales, La. The Ascension Area Anglers club member scouted the tournament fishery just prior to the official off-limits period that began in mid-September.

What Lavigne found could make this tournament a truly competitive event. Under normal autumn conditions the lake’s abundant population of spotted bass begins to form schools and feed on baitfish in shallow water. Bass concentrated in the creeks are much easier to locate and catch.

So far, unseasonably warm weather has prevented that initial migration of spotted bass from the main lake. During summer, the bass stay in deep water and are challenging to locate.

Lavigne said the spotted bass he found were somewhere in between the deep- and shallow-water areas.

“I didn’t make many casts and instead spent most of the time riding around looking for good areas,” he said. “I only stopped a few times to find out what size spotted bass were in the schools.”

The results were somewhat disappointing for Lavigne. He caught plenty of bass but not of the size to put him into contention to win.

“It could be very hit and miss,” he continued. “It might take a lot of running around to bring back a quality limit of spotted bass.”

Deep reservoirs like Hartwell are far away from Louisiana, where most of the bass fishing happens in shallow rivers, bayous and saltwater estuaries. Call Lavigne a hybrid of Cajun bass anglers. He likes fishing for bass in deep water and mastered the skill through his travels to B.A.S.S. Nation regional events.

“It will take a cold snap to get the fish moving because the water temperature was too warm during my trip,” he added. “But I do like fishing offshore and in deeper water more than anything else.”

The long-term weather forecast predicts daytime high temperatures in the mid-70s and nighttime lows in the 50s. That’s about 15 degrees cooler than current highs and lows.

The Top 3 anglers from the championship advance to the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. The Classic is March 16-18 on Lake Hartwell.

The Top 3 anglers also earn paid entry fees in the division of their choosing for the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens, and use of a B.A.S.S. Nation’s Best Phoenix Boat package for one year.

The winner also receives the Bryan V. Kerchal Memorial Trophy. A Skeeter ZX200 rigged with Yamaha SHO 200 outboard, Minn Kota trolling motor and Lowrance electronics are part of the prize package. The winner also receives a berth in the 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series, with $16,000 paid toward the entries.

The runner-up receives a Skeeter TZX190 and Yamaha SHO 150, rigged with the same accessories as the winner’s boat. The nonboater champion receives a Skeeter TZX190 package rigged with those same accessories, paid entries in an Opens division, and a Classic Marshal spot.

A Triton 189 TRX, Yamaha VF150LA and Triton standard equipment will go to the third-place angler.

Daily launch and takeoff time is 7:30 a.m. ET. The weigh-in begins at 3:45 p.m. Both events will be held at Green Pond Landing and Event Center in Anderson. will provide extensive coverage of the tournament to include daily stories, videos and photo galleries.


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Hartwell Wildlife Management

The main objective of the Hartwell Project wildlife management program is to improve wildlife habitat through, accepted forestry and wildlife management practices consistent with the multiple use objectives of the lake project.  Another objective is to provide hunting opportunities at suitable locations. Wildlife viewing opportunities are also available on project lands. Wildlife management activities are coordinated with appropriate State agencies, and cooperative efforts with interested groups are also encouraged.

Currently, approximately 2500 acres of Hartwell Project land is leased to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) for wildlife management. Beaverdam Creek Wildlife Management Area, located in Townville, is a 900 acre waterfowl management area leased to SCDNR.  Waterfowl hunting is allowed in this area by drawing only.

Corps efforts to improve wildlife habitat and hunting success include the management of 27 wildlife openings around the project.  These wildlife openings are planted and maintained to improve habitat for deer and turkey as well as benefit small game and non-game species.  Four of these openings are managed as public dove fields.  Another tool the Corps uses to benefit wildlife is through pine thinning operations around the project.  Thinning practices along with the reforestation effort that includes planting hardwoods, promotes a healthy and diverse forest.  The Corps also maintains 40 wood duck and 78 blue bird boxes around the project to provide adequate nesting.

All Corps land, except for developed recreation areas, is open to hunting provided all state game laws are observed.  The Corps does manage some archery only areas available to the public.  In South Carolina there are four areas the Corps has designated as archery only.  These are SC River below the dam, Weldon Island (closed campground), Glenn Ferry (closed campground), and Choestoea.  In Georgia there are two areas the Corps has designated as archery only.  These are Georgia River/Quarry area and Paynes Creek Campground (after Sept 9th).  A complete set of Hunting Maps are available.  The SC River and Georgia River/Quarry area require a permit that is available from the Hartwell Project Office.  This permit is free and must be obtained in person.

There are numerous other small access areas that are open to archery hunting for deer, turkey & small game.  These areas include:

  • New Prospect Access Area in Hart County, GA (34 Acres)
  • Jenkins Ferry Access Area in Stephens County, GA (31 Acres)
  • Apple Island Access Area in Anderson County, SC (107 Acres)
  • Asbury Access Area in Anderson County, SC (27 Acres)
  • Denver Access Area in Anderson County, SC (19 Acres)
  • Townville Access Area in Anderson County, SC (23 Acres)
  • River Forks Access Area in Anderson County, SC (182 Acres) Note: Hunting is not permitted in the closed recreation area.
  • Camp Creek Access Area in Anderson County, SC (48 Acres)
  • Martin Creek Access Area in Oconee County, SC (60 Acres)

A permit is required from the Corps of Engineers, Hartwell Lake, to hunt in the SC River Area and Quarry Area and will be available at no cost from the Hartwell Project Office beginning in late August each year.

Hunting for deer and turkey will be permitted during seasons as set by the state and will be restricted Archery Equipment Only.  Firearms are prohibited during deer and turkey season.

Hunting in developed recreation areas except as listed above is prohibited.

No permanent stands can be constructed on Corps of Engineers property.  Climbing stands, lock-on stands, ladder stands and ground blinds can be used, but must be removed on the last day of deer and turkey season.

Small game hunting is allowed in all areas listed above, but only after the deer season is completed.  Hunting during small game season will be permitted with shotgun only using #4 shot or smaller.

South Carolina and Georgia regulations, seasons, bag limits, license requirements, etc. will be strictly enforced.

Feral Hog hunting is allowed on Hartwell Project Lands all year.  A special permit must be requested to hunt hogs outside the regular deer and turkey seasons.  The use of dogs is only allowed outside the state deer and turkey seasons.

Dove hunting is allowed Saturday and Wednesday only throughout the season as set be GA & SC’s Department of Natural Resources.

Please contact Jess Fleming at the Hartwell Project for questions and permitting.

Natural Resources Specialist Jess Fleming:  1-888-893-0678 ext. 335 or 706-856-0335.

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Hartwell Lake Listed Again Among Nation’s Top Fishing Spots

Hartwell Lake has once again been named as a Top 100 Bass Lake in America by B.A.S.S.. Hartwell Lake is ranked-twenty first in the Southeast Division, and has received this recognition for the third consecutive year since B.A.S.S. began releasing the rankings in 2012.

“It’s an honor and privilege to have Lake Hartwell recognized as a Top 100 Bass Lake in America by the great folks at B.A.S.S.,:” said Neil Paul, executive director of Visit Anderson. “Green Pond Landing and Lake Hartwell continues to serve as a destination for fishing tournament organizations from all across America.”

Hartwell Lake, Green Pond Landing & Event Center, and Anderson County have hosted numerous national and regional bass tournaments including: the Ray Scott Championship, FLW Pro Series, the American Bass Anglers Military Championship, and the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic, where Casey Ashley won his first Classic on his home lake.

Anderson County and Visit Anderson are set to host two major tournaments in the year ahead at Green Pond Landing & Event Center. In the fall the 2017, the B.A.S.S. National Championship will be October 19-21; and, the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods is scheduled for March 16-18, 2018. Such tournaments make a meaningful contribution to tourism as well having a significant economic impact in Anderson County.

“Anderson County is focusing its efforts into our natural resources; particularly, Green Pond Landing & Event Center,” said Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn. “It is exciting to know that our beautiful lake is being enjoyed not only by our citizens, but by the international fishing community.”


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