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Lake Information for Clarks Hill Reservoir


This lake is known as Clarks Hill Lake (Reservoir) in Georgia and Lake Strom Thurmond in South Carolina.

Clarks Hill (J. Strom Thurmond) is Georgias largest reservoir at 71,535 acres. This Corps of Engineers (COE) reservoir is located 30 miles northeast of Augusta on the Savannah River. The numerous creeks feeding the lake, over 1,200 miles of shoreline, and large areas of open water provide a wide range of fishing opportunities. Striped and hybrid bass are stocked each year to help control forage fish populations and provide great action for big fish. Clarks Hill consistently ranks near the top in Georgia for crappie fishing. Although hydrilla and blueback herring that are present in the lake impact largemouth bass behavior, there are plenty of bass to fill your cooler once you are on the right pattern. Shellcracker in the spring is a local favorite. A 2008 creel survey will focus on the impact of pumpback operations at upstream Russell Dam on fishing in Clarks Hill Lake.

There are three state parks on the South Carolina side of the lake: Baker Creek State Park, Hamilton Branch State Recreation Area, and Hickory Knob State Resort Park.

Fishing Description: 

Crappie fishing was excellent last year and looks the same for 2008. Crappie will average ¾ lbs. with the bigger slabs going 1 ½ to 2 ½ lbs. Fishing, Soap, Grays and Newford Creeks and Little River near Raysville are great spots for spring crappie. There are several fish attractors in the lake and they will come into full play when the spring spawning frenzy ends. Fish attractors are a great place to take kids fishing. In addition to crappie, they hold good numbers of shellcrackers, bluegill, largemouth bass and catfish. Late summer and fall are a great time to fish under the bridges for feisty papermouths. Try the backs of creeks such as Big, Hart, Dry Fork, Knoblick and Cherokee for winter and pre-spawn action.

The COE resumed reverse-flow generation at Russell Dam in September 2002. Fishing success for striped and hybrid bass below this dam, located in the uppermost section of Clarks Hill Lake, is expected to decrease, particularly at night due to increased flow and water temperature from reverse-flow generation. A wet 2005 resulted in little pumping and minimal impact on fish behavior and fishing. A dryer 2006 and 2007 resulted in substantially more pumping.

Strong year classes in recent years are producing good numbers of fish. Average weights should range from 3 lbs. for hybrids to 7 lbs. for stripers. Winter and early spring angling areas include Big Creek, the Little River near Germany Creek upstream to Holiday Park, Soap Creek from the confluence with the Savannah River to U.S. Highway 378, the north bank of the reservoir above the dam, and major creeks near Bussey Point. Drifting live blueback herring usually provides the best results. A light to moderate breeze makes for good drift fishing. Otherwise, use your trolling motor to control speed and direction. Planer boards work great to get several baits away from the boat while trolling. Other techniques that work well are slowly trolling redfins, Norman lures or roostertails 80-100 feet behind the boat, and jigging spoons near drop-offs, ledges or humps in 20 - 30 feet of water.

WRD sampling efforts indicate there will be plenty of white perch in the lake for the next couple of years. White perch, a relative of the white bass and striped bass, are tons of fun on lightweight tackle and make an excellent meal. Look for white perch in 20-60 feet of water near ledges, drop-offs and standing timber with small jigs, spoons, or minnows working best.

A population of chain pickerel (known as jackfish) has been steadily increasing since the arrival of hydrilla in 1995. These weed loving fish are concentrated around Bussey Point, and in creeks on the lower end of the lake including Cherokee, Grays, Cliatt, Keg, Mosley and Shriver. A variety of weedless lures and surface plugs work best. A wobbling spoon with trailing pork rind, plastic lizards and hollow-faced chugger type surface plugs are some good bets for jackfish.

Fishing Tips, Tactics, How-To info: 

By summer and into the fall the hot spots for linesides will be in the mouths of major feeder creeks and rivers. Again, blueback herring is the best bait. You can catch your own herring with a cast net or buy them at local bait shops. Dead or cut bluebacks, shad and large minnows on the bottom work great. Surface action for schooling fish occurs predominately during late summer and fall. Bucktails, Gotcha shad and pencil-poppers work well on schooling fish.

Shellcrackers are big (many in the ½ to ¾ lb. range) and easy to catch. Try crickets, worms, grubs, spinners, flies or wasp larvae. The best areas are Keg, Lloyd, Grays, Cliatt, Soap, Big and Fishing Creeks. Hot spots for catfish are Little River near Holiday Park, Germany, Big and Hart creeks and the Broad River. Several 40 lbs.+ flathead catfish have been caught in recent years.

Largemouth Bass
Striped Bass
White Bass
Optional Information
Surface area: 
Clarks Hill Reservoir
Lake type: 

Businesses Located Nearby

Bait & Tackle

    Ridge Road Bait & Tackle Shop
  • 6539 Washington Rd - Appling, GA
  • (706) 541-9424
    L W's Bait & Tackle Shop
  • 2058 Ashmore Barden Rd - Lincolnton, GA
  • (706) 359-7979
    Mac's Bait & Tackle
  • 2857 Amity Woodlawn Rd - Lincolnton, GA
  • (706) 359-2155

Boat Rental

    Family Time Boat Rentals
  • 4271 Old Lincolnton Rd - Appling, GA
  • (706) 309-9290

Vacation Rental

    Wildwood Park
  • 6212 Holloway Rd - Appling, GA
  • (706) 541-0586
    Petersburg Campground USA Ce
  • 3998 Petersburg Rd - Appling, GA
  • (706) 541-9464

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