3-DAY WEATHER FORECAST:
Richard B. Russell This 26,650 acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) reservoir is nestled between Lakes Hartwell and Clarks Hill on the Savannah River. Shoreline development is not allowed at Richard B. Russell (RBR) making it one of the more pristine reservoirs in the state. There are very few recreational boaters and skiers during the summer months. Since this is a pumped storage facility, water levels are relatively stable throughout the year.
The spotted bass population continues to expand. These fish are in excellent condition and are putting on weight. Threadfin shad and blue back herring populations provide ample food for this expanding bass population. The number of spotted bass is beginning to make fishing for largemouth bass more difficult in some areas. Spotted bass are more abundant than largemouth bass throughout the Savannah arm of RBR and near the dam. Largemouth bass are more abundant than spotted bass in the Beaverdam Creek arm and in the tributary creeks off the Savannah arm.
Largemouth and spotted bass can be targeted in depths ranging from 2 10 feet using lures like jerk baits, crank baits, spinnerbaits and soft plastics. Anglers should fish on points, standing timber and riprap. Following the April and May spawning period (May through September), fish move to offshore habitats like deep points, ledges and humps and can be targeted with deep diving crank baits, soft plastics (Carolina or Texas rig), drop shot rigs and jigging spoons. Fish can be found suspended around bridge columns and can be targeted with soft plastics on light jig heads and jerk baits. Fish can also be found in the shallows early and late in the day using top water lures. In October and November, both species migrate into creeks following baitfish and can be targeted using small crank baits, spinnerbaits and soft plastics. In the winter (December and January), bass will move to deep water (20 40 feet) and can be caught with jigging spoons and soft plastics.
Black crappie in 2008 will be more numerous because of the large numbers of crappie less than eight inches in the population. Most keepers will be in the 8 – 12 inch class, with relatively few larger than 12 inches. However, the larger the RBR crappie grow, the fatter they get! The upper tributary areas, such as Rocky River and Beaverdam Creek, are good spring hot spots for crappie. Approximately 29,000 striped bass fingerlings (one per acre) were stocked into RBR in May 2004. This one time experimental stocking was done to determine if a trophy striped bass fishery could be established in RBR. Time will continue to tell how this fishery will develop, but current indications are encouraging! Anglers have caught small numbers of striped bass over the years. However, those fish were not stocked into RBR (probably entered from upstream Lake Hartwell). Striped bass in the 6 10 pounds range can be located in the big water from the railroad trestle to the dam and in the headwater areas of the lake. Target stripers by free lining or down lining live blue back herring or shad (threadfin or gizzard) and soft plastic shad bodies on a jig head.
Changes in the structure of the oxygen system, which covers about 65 acres in the fore bay of RBR, have caused a change in the fish patterns in summer and early fall. Large stripers, hybrids and largemouth bass are associated with habitat created by this system and offer persistent anglers a chance for some trophy catches.
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