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What you need to know to fish on Lake Hartwell

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

For many, the lure of the lake is seen in tandem with a day of relaxing fishing. Lake Hartwell is a prime fishing location all year round, making it a popular destination for fishers in the southeast.

However, before you cast your line, it is important to make sure you are obeying state law and fishing guidelines. Here is what you need to know to fish on Lake Hartwell and have the best time.

Guidelines for Lake Hartwell fishing

Like almost every other lake, Lake Hartwell has guidelines and regulations surrounding the amount and type of fish you can take out of the water. These regulations help protect marine life and ensure the lake can remain a fishing destination for years to come.

As the lake crosses the boundaries of both Georgia and South Carolina, the states have agreed to the same laws to govern Lake Hartwell.

Fishing at Lake Hartwell can be done on the shore banks, off piers or by boat on lake waters. All boats must be titled and registered and boat operators must have a valid drivers license or other photo id.

Whenever you’re at the shore banks, keep an eye out for blue-green algae which can be toxic. Read more about toxic algae and how to spot it.

Grandfather, father, and sun holding fish

Do you need a fishing license at Lake Hartwell?

Yes, almost every person who is fishing in Lake Hartwell is required to have a fishing license. There are a few exceptions to this rule.

For example, youth under the age of 16 are not required to have a fishing permit. Fishers are required to carry the permit on them at all times while fishing and to abide by license regulations.

Fishers can carry either Georgia or South Carolina fishing permit anywhere on the lake waters. To obtain a Lake Hartwell fishing license, locate an agent and apply in person or get one online with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources or the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Note: if you plan to fish at Lake Hartwell and sell the fish you catch, you will need to apply for a special commercial fisher’s permit. Additionally, those who wish to catch trout, even for personal consumption, will need a trout fishing license

How to Get a Discounted Fishing License

There are several ways to get a discounted fishing license.

Residents of Georgia or South Carolina can purchase a resident license on an annual basis for a discounted rate. Both states also offer discounted fishing licenses to senior citizens age 65 or older, as well as a discounted disability fishing license.

boy in life vest holding fresh caught fish

Additionally, fishers at Lake Hartwell can take advantage of several permit-free days each state hosts throughout the year. On these days, no license is required to fish.

Lastly, if you have an interest in both fishing and hunting, you can purchase a discounted sportsman’s license that allows you to hold both licenses at an affordable rate.

How many fish can I catch at Lake Hartwell?

The permit for fishing in Lake Hartwell will allow fishers to have a certain number of species that meet minimum size requirements. To measure the fish, you must measure the total length of the fish from nose to tail tip.

The maximum amount of total fish any person is can have at one time is 50. If you find yourself in that situation, you must stop fishing and consume or release the fish you have.

Regulations for the amount and type of fish can change from season to season, so it is important to familiarize yourself with current fishing laws.

Lake Hartwell fishing guide! Everything you need to know about the best fishing in Georgia and South Carolina.

What kind of fish are in Lake Hartwell?

Lake Hartwell is most known for its epic bass fishing, but there are many types of fish in the lake.

Some of the Lake Hartwell fish species include:

  1. Catfish

  2. Striped Bass

  3. Spotted Bass

  4. Crappie

  5. Bluegill

  6. Sunfish

  7. Large Mouth Bass

  8. Small Mouth Bass

  9. Walleye

  10. Rainbow trout

  11. Yellow and White Perch

  12. White Bass

  13. Flathead Catfish

  14. And so many more!

There are many fishing guides who are happy to take you out for a lesson on how to fish Lake Hartwell. Remember, fishing in Lake Hartwell is one of the most popular activities on the lake. And while you’re out there, respect the wildlife and nature around and enjoy the bounty of beautiful Lake Hartwell.

Have you been out fishing on Lake Hartwell?

Share your experience in the comments below!

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