Named for Richard Brevard Russell, Jr., a former U.S. senator from Georgia, the lake covers about 26,650 acres on the Savannah River. Straddling the Georgia-South Carolina line, it touches parts of Elbert County, Ga., plus Abbeville and Anderson counties in South Carolina. Beaverdam Creek enters the lake from the Georgia side and the Rocky River flows into the reservoir from the South Carolina side. The lake dates to about 1984 with the opening of the Richard B. Russell Dam. Since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers controls the lake, very little development exists along its 540 miles of shorelines.
Lake Russell contains good populations of largemouth and Kentucky spotted bass. Spotted bass average about one to two pounds, but anglers may catch some in the 3- to 4-pound range. Largemouth bass typically run in the 2- to 4-pound range, but the lake can produce some 8-pound and larger bass.
After fishing the AFT Divisional AOY Fish-Off, those same anglers will join several hundred more of the best anglers from about 80 AFT divisions across the country to compete in the 2013 AFT National Championship tournament. Anglers fishing the national championship tournament may begin practicing on Oct. 20. The tournament runs from Oct. 23-25, 2013, on Clarks Hill Lake just downstream on the Savannah River from Lake Russell.
Like the AOY tournament, the championship weigh-ins will take place at Wildwood State Park in Appling. Anglers will head out of the launch at safe light and return to weigh their fish at 3 p.m. on Oct. 23 and 24. On Oct. 25, the weigh-in will begin at 2:30 p.m. All competitors will fish all three days of the championship event.
The winner will take home a similar Triton-Mercury boat package as the one awarded during the AOY tournament. The rest of the top 15 percent of the field will receive cash prizes. In addition, some lucky angler will win a Triton 19XS boat package powered by a 150-horsepower Mercury outboard and equipped with a set of Carlisle tires and wheels, Odyssey batteries and a MotorGuide trolling motor in a special drawing of the anglers present.
Also known as Lake Strom Thurmond, Clarks Hill Lake also forms part of the Georgia-South Carolina line. The largest lake in Georgia spreads across 71,535 acres along the Savannah River just north of August, Ga. The largest lake in Georgia offers anglers more than 1,200 miles of shoreline along the Savannah River and associated tributaries. The system can produce largemouth bass exceeding 14 pounds. The lake also produces better than average spotted bass.
During the Toyota Bassmaster Weekend Series South Carolina Division 9 championship, held Aug. 17-18, 2013, on Clarks Hill Lake, Tim A. Jones of North Augusta, S.C., won the Boater Division with a two-day total of nine bass weighing 22.11 pounds capped by a 7.10-pound kicker. Jones caught his fish in deep water on a shaky head worm, an Ol’ Monster worm and a super fluke. Sean Anderson of Leesville, S.C., won the tournament big bass title with an 8.38-pounder that hit a spinnerbait.
In the Co-Angler Division during that event, Buddy Walden of Leesville, S.C. finished with a two-day limit of six bass weighing 13.19 pounds including a 4.97-pound kicker. He caught the Co-Angler Division big bass, a 5.29-pounder that hit a 1/2-ounce spinnerbait.
Since both lakes straddle the South Carolina-Georgia line, anglers may fish them with a license from either state. For a South Carolina fishing license, call 866-714-3611 or see www.dnr.sc.gov. For Georgia fishing license information, see www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes#Recreational_Licenses_and_Passes or call 800-366-2661.
The American Fishing Tour offers low cost, close to home bass tournaments designed for the weekend angler. The 2013 AFT Divisional Angler of the Year Fish-Off and the AFT National Championship tournament are sponsored by Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Royal Purple, Best Western Hotels, BioBor, Busch Beer, Livingston Lures, Raymarine, Carlisle Tire & Wheel, Odyssey Batteries, T-H Marine.
For more information on this tournament, call ABA at 256-232-0406. On line, see www.americanbassanglers.com.
About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers commitment is to provide low cost, close to home tournaments for the weekend angler and at the same time offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers, visit www.americanbassanglers.com.