Fishing is one of the most popular activities at Lake Hartwell, which hosted the Bassmaster Classic as recently as 2008.
The lake provides a wide variety of fish habitats, ranging from rocky bluffs on the upper Tugaloo River arm to shallow cove pockets and sandy flats in the middle and lower sections of the lake.
Bream, catfish, small mouth bass, walleye, and large mouth bass are among the most common species, but the most popular fishing is for striped bass.
Many 60-pound fish have been caught on Lake Hartwell, with 20-pound fish being common. The majority of striped bass caught on the lake will range from 5 to 12 pounds.
Excellent Camping and Hiking, and Wildlife
There is a wealth of camping opportunities along this large lake. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages nine campgrounds at Lake Hartwell with a total of 524 campsites.
Many of the campgrounds include restrooms, showers, boat ramps, playgrounds, electric and water hook ups, courtesy docks, group camping, and designated swimming areas.
There are more than 250 species of birds and 40 different mammals around Lake Hartwell. In addition there are numerous aquatic, reptile and amphibian species there too.
Commonly spotted wildlife includes wood ducks, chickadees, blue birds, screech owls, flying squirrels, wild turkeys, snakes, racoons, and the great blue heron.
Occasionally deer can be seen swimming across the lake or drinking at its shore, and even black bears have been spotted near the lake.
All Kinds of Water Sports, and Football, Too
There are five marinas along the lake, including Clemson Marina, Big Water Marina, Harbor Light Marina, Hartwell Marina, and Portman Marina, as well as many public boat ramps.
Boating is extremely popular on Lake Hartwell, as are all of its related activities, water skiing, tubing and wake boarding.
The lake also features the private Western Carolina Sailing Club that hosts an annual regatta in October.
Clemson football games have always been a draw for boaters on Lake Hartwell. The university and stadium tower over the lake.
During football season, boaters from all over the lake travel up the Seneca River to park on the left side of the long earth dike and walk up the hill to visit the famous Esso Club or attend the game.