By: Darold and Randi Gleason

This weekend we had the opportunity to experience Clarks Hill Lake in Columbia County, Georgia. We've heard a lot about the fishery over the years so we were really pumped to get on the lake. After one day, we realized we need much more time here. Two days was not near enough because the MAJOR thing we did not know is this region has so much to offer both on and off the water! Someone has been doing some serious gate-keeping, but don't worry, we are blowing the whistle and sharing our favorites from the weekend.


Nestled in the beautiful landscape of Georgia lies Clarks Hill Lake, a haven for avid anglers. Clarks Hill Lake (also known as J. Strom Thurmond) has over 70,000 acres of water and 1,200 miles of glorious shoreline which proved to be a blast as we also got to bedfish for spawners. We launched at Wildwood Park Boat Ramp and were truly impressed. It is one of the nicest and best designed launches we've used with a large capacity for trucks and boats.

Within minutes of launching, I lowered the Garmin Force trolling motor in the water and we were rewarded with a 5-pound bass. As you can see in the video, Randi wasn't entirely ready so she recorded on her cell phone really quick.

During our day on the lake, we fished both offshore and on the bank for bass. We caught largemouth bass, spotted bass, and also some HUGE Crappie (sacalait, white perch). Speaking of which, what do y'all call them? They were especially hard not to keep but since we aren't in our RV this trip, we didn't have the supplies to clean and freeze them. I love lakes that allow you to fish a variety of ways and techniques and this one surely does.


However you prefer to stay, Clarks Hill Lake has the way. From RV sites (one of our favorites was the waterfront sites at Wildwood Park), vacation homes you can rent, hotels, and they offer some really unique stays and experiences like where we stayed at Pine Knoll Farms. In addition to an event venue and beautiful chapel, they have incredible cabins. We stayed in a guest room within the barn. They accommodate boats and trucks as well which is a huge perk for fisherman. And you are only 1 mile from the boat launch, within a mile of a fuel station, and just a few miles from town. Now let's get to our next favorite thing about this area... the food!


It is not often that lakes offer an incredible and diverse food scene. In fact, most lakes are nestled in a rural region that results in us cooking in the RV many nights due to the distance from town. We were pleasantly surprised when we searched 'restaurants' on our google maps... SHOCKED. You could be in this area for weeks and never eat the same restaurant twice, even though you may want to because everything we ate over the weekend was really good.

Our TOP PICKS: We started the morning at Rooted Coffeehouse. A great vibe and even better coffee and grub. Randi went on and on about the white chocolate mocha, we shared a ham, cheese, and egg breakfast sandwich, and of course I had to finish with one of those cookies for the boat.


Of course we had to have sushi and our top pick is TAKO SUSHI - it was like Mexican/Asian fusion. Our sushi roll and ahi poke were really, really good. The roll was the JIM JIM ROLL - Spicy Tuna, Avocado, Crab Chop Chop and Wasabi Vinaigrette. Their drink menu was really great as well. The pineapple/jalepeno margarita was delicious. Heck everything was.


Another of our favorites was Ironwood Tavern. We cannot say enough great things about this place; it's a crowd pleaser. Everyone at your table can find a dish they will love. From brick-oven homemade pizzas (Randi got the Beef Bulgogi pizza, pictured below), burgers, fish and chips, incredible apps (buffalo chicken dip was divine), and irresistible desserts (we had the Fluffer Nutter and it was so good). We cannot wait to visit the area again and dine here a few times to try more on their menu.

Because it's Masters Week, they have a special menu in April. In honor of Augusta, Randi had the Azalea Martini and I had the Espresso Old Fashion. BOTH WERE REALLY GOOD. We truly cannot wait to go back and enjoy more of the menu.

Hi, Randi Here!~ As you can see, we had an action packed weekend, but of course, I was able to squeeze in just a bit of shopping. Next door to the Ironwood Tavern is a boutique called The Swank Company! If you saw my earrings or camera strap in our Masters videos, this is where I got them. The camera strap was intended to be a purse strap but it worked for camera too! So cute and they have online ordering on their website so I'll be zooming around some more on there.

We are hoping our tournament schedule brings us back here really soon, but if not, we will find a way to come enjoy ourselves at Clarks Hill. This destination a true gem and we didn't even talk about the golf, hiking, kayaking, and other amazing activities Columbia County offers.

If you'd like more info, be sure to visit their website at