By HEATHER WALTERS
Colleton anglers can circle March 4-6 of 2022 on their calendars. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has announced the Bassmaster Classic is returning to Lake Hartwell for a fourth time. Lake Hartwell is located in the Upstate of South Carolina.
“This is a historic announcement,” said Robert H. Boyles Jr., with SCDNR. “We offer our congratulations to Anderson and Greenville in helping to bring attention to South Carolina’s world-class natural resources and the economic impact that those resources provide.” The “2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic” presented by Huk will be held at Lake Hartwell on March 4-6. Takeoffs for tourney participants will be from Green Pond Landing and the lake’s Event Center.
Daily weigh-ins will be held at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, and the annual Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo will take place at the Greenville Convention Center. “We’re excited to have the Classic come back,” said Ross Self, SCDNR Freshwater Fisheries chief. “It’s the recognition of the quality of our fisheries and the work that our staff does, and it helps to draw attention to fishing around the state. Folks want to fish where the pros fish.”
In a press release, Self said the 2020 Bassmaster named Lake Hartwell one of the nation’s “Best Bass Lakes of the Decade.” This was based on tournament catch records and information on how agencies like SCDNR manage major reservoirs in their states for both bass and other popular species. Next year’s event will mark the fourth time the fishing classic has been held on Lake Hartwell, which will tie it with Lay Lake near Birmingham, Ala., for hosting the most Classics.
The tourney was not held in 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The fishing tournament started in South Carolina in 2014. However, numbers are just being calculated to show the financial impact that the tournament has to the Upstate. In an SCDNR press release, B.A.S.S. Chairman Chase Anderson said the economic impact of the Bassmaster Classic to the Anderson/Greenville area in 2018 is estimated at $24 million. Since first starting to hold fishing tournaments in Lake Hartwell in 2014, more than 14 events have generated an estimated $56 million in return to the entire area, according to Anderson. Anderson said it took “great foresight” to build a facility like Green Pond Landing. Overall, SCDNR helped direct more than $3.5 million in funding across the last eight years to support development of the Green Pond project. The funds for the project came from a combination of Hartwell PCB settlement funds, the Sportfish Restoration Boating Access Fund and from Water Recreation funds, according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.