You'd have to speak to the Army Corps of Engineers about why the lake is so low. I think it basically comes down to how much water they can get away with letting go over the dam - the more power they generate, the more money somebody makes.
I live about 3 miles or so from Hickory Knob. I really wouldn’t recommend fishing there this time of year. I believe that you will find the fishing a lot more productive either above the Strom Thurmond Dam or perhaps below the Russell Dam – take your pick.
There is an oxygenation plant just off of the Modoc boat ramp. Fish from there, downstream to the Strom Thurmond Dam. The oxygenated water in that area holds fish. I don’t know what the dissolved oxygen content of the water is near Hickory Knob, but I am guessing that it is below the optimal 5% that stripers like. No oxygen – no fish.
I have had luck trolling umbrella rigs and lead core above the Thurmond Dam, but not lately. Lately I’ve been catching them with live bait on down rods. Fish 50 to 70 feet deep off of points that stick out into the old Savannah River bed.
I’ve been launching my boat at the Modoc boat ramp. It is fine in the low water. I believe that the Scotts Ferry boat ramp is also good, but I haven’t tried it lately. If you launch at Hickory Knob, you can get live bait on the lake at the Parksville Marina (I’ve been told, but haven’t tried) and then continue on down to the Modoc area. Otherwise, you can get bait at the Palmetto Angler in McCormick or The Bait Hole, closer to Lincolnton GA (Rob Hedrick 706-401-0029, Located off Soap Creek Lodge Road - Closed Sunday).
Leave a few of the big ones in the lake for the rest of us.