Carters Lake Fishing Report April 2018

GON Staff | March 28, 2018

Carters: Level: 0.4 feet low. Temp: 51-60 degrees. Clarity: Excellent.

Bass: Guide Louie Bartenfield reports, “Fishing is frustrating due to the constant rising, falling, warming, then cooling water temps. I’ve had trips when we’ve caught everything in less than 10 feet of water, and then the next day, we would not get a bite shallow and would catch everything in 25 to 35 feet of water. I’ve long said spotted bass are the most stubborn fish in freshwater. It’s in their nature to be deep, so even in the spring, you have to keep an open mind. As April approaches, look for the old faithful SpotSticker jig head and finesse worm to dominate the daily catch. Focus on flat banks and the obvious spawning areas, like pockets. The majority of our bass will spawn in April, so there will be a big push shallow regardless of water temperature or weather. Male bass will be busy guarding fry and can be caught using weightless flukes, bluegill-style topwaters, like Pop-Rs, and prop baits, as well as the jig-head worms or drop shots. Please remember April and May are possibly the most important months in our area to practice catch and release. Allow these male bass to protect fry and the female bass to spawn.” Guide Eric Crowley reports, “The spotted bass bite has been nonstop near cover and on the main-lake points. Lots of 4-plus-lb. spots have been caught so far this year, and expect that to stay solid through the end of spring.”

Linesides: Guide Robert Eidson reports, “Good! Big fish are starting to bite on both the main lake and in the river. These fish are high in the water column and are hard to locate on your Lowrance. The best way to find the bite right now is to find the bait. Once you locate the bait, put out a spread of planer boards, freelines and downlines. Large gizzard shad seem to be working best, but big alewife are also working.” Guide Eric Crowley reports, “March was pretty typical on Carters as far as the fishing goes. There’s been plenty of big fish being caught in between rain and cold fronts. As the water warms, the bite will steadily increase. Also, the bait will start to gather under your lights, so bust out the Hydro Glow light and the cast net and get the freshest bait possible. The big alewife are still my go-to bait, and really the only way to catch them is in a quality cast net. I prefer a 10- or 12-foot cast net with 1/2-inch mesh. These heavier, larger mesh nets sink faster and open wider to assure your best bet at catching these ultra-fast baits. After your tank is loaded, bust out the planer boards and flatlines, and start pulling banks in the creek arms of the main lake. The stripers and hybrids are holding near the bait in these creeks. I stay over a 30- to 40-foot bottom, and keep the boat moving about 1.5 mph. I like to keep my bank side board about 20 feet off the shore and the opposite board as far away from the boat as I can. I always run two flatlines staggered behind the boat from 50 to 75 feet. I use a 14-lb. leader and a small 1/0 octopus hook attached to the bait through the tip of the nose. This is my basic terminal rig for stripers this time of year.”

Walleye: Guide Eric Crowley reports, “The walleye bite is picking up, and this month should be prime time to target these toothy critters. Shallow points, shoals, humps and bends in the river are all holding eyes. We have only seen a few so far this year, but the ones we have seen have been in the 6-lb. range. I typically drop down to 8- or 10-lb. flourocarbon since they can be ultra spooky at times. The night bite will be excellent by the end of the month, and I expect a great year of walleye fishing on Carters.”

Flatheads: Guide Eric Crowley reports, “Spring also ushers in the flathead catfish bite. These big bruisers are a blast to catch and offer a great option when the stripers are done feeding for the day. Big live baits fished on the bottom near heavy cover is key to attract these trophy-sized bottom dwellers.”

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