Carters Lake Fishing Report – December 2019

GON Staff | November 22, 2019

Carters: Level: 3.1 feet low. Temp: 55-60 degrees. Clarity: Six to 8 feet of visibility.

Bass: Guide Bill Payne reports, “Fishing has been very good for the past several weeks, even though the water temp has been slow to cool. Even with warmer than normal water temps, the bait and the spotted bass are paying more attention to the calendar than the water temp and have moved into their late fall patterns. A primary pattern has been to look in the ditches and creek channels for bait and schools of hungry spotted bass. Most days we’re finding the bait between 60 and 80 feet deep, and we’ve been catching good numbers on jigging spoons, as well as on drop shots, blade baits, Picasso Finesse School-E-Rigs and underspins, like the SpotSticker or Fish Head Spin. An essential key to this bite is paying close attention to your electronics. I use the Humminbird Solix, and it is hard to beat with its unbelievable detail and its ability to show you the bait and exactly how the spots are relating to the bait. Remember, look for the bait in the 60- to 80-foot range in the ditches and creekbeds. As the day progresses into the later afternoon, the bait often moves shallower into the 30- to 40-foot range and really feed up until dark. Another pattern that has been successful is targeting submerged trees and the COE pallet piles in 20 to 30 feet with shaky heads like Picasso Rhino heads in 3/16-oz. tipped with finesse worms in green pumpkin or other natural colors. Maybe even better is the Picasso Tungsten Little Spotty finesse jig in 1/4-oz. with your favorite small finesse trailer. December has traditionally been the best month for the jig. Even though the patterns just mentioned are my primary presentation, other techniques are working quite well. Spinnerbaits and jerkbaits are producing some big fish under cloudy and windy conditions. Keep an open mind, and keep your eyes on your electronics. The spotted bass can be scattered throughout the water column from 15 to 80 feet over a 100-foot bottom.”

Linesides: Guide Eric Crowley reports, “Carters in the winter can be a different animal all together. Where most lakes are seeing a  majority of the game fish moving up shallow by now, our mountain lake is a little confused. The alewive tend to go deep in the winter months, which is opposite of what most baitfish are doing. So what this means is you’re going to have some fish following the bait deep, some fish chasing shad in the shallower water and some fish still suspended like it’s summer time. The good news is this means on any certain day you can target and catch fish in just about any part of the lake. Last week, we had fish eat flatlines with trout in 8 feet of water, we had fish smashing downlined threadfins on 30-foot downlines and had fish eat gizzards on boards pulling banks up the river. My advice this month is to cover water, lots of water. There’s really no wrong presentation or bait right now. We are still catching fish on Capt. Mack’s u-rigs and trolling deep-running crankbaits in 30 to 35 feet of water running 3 mph. So don’t get caught up in one area or using one presentation. If something isn’t working, simply change it up or add a few downlines to your presentation. I like long mono leaders when it’s cold. Eight- to 10-foot pieces of 17-lb. are my go-to attached to appropriate-sized circle hooks.”

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