Carters Lake Fishing Report – February 2023
Carters: Level: 5 feet below 1074. Temp: 46-50 degrees. Clarity: Five to 6 feet on the lower lake, but the river is stained.
Bass: Louie Bartenfield, of Carters Lake Guide Service, says some bass are starting to move up to the 8- to 12-foot depths feeding for the prespawn. Target them on clay bottoms in creeks and coves off the main lake with flat-sided crankbaits that get down to 10 to 12 feet, jerkbaits and shaky heads. Louie says his favorite way to catch fish this month is with a jerkbait because it tends to catch bigger bass. Fish the depth range, not the bank, paralleling the contour lines to keep your bait in the right range. The bass will also hit a shaky head fished in the 8- to 12-foot depths. Some spots will still be holding deep in the ditches and channels 40 to 50 feet deep. You can catch them on underspins, drop-shot worms and football head jigs. The stained water up the river gives you the option of fishing crankbaits and spinnerbaits around cover in more shallow water. Target wood and clay there.”
Walleye: Guide Eric Crowley, of Lake and Stream Guide Service, “January fishing was amazing on this lake, and February is shaping up to be similar. There are a few good bites right now that we are working. First, we have two good walleye bites happening. There are big schools of males cruising open water hunting the shallow schools of small, yearling baitfish. These baitfish are smaller and slower than their larger adult counterparts and provide a consistent food source for the active prespawn male walleye. We also have the fat, egg-filled females pinned to the bottom looking for easy meals in the creek arms where the bait is holding near the bottom. These big girls don’t eat a lot right now because their bellies are slap full of eggs but will always take an easy meal without exerting too much energy. The open-water fish can be best caught trolling artificials, casting crankbaits or fishing a flutter spoon. The bigger fish are going to be best targeted with jigs and spoons. Typical rules apply for color, going with bright baits on cloudy days or when the lake is stained. Use darker colors, like green or purple, on bright, sunny days. Worley Creek, Fisher Creek and Beach Creek seem to be the best areas right now.”
Linesides: Guide Eric Crowley, of Lake and Stream Guide Service, “The stripers have been cooperating lately eating live baits and artificials anywhere from 15 to 35 feet deep. They are smashing the small baits in open water. Planers have been my go-to these past few weeks, getting multiple baits out and covering an area quickly with live bait. As far as artificials go, they have been loving the spoons and shad-shaped crankbaits, like a Rapala DT12 and DT16 fished on 10-lb. leaders. Look for scattered bait balls in 15 to 30 feet of water over a deep bottom, and there will be fish somewhere nearby. Some good areas have been just off the marina and the mouth of the Doll Mountain area. Whether you’re fishing for stripers, walleye or spotted bass, keep in mind the water is cold, and the fish are not super active, so fish slow down and make the bites count.”
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