Carters Lake Fishing Report January 2015

GON Staff | December 23, 2014

Carters: Level: 2.4 feet low. Temp: 52 degrees. Clarity: Clear.

Bass: Good. Guide Louie Bartenfield reports, “The fish are in full winter pattern and are from shallow to deep across the lake and river. My guys have boated fish on everything from Float-n-Fly and jerkbaits in 10 feet of water to football jigs and SpotSticker jig heads in 40 plus feet of water over the past couple of weeks. As January approaches, look for more of the same. The deep bite will continue to improve, and look for bigger fish to be caught over the next few weeks. Late December through middle January always produces big fish at Carters Lake. If you’re planning a trip here, make sure to pack plenty of 3/8-oz. SpotSticker casting jigs (brown olive has been producing on my boat), as well as plenty of jig heads and drop-shot gear. Pick a creek, and fish breaklines from 15 to 35 feet thoroughly. Look for irregularities, like bluff ends, clay-to-rock transitions and laydown trees. There are a few fish in ditches, but nothing like in years past.” Guide Eric Crowley reports, “This time of year in my opinion is the best time to catch a true trophy. The banks are crawling with spots right now and will continue through the better part of January. Look in the 15- to 35-foot range along shorelines with any kind of cover. Fish drop-offs and ledges. Try the ones between the Woodring boat ramp and the Woodring campground. Look on rocky shorelines, such as the one by the boat ramp at the dam where the bank drops off quickly. Fish any submerged timber or stumps similar to Stumpy Island or the Doll Mountain area. Hard jerkbaits, jigging spoons or soft plastics with a large profile on a Scrounger head fished on or just off the bottom will draw the attention of hungry magnum-sized spots.”

Guide Louie Bartenfield reports, “Striper fishing is a shadow of what it has been over the past two years. There are decent groups of fish in the river, and I’ve found a few fish in the lake creeks, but for the most part, it’s tough out there for white fish right now. I’m out more than anyone on this fishery, and stripers are hard to find right now. Six- to 8-inch trout have produced my bites fishing downlines from 30 to 60 feet over 60- to 100-plus-foot bottoms following breaklines in and out of the channels. The river fish are easiest to find, but when I’ve gotten bit in the lake, all have been heavier than 20 pounds. Use bigger baits, and cover water. I’ve been pulling 3-oz. downlines at .7 to .9 mph.” Guide Eric Crowley reports, “Fish are going to be deep, and some are going to be shallow. Early morning I like to target them with planer boards and flatlines pulling 5- to 10-inch trout about 75 to 100 feet behind the boat with little or no weight. At the same time, always keep a couple of downlines out in the 40-foot range with an 1.5-oz. egg sinker and an appropriate size circle hook. Slow down the boat speed compared to what you have been pulling baits at. I like 1 mph or even bumping the trolling motor on and off. This keeps the bait in the strike zone longer, and the trout swim a little more freely and natural looking. In the afternoon, I target the deeper fish with downlines. As far as the areas to target, look for the bait. Look in the creek mouths to about three-quarters of the way back until you see large schools of bait on the sonar, and target that area thoroughly. Worley Creek, Doll Mountain and the other main creek arms on the main lake all have bait in them somewhere. If you are fishing in the evenings, the area between Woodring Branch and the marina is a good place to target, as there are several channels, creek mouths and long points that all come together here, and the fish are transitioning back and forth through the area at dusk looking for baitfish.”

Eric reports, “The nighttime walleye bite is typically good in January, if you can stand the cold. The best way to target these fish is with shiners or nightcrawlers fished on jig heads or spinner rigs around any area of the lake with lights. Try the marina, areas around the boat ramps and the lights by the dam. Fish deep, and fish slow. The colder temps have these fish moving slow, and you almost have to hit them in the face to get them to eat.”

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