Carters Lake Fishing Report – January 2020

GON Staff | December 31, 2019

Carters: Level: Full pool. Temp: 52 degrees. Clarity: 10 feet.

Bass: Guide Bill Payne reports, “Spotted bass fishing has been very good over the last few weeks. This past weekend, my clients boated over 70 fish for the two days. There are two primary bites we’re using: 1) We’ve been using bottom-contact baits like jigs and shaky heads out on deep points and humps with cover, like brush, trees or pallet piles, in the 20- to 35-foot range. We are also using these same baits in the deeper pockets in the 20- to 35-foot depths. Baits like the Picasso Tungsten Little Spotty finesse jig or their Tungsten Football finesse jig topped with a Zoom Creepy Crawler will do the job. The Picasso Rhino shaky head with a Zoom Trick Worm can work equally well. You will need a sensitive rod for these bottom-bumping techniques, and the GLoomis NRX or GLX models 853 or 893 are super. We are also concentrating on fish that are totally oriented to baitfish. While some of the bait is very deep, we are having more success on the bait that’s in the 40- to 60-foot range. A jigging spoon in 1/2- and 3/4-oz. is working very well, and you may catch a bonus walleye or two. Right now the drop-shot technique can provide great results on the spots that you see near the bottom on your sonar. My Humminbird SOLIX is critical in seeing fish that you can drop on. If you prefer to cast to these fish, blade baits like a Damiki Vault or a Silver Buddy, as well as a swimbait, work well. A 4-inch paddletail swimbait on a 1/4-oz. Picasso Smartmouth jig head will get bites. As we head into January, look for more fish on steep and rocky banks or on bluff walls in the creeks and up in the river. I would advise that you attack these structures in one of two ways: 1) A shaky head or a Ned rig cast close to the bank and worked out to around 30 feet. Work the bait very slowly, and pay attention for light bites. 2) The Float-n-Fly bite is on. I like the 3-way swivel with braid and a 10- to 12-foot leader of 7-lb. Sunline fluoro. My favorite flies are Red Rooster. They have a color that will suit any situation, including one named Carters Lake Special. Cloudy, overcast conditions, even light rain or snow, are the best days. Under bright skies, early morning and shade lines get the call.”

Stripers: Guide Eric Crowley reports, “The striper bite has been pretty good. Big fish eating big baits is what it’s all about this month. If you’re looking for an upper teen to mid 20-lb. fish, now’s the time. Our morning routine consists of pulling our biggest baits on planers and flatlines and some medium-sized baits on two downlines in the 20- to 35-foot range. We are usually pulling four to six baits at a time covering water at 1.5 mph until about 10 a.m. After that, we are switching over to artificials and trolling the mouths of the creeks with crankbaits, a Chipmunk jig and Captain Mack’s umbrella rigs. Look for schools of bait in open water, and cover the area thoroughly at different speeds. Usually 2 to 3.5 mph is pretty standard. As far as the spot bite goes, look on the creek channel bends or on depth changes, and watch your electronics. We have been finding decent schools of fat, healthy fish in 25 to 35 feet of water. Doll Mountain, Worley and Woodring are all still holding bait and fish.”

Walleye: Guide Eric Crowley reports, “Caught a few walleye trolling crankbaits in the past couple of weeks on the river bend points and flats. At first light, the fish were up in 20 feet, but by 10 a.m. they had moved down to 35 feet but would still eat a fast-moving bait. Day to day they seem to switch from bright to dark colors, but a little patience will pay off if you stick with it.”  

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