Carters Lake Fishing Report March 2011

GON Staff | February 23, 2011

Carters: Level: 1.2 feet below full pool. Temp: 46-50 degrees. Clarity: Clear.

Bass: Fair. Louie Bartenfield reports, “The water has warmed almost 5 degrees in just a few days. The warm trend has moved the fish up in the water column as well. I’ve seen the fish go from an average of 35 to 45 feet to 15 to 25 feet in just a few days. The bite overall is still slow for now. The water, although warming, is still cold, and the fish are not willing to bite most of the time. During a cold February it can seem like there are no fish in the lake, but when the bite finally does turn on, it can be one of the most rewarding days of the year. As we get into March and the water temps continue to rise, there will be a number of things going on. Jerkbaits, crankbaits, jig-head worms, jigs and drop shots will be good producers. Look for the water temps to hold at 50 overnight, and the bite will really crank up. Flats and points near spawning creeks and coves are great staging areas to look at. Also look for slow-tapering gravel and chunk-rock banks at the mouths or near spawning flats and coves. Deep-running jerkbaits fished slowly in the main lake will work throughout the day after the water holds in the 50s; this is a great big-fish pattern. March is one of my favorite months and can be a great month to catch big spots and even an occasional largemouth at Carters. This is a trophy month on a trophy fishery.”

Stripers: Slow. Eric Crowley reports, “February has been a tough month for everyone on Carters, but that’s no surprise. It is the toughest month of the year to fish this lake. With the annual shad kill in full swing, all we can do is wait for water temps to climb. Stripers are few and far between. The ones that have been caught have been here and there with no pattern to them whatsoever. The big spots are still holding in the 15- to 40-foot range but are not actively chasing much of anything. We caught a few last week in the 4-lb. range. They will eat, but you will have to get the bait right in their face. Use your electronics to locate the fish, and try anything that will stay at the same depth as the fish. Vertical jigging spoons in 2- to 4-inch size are catching fish. I like chrome or chrome and white with some yellow on them. Smack Tackle Flitterbaits are another good choice to imitate small baitfish and have good action without moving the bait out of the strike zone. Look for March to bring this deep lake to life. As the water temps climb above 52 to 53 degrees, many fish will start to head up river. Yellow bass, walleye,white bass and shad will all start the journey around the same time, and this can make for some fun fishing. Last year Lake and Stream Guide Service had several days with 60-plus fish in the boat in just a few hours.

Walleye: Good. Eric reports, “Walleye have been a hot topic when it comes to Carters, and spring is a great time to catch them. Look for fish to start staging along rocky shorelines as they gather for the spawn. These fish will eat a variety of baits from small jigs, live worms, little swimbaits and live threadfin shad fished very slow just off the bottom. The full moon in March would be a good time to plan a night trip for walleye. Find the bait in the daylight, and fish that area at night. The walleye won’t be far.”

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