Carters Lake Fishing Report March 2013
Carters: Level: 1.1 feet above full pool. Temp: 48-52 degrees. Clarity: Stained, less than 4 to 5 feet of visibility over most of the lake.
Bass: Good. Guide Louie Bartenfield reports, “Fishing remains consistent. I’m still catching fish from 15 to 40 feet with more fish seemingly moving shallow each week. Spotted bass are very stubborn about making the spring move shallow. It’s in their DNA to live deep—that is where they want to be. I’m primarily targeting fish relating to drops from 25 to 30 feet of water, with some coming off the drops deeper and some just above the ledge in shallower water. It seems like the more rock I’m fishing, the more consistent the bite. I’m using SpotSticker products tipped with Big Bite Baits soft plastics like the 1/4-oz. SpotSticker Crawler Head tipped with a Big Bite green-pumpkin skirted grub. This has been my go-to bait, and I’ve had six fish over 5 pounds boated on this setup since mid January. It’s bad-to-the-bone good. Drop shots and SpotSticker jig heads are also working in the same depths and areas. As we move into March, look for the McStick jerkbait bite to really pick up. March is always my favorite month to throw the twitch bait. The spooky-shad color in the 110 size will get the job done. Just fish slow, and focus on long, tapering points and flat banks leading into spawning areas. Great month for big fish.”
Striper: “The stripers have been easier to find as of late,” Louie said. “I’m trolling Castaway umbrella rigs in pink and Lanier blueback colors 100 feet back at 3 mph around the back arms of creeks and have put a few big fish in the boat. I’ve also boated some big white fish on Davis Underspins rigged with Big Bite Baits Cane Thumpers in alewife color. If you see them breaking on a cloudy, calm day, they will choke this rig, I promise. I’ve had four fish over 22 pounds in February and a few other smaller fish in the mid-teens. About half have bitten down-lined trout fishing points in creeks approximately 30 feet deep. I haven’t marked a big school of fish yet as you’d expect while striper fishing. The fish I’ve caught on downlines have been in groups of three or four. This will change as we approach the shad and herring spawns. Look for large groups of stripers and hybrids to start moving shallow early each morning and late in the evenings. Great time to pull Castaway planner boards around the points with flatlines.” Eric Crowley, of Lake and Stream Guide Service, reports, “Spring fever is in the air, and there is no better place in my opinion to spend this spring than on Carters Lake. The warming temps are going to bring this lake alive over the next few weeks. Look for the bait to rise from the depths and with it the predator fish. Stripers and hybrids will start to key on the schooling baitfish that will be starting to spawn. The bait will usually school up when the water temps start to near the high 50s. Herring first, then the threadfin, and shortly after the gizzards. The commotion caused by the excited schooling baitfish is like a dinner bell to the hungry linesides. Watch the sonar, and watch the surface. Look for schools of baitfish on either, and that’s where you want to be fishing. Most of the feeding fish will be up shallow, usually within 20 to 30 feet of the bait. The spotted bass have started to make the move up from the deep as well. Look for these fish to start hanging on wood structure from 10 to 25 feet. They too want in on the spawning-bait action. Pulling flatlines or casting live baits is a great way to target these fish during March. Another great way to catch some fish this month is throwing artificials at and around the spawning bait. I like hard baits in March like a Smack Tackle Flitter Bait in blue back or chartreuse, or for topwater the bigger SmackJack is great as well. I like to use braided line tied to fluorocarbon to get the long-distance casts you need to reach the fish when they come into the shallower water where they can be a little spooky.”
Crappie: Good. “Crappie are already showing up and can be caught using a number of techniques,” Eric said. “Live minnows, jigs, small spoons or even flies can be used to land some slabs, but if you really want to catch some nice-sized crappie in Carters, try using small threadfins for bait. These 1- to 2-inch threads will not only attract the bigger fish, but the larger bait helps to weed out the little guys. Nighttime crappie can be a fun way to spend an evening. All you need is some light spinning gear, a bucket of minnows and a Hydroglow light, and you should be able to pull up to any structure and catch fish.”
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