Carters Lake Fishing Report May 2012

GON Staff | April 26, 2012

Carters: Level: 1.6 feet above full pool. Temp: 67-70 degrees. Clarity: Great; 6+ feet visibility.

Spotted Bass: Good. Guide Louie Barternfield reports, “The bite is improving each week. There has been a good shallow bite early covering water with Pop Rs, flukes and Spro McStick 110 jerkbaits. Fish these baits fast, and cover water for best results. After the first couple of hours, my guys have been working Spotsticker jig heads rigged with finesse worms like the Big Bite Shaking Squirrel in ayu and bold gill colors. We’ve also been drop-shotting a Spotsticker hand-poured worm in crushed herring color with lots of success. Focus midway back in the creeks near transition areas where the shore goes from deep to more gentle sloping banks. This is often where rock turns to clay. These areas are holding good concentrations of fish right now. I expect the full moon in May will bring the final wave of spots to spawn, and with that will be another wave of males that are easily picked off with the Spotsticker jig head, so now is the time to catch numbers and have fun. We’re averaging 20-plus fish days right now, and lots of solid 2- to 2 1/2-lb. spots with an occasional Carters Lake monster we’re known for. Later in the month, move out a bit deeper and slow down a little more, and the bite will continue to be consistent.”

Linesides: The hybrid/striper bite has been awesome lately. “I’ve had a couple of very rare great numbers days, and that’s very unusual for Carters even this time of year,” Louie said. “I’ve been freelining and downlining big shad and small bluegills running baits from 12 to 25 feet on downlines and pulling a few freelines 40 to 70 feet behind the boat. I’ve been keeping my I-Pilot on a steady pace between .5 and .8 mph covering as possible early morning. The night fishing has also been outstanding the last month, and I expect it to continue throughout the month of May. I’ve been freelining big shad 40 to 50 feet back and throwing Spro McStick 110 jerkbaits working them very aggressively with little to no pauses in between. Cadence most nights makes all the difference with the jerkbait, so experiment with your cadence every few casts until you dial in on what they want. I’ve had clients catch record-sized hybrids and lots of trophy stripers on the jerkbaits, it is an awesome bite!” Guide Eric Crowley reports, “April was a spectacular month on Carters. Unofficially busting the lake record for hybrids three times this month with hybrids weighing up to 16 pounds and stripers up to 25 1/2 pounds is a great way to start off the lineside fishing season. The fish have been keying on spawning baitfish all over the lake with the majority being on the lower end of the lake. This month the fish will school up and move to the main-lake humps, points and islands looking for a cool-water refuge with the ability to feed easily. Look for fish from 18 to 40 feet of water where there is bait and structure for them to hold near. Starting early is key, and having fresh bait is a must. Catching bait can be a lot easier with a Hydro Glow light, which will draw the bait up to the surface. Alewife herring can be caught on sabiki rigs, while the threadfins can be caught with a cast net. I recommend a large net in the 10- to 12-foot range with 3/8- or 1/4-inch mesh like the super-spreaded GS series with 1 1/2 pounds of lead per foot. These heavier nets will sink faster and secure more bait before they can escape. As the linesides school up, remember to try and be quiet when approaching them as they will be spooky in the shallower water. Try pitching live baits with split-shots over the fish and letting them sink, as opposed to parking the boat right above them and dropping downlines on their heads. As far as tackle goes, small clear line and leaders are a must if you want to fool these fish. As a rule of thumb, schooling fish don’t move very far very fast, so if you find them in an area one day, they will be nearby the next few days. They will only leave when conditions make them relocate, like cold fronts, major storm systems and rising water temps. These systems will push the fish deeper and slow the bite down for a few days, and then the fish will return to their pattern. Live bait will be the best producer, but if you find busting fish or find fish actively chasing bait try throwing a Smack Tackle wake bait or a silver fluke with no weight.”

Eric reports, “Walleye should be up shallow this month until the full moon when they will spawn, and then they will move to a little deeper water and start their postspawn feeding. Small shad, worms or even crawfish are good choices of live baits. Artificial baits should include small crankbaits like a Shad Raps or Storm Thunder Sticks for hard baits and flukes and tubes for soft bait choices in silver or dark red colors.”

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