Carters Lake Fishing Report – September 2019

GON Staff | August 28, 2019

Carters: Level: Full pool. Temp: 85-87 degrees. Clarity: 6 to 9 feet.

Bass: Guide Bill Payne reports, “Fishing has been mostly fair even though the water temps have gotten very warm. As noted in the last report, bottom-dragging techniques has been the best bet. I’m using shaky heads and Texas-rigged Zoom Trick Worms in any variation of green pumpkin. The Picasso Rhino head in 3/16-oz. is my favorite, and Sunline FX braid with a Sunline fluoro leader in 7-lb. test helps with the deep fish. We are seeing some schooling activity, so be ready with a topwater bait or a small swimbait to take advantage of this opportunity when it happens. September is a month of transition. To me, this means fish may be caught on almost any bait at any given time, but mostly you have to work for them. The best news is that fishing is going to get better and better as we march toward October. Early September is going to be much like August has been, but the morning topwater bite should begin to get a little better.  Also, we will begin to see the baitfish begin moving into the creeks, and the spoon bite will begin to get going. I like the War Eagle 7/8-oz. spoon. Watch you sonar for schools of bait with small schools of spots around them and get ready for action! An under spin out over brush in the 25- to 30-foot range will be another option during September. When all else seems to fail, go back to the shaky head or a drop shot, and you’ll always be able to grind a few out.”

Linesides: Guide Eric Crowley reports, “Dog days of summer are here. It’s hot, afternoon showers are common place, and the lake is crowded. So what’s that mean? It means start early, earlier than normal. Big fish of all species are not fond of the heat, and the best way to target them is in the early hours of the morning. From 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. has been the best. We are still fishing over the Hydro Glow lights with good success. Put the lights out, and let the bait come to you. The bait circling the lights will naturally attract the predator fish you’re looking for. The stripers are holding deep in the daytime and not chasing anything very far, but under the cover of the dark night, they are more then willing to come up and feed. We have been leaving the deep fish alone all together this year and still having good success. Catching big fish deep can be bad on the fish and most certainly causes unnecessary stress on them. Even if they swim off, there’s a good chance they won’t make it when the water temps are in the mid to high 80s. So how do we entice them to eat? With big, fresh, live baits. Big alewive herring are the ticket, and although they can be hard to catch, a quality net in the right size and weight will increase your success rate drastically. Early in the summer, a 6- or 8-foot net can get those baits, but right now a heavy, 10- or 12-foot net is the way to go. We are throwing a 12-foot Humpback 1/2-inch net with 1.6 pounds per foot of weight. With a 30-foot hand line, it’s getting down deep enough and fast enough to catch those bigger baits, while at the same time letting the hundreds of small fry bait from this year’s hatch pass through the mesh without gilling them all. We only keep the big baits and toss the rest back. Don’t overload the tank, as the bigger baits need room. We are fishing the baits from 30 to 40 feet down with 2 ounces of weight on 2/0 and 3/0 circle hooks on 20-lb. leaders. You can get away with the heavy leader at night but may need to downsize after sunrise, as the fish are a little line shy by this time of year. To fish this technique, try setting up on points near deep water with submerged timber and start over a 70-foot bottom. This method is also working for walleye. For the walleyes, try setting up over a 40- to 50-foot bottom. If you’re not into getting up early, my advice is to troll artificials. Capt. Mack’s u-rigs and Chipmunk jigs with green or white trailers has been our top producer this month. I like to start with 130 to 150 feet of line out to get the rigs down 20 to 25 feet. Use the sonar to locate fish holding off the bottom in the 40- to 50-foot range. Some days they will shoot up as soon as they see the u-rig go by, and some days you have to go over them four or five times to entice the strike. We are catching mostly hybrids on the artificials, along with some really nice spotted bass. Trolling can be a productive method and also a great way to beat the heat with a constant breeze. The Beach, Fisher Creek and all the main-lake points are holding some nice schools of hybrids right now. Late summer fishing can be tough some days, but stick it out, and it can really pay off.”

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