Lake Chatuge Fishing Report July 2017
Chatuge: Level: 0.4 feet above full pool. Temp: Low 80s. Clarity: Clear and slightly stained in creeks.
Bass: Guide Eric Welch reports, “The lake is at full pool, and the fishing has been fair. This time last year we had a killer topwater bite first thing in the morning, but this year it just has not happened. But I’ve always got a Strike King Sexy Dawg tied on for those long casts on fish that do blow up. You will mark a lot of fish on your electronics, but the trick is to get them to bite. On steep, rocky banks and long points, we’ve been targeting bass with a drop shot and shaky head. Around banks with laydowns and brush, you can pick up some fish on a weighted fluke and a Texas-rigged finesse worm in green pumpkin or watermelon seed. I’ve also been catching some fish on a small LiveTarget crankbait. If the wind gets up, I’m targeting the wind-blown laydowns with a spinnerbait. There has been a dock bite with a shaky head and a 3/8-oz. jig.”
Hybrids: Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service reports, “The most exciting trips of the year begin in July. With warmer water temps, the hybrids and spotted bass really school up, which means we are able to load the boat with tons of trophy fish. Currently, hybrid fishing is excellent as the fish are starting to school in large numbers, and we are catching some good quantities. Most of our hybrids are averaging in the 8- to 12-lb. range. These are some of Lake Chatuge’s hardest-fighting fish, and we’re having a blast wearing them out. It’s not uncommon for us to catch 20 to 30 of them in one spot. The early morning and late afternoon bite has been prime. Look for schools of fish in the 20- to 45-foot range off shallow humps along the main channel, in the mouths of creeks and off points. Mid-lake, from Bell Creek to the upper end of the lake, has been producing the majority of the high-quality fish. Downlining live blueback herring has been the best technique. Search out your areas, and watch your electronics. When you mark fish, drop your lines. Fish will be slightly shallower in the early morning hours and will move to deeper water by mid-morning. The topwater bite remains very good, as well. When these fish start busting on bait, it’s always a good idea to have a Spook or Red Fin at the ready. Toward the middle of the month, the hybrids will start working their way to slightly deeper water, usually in the 30- to 50-foot range. Continue to use the same downline techniques as we progress through the month of July.”
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