Blue Cats In Carters Lake? Lake Record Certified

Brad Gill | August 30, 2014

Gary Turner, of Statham, is the first angler to have a blue catfish entry in GON’s Georgia Lake and River Records list for this north Georgia reservoir. He caught the record fish on Aug. 17 while in the boat with GON Fishing Reports contributor and lake guide Eric Crowley. Gary’s fish weighed 17-lbs., 4.64-ozs.

Although blue cats are native to the Coosa River below Carters dam, WRD Biologist Jim Hakala said there is no record of a blue cat ever being netted or caught from Carters. In addition, Eric, who has fished the lake for 15 years, has never seen a blue cat come from Carters either.

“I’ve had people tell me they’ve caught them for 15 years, but I’ve never seen one,” said Eric.

Gary’s blue cat was actually one of 16 blues that made it into Eric’s boat on Aug. 17. They were looking for stripers on the upper end of the lake around the big island when Gary caught the fish. While in 120 feet of water, they noticed big arcs on the graph and dropped threadfins down 55 feet. Multiple rods went off, and that’s when the hooked blue cats began coming to the surface.

“I think we may have thrown back a few that were a little bigger,” said Eric.

WRD Fisheries Biologist Jim Hakala did not see the record fish, but he did receive a picture and said, “Based on the color and what appears to be a straight-margined anal fin, it appears to be a blue catfish.”

Gary returned to Carters on Aug. 20 with his friend Artie Dougherty, DNR’s senior ranger at Fort Yargo State Park, in Winder, and they caught two more blue cats, one 15 pounds and the other about 12.

It’s most likely that the blue cats were illegally introduced into Carters.

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