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Top Fishing Charters in Carters Lake

Fishing in Carters Lake

Anglers all over the country associate Georgia with world-class freshwater fishing. This is in spite of the fact it has no large natural lakes. That problem was fixed with the help of the US Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for creating a number of reservoirs. Carters Lake is the largest of these man-made lakes, boasting a 3,220-acres of water. With that in mind, it’s small wonder that Carters Lake fishing draws in anglers from all over the north of Georgia and beyond.

Known For

Of course, the size of a lake isn’t the most important thing, it’s what you do with it that matters most. Nested between the towns of Calhoun and Ellijay, Carters Lake is diverse enough to offer plenty of challenges to the curious angler.

The dominant species in these deep and clear waters is the Spotted Bass. They’re not only abundant but a lot of them grow over 6 lb in size. These “Magnum” Spots are known to stay near rocky points in early spring and move into coves when it’s time to spawn. As the weather becomes colder later in the year, they’ll be found at deeper structures up to 60’ down.

Striped Bass are the just behind their Spotted cousins when it comes to the sheer amount found in the lake. Most of them will be in the 5-10 lb range, with big ones reaching an impressive 20 lb. The current lake record stands at an astounding 33 lb 5 oz, and you’re welcome to try and break it. October through June is the best time to enjoy Striper fishing in Carters Lake.

The rarest member of the Bass family in these waters is Largemouth Bass. They make about a tenth of the lake’s Bass but will make their presence known regardless. They are usually found in the coves on the north and south stretches of the lake, as it’s the only habitat they are comfortable with here. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find 7-8 lb fish but most of them don’t go over 2 lb.

There’s more to Carters Lake than just Bass, though. Walleye were introduced here two decades ago and have since developed a sparse but stable population. Their spawning run lasts from February through March, when you should search for them close to Ridgeway boat ramp. This area has a rocky shoreline nearby that is a great starting point. When it comes to Walleye, expect an average catch to be around 3 lb.

Other than Walleye, you can also find a sizeable amount of Catfish in the lake. These come in both the Flathead and Channel variety, with Channel Catfish making up most of the numbers. They love hiding in bunches of logs and trees that fall in the water every now and then.

Fishing Techniques

You should be sure to use the right tools for the fish you’re looking to catch. Largemouth and Spotted Bass are partial to plastic worms, while Stripers will go nuts over free-lined shad. Shad also works very well for Catfish, you just need to put it on a weighted bottom rig and you’re ready to catch some dinner. If you’re out after Walleye, best make use of bait like minnows and night crawlers on lead jigs.

Many anglers would say that it’s not a real Georgian experience without fly fishing. Your weapon of choice in these parts should be a 5-7 wt medium action outfit along with a 8-9 lb tippet. You’ll want your flies to resemble the likes of blueback herring, shad, and minnows, and we’d advise settling for topwater poppers. Note that this doesn’t apply to Bass that go deep. For that purpose, you’ll need weighed streamers with long leaders.

Need to Know

Regulations

Every angler over the age of 16 will need a freshwater fishing license. Buy them either online or in person from local tackle shops and other approved vendors. The minimum size for Largemouth Bass is 12”. Please be sure to check the latest regulations prior to the trip or fish with a guide to maximise your catch and stay within the rules.

Getting There

You can reach Carters Lake in less than two hours when driving from Atlanta. The two State Routes that pass next to the river are SR 382 and 136.

If you’ve been around Georgia and fished all the Trout you possibly could and then some, Carters Lake will be a welcome change of pace. If you’re new to the local freshwater fishing scene, all the more reason to see what this lake has to offer for professionals and novices alike.

Carters Lake
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Carters Lake Fishing Seasons

As the year starts, bigger Walleye start showing up. Stripers should be scattered this time of year, making it easy to find them all over the lake.

It can get quite cold in February, so the fishing is likely to be a slow burn this month. You should still be able to have decent success with Stripers.

When it comes to Spotted Bass, you’ll have the most success looking for schools at depths of 30-50’. They’re stubborn but worth the fight.

Not only is the Walleye bite due to pick up as spring sets in, but it’s also a great time to be tackling Flathead Catfish. Here’s a tip for Catfish bait–the bigger the better.

Late spring is when you can expect much better fishing opportunities in the northeast parts of the lake. The fresher your bait, the better your chances are.

Jigging for Spotted Bass is absolutely on fire come summer! You’ll also find a bunch of Walleye in the shallow waters if you fish in the evening.

July is, as the local anglers like to say, a rinse and repeat type of month for fishing. In this case, this is great because it means the great angling from last month continues.

The weather is still hot, meaning that you’ll have the best chances of catching fish in deep water or near logs and timber that have fallen in.

Walleye and Spotted Bass still roam the waters in respectable numbers, but the real treat has to be the excellent Striper fishing.

Expect turnover in the first half of October, which will translate to less than stellar fishing conditions. Fishing near the dam is your best bet this time of year.

Winter might be windy, but the fishing itself is improving at a rapid pace. Just make sure you’re dressed for the weather and you’ll have a great time with the local Bass.

If you’re after the big ones, load up on shad and get to work. Stripers and Spotted Bass are as big as they’re ever going to get around here.

Carters Lake Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Carters Lake

"On the creek with Eric Crowley"

FishingBooker Member fished with Lake and Stream Guide Service on November 8, 2018

Book Eric Crowley Lake and Stream Guide Service

"Very enjoyable extended half day trip!"

Jamie W. fished with Lake and Stream Guide Service on September 15, 2018

Deap clear water! Go fishing with Lake and Steam Guide Services!

"captain eric crowley"

Chris L. fished with Lake and Stream Guide Service on July 7, 2018

call captain eric crowley with lake and stream guide service he will put you on the fish

"Fishing with Jonathan"

Alan R. fished with Dedicated Outdoors on June 19, 2018

Let Jonathan guide you. He was EXCELLENT. He put us on the fish the entire time. His knowledge of the lake enabled us to catch fish when other boats weren't . Great trip!

Top Targeted Species in Carters Lake

Bass (Striped)

Walleye

Bass (Spotted)

Catfish

Top Carters Lake Destinations