Carters Lake in Ga

Carters Lake ★★★★★ 5 2 reviews
5 1
Carters Lake and Dam found in the North Georgia Mountains, as seen from above

Where to fish in Carters Lake

The steep shore makes it a limited place for land-based fishing. Nevertheless, there are several boat ramps on the lake, and you are free to set off on the freshwaters.

Besides Carters Lake, anglers can access the regulation reservoir for a peaceful afternoon, or they can head to the Coosawattee River for some swift-water fishing.

Carters Lake is a man-made reservoir and a fairly recent creation on the billion-year-old North Georgia Mountains.

The lake is located on the Coosawattee River and takes up an area of 3,200 acres. Its shoreline stretches for 62 miles. The average depth is only 200 feet, however, Carters Lake can reach depths over 450 feet, making it the deepest lake in Georgia.

Carters Lake was formed by the Carters Dam, which stands at 445 feet and is the tallest earthen dam east of the Mississippi River.

For decades the dam has been used to control flooding and generate power. Yet the lake’s clear waters and rugged shoreline provide plenty of recreational opportunities and attract many visitors to the location.

The History Behind One of Blue Ridge Mountains’ Gems

Carters Lake was formed in 1977 with the completion of Carters Dam on the Coosawattee River in North Georgia. Ever since it’s been owned and managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The lake was named after Farrish Carter, a businessman who owned property nearby – over 45,000 acres worth of it – in the 19th century.

Even though the lake is among the newer additions to the long list of Blue Ridge Mountains reservoirs, it’s still over four decades old. This means that underwater woody debris that serves to attract fish has been lost through decay or sedimentation – the reality of any aging reservoir.

For this reason, in 1999, the Carters Lake Fish Attractor Program was launched. This Carters Lake project serves to create an easier and more enjoyable fishing experience for anglers by placing GPS-located attractors all around the lake.

Not only that but the Georgia Department of Natural Resources actively stocks the lake with fish such as walleye, striped bass, and hybrid bass – only some of many species that can be found here.

Things to Do on Carters Lake in GA

Carters Lake is only around a two-hour drive from Atlanta. With no private docks or development along the shoreline, a visit to Carters Lake puts you in a beautiful surroundings teeming with exciting ways to enjoy your stay.

On the lake’s shore, you can find plenty of picnicking, hiking, and mountain biking opportunities. You can even hit the beach for some water fun.

However, there’s no need to be restricted to the shore – the Carters Lake Marina offers storage for all kinds of boats and kayaks. Boaters and anglers alike can set off on the sparkling waters and revel in all the beauty the lake has to offer. Not only is the lake brimming with fish of all sorts, but the depth makes boating and navigating easy for both experienced and novice captains.

Top Targeted Fish Species

Angler holding a largemouth bass and fishing rod
Northern Bass
Walleye Fish - An angler holding up a trophy walleye specimen

Walleye

A man holding a striped bass, or striper, caught in Carters Lake, GA

Spotted Bass

Crappie Fishing

Crappie

See all fish species >>>

Best Time of Year to Visit Carters Lake

A nature trail used for hiking and mountain biking at Carters Lake, Georgia.
Cartes Lake is an incredibly scenic Georgia location that you would be remiss not to visit. Anyone who comes to explore the lakeside can’t help but fall in love with this charming place. The lake can be visited year-round. Still, many consider the end of summer and the beginning of fall to be ideal periods to visit Carters Lake.

This is when the temperature is still warm enough to enjoy many different forms of recreation, such as camping, hiking, and, of course, fishing. However, winter anglers shouldn’t be deterred, even in the colder months, you can rent a boat from the marina and head off to the deep waters of the lake, angling for a good catch.

Carter Lake Boat Rentals & Cabin Rentals

As mentioned, there are no private docks or houses along the lake’s shore. However, there is a full-service marina that offers boat docks, cabins, as well as boat rentals.

Carters Lake Marina & Resort

The Carters Lake Marina & Resort is a charming place deep inside the mountains of Georgia that offers visitors cabins right on the lake’s rural and undeveloped shoreline.

The marina provides both covered and uncovered docks. You can also expect to find boat repair and maintenance services, a ship store, a restaurant, and a self-service pump outstation.

The marina is open every day during Summer – from April through September – however, you should call ahead if you’re planning a trip outside of this timeframe as working hours will vary.

Pictured is the Carters Lake Marina. There’s no private property along the shoreline making for a more tranquil experience.

Fish and Diversity

Boating and angling are the main attractions, and Carters Lake heavily leans into that. There are over half a dozen boat ramps you are free to choose from. Boat rentals, bait, fishing gear, and many other services are right at hand.

Not only that but the Georgia Department of Natural Resources fish-stocking program offers anglers plenty of diversity when it comes to species found in the lake.

Spotted Bass

The spotted bass is the dominant fish found in Carters Lake. You can typically expect a catch to be around 1 pound. However, the deep waters are also full of bigger, 3-4 pound spots waiting to be reeled in.

Striped Bass

Stripers are a big draw to Carters Lake. Most are 5-10 pounds, but stripers can range anywhere from 1-30 pounds – making them the more impressive catch you can angle. 

Angling for striped bass is better done in the cooler months, while the best spots to hit are near the Doll Mountain ramp and the biggest island in the Coosawatte River arm of the lake.

Hybrid Bass

The hybrid bass also represents one of the trophy fish to be found at Carters Lake, reaching over 10 pounds. This fish is continuously restocked, but you may find their numbers to still remain small.

Largemouth Bass

The largemouth bass isn’t a particularly large percentage of the lake’s black bass population. However, they can still be readily found. Largemouth can come in different sizes – most will be around a pound, but 7-8 pound fish can also be expected.

Catfish

At Carters Lake, the typical flathead catfish is 5-8 pounds. However, this type is outnumbered by the more common, 1.5-pound channel catfish.

Walleye

The walleye is yet another fish that relies on annual fingerling restockings to keep its numbers up. Older fish may be over 5 pounds, while more recent additions will be in the 1-2 pound range.

Crappie

Crappie numbers aren’t too high and are usually less than a pound. Although you could also come across 1.5-pound fish.

Bluegill 

There is an ample bream population in Carters Lake, but most individuals will be less than 6 inches in length.

Carters Lake Reviews

Half day Trip

Carters Lake
★★★★★
This was the best fishing trip I have been on! Captain was very personable and interacted great with our 2 boys. He was very knowledgeable about the waters we were fishing in, the fish we were catching and captaining the boat. We got rained on but even that didn’t put a damper on our trip. We will definitely do this fishing trip again!
- Jim Jones

Full Day Fishing

Carters Lake
★★★★★
Hands down the best trip we have ever been on! Captain was great! He has it down to a science. where the fish are and how to catch them. We had non stop action all day! Thanks for a great time.
- Mitch S
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