September is one of my favorite months on this beautiful mountain lake. The spotted bass are schooled up, and the hybrid fishing can be off the hook. In the past, it has not been unusual for us to boat 40+ fish per day using live blueback herring.
Current water temperatures of around 85 degrees, hot summer days, and a huge lack of rain has driven the hybrid bass deep. Look for most of the hybrids to be in the 40 to 60-foot range. Morning bite, just as the sun peaks, has been the optimal fishing time. To target these fish, you may have to make good use of that fish finder. Search rocky drop offs and points around the river channels and the main lake channel. Once you mark them, I recommend a nice live herring on the end of a downline. These hybrids school up pretty big, so when you find them, hang on. Lake Chatuge hybrids are some of the hardest fighting fish around.
Let’s not leave out the spotted and largemouth bass; due to Chatuge’s abundance of these two species, we spend the majority of our fishing charters catching these feisty fish. Live herring is key once again here, especially if you want large quantities of high quality spots. September spots and largemouths can be found off many of the lake’s shallow humps and brush piles and around most points. Technique is here is essential. For substantial results, use a downline rig and live herring. Most of these fish are being caught from early morning to lunchtime, and be on the look out for a mid-morning top water bite. The spots will explode on bait pushed up from below. I always like to keep a little top-water popper or a herring on a freeline ready. These world-class spotted bass school up in large numbers from July to October. Find the fish and drop a line, and you’ll load the boat.
Live bait on Lake Chatuge can be the difference between a successful day of fishing and a horrid one. Hughes General Store in Blairsville, GA carries a wide range of bait and tackle--it’s the best place around for quality live herring. So whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, give Chatuge a shot for some of the best spotted bass and hybrids around. Get your fish on, and good luck!