Lake Chatuge December Hybrids and Bass

By Darren Hughes

The cold weather is finally here, but don’t be a fair-weather angler. December and the winter months on Lake Chatuge are off the hook, so throw on some thermals and hit the water for some of the best bass fishing in Western North Carolina and North Georgia.

Water temperatures are currently around 62 degrees, and the water level is down 7 feet. Water clarity is clear throughout the lake and slightly stained in the backs of creeks.

Spotted bass are still schooled up throughout the lake and we are absolutely slaying them! We’ve had a fantastic top-water bite and down line bite in the mornings. Check shallow humps and areas from 10-25 ft. deep. Watch for these fish to bust the water as they chase up bait then cast into them. Poppers, spooks, spoons, and, of course, live bait have been working great on catching these spots. Also, don’t forget to target your points and brush piles. Some excellent largemouth and spots have been caught lately off rocky points and around brush.

Now that water temps have fallen, the hybrids are on the move. These guys are heading towards the creeks and rivers and are moving up in the water column. We’ve started to pick up a few small ones on an early morning top-water bite. Red Fins and Zara Spooks work great for hooking up with some of these hybrids. The same rule of thumb applies as for the spotted bass—search around shallow areas and watch for fish chasing up bait. Trolling free-lines with live bait and planer boards should work fine as well. We’ve also been doing awesome with a downline on some big hybrids still schooled up deep. Several fish from the 13-15-pound range have been boated with us. Live blueback herring remains your best bet to catch these fish.

December fishing on Lake Chatuge is always an exciting month. The bigger fish start feeding more aggressively, and for us, it’s a great time of year for some great top-water action. Remember, live bait on this lake 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 blueback herring. We also carry ethanol free gas and have some of the best hot, made-from-scratch biscuits in North GA.

For guided fishing trips on Lake Chatuge, Hiwassee and Lake Nottely, or questions about the bait shop, call Darren Hughes at Hughes General Store, and whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, give Chatuge a shot for some of the best spotted bass and hybrids around. Good luck and get hooked.

Darren Hughes is the Owner of Hughes General Store & Bait Shop and a member of The Angler Magazine Fishing Team and Guide for Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service. Look him up at or give him a call, (706) 745-6569 or (828) 361-2021.