Lake Chatuge Hybrids and Spots

By Darren Hughes

Fall fishing is wide open out here on this awesome Western North Carolina and North Georgia Lake. The cooler water temperatures have really got these big fish feeding.

Currently, Lake Chatuge is 7 feet below full pool. Water temps are in the mid 70s, and water clarity is clear throughout the lake.

Hybrid fishing has been great. These fish are still schooling in large numbers, and we are catching some big quantities. These are some of Lake Chatuge’s hardest-fighting fish, and we’re having a blast wearing them out. The early morning and mid-afternoon bite has been prime. Look for schools of fish along the main channel and off points. Downlining live blueback herring has been the best technique. Fish will be slightly shallower in the early morning hours and will move to deeper water by mid-morning. With the cooling water temps the top-water bite has been insane. When these fish start busting on bait, it’s always a good idea to have a plug, spook, or red fin at the ready. As the month progresses, these hybrids will work their way back into the creeks and spread out. Time to break out the ol’ planer boards.

Spotted bass fishing remains excellent, too. We are still catching some huge spots throughout the day, and it’s not uncommon to put 30-50 of these feisty fish in the boat in one trip. Early morning top-water bite has been strong. Top-water plugs, spooks, and jerk baits have worked well. Our downline bite has also been very productive, especially in the mid-morning hours. Look for fish to be schooled up on shallow clay banks, humps, and off points. In terms of location, the upper end of the lake has been producing slightly better numbers than the lower end.

Fall fishing on Lake Chatuge is always exciting. Remember, live bait on this lake can be the difference between a successful day of fishing and a horrid one. For all of your bait and tackle needs, come visit us at Hughes General Store in Blairsville, GA–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 Lakes Chatuge, Hiwassee, or Nottely, or questions about the bait shop, call me, 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 in the area. Good luck, and get hooked!

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

Coastal Angler & The Angler Magazine