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Carters Fish Attractors

Carters Fish Attractors

Map links are located towards the bottom of this page
Program Overview

Underwater woody debris such as logs, brush, and stumps are all natural fish attractors.  Fish use these areas for protection, as places to ambush prey, and sometimes as spawning areas.  As a reservoir ages much of this woody debris is lost through the natural process of decay or sedimentation.  As a result, fish habitat is lost over time.  This loss of habitat can cause a reduction in the total number of fish a lake can support.  In addition, fish become increasingly spread out over the lake as they seek other, and sometimes less discernable structure on which to reside.  This can make fishing difficult and requires anglers to cover larger areas of water in their efforts to entice a bite.

Shoreline trees being cut for fish habitat

To counteract these natural processes man-made fish habitat is often created to replace that which is lost naturally over time.  Such habitat improvements often come in the form of fish attractors.  Fish attractors can be of various shapes and sizes, and made from a number of materials, but all serve the same purpose of providing underwater habitat for fish.

The Carters Lake Fish Attractor Program was initiated in 1999 as a joint project between the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GADNR), the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Carters Lake Project, local businesses, and anglers.  Through this cooperative partnership fish attractors are being placed annually at various locations within Carters Lake.  The fish attractors are diverse in design and construction and have been built using recycled Christmas trees, PVC pipe, and steel cages.  The advantage of using non-biodegradable materials such as PVC is that the fish attractors last much longer than those composed of wood.

PVC "tent" attractor

Christmas tree attractor bundle

PVC and plastic "cube" attractor

PVC "tree" attractors

Chicken crate attractors

Plastic pallet attractors

Anglers can expect spotted and largemouth bass, yellow and white bass, sunfish, crappie, and catfish to potentially hold in and around the attractors at various times of the year.  Fish these structures just like any other natural feature in the lake.

 Do fish attractors work? Do fish use them? What types and sizes of fish will congregate there?

WRD Fisheries staff have been able to shoot underwater video footage of fish using these attractors.  A short video clip is available at the link below. It was shot in October 2006 near brush attractor number 6 (see map at link below) . Windows Media Player (or other compatible viewer) is required to view the clip. The file is in .ASF (Advanced Streaming Format), is  approximately 3.0 MB in size, and contains a 42-second video clip. When you click on the link below a video will begin in a pop-up window using Windows Media Player. Pop-ups should be enabled in your browser to view the video.   

Underwater video of fish using a Carter's brush pile fish attractor

The online fish attractor location map will be updated annually to reflect new fish attractor locations and additions to existing sites.  For more information about this program contact either the GADNR Calhoun Fisheries Office (706-624-1161) or the USACE Carters Lake Project Managers Office (706-334-2248).


Hints for Locating the Fish Attractors
  • Fish attractors are located in 20-30 ft. of water at full lake pool (elevation 1,072 ft.).
  • Hand-held GPS units will typically get you within 10-15 ft. of the attractors location.
  • Once in the general area use depth finders to pinpoint the attractors exact location.
  • The PVC fish attractors are not solid structures (like rocks) so they often appear lighter in color than the lake bottom on a depth finder.
  • Once you have located a fish attractor, make mental notes of your surroundings so it will be easier to find on your next trip (ex. line up lake points, buoys, trees).
  • Mark the exact spot using small marker buoys to help keep your boat and casts on target.
Carters Fish Attractor Map

 Updated 3-2014

A map has been produced that shows fish attractors in this reservoir. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print this map. The first link below is for the full-color map. The second link is for a list of GPS coordinates for all of the fish attractors and a description of what type of attractor is at each location (tree, PVC, etc.) 

 Carters Lake Fish Attractor Map and GPS Locations


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