A 6- to 8-weight fly-rod package and a handful of small "fry" imitations will keep any fly-fishing fanatic busy during the spring.
Duke Power, which operates the lake and adjacent power plant, allows little vegetation growth on the 1,100 acres that cover the eight lakes. And the super-tiny shad that make up the majority of the forage base crank up some explosive surface action - but traditional lures are often too big to mimic the peanut-sized prey.
That's why guide Jot Owens often breaks out his fly-fishing gear and small epoxy flies to connect with these fish, especially when the fish get pressured and selective.
"The schooled fish are hard to catch because they are eating such small baits, but we use a small epoxy fly tied on a No. 2 hook to get these fish hooked up," he said. "It very closely imitates the food source covering Sutton's shallow waters and will work anywhere in the lake since the bass are so used to seeing and eating pounds of these small minnows."
Preferred are floating lines in the shallows and intermediate lines in the deeper channels with long tippets between eight and 10 feet. Small Clousers and other small fry imitations will draw strikes, but flies should not exceed No. 1 and smaller sizes down to Nos. 2 and 4 are preferred.
While Sutton's waters are clear, they typically have a bronze tint, and flies should be drab or motor-oil colored. They should be lightly weighed and really neutrally buoyant to mimic the tiny minnows that dominate the fishery.