Don’t forget to take your binoculars the next time you go fishing. During the winter, sightings of low-flying sea birds are the easiest way to find schools of feeding bass, perch and stripers.Bird watching sounds easy – find the birds and cast into the water where they are swooping down. But, like everything else that has to do with fishing, you have to be in the right place at the right time to see diving birds and catch fish.A simple technique used by striper fishermen to find sea birds dates back many years but still works today. Instead of searching for birds by boat on cold winter mornings, drive your car around the lake. Lake Norman has plenty of bridges, boat ramps and overlooks that will allow you to see bird activity.Anglers searching for diving birds above the N.C. 150 bridge should look near the boat ramps at Pinnacle, Stumpy Creek and Long Island Access Areas. Bridges that criss-cross the river and creek channels also provide excellent vantage points. The most likely ones are the Perth Road Bridge that spans Cornelius Creek, the Buffalo Shoals Road bridge that crosses the Catawba River between Troutman and Catawba and the three N.C. 150 bridges. Prime fishing areas can also be seen from the parking areas at Long Island, Mountain Creek and Lake Norman marinas. Lake Norman State Park provides several lake vistas. The best is the view of the main river channel from the parking lot and fishing pier next to the swimming area.Below the main channel N.C. 150 bridge, surface feeding activity can be seen from the ramps at McCrary, Hagars, Little and Ramsey Creeks and at Beatties Ford and Blythe Landings. The docks at Morning Star, The Peninsula Yacht Club, Holiday Harbor, Stutts and All Seasons Marinas also offer excellent views of the lake. And the I-77 causeway between Exits 28 and 31 and the Williamson Road bridge are also prime places to see what’s happening in Davidson and Reed Creeks.Diving birds typically stay in the same general area for days at a time, but don’t be fooled into thinking that you will find them diving every time you go. Like everything else, there are times when they are active and times when they aren’t. While feeding activity can occur at anytime, the most likely periods are early morning, late afternoon and on days with cloud cover or inclement weather. A word of caution – don’t be tempted to view the lake while driving. Find a safe location to park or bring someone else along to do the driving or bird watching.Tips from Capt. GusStop your boat a long cast away from diving birds and turn off the big motor to prevent the fish from sounding.Hot Spots of the WeekWater temperatures in the 50s and 60s (depending on location) have some fish confused into thinking it’s spring. Anglers are actually reporting catches of bass in less than two feet of water. Others are fishing docks and deep water. Both ends of the lake are seeing lots of bass and white perch activity. Bass fishing is particularly good between main channel markers 15 and 17A and in Reed and Davidson Creeks. Big white perch are being taken from under diving birds and along the edges of creek and river channels. The water level on Lake Norman’s is about 5 feet below full pond and 4 feet below on Mountain Island Lake. The surface water temperature is in the 50s in water not affected by power generation.