Vertical bridge clearances are reduced when water levels rise. In fact, with the recent rains, some boaters have learned the hard way when their vessels wouldn’t clear certain spans.Regardless of water level, boaters should consider both vertical and horizontal clearances before passing beneath a bridge. Double-check to assure that superstructure, antennae and fishing rods will clear the span.If the clearance is minimal, don’t attempt to pass; even a small wave created by a boat wake could be enough to lift a vessel high enough to top out.Listed below are approximate vertical bridge clearances when the lake is at full pond (760 feet above sea level). This information comes from lake observations and information provided by the Lake Norman Marine Commission.Lake Norman bridge clearances:• Interstate 40 bridge over Catawba River: More than 10 feet.• U.S. 64/70 bridge over Catawba River: More than 10 feet.• Railroad bridge over Catawba River: More than 10 feet. • Railroad bridge over Buffalo Creek: 3 feet.• Buffalo Shoals Road bridge over Catawba River: More than 10 feet.• State Road 1832 bridge over Balls Creek: 5 feet 6 inches.• Windermere Island bridge over Catawba River: More than 10 feet.• Molly’s Backbone Road bridge over Terrapin Creek: 2 feet.• State Park Road bridge over Hicks Creek: 3 feet.• Perth Road bridge over Rocky Creek: 3 feet.• Perth Road bridge over Cornelius Creek: 5 feet 3 inches.• Cornelius Road bridge over Cornelius Creek: 4 feet.• N.C. 150 bridge over Catawba River: 8 feet 5 inches at center, 11 feet 1 inch at sides.• N.C. 150 bridge over Mountain Creek: 5 feet 9 inches.• N.C. 150 bridge over Reed Creek (at Lake Norman Marina): 5 feet 9 inches.• Mount Pleasant Road bridge over Mountain Creek: 5 feet 5 inches.• Railroad bridge over Mountain Creek: 6 feet 3 inches.• Slanting Bridge Road bridge over Mountain Creek: More than 10 feet.• Governor’s Island Road bridge east of Burton Creek: 7 feet 10 inches.• Williamson Road bridge over Reeds Creek: 6 feet.• I-77 bridge over Reeds Creek: 10 feet 3 inches.Tips from Capt. GusTo check local lake water levels, call 800-829-5253 and follow the prompts. Fishing reportWater levels have stabilized, and fishing has improved. White perch fishing is particularly good for those using minnows and Sabiki rigs in combination. Large fish are suspended at depths to 50 feet. Try fishing Red Creek between channel markers D5 and D11.Bass fishing is good to very good. As with perch, the bigger fish are along deep-water drop-offs during daylight and lighted boat docks at night. Spotted bass continue to surface-feed on river points and in boat basins.Summer catfishing is also in full swing. Small channel cats will eat stinkbaits, and 5- to 15-pound blues like fresh-cut bream and perch.Water conditions:The water level on Lake Norman is about 2 feet below full pond. Mountain Island Lake is 1.4 feet below full. Surface water temperatures are in the mid- to high 80s, depending on location or proximity to a power plant.
Friday, Jul. 19, 2013
Be sure of boat’s bridge clearance
Gus Gustafson is a freelance writer and full-time professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Have a story idea for Gus? Email him at Gus@LakeNorman.com.
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