Fishing with Capt. Gus: I caught questions; you can catch the answers
Saturday, Aug. 02, 2014

Fishing with Capt. Gus: I caught questions; you can catch the answers

This column attempts to answer some of the questions posed by readers. Here are a few that might be of interest to everyone.

Q. Is it true that catfish as big as stretch limousines swim near the dam?

A. Probably not. The largest catfish ever taken from Lake Norman weighed 85 pounds, a far cry from a 4,000-pound limo.

Q. What types of fish swim in Lake Norman?

A. Black bass (largemouth and spotted), crappie, white perch, catfish, sunfish, hybrid striped bass, and striped bass are the most sought after species. Each has a preferred season, but can be caught year round.

Q. How many poles/fishing rods can I fish with?

A. You may use as many as you like. There is no limit on the number of poles/rods one may use.

Q. What are the requirements to operate a boat (vessel) in North Carolina?

A. Any person born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, must successfully complete a NASBLA approved boating education course before operating any vessel propelled by a motor of 10 HP or greater. (G.S. 75A-16.2)

Q. What are the age requirements for driving a personal watercraft (PWC)?

A. Anyone 14 or older can operate a PWC if they meet one of the following requirements:

•  Successful completion of an approved boating safety education course (must have proof of age and safety course completion during operation).

•  Must be riding with a person at least 18 years of age and who is in compliance with the Boating Education

Q. Who should wear a personal flotation device?

A. North Carolina requires anyone younger than 13 to wear an appropriate life vest when on a recreational vessel that is under way. Also, anyone riding a personal watercraft, or being towed by one, must wear an appropriate-size life vest.

Q. What is considered full pond on Lake Norman?

A. Full pond is the point at which the water begins to spill over the flood gate or spillway. For the purposes of lake levels, Duke Energy calls this level 100.0 feet.

Q. Where can current lake-level information be found?

A. Call 800-829-LAKE (800-829-5253) for lake-level information. Online:

Q. I see signs and buoys that say “No Wake.” How fast can a boat go in a “No Wake” zone?

A. “No wake” means “no wake.” If you can see a wake behind the boat, you are going too fast. Boat wakes are like fingerprints. Each one is different. Wakes can vary with the way the boat is loaded. Some may produce a wake at 1 mph; others at 3 mph.

Upcoming events

Free safe-boating class: “How to Navigate Lake Norman, Day or Night” will be the topic at The Peninsula Yacht Club, 18501 Harbor Light Blvd., Cornelius, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 13. Becky Johnson and I will cover topics that include “Understanding LKN’s Channel Marker and Buoy System,” “How to Avoid Shallow Water,” “The 10 Most Dangerous Spots” and “Interpreting Lake Maps.” For information, call Ashley at 704-892-7575.

Free fishing seminar: “Bank and Dock Fishing for Sunfish, White Perch, Catfish and Bass” will be discussed at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 20. Jake Bussolini and I will cover fishing with cane poles, hooks and bobbers and how to use live and cut baits. Suggestions will be given for the best places to fish from shore and where the white perch are biting. 704-658-0822.

Tips from Gus

To reduce the risk of being hit by lightning in a boat, lower antennas, remove fishing rods from upright holders, and turn off all electronics.

Hot Spots of the Week

A few striped bass and blue cats are hitting after dark near the dam at the lower end of the lake. Soft plastic lures are catching bass under deep-water docks and boathouses. Spotted bass are schooling on channel points. Best lures are swim baits and top water lures. Jigging spoons are catching white perch in Little, Reed and Davidson creeks. Small cats are hitting a wide variety of baits fished from piers and boat docks.

Lake levels

The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the 80s in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 1.1 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 3.0 feet below full on Mountain Island Lake.

Gus Gustafson is a freelance writer and a fishing guide on Lake Norman. Have a story idea? Email Gus at

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