Lake Norman's 520 miles of shoreline provide ample habitats for fish to hide and thrive, but finding a good fishing hole in that much water is like finding "a needle in a hay stack." The following pointers may help you locate some good spots.
The best places to fish vary by the season and the species. The majority of anglers spend their time casting toward objects along the shoreline. Likely targets are boat houses, docks, ramps, fallen trees, brush piles, stumps and rocks. Offshore fishermen depend on electronics to locate humps, points underwater springs, brush and rock piles in water to depths greater than 50 feet.
Bass: Lake Norman has two hot water discharge cannels where bass frequent during the colder months. One is adjacent to the nuclear plant in Huntersville and the other, off N.C. 150 in Terrell.
Bank fishing at both "Hot Holes" is permitted in designated areas. Other popular places to cast for bass are boat docks. Any dock will hold bass from time to time, but during the winter, try those adjacent to the New Midway Marina at the N.C. 150 Bridge and at Morning Star Marina in Ramsey Creek.
Striped Bass: During the winter months stripers free roam the lake in search of schools of forage fish. Hicks, Stumpy and Reed Creeks frequently produce nice catches. Stripers also can be caught from the Hot Holes (at either power plant), around bridge pilings and along the edges, ledges and drop-offs in the old river and creek channels.
Catfish: Winter catfish tend to move to the warmest water they can find, so McCrary and Ramsey Creeks are best bets. When water temperatures dip into the low 40s, the back of any major creek run can produce ice chests full of catfish. At these temperatures, fragile threadfin shad become stressed and die. Sea birds will herald the event by diving and dipping to get up shad. Catfish will be attacking from below.
Crappie: When fishing for crappie, any brush pile will do, but deeper is better during the winter. Other best bets are bridges. The N.C. 150 Bridge at the Catawba River, the bridges at Williamson and Perth Roads in Mooresville, and the bridge that spans the Old Catawba River Channel at Buffalo Shoals Road in Troutman.
White Perch: During the winter, large perch schools will concentrate in the old river channel and along creek runs. As water temperatures cool, they move from the shallows to depths of 50-70 feet. Other popular haunts are the same brush piles where crappie are caught and around lighted boat docks after dark.
Savvy anglers drive the roads that trace the shoreline and the bridges that cross the lake and look for diving sea birds. Then launch their boat and fish the areas near the feeding birds.
Free Fishing Seminar: "Winter Striped Bass Fishing - How to Catch Lake Norman Striped Bass all Winter" will be held at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, Mooresville, 6:30 p.m., Nov. 18. This 90-minute session, will be conducted by Capt. Gus and Jake Bussolini, author of several fishing books. For additional information, call 704 658 0822.
Free Safe Boating Class: "How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night" will be held at North Point Watersports Exit 36, Mooresville, on Dec. 2, 6:30 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. Topics will include, "Understanding LKN's Channel Marker and Buoy System," "Identifying and Learning How to Avoid the Ten Most Dangerous Spots," and "Interpreting Lake Maps." For more information, call Capt. Gus: 704-617-6812 or e-mail Gus@LakeNorman.com.
Hot Spots of the Week: Spotted bass are everywhere, but the best bet is the south Hot Hole. Try a variety of small artificial lures.
Striper fishing is improving as water temperatures cool. Terrapin and Mountain Creeks are good places to start. Cat fishing is good to very good around boat docks and in back coves.
The lake level is 95.8 or 4.2' below full pond. The water surface temperature is in the low to middle 60s depending on location and time of day.