Cabarrus

Does a 100-pound blue cat lurk near the dam?

Some of the most frequently asked questions about boating and fishing on Lake Norman:

Q. Up north, we had a closed season on bass fishing. What are the regulations here?

Lake Norman does not have a closed fishing season. Anglers can fish year-round for any species except grass carp.

Q. Where can I fish from the shore on Lake Norman?

Public fishing is allowed at the McGuire Nuclear Station on N.C. 73, the Marshall Steam Station on N.C. 150 and the Lake Norman State Park in Troutman.

Q. What am I likely to catch on Lake Norman?

Largemouth bass, spotted bass, stripers, catfish, white perch, carp, crappie and bream.

Q. How big are the fish in Lake Norman?

Sizes vary. An 85-pound state-record blue catfish was caught a few years ago. Some suspect that a blue catfish weighing more than 100 pounds is lurking near the dam. Stripers average 5 to 6 pounds. In the past, 20- and 30-pounders were caught. The state record, a 6-pound, 5-ounce spotted bass, was caught in Lake Norman.

Q. Can I catch trout, walleye and white bass in Lake Norman?

High summer water temperatures, combined with low levels of dissolved oxygen, make it all but impossible for trout and walleye to survive in Lake Norman. White bass used to be plentiful but have practically disappeared.

Q. Is fishing better above the N.C. 150 bridge?

Not necessarily. At times Ramsey, Reed, Mountain and Hager creeks produce a lot of fish. Also, both hot-water discharges are south of the N.C. 150 bridge. Many people fish the north end of the lake not because there are more fish, but because there is less open water and it's easier to fish on windy days.

Q. When is the best time to fish?

As a rule, fish bite best early in the morning and again just before dark. On many occasions, however, fish feed aggressively throughout the day. Spring is a preferred time because fish are hungry and in shallow water.

Q. Aren't striped bass a saltwater fish?

They are, but they swim up freshwater rivers to spawn. Stripers are able to adapt and can live in freshwater lakes when conditions are right. Most landlocked striped bass, like those on Lake Norman, are stocked by wildlife agencies.

Q. Who needs a fishing license?

Anyone 16 or older who fishes in public waters must have a valid fishing license.

Q. Where can I get an N.C. fishing license?

At most bait shops; at department stores that sell fishing tackle; at www.ncwildlife.org; by phone at 888-248-6834; or by mail at N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, 1751 Varsity Drive, Raleigh, NC 27606.

Q. How do I get help in an emergency if my boat is in a dead cell-phone area?

The old standby is to wave your arms, a flag, shirt, etc., to a passing vessel. Another option is to install a marine-band VHF radio. Channel 16 is monitored by the Lake Patrol, Coast Guard Auxiliary, N.C. Wildlife officers and other boaters equipped with VHF radios.

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

If you can see a wake behind the boat, you are going too fast.

Coming events

Light House Marine Services will offer a class on Boater Safety and Personal Watercraft 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Registration fee is $49. The class will be at North Point Watersports, Exit 36 in Mooresville. To register, or for more information, call Capt. Scott Spivey at 704-587-0325 or visit www.Lmservice.org.

Hot spots

Hot spots of the week are the Reed/Davidson creek areas at the lower end of the lake. Stripers, largemouth, spots, white perch and catfish have been very active.

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