Cabarrus

Keep a weather eye on UFOs in Lake Norman

Lake Norman is North Carolina's largest freshwater impoundment, with 32,000 surface-acres of water at full pond.

That's more than enough water to afford the opportunity to see unusual, strange and even Unidentified Floating Objects (UFOs).

To the delight of adults and children, one very large object that surfaces each summer is "Normie," the Lake Norman Monster.

Normie has his own website - www.lakenormanmonster.com - which affords people who think they have seen him an opportunity to report their encounter.

Normie is becoming so popular that Queen's Landing ran "Normie Storytime Cruises" twice a week this past summer for toddlers, preschoolers and elementary-school-age children. Surprising or not, these morning cruises produced numerous Normie sightings.

Most unusual floating objects, however, are much smaller than Normie. One critter appeared at first glance to be a gray feather duster scampering across the water. Upon closer observation it turned out to be a squirrel dog-paddling from one bank to the other with its tail fluffed up to keep it dry.

During hunting season, boaters and fishermen might see deer swimming across the lake. People are surprised when they discover these forest animals can swim.

It's unclear why deer are in the water, but more than likely they are trying to escape barking hunting dogs and the occasional sound of rifle shots.

One boater thought he was watching a pair of deer swimming across the main channel at daylight. But as he neared the scene, the antlers he thought he saw were actually the crossed legs of a picnic table floating upside down.

Last year someone placed a foam alligator head in the cove of a Lake Norman sailing club. The head looked so lifelike that those who saw it took a second look.

Not all reptile sightings are hoaxes. Snakes, iguanas and caymans have been released from time to time by pet owners, which increases the number of unusual critter sightings.

Not only four-legged animals find their way into the lake. A few years ago, a wayward pelican spent several days flying around and swimming in Lake Norman. How it got so far from the coast is a mystery. A plausible answer is that perhaps it was blown inland by strong winds.

After major storms, the lake's surface can become littered with flotsam. Floating objects such as empty gas cans, umbrellas, kayaks, ice chests, tree limbs and even boats torn from their moorings become hazards to navigation.

Hitting something on the water could ruin the trip, so keep a keen eye out for UFOs.

Coming events

A free fishing seminar, "Introduction to Largemouth and Spotted Bass Fishing," will be from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday at Gander Mountain, off Interstate 77 Exit 36 in Mooresville.

As instructor, I will cover simple techniques used to catch bass on live and artificial baits. We'll also discuss the 10 best spots on Lake Norman to catch bass. Details: 704-658-0822.

Charter boat captain Shannon Miller and I will lead a free hands-on saltwater fishing seminar from 12:30-3 p.m. Saturday at Gander Mountain in Mooresville. We'll discuss methods used to catch inshore and offshore fish at North Carolina's Outer Banks. Details: 704-658-0822.

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