Finding them where they live

Fish, like people, live in different places. While some folks set up housekeeping in the mountains, others live in the country or at the beach.

Regardless, the biggest populations are in the cities and towns that dot our land. Lake Norman has never conducted a house-to-house census of where fish dwell, but anglers know that fish also find shelter in a variety of habitats.

Since the advent of modestly priced marine electronics, specifically sonar and GPS, fishermen are venturing farther and farther from shore to locate and catch fish. There was a time when the expression, "the fish are deep" meant they were hovering in water depths to 15 feet. Today, deep can be anywhere from 15 feet to any depth of water.

While many anglers cast the shorelines for their favorite species, a growing number seldom fish in water less than 20 feet. They believe their chances of catching a lot of fish are greater in deeper haunts.

Striper fishermen have been catching their quarry in the deep river and creek channels of Lake Norman and other Piedmont Lakes for decades. Now, bass, perch and cat fishermen have joined them. Anglers in brightly colored bass boats are deep-jigging, drop-shooting and casting big-lipped crank baits on deep humps, edges, ledges and drops-offs.

The key to locating underwater sanctuaries is easier than it appears - particularly if your boat is equipped with a fish-finder/GPS. The topo map loaded into the GPS shows underwater terrain features, and the fish-finder confirms the presence of fish. When a likely spot is located, it only takes a push of the waypoint button to save the spot on the map for a return trip later.

Winter is a great time to fish for deep-water bass, stripers and perch.

Expect to find your favorite species in creek runs to 90 feet of water.

When suspended fish are located, they are usually hungry and easier to catch than those resting on the bottom.

Tips from Capt. Gus

Waterproof topographic maps show lake-bottom contours and mirror the GPS map loaded in your boat's electronics. Maps are a great tool for an angler to locate potential fishing areas before actually going on a fishing trip.

Upcoming Events

Free Seminar: "How to Safely Navigate Lake Norman Using Sonar and GPS." Join me 6:30 p.m. Jan 19 at North Point Watersports, 112 Doolie Road, Mooresville, and learn the basics of Sonar and GPS.

Bring your questions and instruction books. This new 90-minute boating safety session is free and open to the public. Call 704-799-1994 for information.

Free Seminar: "How to Catch Fish Using Sonar and GPS." Jake Bussolini and I will conduct this new sonar/GPS fishing seminar at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at Gander Mountain, Exit 36 in Mooresville.

Bring your questions and instruction books. This 90-minute seminar is free and open to the public. For information, call 704 658 0822.

Hot Spots of the week

For those tough enough to weather the cold temperatures, bass, stripers and perch are biting around lighted docks at night.

Otherwise, spotted bass are in most major creeks, while stripers are taking live baits in the river channel north of the N.C. 150 Bridge and in Mountain and Reed Creeks.

The surface water temperature is in the 40s, and the lake level is about 3 feet below full pond.