Answers to FAQs about fishing on Lake Norman

Once again it is time to post some frequently asked questions for those new to fishing on Lake Norman.

Q. Do I need a license to fish Lake Norman and other area lakes?

Yes. A fishing license is required for N.C. residents and nonresidents who are 16 or older. Visit for details.

Q. Is there a closed season for bass?

No. Bass and other warm-water species of fish can be taken year-round on Lake Norman.

Q. What are the size limits for bass, crappie and stripers on Lake Norman?

The size limit for black bass is 14 inches, crappie 8 inches and striped bass 16 inches. Visit for details.

Q. What are the creel limits for bass, crappie and stripers on Lake Norman?

The creel limits are five bass, 20 crappie and four striped bass per person per day. Visit for details.

Q. I do not have a boat. Where can I fish?

Ramsey Creek Park, Cornelius, fishing pier.

McGuire Nuclear Station, Huntersville, fishing pier and designated bank fishing area.

Marshall Steam Station, Terrell, designated bank fishing area.

Lake Norman State Park, Troutman, fishing pier and designated bank fishing areas.

Q. What type of bait should I use?

Lake Norman anglers use live minnows, worms, crickets and a host of artificial lures. Before you go fishing, it is best to check with area bait and tackle shops for bait recommendations.

Q. Where can I purchase bait and fishing tackle?

Beaches Grocery, N.C. 73, Stanley; 704-827-2188.

Quick Stop, N.C. 16, Denver; 704-483-1781.

Triangle Food Mart, N.C. 16, Denver; 704-483-3490.

Balls Creek Bait & Tackle, N.C. 16, Newton; 828-464-0904.

Piedmont Bait & Tackle, N.C. 150, Lincolnton; 704-735-4416.

Tackle Town, Cousin Lane, Maiden; 704-483-1007.

Terrell Bait & Tackle, N.C. 150, Terrell; 828-478-2024.

Midway Marina, N.C. 150, Terrell; 828-478-2333.

Perth Bait & Tackle, Perth Road, Troutman; 704-528-4826.

Gander Mountain, off Interstate 77 at Exit 36, Mooresville.

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Concord Mills mall, I-85 Exit 49, Concord.

Walmart, various locations.

Dick's Sporting Goods, various locations.

Q. What type of fishing outfit is best?

Light- to medium-weight spinning or bait casting tackle can be used in most fishing situations.

Q. Are the fish from Lake Norman safe to eat?

While there are no specific warnings for Lake Norman, certain statewide advisories do exist. For information visit

Coming event

A free fishing seminar, "How to Catch White Perch," will be 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday at Gander Mountain, off Interstate 77 at Exit 36, Mooresville. Jake Bussollini and I will conduct the session. Bring the family. For information call 704- 658-0822.


Sunfish are easy to catch on small hooks with crickets or worms suspended 3 or 4 feet below a bobber. Sunfish are great to eat or can be used to catch bass and catfish.

Hot spot

Bass fishing continues to be very good to excellent. Limits are being caught on soft plastic worms, lizards and flukes cast under boat docks and over brush.

White perch are schooling in cove valleys and on the edges of creek channels.

Nice-size blue catfish are biting cut fresh fish and chicken parts.

The shoreline surrounding Lake Norman State Park has been especially productive for largemouth bass. Spotted bass are active at the lower end of the lake in Davidson Creek.

The surface water temperature varies by location but is mainly in 70s in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 2.2 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 2.7 feet below full pond on Mountain Island Lake.