Lake Norman & Mooresville

Try these great ways to cook your catch

Lake Norman’s fish are not only fun to catch – they’re mouth watering when prepared properly. These recipes are favorites submitted by friends and clients over the years. All are easy to prepare and delicious when served with fries, slaw and hush puppies.

Tip from Capt. Gus

Zatarain’s Seasoned Fish Fry Mix makes fish taste great. A great recipe is printed on the back of the box.

Upcoming event

Free safe-boating class: “How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night” will be held 6:30 p.m. April 23 at The Peninsula Yacht Club, 18501 Harbor Light Blvd., Cornelius. Becky Johnson and I will cover “Understanding LKN’s Channel Marker and Buoy System,” “How to Avoid Shallow Water,” “10 Most Dangerous Spots” and “Interpreting Lake Maps.” For information, call Ashley at 704-892-7575.

Hot spots of the week

Scattered stripers and hybrids are hitting A-rigs above the N.C. 150 bridge. Sabiki rigs are taking white perch in 30 feet to 40 feet of water in Stumpy Creek. Crappie fishing is excellent around downed trees in Hicks Creek and shallow brush in Mountain Creek. Bass are hitting a variety of baits, mainly in water less than 15 feet deep.

Gus Gustafson is a freelance writer and a professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Have a story idea for Gus? Email him at

Lowcountry catfish stew

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

11/2 pounds catfish filets cut in 1 inch pieces

3 slices to 5 slices chopped bacon

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 28-ounce can tomatoes

1 cup water

1/4 cup ketchup

2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon thyme

Wash catfish filets and cut into 1-inch pieces. Set aside. Fry bacon in a large heavy pan for 2 minutes to 3 minutes. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the fish and cayenne pepper and cook for another 20 minutes. Add water if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve hot with crackers or cornbread.

Coconut-flavored striped bass, courtesy of John Dodson, Mooresville

Canola oil

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 pinches ground cayenne pepper

11/2 teaspoons Chinese 5 Spice powder

1 cup shredded coconut

2 egg whites

1 pound striper filets

Heat 2 inches of oil over medium heat. (A cube of bread should brown in a 10 count when oil is ready.) Season bread crumbs with salt, cayenne pepper and Chinese 5 Spice powder. Toss with coconut. Lightly beat egg whites. Dip filets in egg white, and coat with coconut breading. Fry 4 minutes to 5 minutes until evenly golden and crispy.

Black crappie recipe from Capt. Rick Rodriguez

1 cup flour

1 cup corn starch

1 tablespoon of salt

Coat fish with mix and fry in a shallow pan with grapeseed oil. This oil allows the use of a little more heat than other oils without burning, and results in a crispier fish. Fry until filets are golden brown. Serve and enjoy.

Pretzel fish recipe from Michelle Armstrong, professional angler


2 egg whites

2 cups crushed pretzels

1 teaspoon thyme

Pepper, to taste

Soak fish in buttermilk for 10 minutes. Mix pretzels, thyme and pepper. Dip fish in egg, then in pretzel mix; coat both sides. Pan fry until light brown and crispy. Enjoy.