Since the last FAQ list was posted, many new residents have moved to the Lake Norman area. Here are some of their frequently asked questions.
Q. How low did the lake water level drop during the summer of 2015 drought?
A. According to information posted on Duke Energy’s website, the lowest point was on Sept. 24, when the lake level reached 93.6 – 6.4 feet below full pond. Since then, it has returned to normal levels.
Q. Where can I check lake levels?
A. Here’s where to get information:
▪ Or call 800-829-5253 and follow prompts.
▪ Or check The Charlotte Observer.
Q. Which fish bite best during the fall and winter?
A. Black bass, striped bass, hybrid striped bass, crappie and white perch are cool-water favorites. Fall and early winter is a great time to fish and enjoy being on the lake.
Q. Where is the best place to view the fall color change around the lake?
A. Lake Norman State Park, 759 State Park Road, Troutman (704 528-6350), is beautiful in the fall. Bring your camera. The drive by car or boat is picture perfect during late October and early November.
Q. What is the definition of “no wake”?
A. “No wake” is defined as a vessel traveling at or below idle speed, or at such speed that its wake is not sufficient to cause possible injury or damage to other persons, boats or property.
Q. Explain the Lake Norman “no wake” law.
A. It is unlawful to operate a vessel at greater than no-wake speed within 50 yards of a vessel launching area, bridge, dock, pier, marina, vessel storage structure or vessel service area.
Q. What are North Carolina’s inland-fishing license requirements?
A. All residents and nonresidents 16 and older are required to have a fishing license. Licenses can be purchased online, at area tackle shops, sporting goods stores or by calling 888-248-6864. For information, visit www.ncwildlife.org.
Q. Who needs a license (boater education certificate) to operate a boat on Lake Norman?
A. A boater education certificate is a requirement for all boaters born after Jan. 1, 1988. For details, visit:
Q. Where can I purchase bait and fishing tackle?
A. Here’s a list:
▪ Beaches Grocery, N.C. 73, Stanley; 704-827-2188.
▪ Shoals Sporting Goods, 7936 Unity Church Road, Denver; 704-966-1533.
▪ Triangle Food Market, N.C. 16, Denver; 704-483- 3490.
▪ Balls Creek Bait & Tackle, N.C. 16, Newton; 828-454-0904.
▪ Piedmont Bait & Tackle, N.C. 150, Lincolnton; 704-735-4416.
▪ Tackle Town, Cousins Lane, Maiden; 704-483-1007.
▪ Perth Bait & Tackle, Perth Road, Troutman; 704-528-4826.
▪ Lake Norman Grocery and Amoco, 1208 River Highway, Mooresville; 704-799-0032.
▪ Carolina Fishing Tackle, Brawley School Road, Mooresville; 704-799-2912.
▪ Boaters Warehouse, 798 Brawley School Road, Mooresville; 704-664-2628.
▪ Gander Mountain – at I-77’s Exit 36 Mooresville; 704-658-0822.
▪ Bass Pro Shops, Concord Mills Mall; 704-992-2200.
▪ Walmart, various locations.
▪ Dick’s, various locations.
Tips from Capt. Gus
To improve the action of a soft plastic worm, use a sharp knife or razor to split the tail halfway up the body. Try the same technique when fishing with dead shad or herring. Run the knife blade along the backbone from the tail toward the gill plate. When pulling the split bait in the water, it will flutter and appear lifelike.
Hot spot of the week
Hybrid and spotted bass are boiling on the surface above Marker 18B in the main river channel and in Mountain, Little and Reed creeks. Best bets are top-water poppers, buzz baits and jerk or crank baits. Late afternoon seems to be better than early morning. When fish aren’t surface feeding, they can be caught on drop-shot rigs, bucktails and jigging spoons.
Crappies have become more active with the cooling water temperatures. Limits of 8- to 12-inch fish are being taken around bridges and over deep brush piles. Most white perch activity is at depths to 35 feet in creek runs and on the edges of the main river channel.
Lake Norman’s water level is about 2.5 feet below full pond. The surface water temperature is in the high 60s and low 70s in waters not affected by power generation.
Gus Gustafson is a freelance writer and a professional fishing guide: Gus@lakenorman.com.