Lake Norman anglers will experience some of the best fishing of the fall season during the cool weather and clear skies of November.
Sixty-degree water temperatures have caused a feeding binge among bass, crappie and hybrids. That trend should continue throughout the month.
Anglers looking for spotted bass should find plenty of them on the edges of channel points where shaky-heads and Carolina rigged soft plastics will be the baits of choice. Those who get an early start should have a top-water lure rigged and ready to throw in case a school of hungry spots are seen chasing bait fish to the surface.
Fishermen targeting largemouth will find the bigger ones under docks and piers, where they can be caught by skip-casting soft plastics. The larger fish seem to hold in the toughest places to cast, so hang-ups are inevitable. When they aren’t feeding around wooden structures, try fishing submerged brush piles and downed trees.
Hybrid striped bass, introduced in recent years, are gaining quite a following, particularly now that some have grown to 20 inches or more. The easiest way to locate them is to watch the water for surface-feeding activity and cast your favorite lure in their direction.
Live baits, spoons and jigs fished vertically are also productive methods of fishing for them but aren’t quite as exciting as casting to breaking fish.
Crappies have always been a fisherman’s favorite during November, particularly for those who enjoy eating their catch. This fall’s stock seems to be larger than last year’s, with many exceeding 15 inches in length.
While submerged brush piles are the most popular places to catch “slab crappie,” boat houses, covered docks and bridges make a great second choice. Look for crappies in 10 feet to 20 feet of water, or even shallower, as water temperatures move into the 50s.
Crappie minnows are the baits of choice tangled around submerged brush piles, while colorful jigs work best when pitched under docks.
Anglers who want to enjoy a day’s fishing on the lake with no particular species in mind will catch a mixed bag by drifting live minnows and worms in one of Lake Norman’s many shallow coves. To be on the safe side, in case a big catfish or bass hits, bring a landing net to help flip your prize into the boat.
Two white pelicans were seen flying south near Marker M1 last week. More than likely, they were headed to the Florida Everglades or a Gulf Coast destination for winter.
Lots of white perch are in the river channel between Long Island Marina and marker 24 and in Reed Creek between Marker D7 and D9. Hybrid striped bass are hitting surface lures at daylight in Mountain Creek and along the river channel in front of, and just north of the Marshall Steam Station. Best bets for spotted bass are river points and submerged islands.
Free fishing seminar: “Deep Water Winter Fishing for Hybrids, Bass and White Perch.” I will discuss using live baits, shaky-heads, drop shots and Alabama and Sabiki rigs to catch cold-water fish. 6:30-8 p.m. Nov. 12 at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, Mooresville. 704-658-0822.
Lake Norman is mostly clear, with surface-water temperatures mainly in the high 60s in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 2.1 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 2.6 feet below full on Mountain Island Lake.