University City

Real or imagined, fishin' holes are fun

Remember when you couldn't wait to get out of school and go fishing? I do. A fishin' hole is often a magical place where we always caught fish. It might have been an undercut bank along the edge of a stream or a farm pond out in the country. Regardless, the fishin' hole was a place to spend time away from school and chores. It was also a place to row a boat, swim, or swing on a rope.

The theme song of "The Andy Griffith Show" hit the nail right on the head, with its lyrics in the first stanza: "Well now, take down your fishin' pole and meet me at the fishin' hole. We may not get a bite all day, but don't you rush away." Doesn't that make you want to go fishing? It does me.

Not all fishin' holes are imagined places. Some are honest-to-goodness places where anglers really catch fish on a regular basis. Lake Norman has lots of them.

The most popular are the two hot holes. One is at the Marshall Steam Station at the N.C. 150 bridge, and the other at the McGuire Nuclear Station off N.C. 73 near Huntersville. Over the years, tens of thousands of fish have been taken from these warm-water discharge channels.

A fishin' hole doesn't have to have widespread fame to be a good one. Many holes are kept secret by those who fish them. When someone asks where all the fish were caught, "my secret fishin' hole" is often the answer.

Most of the best fishin' holes for crappie, perch and spotted bass are brush piles - some made by local fishermen. Submerged brush, Christmas trees and other woody debris provide shade and cover, and when positioned properly, they attract lots of fish. Other good fishin' holes on Lake Norman are stump fields, underwater islands, sandy banks, boat docks, bridge pilings, channel markers and rock piles.

It doesn't take long to realize that a fishin' hole is not a hole at all, but a place where fish are frequently caught or just a place that is fun place to spend time waiting for a bite. Regardless of how secret your fishin' hole might be, it's a great place to spend some leisure time. And, in case you don't have a fishin' hole of your own, spring is a great time to find one.

Upcoming events

Free safe-boating class: "How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night" will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. March 14 at North Point Watersports, Exit 36, Mooresville. Topics for discussion will include "Understanding LKN's Channel Marker and Buoy System," "Identifying and Learning How to Avoid the Ten Most Dangerous Spots," and "Interpreting Lake Maps." For information, call me at 704-617-6812 or

Free fishing seminar: "Bass Fishing for The Occasional Angler" will be presented at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. March 21. Call 704-658-0822 for information.

Boater safety class: The Lake Norman Sail & Power Squadron's next Boater Safety Class will be held at 8 a.m. March 24 at the Huntersville United Methodist Church, 14005 Stumptown Road, Huntersville. The fee is $45. Register at or by calling Bob Yannacci at 704-660-5568.

Tips from Capt Gus

To entice a variety of fish during the pre-spawn and early spring period, retrieve artificial baits slowly in water less than 10 feet. Popular lures are roadrunners, buck tails, rooster tails and gold and silver spoons.

Hot Spot of the Week

Look for bass in coves and pockets where they are staging to spawn. Best bets are Ramsey and McCrary Creeks. Crappie and white perch fishing is good to very good on small minnows dropped around submerged brush and fish attractors.

Striper fishing is good in the hot holes using bloodworms on the bottom or casting Zara Spooks on the surface.

The surface water temperature varies by location but is mainly in the high 40s and low 50s in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 4.7 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 3 feet below full on Mountain Island Lake.