In North Carolina, anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, who wishes to operate a vessel powered by 10 or greater horsepower on public waterways, unless otherwise in compliance, must take a Boater Safety Class instituted by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, or one approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and accepted by the state wildlife commission.
The following classes are scheduled in the Lake Norman area to help meet this requirement. Details are available online. Fees may be assessed.
March 14: Lake Norman Sail & Power Squadron. www.usps.org/lakenorman.
March 21: United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. http://wow.uscgaux.info/peclass.php?unit-054-26.
March 26: N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. www.ncwildlife.org.
May 2: Lake Norman Sail & Power Squadron. www.usps.org/lakenorman.
May 3: N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. www.ncwildlife.org.
May 5: N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. www.ncwildlife.org.
May 6: N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. www.ncwildlife.org.
May 16: United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. http://wow.uscgaux.info/peclass.php?unit-054-26.
The online courses listed below also meet the education certification requirements of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
Anyone new to boating, or in need of a refresher course, should complete one of the above-mentioned classes before the 2015 fishing season begins.
Sea School is offering a 10-day U.S. Coast Guard-approved Captain’s License Course beginning 8 a.m. March 6. For details, visit www.lmservice.org or call 704 361 2991.
Hot spots of the week
Cold weather has slowed the number of fishermen on Lake Norman, but not the sport of fishing. Stressed and dying shad are providing a winter buffet for various species, including catfish, in back coves at the upper end of Lake Norman. Stripers, hybrids and white perch are in the main river channel from the N.C. 150 bridge south to Cowans Ford Dam. Bass, hybrids and stripers are biting in the hot holes.
Free fishing seminar: “Fun Fishing for White Perch and Crappie” is a 90-minute session I will conduct this at 6:30 p.m. March 18 at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, Mooresville. For information, call 704-658-0822.
Boating class: “How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night” is a free boating class at The Peninsula Yacht Club, 18501 Harbor Light Blvd., Cornelius, at 6:30 p.m. March 12. The class will be repeated April 23 and May 13. Becky Johnson and I will cover “Understanding LKN’s Channel Marker and Buoy System,” “How to Avoid Shallow Water,” “Ten Most Dangerous Spots” and “Interpreting Lake Maps.” For information, call 704-892-7575 or visit www.fishingwithgus.com.
The water level on Lake Norman is about 4.1 feet below full pond and is 3.4 feet below on Mountain Island Lake. The surface water temperature is in the high 30s and low 40s in water not affected by power generation on Lake Norman.
Gus Gustafson is a freelance writer and a professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Have a story idea for Gus? Email him at Gus@lakenorman.com.