Learn where fish go, like to eat this summer
Hopefully, this year will not be as warm as 2011, when every summer day seemed hotter than the day before. Regardless of the temperature, fishing on Lake Norman should be great again. And to help jump- start the season, here are a few reminders that might help you catch a limit or two.
During the day, bream, perch and catfish are easy targets. Bream, (sunfish) love warm weather and can be found swimming along most shorelines that have a combination of shade and sunlight. Catfish cruise a little deeper but are extremely active in June, July and August. White perch, the mainstay for family vacation fishing trips, gather in large schools and bite feverishly throughout the day.
Those fishing at night can try their luck for bass, stripers and crappie. All three are attracted to lights that shine directly into the water after dark. Bass and striper fishermen seek out lighted boat docks. Those targeting crappie hang lanterns and other bright lights over the sides of their boats at night.
The best baits to use for lake favorites are:
• Bream – bread/dough balls, worms, crickets and popping bugs;
• Catfish – prepared stink baits, chicken parts, fresh-cut fish and live bream;
• White perch – small minnows, jigs, spoons and Sabiki rigs;
• Bass – large minnows, top-water lures, soft plastics and swim and crank baits;
• Stripers – live shad, herring, shiners, roadrunners and bucktails; and
• Crappie – crappie minnows.
When fishing for bream, perch, channel catfish and crappie, a light action six-to-seven-foot spinning outfit loaded with six- to 10-pound test line is perfect. Bass, stripers, blue and flathead catfish are larger and require stronger tackle and line.
The best places to find various species are:
• Bridge pilings – crappie, bass and stripers;
• Submerged brush/deepwater attractors – bass and crappie;
• Piers and boat houses – all species;
• Channel markers – bass;
• Boat basins – bass, catfish and bream;
• Shorelines, fallen trees or overhanging limbs – bass and bream; and
• Deep coves and pockets – white perch and spotted bass.
• The Lake Norman Sail & Power Squadron will offer a boater safety class at 8 a.m. June 2 at the Mount Mourne Volunteer Fire Department, 1577 Mecklenburg Hwy. The class costs $45 and includes a student manual and lunch. Register at www.usps.org/lake
norman or call Bob Yannacci at 704-660-5568.
Hot spots of the week
White perch and spotted bass are suspending in water to 40 feet. Catfishing is improving with water temperatures topping 80 degrees. Stink baits fished from docks and anchored boats are tempting channel cats, while a variety of fresh cut and live baits are luring blue and flatheads. Deep docks, river points and humps are the places to catch larger bass throughout the day.
The surface water temperature varies by locations, but is mainly in the 80s in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 2.4 feet below full pond on Lake Norman.
Capt. Gus Gustafson of Lake Norman Ventures is a full-time professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Visit his web site, www.Fishingwithgus.com.