Fishin’ With Capt. Gus! Frequently Asked Questions

Joey

Joey’s first fish – Son of Joe Walthall
and Kathy Jetton of Charlotte, NC

Can I spend the night on Lake Norman’s Islands? No! According to information posted at NCWRC Boat Access Areas, no night time use is permitted from sunset until sunrise. In addition, no permanent structures are allowed, and no fires, littering or removal of vegetation.

Which Marina’s offer Pump Out / Dump Out Stations on Lake Norman? According to signage posted at NCWRC Boat Access Areas, the following marinas provide pump out service: The Boat Rack, Holiday Harbor Marina, Inland Sea Marina, Skippers Landing (Morningstar), Westport Marina, River City Marina, Peninsula Yacht Club, North Harbor, The Landings Restaurant, North Bridge Marina, Midway Marina, Long Island Marina, Kings Point Marina, Lake Norman Marina and Mountain Creek Marina.

How do you catch gar? Since garfish have a mouth full of teeth, it is best not to fish for them. If you must, cast a strip of fresh cut fish hooked to a line without any weight. Cast in front of a gar swimming on the surface. Let the bait sink slowly, and the gar will more than likely bite it as it falls. Another technique is to cast a plastic worm, also without a weight, over its nose. A gar will often snap at the bait as it is being retrieved.

What’s the best time to catch gar? Most gars are caught during the spring and summer months while cruising the surface. Unlike other species on Lake Norman, garfish prefer bright sunlight and can be taken throughout the day around boat docks and in shallow coves.

Where is Blue Heron Island?
There are two islands just south of Markers D4 and D6 in Reed Creek. Blue Heron Island is the smaller of the two and the closest to Marker D6. It is a major rookery for the Great Blue Heron that live in the lower part of Lake Norman. Since the island is off limits to visitors during nesting season, bring binoculars to view the birds.

When is the best time to fish during the summer?
Fish when the air temperature is the coolest and the hot sun is not shining on the water. That usually means fishing is best between dusk and dawn, or on cloudy days. June thru August are great months to fish after dark, particularly around bridges, lighted boat docks and in the river channel at Cowan’s Ford Dam.

What fish, other than bass, can I expect to catch on Lake Norman? 
Since there is no closed fishing season, striped bass, hybrid striped bass, catfish, crappie, white perch and sunfish can be caught year round.

How many poles/fishing rods can I fish with on Lake Norman?
You may use as many as you like. There is no limit on the number of poles/rods one may use.

What is full pond? 
When Lake Norman is at full pond, the water level is 760′ above mean sea level and is stated to be at 100.0’ in area newspapers. The targeted lake level during the summer months is 98.0’ or 2.0’ below full pond.

Hot Spots of the Week:  Cat fishing has been excellent since the last week of May. Best bets are shallow flats adjacent to deep water. White perch have hit their summer stride, as well, with some anglers catching fifty or more per outing. Crappies are still biting, but have moved to deeper surroundings. The best time to catch them shallow is after dark around lighted docks and under lanterns suspended over the water. Bass are being caught regularly by those casting soft plastics and jerk baits to docks and channel points

Tips from Capt. Gus:  June is a good month to experiment with spinner baits. They can be fished at any depth from the surface to the bottom, and are ideal in brush and around fallen trees.

Upcoming Events: Free Safe Boating Class – “How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night” will be held at The Peninsula Yacht Club, 18501 Harbor Light Blvd, Cornelius, NC at 6:30 p.m. on June 10th. 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 more information, call Ashley at 704 892 7575.

The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the seventies in open waters not affected by power generation. The lake level is about 2.3′ below full pond on Lake Norman and 3.9′ below on Mountain Island Lake.

Capt. Gus Gustafson is an Outdoor Columnist and a full time Professional Fishing Guide on Lake Norman, NC. Visit his website site www.FishingWithGus.com or call 704-617-6812.

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