Photo Credit Capt. Gus
Levi Marsh, 5 years old, of Statesville, NC holds a spotted bass caught on top water lure
2015 Hybrid Striped Bass Stocking
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission stocked 162,500 hybrid striped fingerings in Lake Norman on June 22, 2015. This is the third year hybrid striped bass instead of striped bass have been stocked. The reason is that hybrids are hardier and more able to withstand the rigors of Lake Norman’s high summer water temperatures and low dissolved oxygen levels. While there is little data available to confirm the success rate of the first two years, fishermen report that they’re catching hybrids all over the lake and want the stocking program to continue.
North Carolina Fishing License Required
A fishing license is required for anyone age 16 or older when fishing in any public water in North Carolina, including coastal waters. To purchase a license, call the North Carolina Wildlife Commission at 1-888-248-6834. Hours of operation are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week. You may also visit www.ncwildlife.org or contact a local Wildlife Service Agent.
NC Boaters Alert – New $72 to $1300 Annual Coastal Boat Fee Proposed
As part of the current state budget debate, the North Carolina General Assembly is considering legislation that would impose a significant user fee on all boats twenty-four feet and longer operated in coastal waters. The new fee will range from $72 to $1,300 annually (depending on boat length.) For example, the fee for a 40 foot boat would be $200 annually. This fee would be in addition to state registration fees, which were raised in 2013 to fund dredging and lake weed control. This new fee, combined with registration fees, would be the highest state imposed charges on recreational boats nationwide.
July Bass Fishing on Lake Norman
Keep a watchful eye out for surface feeding bass. Look for swirls and splashes, particularly near river and creek points. Individual and small schools of spotted bass can be seen “busting” shad throughout the day. Best lures are flukes, buzz baits, rattle traps and top water poppers.
If it’s largemouth you’re interested in, cast soft plastics under deep water docks and piers. The bigger fish like plenty of shade. Skipping baits way underneath docks seems to be more productive than casting the outer edges of the platform. Piers with lots of wood pilings, cross-members and a ladder or two, attract more big bass than do floating docks.
The many bridges that span Lake Norman are popular haunts for both spotted and largemouth bass. Best bets are the Highway 150 Bridge, the Railroad Bridge in Mountain Creek and the Buffalo Shoals Road Bridge just north of river Marker 25.
The same submerged brush piles that hold summer crappie will attract bass. Big largemouth bass usually congregate near deeper brush, while shallow water brush piles are magnets for spotted bass. Weedless soft plastics and deep diving crank baits are the lures to use when casting in and around brush.
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 July 8th. 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.
Free Fishing Seminar – “How to Use Sonar, Down/Side Scan and GPS to Catch Summer Bass, White Perch and Crappie”. Jake Bussolini and I will conduct this ninety minute seminar beginning at 6:30 p.m. on July 15th at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, Mooresville, NC. For additional information, call 704 658 0822.
Lake Conditions: The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the high eighties and low nineties in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 3.5 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 3.4 feet below full on Mountain Island Lake.
Capt. Gus Gustafson of Lake Norman Ventures, Inc. is an Outdoor Columnist and a full time Professional Fishing Guide on Lake Norman, NC. Visit his website, www.FishingWithGus.com or call 704-617-6812.