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Outdoors – Fishing with Capt. Gus: Spring is lovely on the lake

There is no better time to be on Lake Norman than when spring is showing its fresh new colors. The lake is back to summertime water levels, and the weather is great ó so put your boat in the water and enjoy.
Find a quiet section of lake and slow the boat to a crawl. Give everyone aboard a chance to observe the wonders of nature. In the meantime, drag a few fishing lines behind the boat. Fish, lots of fish, are likely to hit artificial lures pulled 50 feet or so behind the boat.
While cruising the banks, you’ll be thrilled by the amount of wildlife present. The first thing you might notice are the squirrels. Some will be scampering along the ground, some playfully jumping from branch to branch in the tall trees. Ducks and geese are swimming in pairs, and turtles are sunning on logs along the bank.
The sky is also busy. Birds are everywhere. It’s not uncommon to see an osprey circling for prey, a blue heron flying overhead, or flocks of turkey buzzards gliding in the thermal air currents. If you’re really lucky, you might see a bald eagle (white head and tail). There have been several eagle sightings in recent months.
The far back end of coves are full of bass, carp and garfish, preparing to spawn. Polarized glasses make them easier to see. The carp are big, some over twenty pounds, and gar fish grow to over three feet in length.
Blue Herons are plentiful, but hard to see. They stand very still and blend in well with the surroundings. The best place to see them is at Blue Heron Island, the smaller of the two islands between markers D4 and D6. The island is a hub of activity where dozens of mating birds set up housekeeping each spring to raise their chicks. The males bring food and nest materials to the island throughout the day, and the female protects the young nestlings. Since the island is off limits this time of year, it’s best to view them with binoculars. Remember to bring suntan lotion, polarized glasses, a camera and binoculars.
The Lake Norman State Park, a few miles north of the N.C. 150 Bridge (by water), offers the best viewing of spring colors and wildlife. The natural beauty and calm coves make it an ideal place to spend a spring afternoon.
Upcoming events
A free seminar on “How to Catch Trophy Flathead Catfish while Fishing for White Perch” will be at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, March 26. The two-hour session will be conducted by fishing guide Mac Byrum and Capt. Gus Gustafson. For more information, call 704-658-0822.
On Saturday, April 11, Light House Marine Services will offer a Boater Safety and PWC Class. Registration fee is $49 for this eight-hour session beginning at 9 a.m. The class will be held at The Peninsula Yacht Club, in Cornelius. To register, or for more information, call Capt. Scott Spivey at 704-587-0325 or visit www.Lmservice.org.
Recent hot spots
The back end of coves and boat docks are holding bass. Stripers are feeding near shallow points and underwater humps. Both bass and stripers are hitting bait schools on the surface in quiet coves at dawn and dusk. The water level is currently 2.5 feet below full and dingy in spots. The lake’s surface temperature is in the 50s.Visit www.fishingwithgus.com or call Gus Gustafson at 704-617-6812. You can e-mail him at Gus@LakeNorman.com.

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