Lake Norman fishing forecast

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 22, 2011

April provides anglers with some of spring’s finest fishing action.
As Lake Norman’s water temperatures rise, fish of all types will become hyperactive. Largemouth, striped bass, catfish and a variety of pan fish will cruise the shoreline.
These fish are hungry and will feed excessively throughout the day and night. The urge to satisfy pent-up hunger from the cold of winter affords anglers an opportunity to catch limits every day of the month.
The backs of creeks and coves, particularly those with moving or muddy water, are good bets for a successful fishing trip.
Small lures cast toward the shallow banks of backwaters will tempt multiple species to strike. Silver, white, chrome, blue, and chartreuse are preferred colors when casting artificials.
For best results with live baits, use worms, minnows, shiners, shad and herring.
April also allows a great opportunity to land stripers and trophy catfish. With artificial or live baits, both species are easy prey in shallow water.
Davidson and Reeds creeks are the preferred haunts at the lower end of Lake Norman, while Stumpy and Terrapin Creeks will see a lot of activity north of the N.C.150 bridge.
Since fish will be shallow, be quiet. Long casts are the order of the day. Well advised striper and bass anglers will turn the big motor off long before approaching the feeding grounds, and will maneuver the shallows with a much quieter electric trolling motor.
Long casts and planer boards positioned away from the boat, will assure that weary game fish are not spooked from their spring habitat.
Not all fish will be caught during daylight hours. This is an excellent time for night fishing. Bass and stripers roam shallow banks and gather around lighted boat docks under the cover of darkness.
While rewarding, night fishing is not for everyone. Only anglers familiar with the lake and its bottom features should attempt it. Top water lures and live baits on free lines will attract big bass and stripers from 10 p.m. until sunrise. As with daytime fishing in the shallows, be as quiet as possible.
Catfish, big blues and flatheads, can be caught in the same waters as stripers. Some fishermen prefer to double anchor the boat, while others drift or maneuver slowly with an electric trolling motor.
Cut baits really do the job this time of year, particularly fresh cut bream, perch and shad. Prepared baits (stink baits) fished around docks will catch lots of small whiskers, but fresh cut pieces of bait are the choice for those fishing for big cats.
Bass will be in various places, including boat docks, rock piles, ramps, rip-rap, and fallen trees. Regardless of the pattern, fish shallow. Stink baits, pig & jigs, as well as any bait with a propeller on one or both ends, will entice strikes in April.
Tips from Capt. Gus:
When docking, approach the landing site at a controlled speed that is slow enough to avoid injury to people and property.
Hot Spot of the Week:
Bass fishing is excellent, particularly at dawn when spots are chasing bait fish on shallow points and back coves.
Larger bass are also shallow, and are being tempted with shaky heads, jig & pig rigs and other soft plastics. Crappie and perch are hitting small minnows around brush piles and near lighted docks after dark.
The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the 60s in open water not affected by power generation. Lake Norman is 2.5 feet below full pond and Mountain Island is 2.8 feet below full.
Capt. Gus Gustafson of Lake Norman Ventures is an outdoor columnist and a full time professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Visit his web site, or call 704-617-6812. For additional information, email him at