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Lake Normanís reputation for fishing is justified

Newcomers will be happy to learn that Lake Norman is the premiere lake in the region for bass fishing.
BASS (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society) and the FLW (Forrest L. Wood) tournament trails hold frequent national events here. Lake Norman is also gaining notoriety for its trophy blue catfish population and for having a great white perch fishery.
If you are new to the area, perhaps the information below will help to familiarize you with what our lake has to offer. For more information, pick up a free copy of the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commissionís Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest, available anywhere that fishing licenses are sold.Which fish are caught during the summer?
Most species bite every day of the year on Lake Norman. Summer is the preferred time for catfish, white perch and sunfish. Stripers, crappie and bass are more active in cooler months, but also bite during the summer, especially after dark.
Is it true that smallmouth bass, trout and walleyes are caught on Lake Norman?
No. They are cold-water fish that generally swim in mountain lakes and streams farther north.
Where can I fish from the bank?
Public fishing is permitted in certain areas at the Ramsey Creek Fishing Pier in Cornelius, Lake Norman State Park near Troutman and at the McGuire and Marshall Power Plants. Daily Size and Creel Limits- Lake Norman:
Stripers ó 16-inch minimum (Oct. 1-May 31). No minimum size (June 1-Sept. 30). Four fish limit
Largemouth and spotted bass ó 14-inch minimum. (Two may be less than 14 inches). Five fish limit in aggregate.
Crappie ó 8-inch minimum. Twenty fish limit in aggregate
White perch ó No size or creel limit.
Catfish ó No size or creel limit. Exception: only one blue catfish allowed over 32 inches.
Sunfish ó No size limit ń Thirty fish limit.
Who needs a fishing license? Anyone 16 and over who fishes in public waters is required to have a valid fishing license. Licenses can be purchased at most area bait shops and at department stores that sell bait or tackle, online at www.ncwildlife.org, by phone at 888-248-6834, or by mail at N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, 1751 Varsity Drive, Raleigh, NC 27606.What is the best type rod and reel to use for most fish on Lake Norman?
Light-to-medium spinning tackle will handle most species. Try a 6- to 7-foot rod and a matching reel loaded with and 8- to 12-pound test line. For children, a closed faced spinning reel, combined with a 5- to 6-foot rod and 8- to 10-pound test line is ideal. Is there a closed season for bass on Lake Norman?
No. Anglers can fish year-round for all species, except grass carp, which are stocked to control the spread of Hydrilla and other exotic weeds.
What other types of fish are stocked in Lake Norman?
Striped bass are the only game fish regularly stocked. Bass, catfish, perch and crappie reproduce naturally each year, so regular stockings are not required. Are the rumors true about divers seeing giant catfish swimming in the deep water near the dam?
Reports of monster catfish sightings abound each year. The biggest catfish ever caught on a rod and reel on Lake Norman weighed 85 pounds. Some anglers surmise that a 5-foot, 100 pound Arkansas blue catfish is swimming somewhere in the lake.Which baits are best?
That depends on the species you target. Regardless, about any fish that swims will take a worm or a lively minnow. Bass are generally caught on artificial lures, catfish bite fresh cut and prepared baits, stripers take lures and live shad/herring, crappie can’t resist minnows and jigs, and white perch prefer shiny lures and minnows.
Upcoming events
The Lake Norman Sail and Power Squadron is conducting Boater Safety Training at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Mount Mourne VFD, 1577 Mecklenburg Highway, Mooresville. The cost is $45. Pre-registration is required. For additional information visit, www.usps.org/lakenorman.com or call 704-660-5568.
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, www.Fishingwithgus.com or call 704-617-6812.

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