Fishing with Gus: Answers to fishing’s mysteries

Ever wanted to ask that question burning a hole in your tackle box but don’t want to sound like an amateur angler with your first rod and reel? Well, no need to worry because here’s the answers to Lake Norman’s most wondered.

What’s the best time of day to bass fish during the spring?

Fishing is best in the morning on days when the air temperature is warmer than the water. This type of condition is usually associated with a southerly wind.

How can I get to all those fish under docks and piers?

Try using a push button closed faced spinning reel. It will not backlash and is rather easy to learn how to cast in tight surroundings.

Where did all of those white bass go?

The introduction of the egg-eating white perch is credited with the demise of the white bass fishery.

Are there really gators in Lake Norman?

Not unless someone puts one in the lake, which happens from time to time. These events usually occur when a pet reptile gets too large to be safe.

So what’s this jigging spoon, anyway?

It is a narrow piece of metal with a hook attached to one end and a split ring at the other. It is available in a variety of sizes, colors and shapes. Popular weights are 1/3 to 1 ounce. Jigging spoons are fished vertically in an up and down yo-yo motion.

Are there trout, walleye and pike in area lakes?

The answer is no. The water temperature gets too warm during the summer months for the cold-water fish caught up north.

Was I going crazy when I saw a deer swimming in the lake?

Deer do swim and are seen from time to time going from one side of the lake to the other.

What are the birds that fly off with the big fish I can’t catch?

They are osprey. Some call them “fish hawks” because their primary diet is fish.

Is there a lake monster in Norman?

Some people think so. There is even a website where sightings are reported.

What does full pond mean?

A lake is considered to be at full pond when the water level is even with the top of the flood gates on gated impoundments and to the top of the open spillway on lakes that do not have gates. Full pond on Lake Norman is when the lake level reaches 760 feet above sea level.

Tips from Capt. Gus

Always net fish head first. Don’t try to sneak up behind them with a net. It doesn’t work. They will dart away, and possibly pull the hook or even break the line.

Hot Spot of the Week

Most bass are being caught in relatively shallow water. Anglers casting near boat docks, channel markers and in the backs of coves are reporting good results. Catfishing continues to improve as lake water temperatures rise.

The surface water temperature varies by location but is mainly in the mid 50s in open waters not affected by the power plants. The water level is about 2 feet below full pond on Lake Norman and 2 feet, 2 inches below full pond 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 web site,  or call 704-617-6812. For additional information, e-mail him at

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