Photo: Ron Frye with a Lake Norman striped bass he caught in July 2018.
Photo Courtesy of Capt. Gus

July saw a resurgence in the number of hybrid striped bass being taken
from Lake Norman. In fact, Ron Frye caught three tagged hybrids in a
single day, while landing several striped bass the same week. The
improvement in hybrid fishing can be attributed to an increase in the
annual stocking rate, while the striped bass probably washed over the
Lookout Shoals Dam during the spring floods. In any event, their
presence will add an exciting dimension to our fall fishing.

While the summer heat might be bothersome to anglers, it doesn’t seem
to keep the bass from biting. In fact, on most days, they feed as
aggressively as they as they do during the fall when air temperatures
are cooler. So, why wait? Go fishing now, while they’re biting.

Bass don’t mind the warm water half as much as they do the glare from
the summer sun. When it shines in their eyes, just like people, they
have difficulty seeing. And to make matters worse, they don’t have
eyelids to squint and shield the rays. That’s why summer fishing is
best during periods of low light (dawn, dusk, night), and on days when
cloud cover shrouds the sun. The wind also plays a positive role,
since ripples and waves help to defuse sunlight.

If you fish long enough, you’ll learn that fishing conditions are
constantly changing and are seldom ideal. For that reason, when the
sun is high in the sky, savvy summer anglers cast their baits along
shady shorelines or to the dark side of floating docks, piers, boat
houses and bridge pilings. Bass also seek solace in deep water, where
weighted lures can reach the bottom in twenty plus feet of water.
Among the best deep-water summer lures, are soft plastic worms,
lizards and grubs fished on Texas or drop shot rigs.

It might seem paradoxical, but for whatever reason, not all bass shy
away from the summer sun. “Schoolie” bass, those up to fifteen inches
in length, feed throughout the day. The most consistent activity is on
shallow points that touch the channel and over river humps. Top water
lures are best, particularly those that pop, gurgle or swish as
they’re retrieved. When bass become picky, add an ice fly (a tiny
spoon) as a trailer. It will tempt the most stubborn eater.

It goes without saying, that air temperatures are more comfortable at
night when the big bass prowl. The best places to cast are around
bridge pilings and lighted boat docks.

Regardless of the time of day or night, August bass fishing can be
great. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Tips from Capt. Gus:

The primary purpose of Lake Norman’s channel
marker system is to help boaters navigate the lake safely and without
grounding. As a bonus, the markers help fishermen pinpoint areas where
rocks, stumps and other habitat attract bass and other game fish.

What’s hot? White perch fishing continues to be very good, large
schools can be found in major creeks on both sides of Highway 150 at
depths to forty feet deep. Best baits are jigs, used in combination
with Sabiki flies, and small hooks tipped with worms or crappie

Catfishing is very good both day and night. Baits of choice are
fresh-cut bream and white perch, as well as chicken parts. Summer
fishing for spotted bass is excellent. Best bets are the river’s main
channel points and humps near any of the lake’s four deep water rock

The lake level on Norman is about 2.0′ below full pond. The surface water temperature is in the high eighties and low nineties in water not affected by power generation.

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 at or call 704-617-6812.