Photo of Capt. Gus holding a super-sized crappie.

March ended with a roar. Reports of bass fishermen limiting out in a few hours were
common. Bass are not only plentiful but seem to be running larger than in previous years. That’s good news for tournament fishermen who ply the lake each week. Also, boat ramp surveys found ice chests with crappies upwards of seventeen inches in length. All indications are that April will also be a banner month for spotted bass and very large crappies.

Surface water temperatures are hovering around sixty degrees, which is ideal for the early spring spawn. Bass usually make their nesting beds along sunny shorelines where the bottom is relatively free of mud or slit. That’s why bass pro’s, look for sandy or hard bottom banks. As a rule, areas with button bushes and/or willow trees are good places to look for bedding activity.

When fishing for bedding bass, the only special equipment you’ll need is a pair of polarized sunglasses and an electric trolling motor. The glasses reduce the glare and allow you to see the spawning bed, and the trolling motor lets you quietly approach the bed. Since much of the bedding activity occurs in water less than five feet deep, fish are not difficult to locate. Just look for circle-like patches from one to three feet in diameter. It is much easier to see the beds/nests with the sun at your back, but the shadows cast by the boat and of those on board, will spook the bass from the beds. It’s more practical to search them while facing the sun.

Once an area is located, position the boat as far away as possible and cast a tube bait, trick worm, or other soft lure into the bed. If the male bass sees it first, he will attack it vigorously. The female is less aggressive, and it often takes multiple casts to tempt her into mouthing the lure. Since the female is the larger of the two, the time it takes to get her to bite is time well spent.

April is everyone’s month of choice to search the shorelines for bass beds/nests. But remember that not all bass are on the beds at the same time. Some have already spawned in March, and others are preparing to spawn later. With that in mind, there are plenty of fish for anglers who wish to cast around docks, points, and a variety of submerged cover. Better yet, April is a prime month to troll diving lures along the shoreline. The majority of strikes occur in water less than fifteen-feet deep.

Tips from Capt. Gus:

When morning air temperatures are similar to surface water temps, fish the shallows at daylight. When air temps are lower, fish deeper water until surface temperatures move up during the day.

Upcoming Events:

Free Fishing Seminar – “Spring Fishing Techniques” – Jake Bussolini will conduct this ninety-minute session beginning at 6:30 p.m. on April 12th at The Lake Norman Volunteer Fire Department, 1518 Brawley School Rd, Mooresville, NC 28117. For additional information, call 704-658-0822.

Lake Norman’s water level is about 3.0’ below full pond. The surface water temperature is in the high fifties and low sixties 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.