Photo of Capt. Gus being watched by an Elk as he was fishing a trout stream in Cherokee, NC

Lake Norman Fishing Forecast – November 2017

In the coming weeks, expect to find largemouth, spotted and hybrid striped bass surface feeding throughout the day. Best bets are Hicks and Stumpy Creeks, as well as, the main river channel south of the Highway 150 Bridge to channel marker 15. Downstream, fish will be active in the deeper sections of Mountain, Reed and Davison Creeks. As the month draws to a close, more and more sea birds will arrive, which makes it easier to locate surface feeding schools of fish. Savvy anglers keep a watchful eye on diving terns and sea gulls. The diving birds are feeding on baitfish being driven to the surface by predators from below.

Not all fish will be caught while surface feeding. Spotted and largemouth bass can be taken on soft plastics, while slow moving jerk or crankbaits work well around boat docks and channel points. November is also a prime month for crappie fishing. While the average fish are larger than in recent years, there appear to be fewer of them. Some blame the white perch for eating their eggs and young. In any event, the preferred method is to use live minnows on a bare hook or tipped on a small jig. Depending on conditions, expect to catch your limit in water from ten to forty feet deep.

White perch, the pan fish anglers love to hate, will be plentiful throughout November. Average weight is less than a pound, but when three or four hit your Sabiki Rig (a multi-hook rig) at the same time, it feels like a big one!

Note: According to the 2016-2017 NCWRC Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest, a new regulation states that: “White perch may be taken when captured in a cast net used to collect nongame fishes in all impounded waters west of Interstate 95, including Lake Norman, and in the Tar River Reservoir (Nash Co.).” See Regulations for exceptions in Mountain Counties.

A sign in a tackle shop read: “Buyer Beware, Fish Hooks are Dangerous.” Hooking yourself happens to most anglers sooner or later. After the fact, some stories are quite funny and make for great jokes. But, when hooks are handled in a careless manner, the danger is real, and there is always the potential of serious injury to eye, body and limb. Modern fish hooks are very sharp, so sharp, in fact, that little, if any, pressure is required to penetrate the hard mouth of a fish, or for that matter, any part of the angler’s body. To minimize the chances of getting hooked, consider the following:

  • Keep hooks, lures and tackle boxes away from everyone’s reach – especially children.
  • To protect your eyes, wear glasses when fishing.
  • Don’t fish in bare feet.
  • Be certain that the casting area is clear, particularly behind you.
  • Don’t allow bare hooks and lures to tangle or swing freely. Attach the hook securely to the hook holder near the fore-grip of the rod handle or another convenient place on the rod or reel.
  • Place rigged fishing outfits in rod holders or storage compartments. Never allow them to lie on the deck when not in use.
  • Should a cast cause a lure to hang up, don’t try to yank or pull loose. This can cause the hook or lure to fly toward you like a missile. It’s best to work back to the hang-up and attempt to untangle it by hand.
  • Net, gaff or hand lip fish. Don’t try to flip them in the boat.
  • Give yourself plenty of slack line while attempting to gain control of your catch. Hold it tightly, either by the mouth (if it doesn’t have teeth), or behind the gills. Then attempt to remove the hook.
  • Expect your catch to wiggle and flip at any time, so keep a tight grip.
  • Needle nose pliers might be required to remove deeply embedded hooks.
  • In the event you should get hooked or hook someone else, remain calm. Clip off the line attached to the hook or lure before seeking professional help.
  • It’s best to allow a doctor, not another fisherman, to remove the hook


Tips from Capt. Gus: Sometimes it’s not the hook that wounds you, but the sharp fins, spines or teeth of your catch. In either case, a tetanus shot might be required

Lake Norman is about 2.0’ below full pond and the water surface temperature is in the high sixties and low seventies.