Photo of Ron Frye holding a Lake Norman striped bass.

Lake Norman Fishing Forecast – September 2018

The Angler
Fishin’ with Capt. Gus!
Lake Norman Fishing Forecast
September 2018

July and August saw a resurgence in the number of hybrid striped bass
taken from Lake Norman. In fact, Ron Frye caught three tagged hybrids
in a single day in July and landed 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 could have washed
over Lookout Shoals Dam during the spring floods. In any event, their
presence will add an exciting dimension to our fall fishing.

September is a month of transition for bass fishing. As water
temperatures drop, both spotted and largemouth bass become more
active. They will leave their deep-water summer haunts to feed on
helpless shad along the shoreline and over humps and shallow points.

To “jump start” the fall season, try fishing the cooler waters from
the base of Lookout Shoals Dam, south to the railroad bridge below
Highway 70. Like all rivers, bass fishing is best when water is being

Farther downstream, the water temperatures usually drop back into the
seventies. Between the 15th and 20th of the month, there is usually a
frenzy of surface feeding activity. With the passing of each cold
front, surface feeding schools become more and more prominent. Small,
spotted and largemouth bass lead the charge early and as water
temperatures continue to fall, are joined by their tournament size

Regardless of how good the surface fishing is, keep an eye on your
fish finder for schools that might be suspended beneath the boat. They
can be caught by vertically fishing bucktails, jigging spoons or drop
shot rigs.

Best places to catch bass down river are at the mouth of large creeks
and over main river channel humps. The large rocks in front of the
Pinnacle Boat Access, the Highway 150 Causeway, the docks around The
Boat House and New Midway Marina are excellent places to begin and end
any trip. Anglers who fish the south end of the lake will find bass in
Mountain, Reeds and Ramsey Creeks.

Tips from Capt. Gus:

  • Since baitfish spend a lot of time near the surface this time of
    year, keep a watchful eye on surface feeding activity. Top water lures
    that pop, gurgle or churn the surface will entice strikes when feeder
    fish are under attack.
  • Not all bass bites occur on the surface, so it’s important to fish
    the entire water column. To do so effectively, have several rods
    pre-rigged with baits appropriate for fishing from the top to the
  • A likely place to catch bass in September is around any of the
    one-hundred plus channel and shoal marker poles that dot the lake.
    Most are positioned in relatively shallow water adjacent to a steep
  • September is the time to replace fishing line, particularly if you
    haven’t re-spooled since early spring.

See you out there!

Capt. Gus Gustafson of Lake Norman Ventures, Inc. is an Outdoor Columnist and a full time Professional Fishing Guide on Lake Norman, NC.