Happy New Year!

The next few weeks are for the hardy and anglers that have the clothing and equipment to stay comfortable. Catching fish is tough enough in good weather, but when temperatures hover near freezing it’s even tougher.

Largemouth and Spotted Bass fishermen know that finding warmer water is the key to limiting out in Jan. and Feb. That’s why they fish Ramsey Creek where water temperatures can be ten degrees higher than the ambient lake temps. Another popular winter bass haunt is McCrary Creek, while not as warm as Ramsey; it’s warmer than surrounding creeks in the area. The hot water discharges that warm Ramsey and McCrary attract lots of bait which in turn draw bass and other species to its warm water. Give them a try particularly when its really cold.

Soft plastics fished slowly along the bottom and around docks, bridges and boat ramps are quite effective as are swimbaits, jerkbaits and deep diving crankbaits.

Catfishing slows during the winter months, but can still caught in large numbers in and around the hot water discharges, as well as under schools of feeding perch. The best cut baits are shad, bream and perch and chunks of chicken breasts marinated in garlic powder.

White Perch will be deep and usually locate on the edges of channels. Don’t be afraid to fish as deep as sixty or seventy feet this time of year. White perch hover close to the bottom most of the time but when they are feeding they will chase baitfish throughout the water column.

Hybrid Striped Bass suspend at depths from twenty to fifty feet where the can be taken on jigging spoons, deep diving cranks and a variety of lures trolled on down riggers. Best bets are Mountain, Stumpy and Hicks Creeks. Note: The creel limit for hybrids is four in aggregate with striped bass, each of which must a minimum of sixteen inches long.

Before you hit the lake check to see if your fishing license is current. If not you go to: www.NCwildlife.org to renew or purchase for the first time.

See you out there!

Capt. Gus  

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 www.FishingWithGus.com or call 704-617-6812.