Spring has Sprung

Expectations for a great Spring Fishing season are high. 

Largemouth and Spotted Bass will be in spawning mode this month.  Pre-spawn bass will be staging on flats adjacent to the spawning grounds and in mouths of creeks, pockets and sloughs. They will build their lairs along sunny bank, adjacent to pilings and anywhere there is a hard bottom (preferably sand). Largemouth  tend to setup housekeeping in rather shallow water, while spotted bass will nest in water up to eight feet deep. Savvy anglers search out nests and make note of their location before casting begins.  Polarized sunglasses make seeing through Lake Norman’s dark water easier. Not all bass spawn at the same time, which is why the nesting season lasts three months and lots of bass are caught during the pre and post-spawn.    

Early March will find bass spawning in the shallows of Ramsey and McCrary creeks. As lake waters warm in areas not related to hot water discharges like Reed, Mountain and Hicks Creek become more and more active. Since water temperatures will generally be in the fifties this month use a slower than normal retrieve while bumping baits along the bottom.    

Catfishing improve as lake waters warm. The warmest temperatures will be found in and around the in and around the hot water discharges. Sunny banks and shallow flats and backs of coves will harbor blue and channel cats. While flatheads will be feeding under schools of white perch. The best cut baits are shad, bream and perch and chunks of chicken breasts marinated in garlic powder.  

White Perch will move to the shallows in March. While some can be caught casting spoons and spinners close to shore the majority will locate in creek channels and sloughs in water depths to twenty feet. Best baits are shinny spoons, spinners, Sabiki rigs and live minnows.    

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. Toward the end of the month they will begin their migration run up river where they will begin mating in late March and most of  April.  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.