Photo: Capt. Gus with a pair of summer largemouth bass.

Heat and bright sunlight will be the determining factors when it comes to catching fish on Lake Norman in August. Savvy anglers will choose the hours between 10:00 pm and 10:00 am to cast their lures.

As in recent years, night fishing is excellent during the “dog days of summer’. Best bets are river points, coves and boat docks north of the Highway 150 Bridge, and where fallen trees are found along the water’s edge. Woody debris serves as a magnet for largemouth bass that hide among the branches and wait to ambush unsuspecting prey. Bridge pilings, lighted boat docks and launch ramps also make excellent hideouts for summer bass.

Surprisingly, August is one of the best months for catching large blue and flathead catfish. Early month blue catfish gather in the deep waters near Cowan’s Ford Dam. Their arrival usually coincides with the annual summer fish kill, which begins when surface temperatures spike into the low to mid-nineties. Anglers who fish the dam area usually drift suspended live and cut baits near the thermocline which forms at depths from forty-five to sixty feet. While there are many catfish at the dam, the majority are taken in coves and back creeks throughout the lake where the water is less than twenty feet deep.

White perch, another summer favorite, particularly with family groups, are easily taken with live minnows, shad and artificial lures fished close to the bottom in water twenty feet or deeper. The Sabiki Rig, a fly and jig combination, allows anglers to catch multiple fish by simply dropping the jig over the side and “yo-yoing” it up and down vertically.

Tips from Capt. Gus: For those who wish to catch something really big this summer and can only fish from the shore, try fishing for carp. There are lots of ten to fifteen pounders in the lake. Best baits are dough balls and kernels of canned corn fished on the bottom.

Boating Safety Message from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Raleigh, N.C. (July 21, 2016) – “Since boating season began in April, eleven boaters across the state have died from drowning. None of the victims were wearing a life jacket.”

“Anyone in or near water should wear a life jacket,” said Maj. Chris Huebner of the Wildlife Resources Commission. “It’s a simple thing to do and it can absolutely mean the difference between life and death.”

North Carolina requires anyone younger than thirteen years old to wear an appropriate life vest when on a recreational vessel. Anyone riding a personal watercraft, or being towed by one, must also wear an appropriate life vest. Both North Carolina and federal regulations state that “a personal floatation device in good condition and of appropriate size should be accessible for each person on board a recreational vehicle. It’s important to put on your life jacket before you enter the water,” said Huebner. “In dire situations, there often isn’t time to grab a life vest and put it on properly. It can it save your life and can help you assist others who may be in danger.”

For more information on safe recreational boating or to enroll in a free boating education course by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, go to or call 919-707-0030.

Upcoming events:

Free Safe Boating Class – “How to Navigate Lake Norman Day or Night” will be held at The Peninsula Yacht Club, 18501 Harbor Light Blvd, Cornelius, NC at 6:30 p.m. on August 10th. Becky Johnson and I will cover “Understanding LKN’s Channel Marker and Buoy System”, “How to Avoid Shallow Water”, “Ten Most Dangerous Spots”, and “Interpreting Lake Maps”. For more information, call Ashley at 704 892 7575.

Free Fishing Seminar – “How to Use Natural Baits, Artificial Lures and Equipment to Catch Fish on Lake Norman”. Jake Bussolini will conduct this ninety-minute seminar beginning at 6:30 p.m. on August 17th at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, Mooresville, NC. For additional information, call 704 658 0822.

The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the low to mid-nineties in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 3.2’ below full pond on Lake Norman and 2.9′ below full on Mountain Island Lake.

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 web site, or call 704-617-6812.