Lookout Shoals isn’t one of the biggest reservoirs in North Carolina, but its relative small size, 1,200 acres on the Catawba River between Lake Hickory and Lake Norman, is a big factor in it being one of the state’s best summer lakes for bass fishing.
According to Andy Fox of Fishers of Men Guide Service in Claremont, Lookout Shoals, which is around 9 miles long, fishes great during hot weather because there’s almost always current running through one of the two dams on either end, and that makes for lots of hungry bass.
“The lake is very much affected by current,” said Fox (828-312-8771). “When (Duke Energy) is running water, the current will affect the whole lake. Even around the middle of the lake, the fish are so much more active. The shad are so active all the time. When we get a lot of rain and they have to pull water all the time, fishing can be phenomenal the whole summer.
“We fish these little night tournaments during the summer, just fishing three or four hours. You can keep three fish, and if you don’t have 12 to 15 pounds, you don’t have a chance.”
Fox usually concentrates on a good topwater bite early in the month, as fish have finished spawning, recovered from the postspawn blues are out, feeding up again to replenish what they lost.
“What I like to do is throw a Pop-R on secondary points, even main-lake points,” he said. “You’ve got so many stumps that you can’t see — down about 5 or 6 feet — that those big fish will be around, and they’ll come up and get a topwater. You’ll catch 3s, 4s, 5s, sometimes even bigger.
“You can still find fish shallow around brush and blowdowns, and I’ll work them with a pig ’n jig.”
From mid-June on, Fox will move up the lake — a set of “S” turns is the divider — where the fishing offers more of a riverine setup.
“When they’re pulling water, you just fish the bank, fishing brush and boat docks,” he said. “I’ll just drift down with the current and catch ‘em on a pig ’n’ jig. Sometimes the current is so strong that you can’t work upstream with a trolling motor.”