Spots, stripers warm up Lake Norman December fishing

Lake Norman anglers are catching striped bass mixed with spotted bass and suspended in deep water.

Mouth of major creeks most productive spots

Spotted bass and stripers are the main targets at Lake Norman this month for guide Craig Price of Denver.

“I’m primarily fishing for spotted bass and finding most of them at the mouth of creeks such as Mountain and Davidson creeks,” said Price, who said the junction of the creek and river channels are particular productive areas.

“The fish are deep,” he said. “They can be in up to 70 feet of water, all the way to the bottom, but mostly they’re suspended in the 25- to 40-foot range.”

Using his fish finders to locate them, Price (704-996-0946) said 1- to 3-pound spotted bass appear similar to striped bass on his electronics screens.

“They show up as arcs, and both spots and stripers sometimes look like elongated lines,” he said. “When they’re active and moving, chasin’ bait, they can look like a bowl of spaghetti.”

Baitfish appear as dots or even clouds.

“When you see baitfish, the spots usually are nearby,” said Price, whose most-productive technique is to stop over a school and vertically fish ¾- to 1-ounce jigging spoons or bucktails.

“You can drop the lures down to them and yo-yo them up and down or cast and count down, then retrieve them back to the boat,” he said. “Some people like to get trolled lures down to them, but I think it’s a little overkill to pull an umbrella rig for spotted bass. Others troll 5- to 5-lure Alabama rigs.”

Price often encounters schools of striped bass while searching for spots, however, stripers aren’t as plentiful as they once were, and fishing techniques have changed drastically.

“Once you could find Lake Norman stripers in shallow water, 10 feet or so, every morning and in the evening,” he said. “As the sun got up, they’d move out to deeper water on long sloping points. (Anglers) could just move out with them and fish the same point all day, in some instances. But now that’s changed.”

Price said he believes the introduction of blueback and alewife herring into Lake Norman by some anglers changed the feeding pattern of stripers. Now they’re never in shallow water, but roaming deeper looking for herring.

“The introduction of herring into the lake changed the game more than anyone anticipated,” Price said.

About Craig Holt 1382 Articles
Craig Holt of Snow Camp has been an outdoor writer for almost 40 years, working for several newspapers, then serving as managing editor for North Carolina Sportsman and South Carolina Sportsman before becoming a full-time free-lancer in 2009.

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