White perch fishing on Lake Norman

White perch are plentiful and eager to bite, the perfect combination to keep kids involved.

White perch fishing on Lake Norman

Lake Norman is the perfect summer piscatorial playground,  offering exciting fishing action thanks to an overabundant population of white perch that’s largely ignored and held in disdain by many anglers. Wildlife biologists encourage fishermen to keep white perch in an effort to thin out their numbers.

Large schools of white perch will  keep young and old busy grabbing rods and reeling frantically to capture their prize.

One overseer of these frenetic happenings at Norman is Capt. Justin Goodson of Fishers of Men Guide Service. He specializes in family fishing trips.

Goodson knows that youngsters and novice anglers care more for action than they do for size when it comes to fishing. White perch fishing at Norman meets their desires. And perch are feisty battlers on light tackle.

Start at first light

Goodson (828-461-2007) said it’s essential to get off to an early start.

“Summertime can be hard for fishermen to locate fish,” said Goodson, who knows his clients are more interested in hooking than in looking for fish. “I find it best to start most days right at daylight.”

He said white perch suspend in 30 to 40 feet of water in the main river channel and in large creeks. On a sonar unit, schooling fish resemble spaghetti. And anglers can spot them as they follow the channel.

His clients might also catch spotted bass.

“White perch and spotted bass are likely to be schooling together this time of year. So the chances of catching both species is likely,” said Goodson.

Big cats below

They might also catch something much bigger.

Huge catfish often linger below feeding schools of perch to dine upon the scraps of forage the perch leave behind.

To pinpoint schools of white perch, Goodson trolls live minnows about 2 mph until he gets bites. Then he straight-lines.

He has multiple rod holders set up around his boat that hold 6- to 7-foot medium spinning rods paired with spinning reels filled with 6- to 8-pound monofilament line. A large split shot is crimped about 18 inches above a 1/0 J hook baited with a small minnow hooked through the lips. The rig is lowered about 25 feet. Other depths are sampled with the remaining rigs.

Experienced clients might opt to fish with jigging spoons or Sabiki Rigs.

Feeding perch will start rods bouncing everywhere with everyone in pursuit.

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