The bass spawn is pretty much over on Lake Norman, and the shad spawn is tapering off. However, FLW Pro Matt Arey reminds anglers that they shouldn’t be so closed-minded as to think that these periods – or any fishing seasons – progress in a rigid, separated succession. The reality is that there is great overlap between “seasons,” and not all the fish are doing the same thing at the same time. However, with the spawn recently completed for most bass generally the fish are looking to regain weight and eating well.
The general pattern is that the majority of spotted bass are in post-spawn schools, and these fish are offshore and relating to bait. Because Norman is more reservoir-shaped than a more riverine, narrower system like Wylie, fish are not as current oriented. Spotted bass on Lake Norman are more nomadic, constantly moving and following bait, and they are not concentrated on humps and bars the same way as on a current-driven lake. For this reason offshore fishing on Norman can be a little tougher, but spotted bass can be caught in 20-40 feet of water around bait on drop shots, spoons, and small swim baits. Few largemouth are in this offshore pattern and Matt says it is kind of fluky when you catch a largemouth offshore.
On the other hand, if Matt is looking to target largemouth right now he will be focused on the bream bed bite up shallow. Crawfish are less of a big deal right now as fish try to regain weight lost during the spawn, and a lot of bass are focused on bream (as well as shad). During the bass spawn bream terrorize the bass, but when the bream are bedding bass get their revenge and go to town on the bream. There are also some bass up shallow guarding fry. Note that even though it is predominately a largemouth pattern spotted bass can also be caught shallow during the summer months.
Topwater baits are an excellent option during the warmer months on Lake Norman, and Matt says that from now until September or October on Norman he will be throwing a topwater lure all day. Walking baits, prop baits, buzzbaits, frogs, popping frogs that resemble bluegill and other lures will all work. When fish seem finicky and pressured Matt says that he will sometimes throw a bluegill-colored jig or a wacky worm (green pumpkin blue flake), and of course if he passes a good dock he isn’t going to pass up the chance to skip a jig underneath it!
Finally, night fishing is starting to get really good on Norman.