Elevate your fishing adventure!

Looking to enhance your fishing experience on Lake Norman? Learn about the aquatic friends we have in our lake! Right in the heart of North Carolina, this reservoir isn't just a body of water; it's a lively ecosystem waiting to be explored.

Andrew Fishing

Jake Bussolini, the accomplished author of the book, Beneath the Surface: The Facts About Fishing Lake Norman, says it best, "My approach to fishing which is the basis of all of my books, is to make fishing a learning experience by trying to point out the science behind everything that happens above and beneath the surface of the water. In this way I can add to your fishing enjoyment by making fishing an activity not only of catching fish, but one of learning why things happen the way they do." We have a number of fish that reside under the surface including the various bass, crappie, catfish, and more! 


1. Largemouth Bass

largemouth bass


The Largemouth Bass is the top recreational species in the United States. They are commonly sized at about 16 inches, with the largest recorded bass being a whopping 22 pounds. They feed on small fish, crayfish, frogs, and insects.


The Spotted Bass is native to western North Carolina, with their length averaging from 12-17 inches. They are commonly known for their aggressiveness and stamina. They primarily feed on smaller fish, crayfish, and aquatic insects. 

2. Spotted Bass

spotted bass

3. White Bass

white bass


The White Bass is known to be an aggressive feeder, travels in schools near the surface, and feeds on mostly crustaceans, aquatic insects, and other small fish. It averages at about 18 inches in length.


The Striped Bass preys on gizzard shad, threadfin shad, and crayfish. Their average length ranges from 26-40 inches. These fish are not naturally occurring but have been introduced through stocking programs. 

4. Striped Bass

striped bass

5. Blue Catfish

blue catfish


Blue Catfish are opportunistic and generalist predators, feeding on important native fish such as menhaden, shad, river herring, as well as blue crabs, plants, and insects. They can grow to be larger than 100 pounds. 


Channel Catfish are omnivores that have a great sense of smell and taste, they use this skill to find food in dark and muddy waters. On average they are about 12 inches in length and between two to four pounds. The largest channel catfish recorded was 58 pounds!

6. Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish

7. Flathead Catfish

Flathead Catfish



Flathead Catfish are fairly large, with the ability to grow up to 3-4 feet in length and a weight exceeding 100 pounds. For food, they feed on live prey including other catfish, crustaceans, mollusks, and occasionally small mice and ducklings. 


The Black Crappie thrives in clear ponds, natural lakes, and reservoirs with moderate vegetation. These fish are often found in schools, especially during the spawning season and in cooler months.Their average size is about 10.8 inches in length. 

8. Black Crappie

black crappie

9. Bluegill



The common length for bluegill is 7.5 inches with the maximum reported length being 16 inches. The bluegill is a common host fish for freshwater mussels. The fish provides the mussel with a place to live (usually on their gills) for the first part of its life.



Yellow Perch travel in schools of 50 to 200 fish. They arrange their school by size and age, and swim in a spindle shape. Their size averages to about 7.5 inches in length. They primarily feed on small fish and insect larvae.

10. Yellow Perch

Yellow Perch

11. Gar 

Gar fish


Gar fish are often referred to as "living fossils" because they have remained virtually unchanged for millions of years, dating back to the Cretaceous period. They are known for their strong fight when hooked, making them a challenging catch for anglers. 


Looking to learn more?


To see these fish in action, check out the aquarium at the Quest Center at Latta Nature Preserve. The Quest Center provides a unique and educational experience about the wildlife that exist here in Lake Norman. With an aquarium, hiking trails, and interactive exhibits, you are sure to have a fin-tastic time!


Quest centerQuest Center at Latta Nature Preserve

Happy Fishing!

As we close on this exploration of our aquatic friends, It's clear that these fish aren't just underwater inhabitants, but essential parts of a delicate ecosystem. We want to leave you with this: always remember to keep the waters clean and habitats healthy so we all can enjoy these remarkable fish for generations to come! Hopefully you've learned something new today that you will take with you on your next fishing trip to Lake Norman, happy fishing! For more information on this topic check out our fishing guide