Fishing on Lake Lure

How's the Fishing in Lake Lure, You Ask?

Of all the questions Iíve gotten over the years on a wide variety of topics about our lake and our wildlife, this is a common one and not one where there is a short, simple answer.

In truth, the fishing has been and is often great, but we also have challenges just like any other lake when it comes to fostering a consistently sustainable fishing livelihood.

Many fishing guides and residents will tell you that Lake Lure is an awesome fishing lake if you know where to go and know what the fish will bite in terms of bait. 

In fact, over the last four to five years we have seen some really big fish that anglers have been more than willing to show off, one of the largest being a 14Ĺ pound large-mouth bass.  Fish that size are what bring sportsmen to Lake Lure, but fishing Lake Lure is anything but easy.  It does take some skill and fishing knowledge to find the big fish and once you find them, youíve got to catch them.

It's a Cool Lake, but what does that mean for Fishing?

Lake Lure is considered a cool water lake, with average surface temperatures being in the low 70s and average temps at the thermocline being in the low 60ís.  This is about what you would expect in a lake like Lake Lure (pardon the alliteration).  Lake Lure is classified by North Carolina as Class B, Trout waters.  This classification simply means that the water quality parameters at the time it was sampled were such that the lake could support trout.

Of course that classification was made in the 60ís and a great deal has changed since then.  As our lake ages and becomes more eutrophic, the fish species that it will support will change.  Trout like cold highly oxygenated waters.  At the surface, our lake does have sufficient dissolved oxygen to support trout, but as surface temperatures increase and the amount of phytoplankton in the water column increases, dissolved oxygen becomes less, making it more difficult to sustain fish such as trout. 

This is one of the reasons that Lake Operations decided to discontinue stocking of lake trout because it was not a sustainable practice with no real return on investment.

Lake eutrophication is a natural process that lakes go through as they age.  As this process occurs, the fishery tends to improve because there is more for fish and their prey to eat.  Of course there are also some drawbacks. 

Nutrient loading is a problem that occurs as lakes age creating scenarios for harmful algae blooms which can cause fish kills and other negative impacts.  This is one of the reasons why we pay close attention to our water quality numbers so that we can be proactive in addressing any problems that might impact the overall health of the lake.

So back to the question at hand, Howís the Fishing? 

 It is getting better.  One of the biggest things that has helped has been changing our approach and dedicating resources to making Lake Lure a bass fishing lake.  Bass are cool water fish, so they do extremely well in lakes such as ours. 

We have also increased the amount of food the predator fish can eat by stocking threadfin shad.  Lake Lure has very little in the way of aquatic vegetation and structural habitat, which is a necessary component in order to have a sustainable fishery.

Structure is especially important because it provides not only protection, but a hard substrate for aquatic plants and animals to attach themselves to. 

This is why rip rap and fallen trees are so vital to the lake and why they should be put in place.  The fishing benefit is huge and it helps to balance the ecosystem.  Lake Operations has also gone a step farther by building fish habitat and sinking Christmas trees to help add some structure in places where fish like to be.

What Species of Fish are in our Lake?

If you are a fisherman and you are interested in knowing what we have in our lake, we actually have quite a diverse selection.  We have large and small mouth bass, white bass, catfish, yellow perch, sunfish, and crappie; there are a few lake trout still left in the lake and we also get a few in the head water reaches of the lake near Pool Creek and the Broad River where rainbow trout will occasionally be found.  There are also a few chain pickerel found in the lake which were probably stocked in here many years ago.  There are no muskellunge here unless someone put them in without our knowledge, and if they did they probably wonít survive long enough to breed due to the water temperature and lack of good muskie habitat. 

As far as fish stocking, the only fish the town stocks the lake with are large mouth bass, small mouth bass, white bass, and threadfin shad.  Anything else thatís in the lake was either stocked long ago or naturally occurred in the Broad River before it was impounded.

Our Lake Operations Department is continuously monitoring the health of the lake and looking at ways to improve the fishery in Lake Lure.  No one wants to come to a lake that is not healthy and the best way to measure the health of a lake is to look at the lake ecosystem and see how itís thriving. 

 If you have questions about fishing in Lake Lure or would like to know more, please contact Clint Calhoun, Environmental Management Officer at (828)625-9983 x 502 E-mail:eco@townoflakelure.com or Dean Givens, Lake Operations Director at (828)625-9983 x 501 E-mail: loa@townoflakelure.com