07/10/09 — OUTDOORS- Lake Glenville an anglers pleasure

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OUTDOORS- Lake Glenville an anglers pleasure

By Mike Marsh
Published in Sports on July 10, 2009 1:46 PM

While working on my next book, "Fishing North Carolina," I discovered a mountain lake on a map. Since I had never heard of Thorpe Reservoir, I delved into the lake's history and discovered that the name on the map was ancient history. Despite the lake's renaming to Lake Glenville to give recognition to its namesake community along the eastern shore, I still knew nothing about the lake so I added it to a June mountain lakes fishing safari.

Located in Jackson County, Lake Glenville's 1,462 acres of surface area and 26 miles of shoreline make it a large mountain lake. But what makes it unique are five waterfalls feeding it from mountain streams and the main water source of the West Fork of the Tuckasegee River.

Brandon Crawford, a resident of Enca, N.C. was hauling his boat from the water at the lake's Powerhouse Access, so named for its proximity to the hydropower generating facility, which, like the lake, is owned by Duke Energy.

"I caught 10 bass today," Crawford said. "I caught five smallmouth bass and five largemouth bass doing some finesse fishing."

To those unfamiliar with bass fishing terminology, finesse fishing is simply casting downsized lures with lightweight tackle and lines, when compared to those typically selected for catching bass. Crawford's looked to be 6-pound test or so, and his soft plastic worms measured 4 inches in length, rather than the much longer varieties anglers usually consider for bass.

"I was fishing the upper end of the lake where the river comes in," he said. "The cooler water keeps bass action hot in summer. The lake is really clear - you can see the bottom in 15 feet. But it's not as clear in summer as it is in winter and it also seems to be less clear than it was a few years ago."

Clear water is a two-edged sword. While mountain fishermen like clear water, it is also an indication of low nutrients, which leads to diminished carrying capacity for biomass including bass. In fact, during my background research, I found that Glenville is one of the poorer lakes in terms of nutrients. Nevertheless, Crawford proudly displayed a snapshot of a 7-pound, 2-ounce largemouth bass on his phone's camera display.

It's standard mantra among fishermen that the clearer the water and brighter the sky, the lighter the lures that will prove successful. Crawford showed several of his favorites, including one he called "bluegill" that actually turned out to be a Zoom brand 4-inch worm in a color called "ghost."

He gave me one for an example and I rigged it with a split shot and a Texas-style hook. My wife, Carol, and I headed away from the access to find a waterfall.

As we entered the Little Creek arm of the reservoir, the sound of water cascading over rocks hooked us. Carol began casting at the base of the falls. A homeowner had built a covered passageway to a gazebo on the very precipice of the falls. The air temperature, cooled by the sub-60-degree waterfall mist made the gazebo an obviously comfortable place for lounging on the 90-degree day. In fact, the air temperature of the entire cove seemed to cool at least 15 degrees.

A couple of smallmouth pecked her lure, as well as the ghost worm. We knew they were smallmouth because we could see them yawning at our worms against the submerged rocks. After a short sojourn with the lazy fish, we headed off for a grand tour.

For spended scenery, Glenville can't be rivaled, especially if the angler also participates in dream homing. The economic downturn spurred about 10 percent of shoreline property owners to try selling their homes. We investigated one "for sale" sign and discovered the asking price for 1,300 feet of shoreline and a modestly sized home was "only" $3.4 million. While I had never heard of the lake, it is quite apparently a popular destination for vacationers and retirees.

We found a sheer rock face entering the lake at an oblique angle. For the house sitting at its peak, the rock face looked like a naturally paved boat ramp. A dock sat at its base with rock footsteps for scaling the incline. Other features attracting our bass casts included rock walls placed by property owners to stem wave erosion and piers built for boating access.

I tossed a crankbait against an island and landed a chunky largemouth bass. But hitting six lakes on our whirlwind expedition meant we could only devote a few hours to Glenville. Nevertheless, with four more waterfalls to left to visit, Lake Glenville is at the top of our comeback list.