North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Tar River Fisheries Report - April 4, 2013

Fisheries Biologists Kirk Rundle and Bill Collart sampled the Tar River yesterday (April 3), launching their electrofishing boat at the Wildlife Commission boat ramp at Bell’s Bridge in Edgecombe County and sampling the Tar River from the boat ramp downstream to the mouth of Fishing Creek.

Interestingly, in last week’s sample, they came across 45 American shad and 80 hickory shad, but yesterday’s sampling yielded 80 American shad and 45 hickory shad. The reversal of ratios of the shad species was very telling to Rundle.

“The hickory shad are peaking out and will probably be moving out in another week or so, while the American shad are showing up in really good numbers and should be around for several more weeks,” Rundle said. “We haven’t observed any striped bass yet, although they should show up soon”

The lengths of the American shad ranged from 16-23 inches, and the hickory shad ranged from 12-17 inches. The largest hickory shad they sampled weighed 1.5 pounds. Big fish honors for the day went to a 4.5-pound chunk American shad. Both were females. Sex ratios for shad by species were 50/50 for both American and hickory shad females and males.

Rundle and Collart saw one boat with two fishermen working their way upriver. The anglers told Rundle and Collart that they had managed to catch “a couple of shad.”

“There were good numbers of American and hickory shad in the vicinity,” Rundle said, “so, they could have caught more after we left.”

The weather was cool and sunny when Rundle and Collart sampled the Tar yesterday. Water temperature was at 58º F. Rundle said that the Tar had moderate river level and flow.

“The river is rising due to the rain on Sunday,” Rundle said. “We had no problems with launching or navigating.”

The fish-sampling work on the Tar River is part of the Wildlife Commission’s spawning stock monitoring done weekly every spring by Rundle and Collart.

This week’s photo depicts Rundle assisting with American shad brood stock collection on the Roanoke River the day before they sampled the Tar River. Much work to be done by various Wildlife Commission staff on North Carolina’s coastal rivers every spring.

Additional Observations

In the lower part of the Tar/Pamlico rivers from Greenville to Washington, anglers reported good catches of striped bass last week, according to Doug Mumford of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) who shared the most recent creel survey information collected from different stretches along the Tar/Pamlico River. The creel surveys are administered by the Division of Marine Fisheries through Coastal Recreational Fishing License funding, and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission assists with design and data interpretation in the upper portions of the Tar River.

On the other hand, Mumford said that fishing in the upper region of the Tar/Pamlico river from Rocky Mount to Greenville was proving challenging because of low water levels.

“Shad fishing in the Tar slowed down a little last week,” Mumford said. “Anglers reported that the low water was causing them to stay ‘hung up’ half the time.”

But, back to the lower Tar/Pamlico river, Mumford reported that the area around Washington produced some very nice striped bass. Most of the stripers landed were released. The released fish consisted of undersized and “slot fish.”

“The striper bite continues to be best on falling water,” Mumford said. “Catches of speckled trout were reported from Blounts Creek and Broad Creek.  Anglers have caught fish in those places all winter.  Best days are when it warms up and the sun comes out.”

Back to Coastal Rivers Fisheries Reports

Tar River Water Conditions

Fisheries Biologist Kirk Rundle took a break from fish-sampling work on the Tar River on Tuesday to head north and help with American shad broodstock collection on the Roanoke River. On the very next day, however, Rundle sampled the Tar River and provided info for this week’s Tar River report.