North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Cape Fear River Fisheries Reports - 2018

April 14-20, 2018

Sample Date

Area Sampled

Water Temp (oF)

Boat Ramp Used

4/18/2018

Lock & Dam 1

65

Lock & Dam 1

4/18/2018

Lock & Dam 3

62

Lock & Dam 3

4/19/2018

Lock & Dam 2

63

Lock & Dam 2

Species

Striped Bass

American Shad

Hickory Shad

Number Collected

26

74

0

Min. Size (in)

17

14

 

Max. Size (in)

30

22

 

Max. Weight (lb)

9.3

3.6

 

Sex Ratio (M:F)

1.9:1

1.3:1

 

Fisheries Biologists conducting sampling:

Clint Morgeson and Kyle Rachels

 

Biologists’ Observations:

Water temperatures increased substantially from the previous week, spurring the start of the Striped Bass spawning migration. Several Striped Bass were collected from Lock & Dam 1 and sent to Watha State Fish Hatchery to produce fish for stocking later this year. Striped Bass were also observed at Lock & Dams 2 and 3. Large aggregates of American Shad were present at each Lock & Dam.

 

The boat ramp and fishing pier at Lock & Dam 2 are closed due to construction activities. Boat anglers wanting to fish Lock & Dam 2 must use Elwell Ferry BAA, located 24 river miles downstream. Bank anglers can use the fishing pier at Lock & Dam 1.  

 

River level and other water quality observations:

Streamflow at Lock & Dam 1 crested and held at 14,000 cfs. The water was very muddy.

 

Weather conditions on sampling date:

Sunny and 80°F.

 

Observations of people fishing on the river:

A few anglers were present at Lock & Dam 1 and Lock & Dam 3. Shad anglers were having difficulty hooking fish due to the muddy water conditions. Catfish anglers were having great success at Lock & Dam 3.

 

April 14-20

American shad catches remained strong in Lock & Dam 1 and Lock & Dam 3. Anglers targeting other species caught several blue catfish at Elwell Ferry and some bluegill and white perch at Lock and Dam 1. Windy weather deterred many fishermen.

 

Shad and Striped Bass Regulations for the Cape Fear River

The daily bag limit is 10 shad per angler, of which five (5) may be an American (white) shad on the Cape Fear River and its tributaries.

 

Striped Bass may not be possessed in the Cape Fear River or its tributaries.

 

Dr. Drew Cathey of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared some creel survey information collected from different stretches along the Cape Fear River. The creel surveys are conducted during March, April, and May in the upper portions of the Tar, Neuse, and Cape Fear rivers. The surveys are administered by the Division of Marine Fisheries through Coastal Recreational Fishing License funding, and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission assists with survey design and data interpretation in the upper portions of each river.  


NCWRC Fisheries Biologist Clint Morgeson delivers striped bass broodstock to NCWRC Fish Culturist Barry Midgette. Those fish will spawn at Watha State Fish Hatchery to produce fingerlings for fall 2018 stocking.

April 7-13, 2018

Sample Date

Area Sampled

Water Temp (oF)

Boat Ramp Used

4/11/2018

Lock & Dam 1

60

Lock & Dam 1

4/11/2018

Lock & Dam 3

56

Lock & Dam 3

Species

Striped Bass

American Shad

Hickory Shad

Number Collected

1

20

0

Min. Size (in)

21

14

 

Max. Size (in)

21

22

 

Max. Weight (lb)

3.8

3.2

 

Sex Ratio (M:F)

1:0

1.8:1

 

Fisheries Biologists conducting sampling:

Clint Morgeson

Kyle Rachels

 

Biologists’ Observations:

Water temperatures declined substantially from the previous week, and few American Shad were present at Lock & Dams 1 and 3. Shad were reported by the Lockmaster at Lock & Dam 2. The weather forecast indicates water temperatures will begin climbing again, which will bring additional shad and Striped Bass upstream.

 

The boat ramp and fishing pier at Lock & Dam 2 are closed due to construction activities. Boat anglers wanting to fish Lock & Dam 2 must use Elwell Ferry BAA, located 24 river miles downstream. Bank anglers can use the fishing pier at Lock & Dam 1.  

 

River level and other water quality observations:

Streamflow at Lock & Dam 1 was 5,000 cfs and rising. The water was fairly clear.

 

Weather conditions on sampling date:

Partly cloudy and 55°F.

 

Observations of people fishing on the river:

No anglers were observed at Lock & Dam 1. Two boats and one bank angler were present at Lock & Dam 3.

April 2–8

American shad have moved up the river from previous weeks. The best catches of American shad were at Lock & Dam 1, and Lock & Dam 3. Also, there were decent catches of blue catfish at Elwell's Ferry.

 

Shad and Striped Bass Regulations for the Cape Fear River

The daily bag limit is 10 shad per angler, of which five (5) may be an American (white) shad on the Cape Fear River and its tributaries.

 

Striped Bass may not be possessed in the Cape Fear River or its tributaries.

 

Dr. Drew Cathey of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared creel survey information collected from different stretches along the Cape Fear River. The creel surveys are conducted during March, April, and May in the upper portions of the Tar, Neuse, and Cape Fear rivers. The surveys are administered by DMF through Coastal Recreational Fishing License funding, and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission assists with survey design and data interpretation in the upper portions of each river.  


NCWRC Fisheries Biologist Clint Morgeson checking a Striped Bass for internal radio-frequency (RFID or PIT) tags.  

March 31-April 6, 2018

Sample Date

Area Sampled

Water Temp (oF)

Boat Ramp Used

4/4/2018

Lock & Dam 1

61

Lock & Dam 1

4/4/2018

Lock & Dam 3

63

Lock & Dam 3

Species

Striped Bass

American Shad

Hickory Shad

Number Collected

1

70

4

Min. Size (in)

17

16

14

Max. Size (in)

17

22

17

Max. Weight (lb)

1.3

4.1

1.4

Sex Ratio (M:F)

1:0

1.1:1

3:1

Fisheries Biologists conducting sampling:

Clint Morgeson

Kyle Rachels

 

Biologists’ Observations:

American Shad were abundant at both Lock & Dams surveyed. A few Striped Bass may begin moving upstream with the warming water. 

 

The boat ramp and fishing pier at Lock & Dam 2 are closed due to construction activities. Boat anglers wanting to fish Lock & Dam 2 must use Elwell Ferry BAA, located 24 river miles downstream. Bank anglers can use the fishing pier at Lock & Dam 1.  

 

River level and other water quality observations:

Streamflow at Lock & Dam 1 was 3,000 cfs. The water was fairly clear.

 

Weather conditions on sampling date:

Warm and sunny.

 

Observations of people fishing on the river:

A dozen boat anglers at Lock & Dam 1 were observed catching American Shad. One boat angler and several bank anglers were present at Lock & Dam 3.

March 26–April 1

The best catches of American shad were at Lock and Dam 1 where many anglers were catching their daily limits. Anglers were reporting that the American shad seem to be arriving late in the Cape Fear this year. Several people were fishing at Lock and Dam 3 with no success. The water level has lowered to its normal level this past week.

 

Shad and Striped Bass Regulations for the Cape Fear River

The daily bag limit is 10 shad per angler, of which five (5) may be an American (white) shad on the Cape Fear River and its tributaries.

 

Striped Bass may not be possessed in the Cape Fear River or its tributaries.

 

Dr. Drew Cathey of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared creel survey information collected from different stretches along the Cape Fear River. The creel surveys are conducted during March, April, and May in the upper portions of the Tar, Neuse, and Cape Fear rivers. The surveys are administered by DMF through Coastal Recreational Fishing License funding, and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission assists with survey design and data interpretation in the upper portions of each river.  


UNC-Wilmington Graduate Research Assistant David Belkoski with an American Shad from Lock & Dam 1.

March 24-30, 2018

Sample Date

Area Sampled

Water Temp (oF)

Boat Ramp Used

3/27/2018

Lock & Dam 1

52

Lock & Dam 1

3/27/2018

Lock & Dam 3

51

Lock & Dam 3

Species

Striped Bass

American Shad

Hickory Shad

Number Collected

1

27

1

Min. Size (in)

13

14

15

Max. Size (in)

13

21

15

Max. Weight (lb)

0.3

4.7

1.0

Sex Ratio (M:F)

Juv

1.3:1

1:0

Fisheries Biologists conducting sampling:

Clint Morgeson

Kyle Rachels

 

Biologists’ Observations:

American Shad were again in high abundance at Lock & Dam 1sd and should be at Lock & Dam 1 for the next several weeks. With the high streamflow and warming temperatures, they will be making it to Lock & Dam 3 soon. Only one Hickory Shad was collected, indicating the spawning run is over. Striped Bass may begin appearing at Lock & Dam 1, however the peak migration is still a month away.

 

The boat ramp and fishing pier at Lock & Dam 2 are closed due to construction activities. Boat anglers wanting to fish Lock & Dam 2 must use Elwell Ferry BAA, located 24 river miles downstream. Bank anglers can use the fishing pier at Lock & Dam 1.  

 

River level and other water quality observations:

Streamflow at Lock & Dam 1 was muddy and high at 7,500 cfs.  

 

Weather conditions on sampling date:

Cold and windy.

 

Observations of people fishing on the river:

Several boat anglers at Lock & Dam 1 were observed catching American Shad. One angler was using the pier, and no anglers were observed at Lock & Dam 3.

March 19–25

Rainy weather and rising waters have slowed down the fishing, especially around the lock and dam sites. No shad were caught during this last week. A few anglers were catching channel and blue catfish.

 

Shad and Striped Bass Regulations for the Cape Fear River

The daily bag limit is 10 shad per angler, of which five (5) may be an American (white) shad on the Cape Fear River and its tributaries.

 

Striped Bass may not be possessed in the Cape Fear River or its tributaries.

 

Dr. Drew Cathey of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared some creel survey information collected from different stretches along the Cape Fear River. The creel surveys are conducted during March, April, and May in the upper portions of the Tar, Neuse, and Cape Fear rivers. The surveys are administered by the Division of Marine Fisheries through Coastal Recreational Fishing License funding, and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission assists with survey design and data interpretation in the upper portions of each river.  


NCWRC Fisheries Biologist Clint Morgeson with a Hickory Shad collected at Lock & Dam 1.

March 17-23, 2018

Sample Date

Area Sampled

Water Temp (oF)

Boat Ramp Used

3/21/2018

Lock & Dam 1

54

Lock & Dam 1

3/21/2018

Lock & Dam 3

54

Lock & Dam 3

Species

Striped Bass

American Shad

Hickory Shad

Number Collected

0

51

19

Min. Size (in)

 

13

12

Max. Size (in)

 

21

19

Max. Weight (lb)

 

3.8

1.9

Sex Ratio (M:F)

 

2.9:1

8.5:1

Fisheries Biologists conducting sampling:

Clint Morgeson

Kyle Rachels

 

Biologists’ Observations:

Abundance of American and Hickory Shad at Lock & Dam 1 increased substantially from the previous week. American Shad should be making it to Lock & Dams 2 and 3 possibly by this weekend. The Hickory Shad run has likely peaked, and those fish will be leaving the river in the next few weeks. Temperatures will have to increase considerably before Striped Bass begin migrating upstream.

 

The boat ramp and fishing pier at Lock & Dam 2 are closed due to construction activities. Boat anglers wanting to fish Lock & Dam 2 must use Elwell Ferry BAA, located 24 river miles downstream. Bank anglers can use the fishing pier at Lock & Dam 1.  

 

River level and other water quality observations:

Streamflow at Lock & Dam 1 was muddy, 5100 cfs, and rising.  

 

Weather conditions on sampling date:

Cold and rainy.

 

Observations of people fishing on the river:

Several boat anglers at Lock & Dam 1 were observed catching American Shad. No anglers were using the pier, and no anglers were observed at Lock & Dam 3.

The best catches of American Shad were at lock and dam one. A few Hickory Shad were caught at this site as well. During the week, fishing effort was down. Some Black Crappie and small Largemouth Bass were caught in the upper reaches of the river around Elwell Ferry. The weather was nice and sunny during the sampling assignments.

Shad and Striped Bass Regulations for the Cape Fear River

The daily bag limit is 10 shad per angler, of which five (5) may be an American (white) shad on the Cape Fear River and its tributaries.

 

Striped Bass may not be possessed in the Cape Fear River or its tributaries.

 

Dr. Drew Cathey of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared some creel survey information collected from different stretches along the Cape Fear River. The creel surveys are conducted during March, April, and May in the upper portions of the Tar, Neuse, and Cape Fear rivers. The surveys are administered by the Division of Marine Fisheries through Coastal Recreational Fishing License funding, and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission assists with survey design and data interpretation in the upper portions of each river.  


NCWRC Fisheries Biologist Clint Morgeson with an American Shad collected at Lock & Dam 1

March 10-16, 2018

Sample Date

Area Sampled

Water Temp (oF)

Boat Ramp Used

3/13/2018

Lock & Dam 1

50

Lock & Dam 1

3/13/2018

Lock & Dam 3

50

Lock & Dam 3

Species

Striped Bass

American Shad

Hickory Shad

Number Collected

0

1

1

Min. Size (in)

 

21

17

Max. Size (in)

 

21

17

Max. Weight (lb)

 

3.2

1.7

Sex Ratio (M:F)

 

0:1

0:1

Fisheries Biologists conducting sampling:

Kyle Rachels

Clint Morgeson

 

Biologists’ Observations:

Cold water temperatures and below average streamflow have been keeping fish downriver. Increasing streamflow towards the end of this week and warming temperatures over the weekend may increase fish movement to Lock & Dam 1.

 

The boat ramp and fishing pier at Lock & Dam 2 are closed due to construction activities. Boat anglers wanting to fish Lock & Dam 2 must use Elwell Ferry BAA, located 24 river miles downstream. Bank anglers can use the fishing pier at Lock & Dam 1.  

 

River level and other water quality observations:

Discharge at Lock & Dam 1 was 2700 cfs (below average) and on the rise. The water was fairly clear.

 

Weather conditions on sampling date:

Cold, overcast, & windy

 

Observations of people fishing on the river:

Several boat anglers at Lock & Dam 1 reported some catch of American Shad. No anglers were observed at Lock & Dam 3.

No Report

 

Shad and Striped Bass Regulations for the Cape Fear River

The daily bag limit is 10 shad per angler, of which five (5) may be an American (white) shad on the Cape Fear River and its tributaries.

 

Striped Bass may not be possessed in the Cape Fear River or its tributaries.

 

Dr. Drew Cathey of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared some creel survey information collected from different stretches along the Cape Fear River. The creel surveys are conducted during March, April, and May in the upper portions of the Tar, Neuse, and Cape Fear rivers. The surveys are administered by the Division of Marine Fisheries through Coastal Recreational Fishing License funding, and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission assists with survey design and data interpretation in the upper portions of each river.  


NCWRC Biologist Kyle Rachels with the first American Shad of 2018.

Note to anglers:

The boat ramp and fishing pier at Lock & Dam 2 are closed due to construction activities. Boat anglers wanting to fish Lock & Dam 2 must use Elwells Ferry BAA, located 24 river miles downstream. Bank anglers can use the fishing pier at Lock & Dam 1. For more information, please contact the US Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District Office at 910-251-4625 or view the news release here.