North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Tar River Fisheries Reports - 2018

April 14-20, 2018

Sample Date

Area Sampled

Water Temp (oF)

Boat Ramp Used

4/18/2018

Bell’s Bridge to Shiloh Mills

60

Bell’s Bridge

Species

Striped Bass

American Shad

Hickory Shad

Number Collected

14

7

0

Min. Size (in)

17

16

 

Max. Size (in)

24

20

 

Max. Weight (lb)

5

2

 

Sex Ratio (M:F)

2.5:1

2.5:1

 

Fisheries Biologists conducting sampling:

Kirk Rundle and Jessica Baumann

 

Biologists’ Observations:

Striped Bass numbers should be increasing considerably over the next few weeks.  American Shad should be declining somewhat, while Hickory Shad have almost completed their spawning run in the Tar River.  All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition. 

River level and other water quality observations:

The river was very turbid, at high levels and increasing.  Levels are continuing to climb and are likely to be dangerously high over the weekend.

 

Weather conditions on sampling date:

Sunny and warm.

 

Observations of people fishing on the river:

Two fishing boats were observed in the vicinity of Fishing Creek.

 

April 14-20

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

Fishing effort and catches were low last week primarily due to rain. The only recorded catches of American shad and hickory shad were in Battle Park.

 

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

Most anglers were targeting and catching bream, largemouth bass, and black crappie. A few striped bass were caught in Blount's Creek. Red drum catches are continuing to pick up. However, most of the drum have been undersized. Most anglers this past week were fishing in creeks due to high winds along the Pamlico River.

 

Shad and Striped Bass Regulations for the Tar River

The daily bag limit is 10 Hickory Shad and American Shad, in combination, per angler.

 

The daily creel limit for Striped Bass is two fish per angler, and the minimum size limit is 18 inches. In the inland and joint waters of the Tar River, no Striped Bass between 22 inches and 27 inches in total length shall be retained in the daily creel limit. Striped Bass may only be harvested October 1–April 30.

 

Dr. Drew Cathey of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared some creel survey information collected from different stretches along the Tar 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.  


High water at Battle Park on April 18.


Striped bass with tag

April 7-13, 2018

Sample Date

Area Sampled

Water Temp (oF)

Boat Ramp Used

4/11/2018

Rocky Mt Mills Dam to Dunbar

58

Battle Park

4/12/2018

Swift Creek to Fishing Creek

60

Bell’s Bridge

Species

Striped Bass

American Shad

Hickory Shad

Number Collected

7

153

5

Min. Size (in)

16

13

15

Max. Size (in)

20

23

17

Max. Weight (lb)

3

4

1

Sex Ratio (M:F)

1.3:1

3:1

1.5:1

Fisheries Biologists conducting sampling:

Kirk Rundle and Jessica Baumann

 

Biologists’ Observations:

American Shad are likely near their peak numbers for 2018, while the Hickory Shad spawning run is nearing completion. Striped Bass numbers should continue to increase as water temperatures warm in the coming weeks. All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition. 

 

River level and other water quality observations:

The river was moderately turbid, at medium to high levels, and descending.  Levels are continuing to decline, yet should be adequate for boating and fishing over the weekend. The upper river could be rather low by early next week unless the rain forecasted for Sunday and Monday maintains suitable levels.

 

Weather conditions on sampling date:

Sunny and cool on April 11 and sunny and warm on April 12.

 

Observations of people fishing on the river:

Several bank anglers were observed fishing near Battle Park, while three fishing boats were also observed near Battle Park.  One fishing boat was observed in Fishing Creek.

April 2–8

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

The angler activity was lower last week than in previous weeks due to rainy weather. Anglers caught an even mix of American shad and hickory shad in Battle Park last week. 

 

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

There were good catches of striped bass throughout the region, particularly in Goose Creek, Blount's Creek, and near Aurora. A few anglers were catching an occasional flounder, black crappie, and largemouth bass. Red drum catches are beginning to pick up as well.

 

Shad and Striped Bass Regulations for the Tar River

The daily bag limit is 10 Hickory Shad and American Shad, in combination, per angler.

 

The daily creel limit for Striped Bass is two fish per angler, and the minimum size limit is 18 inches. In the inland and joint waters of the Tar River, no Striped Bass between 22 inches and 27 inches in total length shall be retained in the daily creel limit. Striped Bass may only be harvested October 1–April 30.

 

Dr. Drew Cathey of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared creel survey information collected from different stretches along the Tar 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.  

Jessica Baumann, District 3 assistant fisheries biologist, with an approximately 3-pound female American Shad collected near the Dunbar area.

 

March 31-April 6, 2018

Sample Date

Area Sampled

Water Temp (oF)

Boat Ramp Used

4/5/2018

Rocky Mt Mills Dam to Hwy 64

60

Battle Park

Species

Striped Bass

American Shad

Hickory Shad

Number Collected

2

78

2

Min. Size (in)

18

13

16

Max. Size (in)

19

23

18

Max. Weight (lb)

3

4

2

Sex Ratio (M:F)

1:1

2:1

1:1

Fisheries Biologists conducting sampling:

Kirk Rundle and Jessica Baumann

 

Biologists’ Observations:

American Shad and Striped Bass numbers should be increasing over the next several weeks, while Hickory Shad will be decreasing.  All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition. 

 

River level and other water quality observations:

The river was moderately turbid, and flow was low.  The river level is continuing to decline and should be rather low over the next few days, depending on any precipitation.

 

Weather conditions on sampling date:

Sunny and cool.

 

Observations of people fishing on the river:

Several bank anglers were observed fishing near Battle Park.

March 26–April 1

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

Fishing effort has been high due to favorable weather. The best catches of shad were around Battle Park where anglers were catching an even mix of American and Hickory shad. Shad were also caught near Old Sparta. Some anglers caught their limits while others were unsuccessful.

 

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

Good catches of striped bass were observed between the railroad trestle on the Pamlico River from Washington to Tranter's Creek. A few striped bass were landed in Bath Creek as well. Angers were reporting the best catches of striped bass in weeks. Some hickory shad were reported near Tranter's Creek.

 

Shad and Striped Bass Regulations for the Tar River

The daily bag limit is 10 Hickory Shad and American Shad, in combination, per angler.

 

The daily creel limit for Striped Bass is two fish per angler, and the minimum size limit is 18 inches. In the inland and joint waters of the Tar River, no Striped Bass between 22 inches and 27 inches in total length shall be retained in the daily creel limit. Striped Bass may only be harvested October 1–April 30.

 

Dr. Drew Cathey of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared creel survey information collected from different stretches along the Tar 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.  

 


Jessica Baumann with an approximate 3-pound female American Shad near the single span wooden bridge at Battle Park, Rocky Mount.

March 24-30, 2018

Sample Date

Area Sampled

Water Temp (oF)

Boat Ramp Used

3/26/2018

Swift Creek to Bell’s Bridge

50

WRC Bell’s Bridge

3/26/2018

Rocky Mt Mills Dam to Hwy 64

50

Battle Park

Species

Striped Bass

American Shad

Hickory Shad

Number Collected

1

30

26

Min. Size (in)

 

15

13

Max. Size (in)

25

21

20

Max. Weight (lb)

6

3

2

Sex Ratio (M:F)

Female

4

0.18

Fisheries Biologists conducting sampling:

Kirk Rundle and Jessica Baumann

 

Biologists’ Observations:

American Shad and Striped Bass numbers should be increasing over the next several weeks.  Hickory Shad are still maintaining good numbers with continued colder water temperatures, yet should be decreasing overall by early April.  All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition. 

 

River level and other water quality observations:

The river was very turbid, at relatively high levels and increasing.  Levels are continuing to rise near Tarboro, while beginning to decline near Rocky Mount. This trend should continue over the next few days, depending upon any additional precipitation before the weekend.

 

Weather conditions on sampling date:

Clear and cold.

 

Observations of people fishing on the river:

Two bank anglers were observed fishing near Bell’s Bridge.  Several bank anglers and 2 boat anglers were observed fishing near Battle Park.

March 19–25

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

Anglers were experiencing more success with shad fishing this week than prior weeks. Hickory shad catch was best around the Rocky Mount wastewater discharge and Bell's Bridge. Some American shad were caught at Battle Park in Rocky Mount as well.

 

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

Several anglers were targeting striped bass around Washington and near Goose Creek but were unsuccessful. Some anglers were catching largemouth bass but not much else. Windy and rainy conditions resulted in low fishing effort and success.

 

Shad and Striped Bass Regulations for the Tar River

The daily bag limit is 10 Hickory Shad and American Shad, in combination, per angler.

 

The daily creel limit for Striped Bass is two fish per angler, and the minimum size limit is 18 inches. In the inland and joint waters of the Tar River, no Striped Bass between 22 inches and 27 inches in total length shall be retained in the daily creel limit. Striped Bass may only be harvested October 1–April 30.

 

Dr. Drew Cathey of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared creel survey information collected from different stretches along the Tar 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.  

 


District 3 Fisheries Biologist, Kirk Rundle, with an approximate 2-pound female Hickory Shad sampled near Swift Creek.

March 17-23, 2018

Sample Date

Area Sampled

Water Temp (oF)

Boat Ramp Used

3/19/2018

Rocky Mt Mills Dam to Hwy 64

52

Battle Park Ramp

3/19/2018

Swift Creek to Bell’s Bridge

52

WRC Bell’s Bridge

Species

Striped Bass

American Shad

Hickory Shad

Number Collected

4

55

32

Min. Size (in)

16

13

16

Max. Size (in)

19

23

18

Max. Weight (lb)

3

4

2

Sex Ratio (M:F)

All males

1:1

2:1

Fisheries Biologists conducting sampling:

Kirk Rundle and Jessica Baumann

 

Biologists’ Observations:

American Shad and Striped Bass numbers should be increasing over the next several weeks, while Hickory Shad will be decreasing.  All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition. 

 

River level and other water quality observations:

The river was moderately turbid, at medium levels and increasing.  Levels are continuing to rise and should be considerably high over the next few days due to recent rains.

 

Weather conditions on sampling date:

Partly cloudy and cool.

 

Observations of people fishing on the river:

One boat angler and one bank angler were observed fishing near Swift Creek.  Several bank anglers and 3 boat anglers were observed fishing near Battle Park.

March 12–18

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

Last week there were a few Hickory Shad in Tarboro. At Battle Park, anglers were catching and releasing a few small American Shad, and one Largemouth Bass was caught. Fishing pressure was low last week due to windy weather.

 

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

The weather was windy for most of last week, which resulted in low fishing effort. Most anglers that did go out stayed in the creeks. Several undersized Striped Bass were caught in Blount's Creek. Some small Red Drum, Sunfish, and Largemouth Bass were caught off the dock in Blount's Creek. Three legal Striped Bass were landed in Durham Creek. A few Striped Bass were caught in Bath Creek.

 

Shad and Striped Bass Regulations for the Tar River

The daily bag limit is 10 Hickory Shad and American Shad, in combination, per angler.

 

The daily creel limit for Striped Bass is two fish per angler, and the minimum size limit is 18 inches. In the inland and joint waters of the Tar River, no Striped Bass between 22 inches and 27 inches in total length shall be retained in the daily creel limit. Striped Bass may only be harvested October 1–April 30.

 

Dr. Drew Cathey of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared the creel survey information collected from different stretches along the Tar 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 Commission assists with survey design and data interpretation in the upper portions of each river.  

 

Jessica Baumann, District 3 Assistant Fisheries Biologist, with an approximate 3-pound female American Shad near US Hwy 64 Bridge.

 

March 10-16, 2018

Sample Date

Area Sampled

Water Temp (oF)

Boat Ramp Used

3/14/18

Swift Cr to Bell’s Bridge

50

WRC Bell’s Bridge

Species

Striped Bass

American Shad

Hickory Shad

Number Collected

0

11

29

Min. Size (in)

 

17

14

Max. Size (in)

 

22

20

Max. Weight (lb)

 

4

2

Sex Ratio (M:F)

 

1.2

2.6

Fisheries Biologists conducting sampling:

Kirk Rundle and Jessica Baumann

 

Biologists’ Observations:

American Shad numbers should be increasing over the next several weeks, while Hickory Shad will be decreasing.  All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition.  

 

River level and other water quality observations:

The river was moderately turbid, at medium levels and increasing slightly.  Levels should be close to ideal over the weekend, yet dropping, depending on precipitation.

 

Weather conditions on sampling date: 

Partly cloudy and cold.

 

Observations of people fishing on the river:

There was one boat trailer in the Bell’s Bridge parking lot, yet no boats were encountered in the stretch we sampled.

Upper Region (Greenville to Rocky Mount)

No report

 

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

Best catches of striped bass were from Bear Creek on up the river. A few American shad were caught in the lower stretches of the Tar River. Some red drum were caught in Broad Creek. Overall fishing effort was down due to the weather.

 

Shad and Striped Bass Regulations for the Tar River

The daily bag limit is 10 Hickory Shad and American Shad, in combination, per angler.

 

The daily creel limit for Striped Bass is two fish per angler, and the minimum size limit is 18 inches. In the inland and joint waters of the Tar River, no Striped Bass between 22 inches and 27 inches in total length shall be retained in the daily creel limit. Striped Bass may only be harvested October 1–April 30.

 

Dr. Drew Cathey of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared some creel survey information collected from different stretches along the Tar 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.  

March 3-9, 2018

Sample Date

Area Sampled

Water Temp (oF)

Boat Ramp Used

3/8/2018

From Swift Creek downstream to just below Bell’s Bridge (Hwy 33).

50

Bell’s Bridge WRC BAA

Species

Striped Bass

American Shad

Hickory Shad

Number Collected

2

27

41

Min. Size (in)

16

17

14

Max. Size (in)

28

22

20

Max. Weight (lb)

10

4

2

Sex Ratio (M:F)

1:1

1:1

3:1

Fisheries Biologists conducting sampling:

Kirk Rundle & Katharine DeVilbiss (Environmental Specialist, Dept. of Environmental Quality)

 

Biologists’ Observations:

American Shad numbers should be increasing over the next several weeks, while Hickory Shad will be decreasing.  Observing a large Striped Bass this early was surprising yet not without precedence.  All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition.  The river was moderately turbid, at low to medium levels and increasing slightly.  Levels should be close to ideal over the weekend, yet dropping rather quickly, depending on precipitation.

 

River level and other water quality observations:

At time of sampling, Tar River was at optimal levels for sampling and moderately turbid.

 

Weather conditions on sampling date:

Cold and partly cloudy.

 

Observations of people fishing on the river:

There were a couple of boat trailers in the Bell’s Bridge parking lot, yet no boats were encountered in the stretch we sampled.

 

Upper Region (Greenville to Rocky Mount)

No report

 

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

No Report

 

Shad and Striped Bass Regulations for Tar River

The daily bag limit is 10 Hickory Shad and American Shad, in combination, per angler.

 

The daily creel limit for Striped Bass is two fish per angler, and the minimum size limit is 18 inches. In the inland and joint waters of the Tar River, no Striped Bass between 22 inches and 27 inches in total length shall be retained in the daily creel limit. Striped Bass may only be harvested October 1–April 30.

 

Dr. Drew Cathey of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared some creel survey information collected from different stretches along the Tar-Pamlico 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.