Fisheries Biologists Justin Homan and Justin Dycus sampled the Neuse River on Monday, March 18, capturing 97 American shad and 37 hickory shad. They electrofished two different stretches along the Neuse — in Raleigh, from the old US 64 bridge downstream to the confluence with Crabtree Creek, and in Goldsboro, from the Wildlife Commission’s Cox’s Ferry boat ramp downstream to the Progress Energy power plant.
“Hickory shad appear to be spawning pretty heavily and will be around another week or two,” Homan said. “We collected one white bass at the Raleigh site. A few large catfish — both blue catfish and flatheads — were scattered at the Raleigh site and at our lower Goldsboro site near the power plant.”
He added that he saw only three anglers fishing the Neuse in the Goldsboro area, but did not observe any fish caught. “We just floated past them pretty quickly,” Homan said.
The weather was cold and cloudy, and the water was muddy. Water temperatures that day were 50ºF in Raleigh and 54ºF in Goldsboro. The flow was good.
“There was good discharge from Falls Lake for the Raleigh site (660 cubic feet per second, or ‘cfs’), which made access to the entire site good,” Homan said. “The Goldsboro discharge was around 1,800 cfs, and we had no access issues there either.”
The electrofishing work was conducted as part of weekly spawning stock monitoring. Here are some raw numbers:
The fisheries biologists sampled 26 American shad in Raleigh and 71 American shad in Goldsboro, along with 37 hickory shad in Goldsboro. The largest fish they came across were a 4-pound American shad and a hickory that tipped the scales at just over two pounds.
Fish lengths ranged from 15-22 inches for American shad and 12-19 inches for hickories. In Raleigh, the sex ratios of the fish captured were four female and 22 male American shad. In Goldsboro, the ratios were 47 male American shad and 24 females, and 26 male hickory shad and 11 females.
Doug Mumford of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared some creel survey information collected from different stretches along the Neuse 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 river.
In the upper region of the Neuse from Raleigh to Smithfield, Mumford reported plenty of shad being landed last week. Most were hickories but some American shad were caught as well. Some nice catfish were landed.
In the central region of the Neuse from Maple Cyprus to Seven Springs in the Goldsboro area, Mumford reported anglers catching many hickory shad with some American shad in the mix. No keeper striped bass were observed, but a few smaller stripers were caught and released. Creel clerks also observed catches of channel catfish and a few flatheads.
In the lower region of the Neuse from Turkey Quarter Creek to New Bern, Mumford reported the creel survey recording “plenty of striped bass.” All of the shad seemingly had moved up the Neuse past this lower region near the coast.
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