Fisheries Biologists Kirk Rundle and Bill Collart sampled the Tar River on Thursday, March 21, launching their electrofishing boat at the Wildlife Commission boat ramp at Bell’s Bridge in Edgecombe County and sampling the Tar River from the mouth of Swift Creek downstream back to the Bell’s Bridge boating access area.
They sampled 52 American shad and 120 hickory shad, with the largest American shad weighing four pounds and the largest hickory shad tipping the scales at just under two pounds. Both were females.
The lengths of the American shad ranged from 14-20 inches, and the hickory shad ranged from 12-18 inches. About 25 percent of the American shad were female. The hickory shad were about 50/50 females and males.
They observed one boat fishing in the Tar River near Swift Creek, but did not observe fish being reeled onto the boat.
“Most likely they were successful if they were fishing for American or hickory shad, which they probably were,” Rundle said. “The hickory shad are peaking out and will probably be gone in a couple of weeks.”
The fish-sampling work on the Tar was part of spawning stock monitoring done weekly by Rundle and Collart.
They reported water conditions being fairly muddy, with flows diminishing. The water temperature was 50oF. The weather was cold and partly cloudy with snow flurries.
“We experienced moderate river levels and flows,” Rundle said. “The river is dropping, yet we had no problems with launching or navigating.”
Doug Mumford 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 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.
In the upper part of the Tar/Pamlico River from Greenville to Rocky Mount, the creel surveys indicated that anglers were enjoying good catches of both American shad and hickory shad. Fishermen have been catching limits of shad in most locations. One creel agent interviewing anglers fishing the Tar River at Bells Bridge recently reported that shad catches ranged from 10-40 fish per boat.
In the lower stretches of the Tar/Pamlico River from Greenville to Washington, plenty of striped bass were caught last week. The majority of catches were reported by anglers fishing upstream of the Washington Highway bridge. Many anglers were catching limits.
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