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Roanoke River Fishing Report Starts Next Week

Mar 8

Written by:
3/8/2012 2:26 PM  RssIcon

As most of you reading this fishing blog already know, striped bass season on the Roanoke River is now under way.

The official Roanoke River fishing report will begin next week and will be posted here, on the Conserve & Protect blog, each week on Thursday mornings until the last of the stripers have headed back downriver to Albemarle Sound and the ocean — usually sometime around mid-May but perhaps earlier this year because of the mild weather. In fact, because of the relatively mild and dry winter North Carolina has experienced, fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission expect stripers — and hickory and American shad for that matter — to be at Weldon earlier than they have been in recent years.

Jeremy McCargo, the biologist who leads the agency’s striped bass sampling effort on the Roanoke River, will be providing most of the information for the weekly reports, although we will be getting updates from creel clerks, Pete Kornegay and Frank McBride, as well.

Be sure to sign up for our Twitter feed, and like us on Facebook —  you never know what Roanoke River fishing tidbits might float by in the form of a tweet or Facebook photos.

On Friday, McCargo provided a snippet of what anglers are catching now as well as a “fishing forecast” of what they can expect this season.  According to McCargo, hickory shad are arriving in the river, and anglers are catching them in small numbers as far up as Weldon. Striped bass are beginning to stage for their spawning run at the mouth of the river near Plymouth.

River flows are very low because of lack of rain in the upper Roanoke River basin. Boaters should use extreme caution in the Weldon area because the water is shallow, leaving rocks and gravel bars exposed or just under the surface.

With the shad beginning to show up at Weldon, anglers need to be able to identify American shad and hickory shad because the harvest limits differ for these species. Anglers are allowed to harvest only one American shad per day from the Roanoke River, but they can harvest a total of 10 shad in aggregate, which makes it permissible to harvest one American shad and nine hickory shad in the Roanoke River. This regulation also will apply on the Neuse River next year (Spring 2013).

Wildlife Commission biologists have posted laminated signs on the Roanoke River again this year to help anglers differentiate between hickory shad and American shad. As seen in this photo, the fish at the top is an American shad, identifiable by its upper and lower jaws of equal length.

The fish on the bottom is a hickory shad, which has a longer, extended lower jaw, or “underbite.”

9 comment(s) so far...

Re: Roanoke River Fishing Report Starts Next Week

I have been a couple of times already, the shad fishing is pretty good. I have been shad fishing in Weldon for 15+ years, caught my first white/American shad in the Roanoke this past weekend.

By Mike Davis on   3/13/2012 11:16 AM

Re: Roanoke River Fishing Report Starts Next Week

What was the water temps when you went? I read the river was pretty low??? Thanks for the info.

By James on   3/15/2012 2:59 AM

Shad fishing question for anglers....

I've been fishing for shad in the Roanoke , Cape Fear, Tar , and Neuse River for decades. I have only caught a couple of American (White) Shad in the Roanoke River. The two I caught were right in front of the ramp at Weldon while waiting for my partner to go to the parking lot, get the trailer, and back down the ramp. So I'd advise you anglers that while idling/waiting in line (out in the river), try casting and drifting a dart/ spoon rig while you are waiting. For some reason I have never caught one casting anywhere along the river. I have caught hundreds of Hickory Shad at Weldon, but the only American ( White 0 Shad i have caught were using this method. I added some extra weight to get the rig down while drifting downstream in front of the ramp.

My Question ???: Where is the best place in the state to catch the elusive American ( White ) Shad? E-mail me at with any information you might want to share on catching these ultra-light, ultra-mean pelagics.

By Richard Hinton on   3/15/2012 9:37 PM

cape fear river

Hi folks, here in Wilmington,N.C., the shad are in the river and headed up to spawn. Easter Monday is the annual Shad Festival at lock and dam #1 near Reigalwood on highway 87. There is being built at the dam, a ROCK ARCH RAMP to allow the fish to pass OVER the dam for the first time since the early 1900's. We're all really excited about the possibility of seeing this fishery come back to a sustainable population. Of course along with the Shad are the Striped bass,and the sturgeons. Cape Fear River Watch has worked very hard to help get this done and are so thankful to the Wildlife commission, the Marine Fisheries and the Corp. Chip Collier of the NCMF told me this past week that they are still tagging Bass and started tagging Shad. Cape Fear River Watch purchased 20 sonic tags in Feb. that were implanted in the Striped bass and the Nature Conservancy purchased 20 for the shad. They can be electronically monitored on the way up and over the dam now. This is big stuff for us here. Anyone wanting to come to Wilmington to see all of this or to learn more, call me at 910-620-0296 or Cape Fear River Watch @910-762-5606. Advocates for the Cape Fear River.

By Charles Robbins on   3/20/2012 6:45 AM

Re: Roanoke River Fishing Report Starts Next Week

My wife and son and I fished in the shad tournament last Saturday at Weldon for some odd reason fishing was tough on everyone. My son caught an American Shad so we carried him to the scales for people to see the difference between the american and hickory shad..My son finished 2nd in the youth division with a 2 lb 4oz shad he did much better than I did.The winning weight in the adult division was a 2lb 6 oz.It was a good tournament and had I am guessing around 50 entries weather was great and we all had a good time

By Tony Copeland on   3/22/2012 8:06 AM

What happened to the shocking data and better info?

This info now is pretty ho hum. What happened to weekly shocking and collection reports for shad and stripers on the Roanoke River site?

Is there some other means to access this info? I have logged and compiled shocking data since late 90's to watch variances of catches with such data.....and actually plan outings that way. This is an unusual season, no doubt, with wildly varying flows and water temps........all the better to have some hard data (shocking results? or other?). Please help with request for data. Thanks much for all your efforts.......thanks even more for continuing work at restoring the American Shad, which we all know, now, have begun to reappear there. Wow! How special is that? Please respond here, or preferably at: I am a volunteer, assisting when needed; a Catch 'n Release proponent, and one who chats regularly with your staff "on the river". Gave up my "spot" recently upriver females, at that time, were/are tough to shock, or "catch up". Thanks so much for your efforts, Jim Cole

By Jim Cole on   3/31/2012 9:05 PM

Re: Roanoke River Fishing Report Starts Next Week

Shad season ruined this year by 21 feet of water released last week of march. Warm winter meant run was starting early, March 21st we caught 108(slow for weldon, but a good start). Next weekend after 21ft released and water temp drops 12degrees,we caught less than 10. Weekend after that less than 10. We caught less than 120 shad this year at weldon, our yearly average is over 600 at weldon. ALL DUE TO IRRESPONSIBLE WATER FLOW.

The shad eggs have been killed by water rises and temperature drops for the past several years due to the irresponsibility of the NCWRC and the ACOE. If something isn't done about the water release soon the shad will be DESTROYED just like the Herring were at Weldon.

P.S. The NCWRC claims the herring are depleted due to commercial fishing. IN REALITY THE HERRING WERE KILLED BY YEARS OF IRREGULAR WATER FLOW ON THE UPPER ROANOKE, NO OTHER REASON. Until the shad are protected like the stripers the decline will continue until eventually the shad will be destroyed like the Herring were.

When the shad and herring have already laid their eggs and the water temperature drops 12 degrees due to a huge release of water, EVERY HERRING AND SHAD EGG ON THE ROANOKE IS KILLED.

By edmund maxwell on   6/6/2012 9:44 AM

Re: Roanoke River Fishing Report Starts Next Week

Where is the Weldon fishing report.Supposed to start week after 8 th. is it on another web site?

By Harvey Gentry on   3/22/2015 10:49 AM

Re: Roanoke River Fishing Report Starts Next Week

The Coastal Rivers Fisheries Reports are located on our home page or on the fishing page. On our home page, you can access them by clicking on the "Coastal Rivers Fisheries Reports" scrolling icon at the bottom of the page. From the "Fishing Page," you can access them by clicking on the Coastal Fisheries Reports" link on the right side of the page. Here is a direct link:

By NCWRC blogger on   3/23/2015 6:40 AM

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