Fishing Report for April 19
4/19/2012 8:02 AM
Visit the Striped Bass Fishing page for more information on striped bass fishing in the Roanoke River.
“We’re heading towards the peak.”
The “peak” Jeremy McCargo is referring to is the peak of striped bass fishing on the Roanoke River for this year.
McCargo, a fisheries biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, along with fellow biologists Ben Ricks and Kevin Dockendorf, sampled the river at Weldon on Monday, collecting about 330 stripers, more than double their efforts from last week. About two dozen of the fish collected this week were large females —the biggest fish so far —indicating that the fish are moving on to the spawning grounds in greater numbers and with greater intensity. Fishing over the next couple weeks should be optimal so if you’ve been waiting patiently for the stripers to arrive to make a trip to the Roanoke worth your while, well . . . your wait is over. Due to the unseasonably warm weather this spring, McCargo also added that the stripers will likely spawn earlier than usual and will stay on the spawning grounds for a shorter period of time this year.
Anglers at Weldon have been catching their limits for the most part, McCargo said. Same was true for anglers downriver at Hamilton, Williamston and Jamesville. While the cooler weather over the weekend slowed the fishing effort down somewhat, this week’s unseasonably warmer temps have ramped up the fishing again.
Anglers are using a variety of baits – some more successful than others depending on where you’re fishing. According to McCargo, fresh cut bait is working well in the lower river, and in the upper river, live bait, typically gizzard and threadfin shad, are doing the trick. Artificial lures, such as soft plastic, fluke-type baits, seem to be hitting the mark as well. Find out more about what tackle to use here.
In these last few weeks of striped bass harvest, check out the how to measure a fish properly document to make sure your two keepers-a-day are within the legal limit.
Also a couple of things to remember while you’re on the river this weekend are the two tagging programs currently under way. If you land a tagged striper, you could be the lucky recipient of a hat from the Division of Marine Fisheries, $5, or a crisp new Benjamin ($100). Learn more about the tagging programs and what to do if you catch a tagged fish here.
Because shad are still in the upper river, anglers should know the shad regulations and also how to identify American shad from its closely related cousin, the hickory shad. Within the inland waters of the Roanoke River and its tributaries, only one American (white) shad can be included in the daily limit of 10 shad per angler. Inland waters on the mainstem of the Roanoke River are upstream of the U.S. Highway 258 Bridge near Scotland Neck.
For a downloadable, color pamphlet identifying the species of shad and herring found in North Carolina waters, click here.
High flows following periods of low flow dislodge limbs, logs and in some cases, trees from up river locations. Boaters should take extreme caution when traveling on the water and be on the look-out for these floating hazards! Similarly, extreme low flows can expose rock outcroppings and make many areas too shallow to access.
For additional safety measures, the Commission urges boaters to file a float plan before getting on the river. Filling out a float plan and giving it to a reliable person before you leave the ramp can be a life-saving decision.
Check out the North Carolina Boating Checklist to be sure you’re complying with on-the-water rules and safety recommendations.