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4/25 Roanoke River Fishing Report

Apr 26

Written by:
4/26/2012 7:44 AM  RssIcon

Visit the Striped Bass Fishing page for more information on striped bass fishing in the Roanoke River.

In this last week of striped bass harvest, the fishing has been up and down, hit or miss, depending on when you’re fishing and where you’re fishing. While most everyone expected that the season would be in high gear by now, cooler, wetter weather put a damper on the fishing action over the last week – a trend that hasn’t picked up quite yet. 

The cooler water temperatures resulted in a decrease in spawning activity, which means the fish should be in Weldon for a good while longer, waiting for the water temperatures to go up. Just how much longer is anybody’s guess. If you want to go fishing, and particularly if you want to keep your daily limit of two fish, you need to head to the river before next Monday, which is the last day of the harvest season.

Even fisheries biologists, with their electrofishing gear, aren’t immune to the weather whimsies that can affect fishing effort.  Jeremy McCargo and other fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission sampled the river at Weldon last Thursday and this past Monday. Thursday was their best collection day so far – about 630 fish were collected and tagged. On Monday, however, they collected only 300.

McCargo attributes the atypical decline to the changing weather conditions that have the fish scattered all over the river. Although most of the fish should be on the spawning grounds at Weldon by this time of year, anglers were continuing to have decent success around Hamilton and areas even further downstream – that is, until the day before yesterday when it was like “someone flipped a switch,” and the fishing went to nothing, according to creel clerk, Pete Kornegay. He and fellow creel clerk, Frank McBride, reported very little fishing effort and limited success at Williamston on Tuesday.

Fishing news can change quickly, however. On Wednesday, Ricky Mobley of the Roanoke Sportsman in Williamston reported that anglers were again catching fish at Williamston – along the bank, anglers were throwing artificial lures and reeling fish in, while boating anglers were having success with cut bait.

Did we mention that your fishing success depends on WHERE you’re fishing and WHEN you’re fishing?

Mobley also said that it had been one of the best rock seasons he has seen in a long time. “They’re still catching ‘em and have been since March 1,” Mobley said on Tuesday. While fishing may be good down river, the Weldon area has plenty of fish as well. However, some anglers were doing well, but others weren’t. “Most anglers were drifting downriver to cover lots of water,” McCargo said. “Once they found a school of fish, they would make multiple drifts in that location.”

On Monday, quite a few boats appeared to be catching the most fish from the rapids at the Weldon boat ramp down past the big rock, McCargo said.

Bobby Colston, of Colston’s Tackle Box on Hwy. 48 south of Gaston, reported on Wednesday that most of the fish being caught were between the Big Rock, down to the Powerline, with Troublefield Gut, which is pretty much in the middle area, seeing a lot of fishing action.

He said most anglers were throwing live bait, although a few were using bucktails and sassy shad lures.

Find out more about what tackle to use here

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  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 $100. Learn more about the tagging programs and what to do if you catch a tagged fish here.

And finally, check out this cool video highlighting an earlier sampling day of the 2012 striped bass electrofishing and associated tagging studies occurring this year on the Roanoke River. The video was shot and posted by Capt. Rod “Ponytail” Thomas. Great work!

 Safety Note


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.

3 comment(s) so far...

Re: 4/25 Roanoke River Fishing Report

The fishing was better a month ago than it is now.All this talk about water being too cool for fish to spawn they usually spawn around mid May just like they have for the 30 plus years I have fished the river.The fishing is as bad on the river now as I have ever seen it.I think there are plenty fish way down the river but to get the numbers of fish and size you have to have descent water and we don't have it its that simple the water has been cutting back more and more each week.We had over 3 1/2 inches of rain this week which should bring Kerr Lake up good turn some water loose and the fish will come to the spawning grounds of Weldon.How can they end the season saying we have reached our quota most people can't even catch there 2 fish limit and the season ends Monday at the rock fishing capital of the world till next March what a joke isn't it!

By Tony Copeland on   4/27/2012 6:58 AM

Re: 4/25 Roanoke River Fishing Report

I remember the time it was worth driving to Weldon to go fishing. Yes, the fish will be there in great numbers. Can 2 fish feed my family? I don't think so. How much does a 18" fish weigh. The most of the fish that are caught are Bucks (male fish). I am 62 and have fished the
Weldon area since I was 12 years old. Yes I remember the days when you could have a good timefishing weldon. The big fish were caught on big plugs being trolled. What about the HOT Pink.
It seems to me that a few own these fish. Hope there will be no more chemical spills and the commercial fishermen stop dumping the dead after they pick through their NETS. They knew what was going to be caught before they dropped those nets. All my fishing buddies laugh when I say let's go STRIPE BASS FISHING. THEY SAY IT'S JUST NOT WORTH IT. COST TO MUCH TO HAUL BOAT THAT DISTANCE FOR 2 FISH. I was lucky! Yes I remember the day a hook and line fisherman could keep enough to have a neighbor fish fry and feed his family and friends. You know every time I leave the yard with my boat, the neighbors are waiting for me to get home. Yelp! They would love to have some fish also. Well, the season closes this Monday. The fish haven't arrived, so THAT'S IT FOLKS. IF WE ARE A LIVING, MAYBE NEXT YEAR THEY'LL BE A JUMPING IN THE BOAT WITH YOU.

By Terry Mclamb on   4/27/2012 8:11 PM

Re: 4/25 Roanoke River Fishing Report

If these guys remember the unlimited harvest then they remember when there were hardly any stripers to be had. I think the DMF, wildlife officers, NC State and whoever else had a part in setting the new rules did a great job. I have been to Weldon and got over a hundred fish. This wouldnt have been possible without their efforts. Well done guys and girls!

By Rob Wilson on   5/1/2012 5:00 PM

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