Conserve & Protect
The Blog of N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

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By NCWRC blogger on 7/25/2014 9:11 AM
(Editor’s Note: Zakk Royce caught and released this 70+ pound blue catfish earlier this week from Lake Gaston in Northampton County. Zakk did not get the actual weight of the brute before he released it back into Gaston because the blue cat pegged his hand-held scale that maxed out at 70 pounds. Zakk does most of his fishing in Gaston, where he hopes to start a guide service after getting his captain’s license. Keep reading to see Zakk describe in his words how he managed to hook and land this giant blue cat — one of many that the Murfreesboro [Hertford Co.] resident has reeled in from Gaston.)

 

I was using whole gizzard shad around 8- to 12-inches long that I had caught earlier that morning on the lake using my cast net. I had been fishing since about 5 a.m., but I actually caught the big blue catfish at two in the afternoon. We also caught plenty of other blue catfish but none close to that big that day.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 8/15/2013 11:55 AM
 By:  Al Kittredge

The August Wounded Warrior / Military Appreciation Day was held on Aug. 14 at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, which is located on the west side of Fayetteville.

The turnout was a little sparse yesterday with about 35 or so people in attendance. The Commission and volunteers have been doing these events for the past five or six years on the second Wednesday of each month to show their appreciation to those who stand in harm’s way so the rest of us can live in this great country.

We’ve found that soldiers who suffer the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) enjoy the challenge of fly tying,which is offered at the beginning of the event.

A lot of kids were in attendance although those numbers are expected to taper once school...
By NCWRC blogger on 8/8/2013 3:09 PM
Results from a three-year fish attractor study are in and confirm what fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission have long suspected but never knew for certain until now — artificial structures constructed from synthetic materials are much better at attracting and holding fish over a long period of time than structures made of natural materials. 

Brian McRae, Piedmont Region Fisheries Supervisor, answers a few questions about the study and what it means for fisheries management in Piedmont reservoirs.

What was the purpose of the study?

The study and data analysis, which began in June 2008 and ended in August 2012, evaluated the effectiveness of four different types of fish attractors, in terms of how well they concentrated fish and how well they held up over a three-year duration. The Commission worked with cities of Greensboro and Burlington to complete the fish attractor study, which was funded through the Sport Fish Restoration Program

...
By NCWRC blogger on 7/15/2013 10:43 AM
The second Wednesday of each month ushers in a low budget but high impact program the folks at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center started over four years ago. We started out by opening the gate to a handful of Wounded Warriors who did not have a suitable place or the equipment to learn the mechanics of fly fishing. A little networking with Ft. Bragg’s Warrior Transition Battalion and Womack Army Medical Center revealed that any kind of fishing was great therapy for soldiers with obvious and not-so-obvious challenges related to the rigors of war. We have since expanded the invitation to anyone with a military connection to include active duty,reserves, National Guard, retired military, VA card holders or N.C. Handicapped Sportsmen and their family members. Show up between the...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/23/2013 8:25 AM
Catching fish is fun, but keeping fish can be even more fun, particularly when you have some new recipes. So, we thought we’d pass along a few tried-and-true recipes, courtesy of N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Fisheries Biologist Kevin Hining, who knows a thing or two about cooking fish.







Backpack Campfire Trout

Many folks use this method when backpacking because you can lighten the load by leaving the heavy skillet at home.

Trout

Aluminum foil

Butter

Bacon

Seasoning salt

1)     Gut fish and remove scales, if needed. I leave the head on, which also allows the use of the “cheek” meat.

2)     Put a pat of butter inside each fish and place fish on a piece of aluminum foil. Add a pat of butter on each side of the fish, sprinkle inside and outside with seasoning salt,...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/5/2013 11:05 AM
Come Saturday night lots of anglers in western North Carolina will be dining on trout. That’s because Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters open at 7 a.m. this Saturday, and anglers fishing on waters classified as hatchery supported can harvest a maximum of seven trout per day with no size limits or bait restrictions. The season will run until Feb. 28, 2014.

When you’re harvesting fish, be sure you’re fishing on hatchery-supported waters — they’re marked with green and white signs. If you’re not sure where the nearest hatchery-supported trout water is, visit our trout fishing page to view our N.C. Interactive Fishing Access Map or download a trout fishing map for each county in western North Carolina.

This year, Commission staff will stock nearly...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/3/2013 12:37 PM
By Al Kittredge

The trout,which are cold water species, have completed their fly-fishing clinic mission at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center. With the onset of warmer weather, they are available for harvest at events coordinated with church groups, assisted living homes and veterans groups. We scheduled an extra Wounded Warriors / Military Appreciation Day the afternoon of March 27 for some "fish and keep." Any legal method of fishing, i.e., fly, spinner or bait fishing, is allowed at these end-of-season events. Per North Carolina regulation, there is a limit of seven fish per participant.

By 12:30 p.m., the lower parking lot was full and 100+ soldiers and retired veterans were waiting for the signal to head to the ponds.

The number of fishermen beating the water soon drove the fish to the bottom but just about everyone who stuck it out at the trout ponds came away with a few fish.

We have a variety of fish in the other ponds, which...
By NCWRC blogger on 3/21/2013 3:07 PM
By Al Kittredge

The fishing was good but the"catching" left a lot to be desired. 

That's a good description for the 2nd Boy Scout Fly-Fishing Merit Badge Clinic held on March 16 at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center,located on the west side of Fayetteville.

Not to worry, we had a good group of scouts and scout leaders. Everyone learned something and had a good time. Most of the scouts were familiar with spin cast and cane poles but very few had seen or assembled a fly rod.  After classroom demonstrations on rod assembly, it was time to move outside for more discussion about the basics of casting along with demonstrations of what good and poor techniques look like.  Everyone nodded in agreement that they could emulate what our volunteer caster so gracefully demonstrated....
By NCWRC blogger on 3/20/2013 1:14 PM
Spring arrived this morning although you wouldn’t know it by the temperature outside — a brisk mid-30s throughout most of the Piedmont, and in the mountains, a downright bone-chilling mid-to-upper 20s.

Look past the temperatures though, and you can see and hear many signs of spring. From the azaleas that bloom a cornucopia of reds,oranges, pinks and whites to the forsythia that glows golden in the shimmery sunshine to the Eastern towhee that trills a metallic yet musical “drink your tea” for his mate, the season of hope, renewal and love is upon us —and not a moment too soon.

Here are our top 10 sights and sounds of spring, in noparticular order.

10) Although they’re year-round residents in North Carolina, American robins are not seen as often during the winter, preferring to spend much of their time roosting in trees.  But come early spring,...
By NCWRC blogger on 3/11/2013 10:54 AM
by Al Kittredge

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission's John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center,located on the west side of Fayetteville, hosted several Boy Scouts troops last weekend as they finalized their requirements for the Boy Scout Fly-Fishing Merit Badge.

We've held these Fishing Merit Badge events for the past several years. They are so popular that we’re always at capacity for these camping/fishing weekends reserved for Scout Troops.  Most troops make a weekend of it by arriving Friday evening early enough to pitch tents, build afire pit and have a grand old time.

The troop leaders were provided teaching materials at the time of enrollment, which helps focus the scouts' attention to the requirements of the merit badge. Once they meet up with our cadre of volunteer instructors, we follow the same format...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/28/2013 4:36 PM
RALEIGH (Feb. 28, 2013) — We are getting locked and loaded for the Dixie Deer Classic that starts tomorrow at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.  As y’all might guess, a big event like that means a big “To Do” list.

Sure enough, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is going to be there in a big, B-I-G way.  We’re sending folks from Wildlife Management, Law Enforcement, Conservation Education, Wildlife Diversity, Publications, even Inland Fisheries. Yep, fisheries staff at the Dixie Deer Classic. That’ll be a first for us.

Stop by and say “Hi” at any of a number of Wildlife Commission booths, tables, seminars and exhibit trailers that we’ll be staffing.  While you’re chatting it up with us, be sure to register for the many prizes that we’ll be giving away. Check us out:

Wildlife Management biologists...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/27/2013 10:40 AM
By: Al Kittredge

The weather advisory for Saturday dampened the turnout for our 4th Basic Fly Fishing Clinic hosted by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, which is located in Fayetteville. We had 40+ folks registered but apparently many of them were fair-weather fishermen because only 25 showed up. Not to worry, we have only canceled once in the past 10 years and that was because the ponds froze over. Nevertheless, Saturday's forecast was troubling.  We kept a wary eye to the sky and our cell phone apps, which displayed radar of a fast-approaching front of plunging temperatures, rain, sleet and snow.

We start all our clinics with an overview of fly fishing by two of our experienced volunteers. While at least half the participants to our basic fly-fishing clinics do not have a clue about balancing the size of their gear to the species and fishing conditions, by the end of the day, they are informed consumers. They are now able to head to their local fly shop or search out the Internet and not be overwhelmed by the choices available.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/18/2013 10:37 AM
"Okay soldiers listen up! 1300 hours formation on the second Wednesday of the month will be held in the lower parking lot of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, located at the end of Reilly Road on the west side of Fayetteville.  Be there standing tall and ready to have some fun. Civilian clothing optional."

Maybe those weren't the exact words but this is approximately what the First Sergeant of one of Fort Bragg's Warrior Transition Companies announced to his soldiers earlier this week.

And what a difference a little command emphasis makes. We have been doing these Wounded Warrior / Military Appreciation Days for four years. Attendance has been up and down with a lot more down than up. Today's attendance of more than 75 soldiers filled the parking lot and gave us hope that our efforts are not wasted. The Wildlife Resources Commission provides a wonderful venue. Volunteers, many of whom are veterans themselves, provide the oversight and instruction. All fishing gear is provided and a fishing license is not required.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/5/2013 2:29 PM
By Al Kittredge

It was a “stick-your-hands-in-your-pockets” temperature at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center on Saturday morning when we hosted the 3rd Basic Fly-Fishing Clinic of the season. The sun was out most of the day but it only got up to the mid-40s by noon.

Brrrrrrr - we certainly will not have to worry about the ponds warming up too much for the trout anytime soon.Thankfully the wind was not too bad.  

 In spite of the brisk conditions, we once again had a full house. By the time everyone signed in, we had more than 40 folks who wanted to learn the basics of how to fish with a fly rod.

We've changed the format a little this year. Participants receive a comprehensive handout that reviews, in picture and word, most of what is taught throughout the day. Those who arrive early can practice...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/1/2013 9:24 AM
Talking Hybrids with Piedmont Region Fisheries Supervisor Brian McRae

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission currently stocks 162,500 striped bass annually into Lake Norman, which is located in Iredell, Catawba, Lincoln and Mecklenburg counties. Brian McRae, Piedmont Region fisheries supervisor, answers a few commonly asked questions about Lake Norman’s striped bass and hybrid striped bass fisheries.

Is the Commission stocking 162,500 hybrid striped bass into Lake Norman this year?

Yes, we are replacing the striped bass fishery at Lake Norman with a hybrid striped bass fishery.  We will stock 162,500 hybrids into Lake Norman this summer instead of 162,500 striped bass.

The hybrids will be the traditional cross between white bass males and striped bass females. 



Why is the Commission stocking hybrid striped bass instead of striped bass at Lake Norman?

This change is an effort to address the increased frequency and magnitude of the striped bass kills that occur...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/24/2013 2:37 PM
 By Al Kittredge

With Jan. 19, 2013 crossed off the calendar the 2nd Basic Fly Fishing Clinic offered at the N.C.Wildlife Resources Commission's John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center is now history. It was a bit nippy in the morning but the sun came out and warmed things up nicely by early afternoon.

These clinics are very popular and fill quickly. We learned from the airlines and overbook the 35 available slots — combine that with our policy of not turning away "walk-in's" and we continue to have a full house.

We have a new curriculum that emphasizes the importance of casting. If you can't cast your fly to your intended target, you will have a frustrating day on the water.

The overview is followed by a series of hands-on stations that teach proper line pick up, timing, casting arch, power...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/17/2013 2:49 PM
By Al Kittredge

FAYETTEVILLE (Jan. 16, 2013) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, located in Fayetteville, opened its doors for Fort Bragg’s Wounded Warrior Transition Battalion, the North Carolina  Handicapped Sportsmen and military personnel and their families for the first Wounded Warrior/Military Appreciation Day of 2013.  The event was held at the center from 1 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 9.

Commission staff stocked trout in two of the center’s ponds back in December for folks who want to fly fish, and there was a variety of different fish in the other ponds too.All fishing is on a catch-and-release basis. We offer basic fly-tying instruction as well. The Pechmann Center provides all equipment for these Wounded Warrior/Military Appreciation Day events; however, participants are encouraged to bring and use their own gear. If you’re not into fly fishing, we have spin cast outfits and bait for use on the catfish ponds. A North Carolina fishing license is not required for these events. The Commission provides the venue, and local volunteers, many of whom are veterans themselves, provide the instruction.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/9/2013 11:08 AM

By Al Kittredge

FAYETTEVILLE (Jan. 9, 2013) — The New Year is here and with it comes the annual series of fly-fishing clinics hosted by the N.C.Wildlife Resources Commission at the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center located on the west side of Fayetteville in Cumberland County.

By NCWRC blogger on 1/3/2013 3:03 PM
It began more than 10 years ago as a casual conversation between two avid fly fishermen and a Wildlife Commissioner.

The subject? Trucking trout down from the mountains — the only place these cold water-loving fish can live throughout the year —to a couple of small ponds at a fishing education center in Fayetteville in the dead of winter, and conducting fly-fishing clinics for local anglers.

That conversation between Bowman Smith and Tom Morketter and former Wildlife Commission Chairman John E. Pechmann morphed into some of the most popular fishing events held every year at the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center.

Every December since 2002, Division of Inland Fisheries staff has loaded a hatchery truck and driven approximately 1,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout from the Bobby N. Setzer Fish Hatchery in Brevard to the Pechmann Center in Fayetteville. The 5-hour trek is the Commission’s way of“bringing the fish to the people” — in this case, bringing the trout down the mountains to...
By NCWRC blogger on 12/20/2012 11:02 AM
Successful crappie fishing in winter can be as simple as finding baitfish. So, where to look? As the water temps this time of year really start to plunge, baitfish leave the shallows and head to the main creek and river channels. They pack into huge schools and often suspend directly over the channel. When this happens, you can bet the larger predator fish will be close. This is when a fish finder really will come in handy. It not only will show you where the channels are, but it also will show you big schools of baitfish, along with the larger fish hanging below the bait or at least near the bait. Many fishermen will automatically think they need to run down to the deep water near the dam, but on many reservoirs, these large pods of bait will gather in the deepest water just down from the upper dam. This can be a mile or two down...
By NCWRC blogger on 11/15/2012 9:36 AM
Bennett Wynne, a biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Division of Inland Fisheries, was recognized at the Commission’s business meeting last week for selection as the 2012 Fisheries Biologist of the Year — an honor bestowed on him by the Southeastern Association of State Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
By NCWRC blogger on 11/9/2012 1:20 PM

RALEIGH, N.C. (Nov. 9, 2012) — State Fairs and County Fairs may have ended last month, but follow-up work and debriefings continue into the winter. One topic of discussion within the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission addresses the Wildlife Diversity Buttons T-shirt that was developed in cooperation with Neuse Sport Shop this year as a fund-raiser for the Wildlife Diversity Program.
By NCWRC blogger on 9/10/2012 11:38 AM
(Editor’s Note: For the past two summers, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Centennial Center for Wildlife Education has offered the “Becoming an Outdoors Diva” camp for girls ages 12 to 17. Madeline Rickard, 14, participated both years. Here, she writes about her experiences. She is in the middle of the photograph.) The days were jam packed and exhausting, and oftentimes sweaty, but it was so much fun that I didn’t even realize how tired I was until I was falling asleep on the ride home every day. That was Becoming an Outdoors Diva camp, and it was a great experience for all types of girls, even ones who prefer to stay inside. The camp was actually split pretty evenly between being inside and outside, so we had plenty of chances to cool off and rest. We were always moving on to something new and trying out a lot of different activities, so you tried...
By NCWRC blogger on 7/6/2012 3:54 PM
MAYBERRY, N.C. — We were saddened to learn earlier this week of the passing Andy Griffith, whose iconic “Andy Taylor” character earned him a spot among North Carolina’s favorite sons.

Born in Mt. Airy, N.C., Griffith was said to have based the town of Mayberry in the Andy Griffith Show on his home town located in Surry County. Griffith’s “Andy Taylor” character was well known — and loved —for his gentle good humor, parenting wisdom, and charming, but effective, good-ol’-boy approach to problem solving.

But Andy Taylor was also known for his love of fishing, and that’s where we’re going with today’s blog — the shores of Myers Lake near Mayberry. 

Turns out the Surry County Arts Council still holds an annual “Mayberry Days” festival in Mt. Airy. In nearby Fleetwood, N.C., we find the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s D-7 Assistant...
By NCWRC blogger on 6/1/2012 10:24 AM
Fishing just got a little easier — well, finding fishing holes just got a little easier now that the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has added a map of nearly 550 fish attractors placed in 50 of the most popular lakes, reservoirs and lakes throughout the state.

Complementing the fish attractor map are GPS coordinates, which anglers can import using a text file, an Excel file or a GPX (GPS Exchange Format) file.

If you’re using a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device, you can access the map using the agency’s new mobile website. Just tap the “Fish Attractors” icon on the Maps tab.

The Commission added another map to its mobile website for anglers who are fishing along the coast and want to know if they’re fishing in joint or coastal waters. The Coastal/Joint Waters Map also is located under the Maps tab on the mobile website.

Check out both maps here.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 5/31/2012 8:36 AM
“How will I recognize it?”  I asked.

We were starting a series of surveys for the federally endangered Cape Fear shiner in 2007.  This unique, golden fish is found only in the Cape Fear river basin of North Carolina, and we were on a mission to ascertain its current status in the state.

“Oh, you’ll know it when you see it,” they assured me.

So I dutifully picked up my end of the seine and proceeded to stare intently at the endless piles of shiners we collected, humming, “Which one of these is not like the other…?”

The Cape Fear shiner is a member of the Notropis genus, approximately 18 of which live in North Carolina. Just within the Cape Fear basin, there are four or five Notropis species that are extremely difficult to distinguish from our target species.

“Look for...
By NCWRC blogger on 5/24/2012 8:15 AM
Last Report of the 2012 Striped Bass Season on the Roanoke River

On Tuesday, biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission completed their last spawning stock assessment of the season. They collected about 75 striped bass while electrofishing at Weldon. According to Jeremy McCargo, a few stragglers are left, but for the most part the striped bass have made their way back down the river to the Albemarle Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

Many thanks to the folks who made the fishing report possible this year: Jeremy McCargo, Chad Thomas, Ben Ricks and Kevin Dockendorf, who provided valuable field assistance, as well as provided updates for the fishing report throughout the season. Pete Kornegay and Frank McBride provided timely information from the creel survey that greatly assisted the report.

Without their weekly input, these reports could not have been written.

A special thanks to Charlton Godwin and Division of Marine Fisheries staff, as well as Julie Harris with N.C. State...
By NCWRC blogger on 5/17/2012 8:29 AM
Visit the Striped Bass Fishing page for more information on striped bass fishing in the Roanoke River.

After a flurry of heavy fishing activity during late April and early May, fishing effort on the Roanoke River has slowed dramatically this week. The few fishermen giving it a try, however, are still reporting decent catches of striped bass. Jeremy McCargo, Ben Ricks and Kevin Dockendorf, fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, sampled the river with electrofishing techniques on Tuesday and collected around 400 striped bass. The fish were measured, tagged, and released.  While on the river, McCargo reported only four boats fishing for striped bass.

As in the last few weeks, stripers have been scattered from the Weldon boat ramp downstream beyond Troublefield Gut.  McCargo’s sampling revealed fish were schooled up in pockets, indicating that anglers should...
By NCWRC blogger on 5/10/2012 7:50 AM
Visit the Striped Bass Fishing page for more information on striped bass fishing in the Roanoke River.

The peak of the striped bass spawning season on the Roanoke River has likely passed, but plenty of fish remain on the spawning grounds and anglers are continuing to catch them.

Jeremy McCargo, Ben Ricks and Kevin Dockendorf, fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, sampled the river on Tuesday and collected approximately 600 fish. As has been the case most of the season, McCargo reported that the fish were scattered from the boat ramp past Troublefield Gut. Although the majority of the sample was smaller fish, the stripers ranged in size from 12 inches through 36 inches and included female stripers that McCargo said were “fresh fish” meaning they had yet to spawn.

Catch-and- release fishing has been good since the harvest season closed at the end of...
By NCWRC blogger on 5/3/2012 10:25 AM
Visit the Striped Bass Fishing page for more information on striped bass fishing in the Roanoke River.

Striped bass harvest season in the Roanoke River Management Area closed on Monday, and anglers fishing at Weldon caught good numbers of fish during the last weekend of the season. Creel clerks Frank McBride and Pete Kornegay interviewed numerous anglers who caught their limit of two fish per day on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Although the fishing – and catching – were really good at Weldon this past weekend, the lower river saw virtually no action – a clear indication that the fish are now on their spawning grounds.

Jeremy McCargo, a fisheries biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, along with fellow biologist Ben Ricks, sampled the river at Weldon on Tuesday, collecting about 300 fish. Their catches showed that the fish were scattered from Little River past...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/26/2012 7:44 AM
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,...
By NCWRC blogger on 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...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/12/2012 8:41 AM
Visit the Striped Bass Fishing page for more information on striped bass fishing in the Roanoke River.

No matter where you’re fishing in the Roanoke River now, you can catch stripers. That’s the assessment coming from N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission biologists and creel clerks this week. From Plymouth to Jamesville to Williamston, even in Hamilton, and all the way up river to Weldon, anglers are catching stripers. Although not in large numbers yet, the fish are starting to move in to the spawning grounds at Weldon in greater numbers.

Fisheries biologists Jeremy McCargo and Ben Ricks sampled the river on Monday at Weldon, collecting about 150 striped bass. They collect stripers as part of an annual spawning stock monitoring survey, which starts in mid-March and lasts through mid-May. They count, measure and weigh the fish before returning them back to the river. Before they release...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/4/2012 10:57 AM
Visit the Striped Bass Fishing page for more information on striped bass fishing in the Roanoke River.

“The best is yet to come.”

That’s Jeremy McCargo, fisheries biologist for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, referring to striped bass fishing on the Roanoke River for this first week of April. While anglers are catching a few stripers on the spawning grounds at Weldon, they’re not catching them in big numbers. At least not yet — in Weldon. However, down around Plymouth, Jamesville and Williamston, anglers are catching fish in good numbers. Creel clerks, Pete Kornegay and Frank McBride, report measuring some nice catches this week and anticipate seeing more as we head into a long, holiday weekend.

McCargo, along with fellow Commission biologists Ben Ricks and Kevin Dockendorf, sampled the river on Monday at Weldon, collecting about 30 stripers. While that number is pretty low, it’s normal for this time of the year. According to McCargo, the catch rate for stripers at Weldon usually increases about the second week in April. And despite a relatively warm winter and warm water temperatures in March that practically promised an early and short striper season, McCargo says that with the recent high water levels and a couple of cool fronts rolling through, water temps have cooled a few degrees and are “about where they typically are most years.”  McCargo also added, “as water temperatures begin to rise again, the stripers should start showing up in better numbers at Weldon.”

...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/3/2012 8:23 AM
 “Dinner’s on the table, Hon.”

Those words will soon be coming from the lips of many a trout angler come this Saturday. That’s the day when hatchery-supported trout waters open to harvest. At precisely 7 a.m. on April 7, anglers fishing on hatchery-supported trout waters can harvest a maximum of seven trout per day with no size limits or bait restrictions. The season will run until March 1, 2013.

Staff with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Division of Inland Fisheries keeps busy stocking about 1,100 miles of hatchery-supported trout waters on a monthly basis from March until August, depending on the individual stream, so that anglers like you can have a quality fishing experience AND enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Just be sure that when you’re harvesting fish that you’re fishing on hatchery-supported waters — they’re marked with green and white...
By NCWRC blogger on 4/2/2012 11:50 AM
Fishing from a kayak takes a special set of skills that many anglers would like to develop. If you’re one of them, don’t miss out on the free “Kayak Fish and Float Workshop,” — a full-day workshop that combines the healthy activity of kayaking with the relaxing sport of fishing.

Spots are still open for the workshop, which will be held at the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center in Fayetteville on April 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

With the help of Mark Patterson, of the N.C. Kayak Fishing Association, and Capt. Jerry Dilsaver, participants will learn how to rig their gear while in a kayak and learn fishing basics for bass, mackerel and assorted panfishes. 

The workshop, which will also feature demonstrations of popular fishing kayaks, is a partnership between the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the Great Outdoor Provision Company and Get Outdoors of Greensboro.

Participants must pre-register and pay a refundable fee of $25. The fee is refunded in full after the participant...
By NCWRC blogger on 3/29/2012 8:03 AM
Visit the Striped Bass Fishing page for more information on striped bass fishing in the Roanoke River.

The fishing activity and effort on the Roanoke River this week remain relatively the same as in the previous two weeks: still plenty of shad at the Weldon and Edwards Ferry boat ramps for both bank and boat anglers with a few striped bass showing up at the spawning grounds in Weldon. The majority of stripers, however, are still in the lower river, down around Plymouth and Williamston.

About the only difference in the report this week is the water flow. It’s up, way up.

That’s according to Jeremy McCargo, fisheries biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission who attributes the higher water flows with the recent heavy rains. “Flows have increased dramatically from what they have been since the striper season opened,” McCargo said. “And higher water flows can certainly influence fishing on...
By NCWRC blogger on 3/22/2012 8:46 AM
This week’s fishing report from the Roanoke River sounds a lot like last week’s report. Hickory shad are still up at Weldon in fairly big numbers, lots of spawning activity is being observed and boat and bank anglers are catching and releasing plenty of shad. Anglers fishing from the Edward’s Ferry BAA near Scotland Neck are also reporting good shad catches. Striped bass are in the lower river still. Jeremy McCargo, a fisheries biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and creel clerks at Plymouth, Jamesville and Williamston, report catches of striped bass continue to be sporadic but appear to be picking up. 

And finally, water flows at Weldon are still quite low so anglers should be cautious when launching their boats and navigating the river – and always wear their PFDs when on the water.

If you get a chance, check out our updated “Striped Bass Fishing Guide for the Roanoke River”...
By NCWRC blogger on 3/15/2012 7:57 AM
It’s been a long winter, but at last, the striped bass season on the Roanoke River is open. And boy, what a season it should be! Hickory shad fishing on the Roanoke River is already in high gear with spawning of shad already being observed at Weldon. And of course, striped bass fishing, which is what makes the river so renowned, will be heating up soon.

As in years’ past, N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission staff will provide weekly fishing reports based on sampling results from the Roanoke River at Weldon and creel surveys conducted throughout the river. The fishing report will be posted here on the Commission’s new Conserve & Protect blog every Thursday morning starting today through around mid-May. Be sure to check out our updated “Striped Bass Fishing Guide for the Roanoke River” page, where you will find loads of information about boating access areas along the river, bait and tackle recommendations,...
By NCWRC blogger on 3/8/2012 2:26 PM
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...
By NCWRC blogger on 3/1/2012 4:28 PM
Made the call to the bullpen. Got the Wildlife Commission’s writer of the Roanoke River fishing report warming up.

The weekly fishing reports will begin next week and will be posted within the Commission’s “Conserve & Protect” blog.

Meanwhile, if you have time this week to head up to Weldon, the shad fishing is heating up, according to Bobby Colston, owner of Colston’s Tackle Box on Highway 48 near Gaston.

“They’re catching shad pretty good right now,” Colston said. “They’ve actually been catching shad off and on for about two weeks, but the fishing’s been getting better and it’s pretty steady this week.”

 Colston said most of the anglers he’s talked to have been fishing from the shore. 

 “The water is low and everybody is fishing from the bank near the [Weldon] boat ramp,” he said.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/29/2012 10:14 AM
Since earlier this month, rumors have been flying over social media and various fishing-related blogs that a spotted bass caught from Lake Norman on Feb. 11 is destined to be the next new freshwater fishing state record.  However, fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission want to set the record straight.

While it’s true that a fish looking like a spotted bass of state-record size was caught from Lake Norman, biologists suspect that the fish is actually a hybrid between a largemouth bass and spotted bass. They met with the angler and his fish on Feb. 12-13 and, after careful inspection of the fish, determined that most of the fish’s characteristics indicate a hybrid.  Being a hybrid, the fish would not qualify for a state record because the Commission does not recognize state records for hybrids, with the exception of hybrid striped bass, which are produced and stocked by the Commission. 

If you want to check out the state-record contender, visit Bass Pro Shops in Concord,...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/28/2012 9:57 AM
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will close approximately 1,000 miles of hatchery-supported waters to fishing one-half hour after sunset on Feb. 29 and reopen them at 7 a.m. on April 7. 

 The Commission closes hatchery-supported waters so that personnel can have all the streams stocked for “opening day.” This year, Commission personnel will stock nearly 878,000 trout, with 96 percent of the stocked fish averaging 10 inches in length and the other four percent exceeding 14 inches in length.

Most hatchery-supported waters, which are marked by green-and-white signs, are stocked repeatedly from March until August every year with catchable-size trout that average 10 inches in length. Many of these waters are stocked monthly, although some heavily fished waters are stocked more frequently. 

Find out where to go fishing by downloading a trout fishing map for each county. These maps  give anglers a guide to fishing...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/21/2012 10:45 AM
The 2012 stocking dates for the delayed-harvest season are now on the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s website as a downloadable PDF.

Delayed-harvest trout waters are stocked annually each March, April and May and again in October and November. This year, the Commission expects to stock more than 311,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout. Of the fish stocked, four percent will be more than 14 inches in length to provide an opportunity to catch larger fish, while the majority will be 10 inches or larger.

 

When anglers are fishing delayed-harvest waters, they cannot harvest or possess any fish from Oct. 1 until one-half hour after sunset on the first Friday in June.  They can only fish with single-hook, artificial lures . No natural bait is allowed. An artificial lure is defined as a fishing lure that neither contains nor has been treated with any substance that attracts fish by the sense of taste...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/16/2012 11:33 AM
The next time you’re fishing Lake Thom-a-Lex, a 650-acre reservoir located in Davidson County, look for white buoys with orange stripes to increase your chances of reeling in a nice catch. That’s because those white buoys mark the spots where staff with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission recently dropped fish attractors — in an effort to enhance underwater habitat, attract fish and improve fishing opportunities.

Leading the effort was Keith Hendrickson, a fisheries technician with the Division of Inland Fisheries. He and other division staff placed 20 Mossback fish attractors throughout the lake on Feb. 1, dropping several near the fishing pier, which should help anglers fishing from the bank and the pier catch more fish. 

Unlike Christmas trees or other woody structure often used as fish attractors, Mossback fish attractors are made of plastic so they won’t decompose and, Hendrickson added, they should last for years.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 2/6/2012 10:32 AM
Traditionalists would have us believe that anniversary presents should follow this pattern: 

·         1st anniversary, paper

·         5th anniversary, wood

·         10th anniversary, tin

·         15th anniversary, crystal

·         20th anniversary, china

·         25th anniversary, silver

·         50th anniversary, gold

·         75th anniversary, diamond

That diamond for the 75th anniversary gift sound good to you?  Willing to trade it for what the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) has behind the curtain?

Hope so, because no diamond can come close to the $14 billion doled out by the USFWS to support fish and wildlife conservation over the past 75 years.

Through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, the USFWS works with state fish and wildlife agencies such as the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to administer several innovative fish and wildlife restoration and management programs....
By NCWRC blogger on 1/30/2012 1:20 PM
Earlier this month, we heard from Dave Yow, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s warmwater research coordinator, on walleye fishing in western North Carolina. This week, we’re going to stay on topic, but we’re moving east to talk about a little-known, but surprisingly good, walleye fishery at Lake Gaston.

As many of you bass anglers probably already know, Lake Gaston, which is located in portions of Halifax, Northampton and Warren counties, provides really good fishing for largemouth bass and striped bass. But walleye fishing can be good too, despite the fact that the species is known as a coolwater fish typically found in the mountains in this state.

Kirk Rundle, the Commission’s district 3 fisheries biologist, is quite familiar with the Lake Gaston walleye fishery, having surveyed the lake frequently since 2005. He and fellow biologist, Bill Collart, target walleye in the early spring during their spawning run just downstream from the John H. Kerr Dam. From the surveys, Rundle and Collart collect data on walleye age, growth, abundance, sex ratio, and length and weight distribution. 

...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/26/2012 10:27 AM
Wildlife Commission personnel will staff the agency’s Mobile Aquarium at the upcoming Carolina Boat & Fishing Expo, Feb. 24-26, at the Greensboro Coliseum located at 1921 West Lee St. in Greensboro.

The Mobile Aquarium allows the Wildlife Commission to display live fish — trout in a “mountain stream” tank and bass, bluegill and longnose gar in a “coastal river” tank.  You can’t go fishing in the tanks, but it’s a good chance to see live game fish and non-game fish up close and personal.

You also can talk about fishing and the latest fisheries management work being conducted locally with the Commission biologists and technicians responsible for the fisheries in the Triad’s reservoirs and rivers. See...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/20/2012 1:26 PM
So, you went out and went hunting, and now you have a freezer full of fresh game.

If you’re stumped as to how to cook it, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has the solution.  The agency’s cookbook is chock full of recipes, ranging from easy venison meatballs to fried muskrat.

Learn to roast opossum. Find out how to make fricasseed raccoon. Even the pickiest eaters will find something they like.  The book’s recipes, which also include fish, shrimp and crabs, were submitted by Wildlife employees, former and current, and their families.

For additional recipes and resources on field dressing, processing game and caring for equipment, visit After the Hunt on www.ncwildlife.org.

By NCWRC blogger on 1/18/2012 4:47 PM
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission always has an interesting lineup of programs and classes at its Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education near Brevard. For the DIY fly-fishing crowd, Commission staff will offer a fishing leader building class on Saturday, Jan. 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Some spaces remain.

Fishing leaders are a shorter length of fishing line, which attaches to a heavier, main fishing line. Anglers then tie flies to tippet, attached to the leaders, which are intended to be virtually invisible to fish, making the fish less wary about striking the flies.

Participants will construct both furled leaders and hand-tied leaders for fly fishing. All materials will be provided. The program is free and open to ages 12 and older. Space is limited and pre-registration is required by calling 828-877-4423 or signing up online.

...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/17/2012 11:15 AM
Although most people think of trout fishing when visiting the mountains — and no doubt North Carolina has some of the best trout fishing opportunities in the Southeast — fishing for walleye also can offer some exciting fishing action as well as some excellent table fare — if you’re lucky enough to land one.

Walleye, also known as pike and jackfish, thrive in cooler waters. While most of North Carolina’s mountain reservoirs have walleye populations, the best walleye fishing can be found in Fontana and Hiwassee reservoirs and in Lake James. That’s according to David Yow, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s warmwater-research coordinator and an expert on walleye fisheries.

Fontana Reservoir, located on the southern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Bryson City, is a large, deep reservoir...
By NCWRC blogger on 1/11/2012 1:42 PM
As savvy visitors to western North Carolina know, a fishing rod and tackle box can be as essential as ski poles and a down jacket in the winter — a time when, if you know where to go and what to fish for, the fishing can be as good, if not better, than other times of the year.

We asked two fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to give us their recommendations for where to fish and what to use if you’re visiting the western part of our state this winter, or, if you’re lucky enough to call this area home year-round.

This week, we’ll talk about trout fishing with Kin Hodges, a fisheries biologist with the Commission. Hodges, who lives and works in the northwestern part of the state in Surry County, suggested that trout anglers try the Ararat River in Mt. Airy, between the N.C. 103 Bridge and Hwy. 52.

This 2-mile section...
By NCWRC blogger on 12/29/2011 2:19 PM
With the holidays over and January looking like one big yawn of nothing to do but sit inside and wait for warmer weather, do you need a reason to get outside and get moving? If so, the Wildlife Resources Commission has plenty of reasons — 1,000 to be exact.

That’s how many catchable-sized brown, rainbow and brook trout the agency stocked recently in two ponds at the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center in Fayetteville. Some mighty nice-looking trout went into the ponds. The Commission stocked the trout in anticipation of four fly-fishing clinics that it, in partnership with Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation, is conducting in January and February.

Three basic skills clinics are scheduled for Jan. 7, 21 and Feb. 4.  These basic skills clinics are ideal for participants who have very limited or no experience with fly-fishing. Qualified...
By NCWRC blogger on 12/21/2011 11:13 AM
See the Wildlife Commission’s Mobile Aquarium and talk to Division of Inland Fisheries staff at the upcoming Bass and Saltwater Fishing Expo, Jan. 6-8, at the fairgrounds located at 1025 Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh.

The Mobile Aquarium allows the Wildlife Commission to display live fish — trout in a “mountain stream” tank and bass, bluegill and longnose gar in a “coastal river” tank.  You can’t eat ‘em, but it’s a good chance to see live game fish and non-game fish up close and personal.  You can also get some face time with Wildlife Commission fisheries staff to chat up fishing or the latest fisheries management work being conducted on your favorite reservoirs and rivers. Tight...
By NCWRC blogger on 11/30/2011 10:30 AM
Legislation has changed concealed carry rules in North Carolina. The general consideration is the law allows more, rather than less, and that is true for game lands, boating access areas, fishing access areas and wildlife conservation areas managed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.  I know the Castle Doctrine and Session Law 2011-268 have gotten lots of attention and generated questions. Learn more about rules for game lands, boating access areas, fishing access areas and wildlife conservation areas here.

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