RALEIGH, N.C. (Aug. 23, 2010) – As of Aug. 1, there is no longer a minimum size limit for striped bass at Lake Gaston and Roanoke Rapids Lake from June 1 through Sept. 30, although the four-fish daily creel limit still applies.
From Oct. 1 through May 31, the striped bass regulation will remain a four-fish daily creel limit with a 20-inch minimum size limit.
The new regulation, approved by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission in March, allows anglers fishing Lake Gaston to harvest striped bass that otherwise might not survive if caught and released during the summer. Research indicates catch-and-release mortality of adult striped bass is high when water temperatures exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
In previous years, striped bass anglers on Lake Gaston typically would catch and release many stripers until they caught four that exceeded the 20-inch minimum length limit. The catch-and-release practice had an unintended effect of killing some of the released striped bass during the summer because stripers are less tolerant of summer conditions than other game fishes.
“This rule will only have its intended effect if anglers either stop fishing after they catch their four stripers or they change tactics and fish for other species,” said Christian Waters, fisheries program manager with the Commission. “Anglers will have to be diligent in targeting striped bass on a limited basis.”
Commission biologists conducted a recent creel survey at Lake Gaston and found that the majority of striped bass caught, particularly during the summer months, were less than 20 inches in length.
Local anglers, including the Lake Gaston Striper Club, have voiced interest in and support of this new regulation.
While still under review and in the public comment period in Virginia, this same regulation is scheduled to go into effect in the Virginia portion of Lake Gaston on Jan. 1, if approved by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Board of Directors at their Oct. 5 board meeting in Richmond.
Find more information on fishing in public, inland waters.