Coastal Rivers Fisheries Reports
 

In eastern North Carolina, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission conducts springtime electrofishing sampling for striped bass, American shad and hickory shad. This sampling is conducted in the four major coastal rivers — the Roanoke, Tar, Neuse and Cape Fear. We will share results of Commission fish-sampling work as well as Commission and Division of Marine Fisheries' creel surveys March through May. Check back weekly.

 

2024 Coastal Rivers Fisheries Reports

Cape Fear River

Week of April 29, 2024

Roanoke River

Week of April 29, 2024

Neuse River

Week of May 17, 2024

Tar River

Week of May 8, 2024

Striped Bass Regulations

UPDATE FOR 2024: 

Roanoke River: The entire Roanoke River Management Area will be closed for harvest of striped bass.  Read the Feb. 9, 2024 news release here.

Shad Regulations

Roanoke River: The daily creel limit per angler is 10 Hickory Shad and American Shad in combination, only one of which can be an American (white) Shad, in all waters and tributaries downstream of Roanoke Rapids dam. From April 1–June 30 in Inland Waters of Roanoke River upstream of U.S. Highway 258 bridge, only a single barbless hook or lure with a single barbless hook (or hook with barb bent down) may be used.

Tar River: The daily creel limit is 10 Hickory Shad and American Shad (white), in combination, per angler, in the Tar Pamlico and its tributaries downstream of Rocky Mount Mill dam. 

Neuse River: The daily creel limit per angler is 10 Hickory Shad and American Shad in combination, only one of which can be an American (white) Shad, in all waters and tributaries downstream of Falls Lake Dam

Cape Fear River: The daily creel limit is per angler is 10 Hickory Shad and American Shad in combination, only five of which may be an American (white) shad on the Cape Fear River and its tributaries.

Archived 2023 Reports

Roanoke River

Week of May 15, 2023 - Last Report of the Season

WRC biologists Christopher Smith, Deon Kerr and Jeremy McCargo collected 37 Striped Bass near Weldon on Monday, May 15.  The fish ranged from 10 inches to 27 inches in length. Most of the collection this week consisted of male fish. The few females that were collected were spawned out. Fish were collected from the railroad bridge downstream to Troublefield Gut and in Little River. Streamflow was around 7,000 cfs, which was lower than previous weeks, and water temperature was around 70F. A few anglers were on the river and most said they had caught a few fish earlier in the morning. It appears the spawning run may be coming to an end on the Roanoke River, but there could be a few stripers around for a couple more weeks.

On Thursday, May 18, Smith and Kerr collected 33 American Shad near the Hwy. 48 bridge in Gaston. The largest American Shad was about 20 inches. Most of the sample were males, with the few females showing signs of spawning.

WRC creel clerk, Rob Jones, recorded decent Striped Bass catches by anglers fishing at Weldon last weekend and through this week. Saturday was a good day, but the number of anglers fishing Sunday and during the week was a bit lower. Still, most interviews reported catching about 25 to 30 Striped Bass per trip. Anglers are reminded to use single-barbless hooks and limit the amount of time fish are kept out of the water to reduce injury and mortality from catch-and-release.


Week of May 8, 2023

WRC biologists Christopher Smith, Ben Ricks and Jeremy McCargo collected 34 Striped Bass near Weldon on Monday, May 8th.  The fish ranged from 13 inches to 37 inches in length. Most of the collection this week consisted of female fish. Fish were collected from the Gap downstream to Troublefield Gut and in Little River. Streamflow was stable at 12,000 cfs on Monday, and water temperature was around 67F. Although electrofishing catches were low, anglers were observed catching plenty of fish around the sample area. The biologists also observed a few striped bass spawning fights as well. The spawning season is in full swing and should continue until water temperatures exceed 72F.

On Thursday, May 11th, Smith, Kerr, and Conservation Technician Laruen Hemenway collected 39 American Shad near the Hwy. 48 bridge in Gaston.  The largest American Shad was about 19 inches. The number of males and females in the sample continued to be about equal this week. They also collected 5 Striped Bass in the area with the largest at 35 inches.

WRC creel clerk, Rob Jones, interviewed anglers at Weldon, Edwards Ferry and Williamston during the past week. Only anglers fishing at Weldon reported catching striped bass. Catches of 20 to 30 fish per boat were common with some reporting even better success. Anglers are reminded to use single-barbless hooks and limit the amount of time fish are kept out of the water to reduce injury and mortality from catch-and-release.


Week of May 1, 2023

Biologists Christopher Smith, Deon Kerr and Jeremy McCargo collected 110 Striped Bass near Weldon on Monday, May 1st.  The fish ranged from 13 inches to 37 inches in length. Most of the collection this week consisted of female fish. Fish were collected from the Gap downstream to Troublefield Gut and in Little River. A slight increase in flows to 12,000 cfs and cooler air temperatures this week have kept water the temperature around 65°F. Some females showed signs of spawning, however, most fish still contained eggs.

On Thursday, May 4th, Smith, Kerr, and Conservation Technician Laruen Hemenway collected 35 American Shad near the Hwy. 48 bridge in Gaston.  The largest American Shad was about 20 inches. The number of males and females in the sample continued to be about equal this week. Most fish had signs that they have spawned, but some females were not fully spawned out.

The Striped Bass harvest season in the Roanoke River is over for the year, but anglers are still catching and releasing plenty of stripers. Over the last week, the most effort and best success was at Weldon. There was less effort by anglers targeting Striped Bass at downriver ramps. A few fish were landed at Jamesville, and downriver anglers were targeting other species like Largemouth Bass as well. Increased streamflow due to heavy rain over the weekend didn’t seem to affect fishing success.


Week of April 23, 2023

WRC biologists Christopher Smith, Deon Kerr and Jeremy McCargo collected 75 Striped Bass while electrofishing near Weldon on Monday, April 24.  The fish ranged from 16 inches to 46 inches in length. Larger females are starting to show up on the spawning grounds; however, they were spread out and were not with large schools of male fish. Thirteen fish over 27-inches were collected this week. Fish were collected from the Gap downstream to Troublefield Gut. Flows around 11,000 cfs this week will hopefully encourage more fish to move upstream to the spawning grounds. Water temperatures fell back into the low 60’s, likely delaying the spawn for another week. On Thursday, April 27, Christopher Smith, Deon Kerr, and Conservation Technician Laruen Hemenway collected 48 American Shad near the Hwy. 48 bridge in Gaston.  The largest American Shad was about 19 inches. The number of males and females in the sample this week were about equal. Signs of spawning were present on most of the American Shad.

WRC staff conducted the Roanoke River creel survey during the days open to harvest last week. Anglers reported decent catches of Striped Bass throughout the river. In the upper river, heavy fishing pressure was observed at Weldon and Edwards Ferry boat ramps last weekend during the open-harvest days. Good catches of keeper fish were observed at both ramps. At Weldon, some anglers reported having to run downriver to the Halifax area to find fish to catch. Anglers using live bait had the best luck, but some fish were caught on artificial baits including topwater plugs. In the lower river, Striped Bass were caught and harvested near Hamilton, Williamston and Jamesville. The best catches in the lower river were on cut bait. Now that the harvest season has ended for the year, anglers are reminded to continue using single, barbless hooks in the upper river and to practice good catch-and-release techniques to reduce hooking mortality of Striped Bass that are returned to the water.


Week of April 17, 2023

WRC biologists Christopher Smith, Deon Kerr and Jeremy McCargo collected 35 Striped Bass near Weldon on Monday April 18.  The fish ranged from 13 inches to 37 inches in length. The sample continues to consist of mainly male fish; however, more females are starting to arrive on the spawning grounds. Most of the fish were collected upstream near The Gap down past Big Rock. Striped Bass were scattered from Troublefield Gut downstream to Halifax.  More Striped Bass should move upriver towards the spawning grounds as temperatures start to rise and with flows this week and next week expected to be around 7,000 to 8,000 cfs. Smith, Kerr, and Conservation Technician Parker Branch collected 44 American Shad near the Hwy. 48 bridge in Gaston on Thursday April 20.  The largest American Shad was 20 inches and about 3 pounds. The number of males and females in the sample this week was about equal. Signs of spawning were present on most of the American Shad.

The harvest season for Striped Bass on the Roanoke River was open last Friday through Monday, and anglers were fishing throughout the river. WRC staff interviewed anglers at several boat ramps during the weekend. The best catches of Striped Bass were reported at Weldon, but anglers also reported decent catches at Edwards Ferry, Hamilton, Williamston and Jamesville. Striped Bass harvest will also be open again this weekend, April 22 and 23. The daily harvest limit is one fish per person; the minimum size limit is 18 inches and no fish between 22 and 27 inches may be possessed.


Week of April 17, 2023

WRC biologists Christopher Smith, Deon Kerr and Jeremy McCargo collected 30 Striped Bass from near Weldon on Monday, April 10.  The fish ranged from 13 inches to 26 inches in length. The sample continues to consist of mainly male fish. More Striped Bass should move upriver toward the spawning grounds with flows this week and next week expected to be around 7,000 cfs. Smith, Kerr, and Conservation Technician Michael Perry collected 44 American Shad near the Hwy. 48 bridge in Gaston on Thursday, April 13.  The largest American Shad was 20 inches and about 3 pounds. The number of males and females in the sample this week was about equal. Some signs of spawning were present on some of the fish.

WRC creel clerk Rob Jones reported that anglers were catching Striped Bass at Weldon and Edwards Ferry boat ramps this week. A few Striped Bass were caught in Williamston as well. Some Hickory Shad were still around this week, but angler reports were much lower this week than last. Anglers are reminded that the entire Roanoke River Management Area will be open for harvest of Striped Bass April 14 – 17 and April 22 – 23. The daily creel limit is one striped bass per day. The minimum length limit is 18 inches, and no striped bass between 22 and 27 inches may be possessed at any time.


Week of April 3, 2023

WRC biologists Christopher Smith, Deon Kerr, and Jeremy McCargo collected 25 Striped Bass while electrofishing from Weldon to Halifax this week. The largest was 26-inches and 6 lb. The sample mainly consisted of males, with a few small females scattered in. Hickory Shad weren’t netted but were seen in high numbers. Smith, Kerr, and WRC Coastal Supervisor Ben Ricks collected 39 American Shad while sampling near the Hwy. 48 bridge on Wednesday. The largest American Shad collected was 20-inches and 3 pounds. Male shad made up the bulk of this week’s catch. More Striped Bass and American Shad are expected to push upriver as their spawning runs continue through April.

WRC creel clerk, Rob Jones, reported that anglers had great catches of Hickory Shad at Weldon over the weekend. Biologists sampling at Weldon saw anglers catching good numbers of Hickory Shad on Monday as well. Fishing effort and catch has continued to be slow in the lower river. Interview sessions at Plymouth and Jamesville boat ramps over the weekend resulted in few interviews and no reports of striped bass catches, but there were a good number of boat trailers observed at Williamston. A few white perch were reported being caught at Williamston on Wednesday.


Week of March 27, 2023

WRC biologists Christopher Smith, Deon Kerr, and technician Lauren Hemenway collected 22 American Shad while electrofishing near the Hwy 48 bridge in Gaston, NC, this week. American Shad numbers saw another slight decline compared to the previous week, likely due to low flows keeping fish down river. The largest American Shad captured was 20 inches. More male American Shad were collected this week than female American Shad. River levels continue to be moderate and stable and water temperature was 57°F. Although fish are starting to show up on the spawning grounds, the spawning season for American Shad is just getting started. More fish are expected to come upriver as water temperatures increase and approach the ideal spawning range. Striped bass sampling is scheduled to begin next week.

The WRC creel clerk documented excellent catches of Hickory Shad in Weldon again this week. Some anglers boated over 100 fish per day. Fishing activity has been slower in the lower river, but a few striped bass were caught at Jamesville over the weekend.


Week of March 20, 2023

Biologists Christopher Smith (WRC), Deon Kerr (WRC), and Jimmie Garth (Edenton National Fish Hatchery, USFWS) collected 2 Striped Bass and 25 American Shad while electrofishing near the Hwy 48 bridge in Gaston, NC, this week. American Shad numbers overall were lower than previous weeks, likely due to the cooler air temperatures. More male American Shad were collected this week than female American Shad. The largest Striped Bass was 26 inches. River levels were moderate and stable. Although fish are starting to show up on the spawning grounds, the spawning seasons for Striped Bass and American Shad haven’t started. Numbers of both species should continue to increase as water temperatures increase and approach the ideal spawning range.

WRC creel clerk, Rob Jones, reported that anglers were seeing excellent catches of Hickory Shad at Weldon over the past week. Fishing effort was low in the lower river around Williamston, Jamesville and Plymouth, but a few Striped Bass were caught and released in the Jamesville area.

 

Tar River

Last Report of the Season

WRC biologists Kirk Rundle and David Belkoski collected 17 Striped Bass while electrofishing in the Fishing Creek area of the Tar River this week. Approximately 10 American Shad were observed while sampling Striped Bass. The largest Striped Bass was approximately 24 inches and 5 pounds. Striped Bass consisted of approximately 90% males. The river was at very low levels and relatively clear. Water temperatures were approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The spawning season for Striped Bass and American Shad is close to conclusion for the Tar River in 2023.

NCDMF creel agents reported that there has been a decrease in anglers specifically on the hunt for shad. While the traffic was slow in the upper reaches of the Tar River, fishing activity was steady at River Bend and anglers reported a few shad catches. Anglers in the Lower Tar-Pamlico River targeted red drum and spotted seatrout with some success over the past week. Anglers also targeted and landed a variety of freshwater species including largemouth bass, black crappie, and sunfish in the creeks along the river. Weather conditions were favorable.


Week of May 8, 2023

WRC  biologists Kirk Rundle and David Belkoski collected 76 Striped Bass while electrofishing in the Dunbar area and in the Fishing Creek area. Approximately 25 American Shad were observed while sampling Striped Bass. The largest Striped Bass was approximately 30 inches and 12 pounds. Striped Bass consisted of approximately 80% males. The river was low, but rain on Tuesday caused a moderate increase in streamflow around Tarboro. Water temperatures were approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The spawning season for Striped Bass and American Shad should continue for another week or two on the Tar River, but we are nearing the end for both species.

NCDMF creel agents have seen a decline in the amount of angling traffic in the upper Tar River. Anglers fishing in Rocky Mount have had some luck with American and hickory shad. With the decrease in anglers targeting shad, more are setting out for crappie and catfish. In the lower Tar-Pamlico, anglers reported a continued decline in the spotted seatrout bite, but they had success targeting red drum along with freshwater species including black crappie, sunfish, and largemouth bass in the creeks along the river.  Weather conditions were favorable except for some gusty wind over the weekend.


Week of May 1, 2023

WRC biologists Kirk Rundle and David Belkoski collected 60 American Shad and 15 Striped Bass while electrofishing from Battle Park to Route 64. The largest American Shad was approximately 22 inches, whereas the largest Striped Bass was approximately 28 inches and 8 pounds. American Shad consisted of approximately 50% males, while Striped Bass consisted of approximately 75% males. The river was at moderate levels and falling in the Battle Park area, while the river was near flood conditions in the Tarboro area and beginning to fall. Water temperatures were approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The spawning season for Striped Bass and American Shad should continue for several more weeks on the Tar River.

The NCDMF creel survey reported that angler traffic in the upper Tar River is beginning to slow down. American and Hickory Shad were still being landed throughout the river last week. Anglers also targeted black crappie, catfish, and a variety of sunfishes with success. Anglers fishing in the lower Tar-Pamlico area said that most of the spotted seatrout have moved out of the creeks, but they are still reporting success along with red drum. Longnose gar and clearnose skates have moved in the area. Wind conditions and rain were a factor last week.


Week of April 23, 2023

WRC biologists Kirk Rundle and David Belkoski collected 99 American Shad and 74 Striped Bass while electrofishing from Battle Park to Route 64, in the Dunbar area, and in the vicinity of Fishing Creek. The majority of American Shad were sampled near Battle Park. Some Striped Bass were sampled near Battle Park and Dunbar, but the majority of Striped Bass were in the vicinity of Fishing Creek. The largest American Shad was approximately 22 inches, whereas the largest Striped Bass was approximately 30 inches and 10 pounds. American Shad consisted of approximately 45% males, while Striped Bass consisted of approximately 75% males. The river was at moderate levels and relatively clear. Water temperatures were approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The spawning season for Striped Bass and American Shad should continue for several more weeks on the Tar River.

NCDMF creel agents reported that anglers fishing in the upper Tar River caught hickory and American shad last week. The busiest ramps along the river were at Old Sparta and Falkland. Past rainfall created muddy high water and debris throughout the Tar River, hindering anglers and creating hazardous conditions along the river. In the lower Tar-Pamlico, anglers reported that many of the spotted seatrout have left the creeks along the river, but Blount’s Creek remained a popular spot for anglers targeting Spotted Seatrout last week. Anglers also had success targeting Red Drum. Wind and rain were major factors last week, keeping many anglers off the water.


Week of April 17, 2023

WRC biologists Kirk Rundle and David Belkoski collected 70 American Shad and 90 Striped Bass while electrofishing from Battle Park to Springfield Road, in the Dunbar area, and near Fishing Creek. The majority of American Shad were sampled near Battle Park. Some Striped Bass were sampled near Battle Park and Fishing Creek, whereas the majority of Striped Bass were sampled near Dunbar. The largest American Shad was approximately 22 inches, and the largest Striped Bass was approximately 30 inches and 10 pounds. American Shad consisted of 60% males, while Striped Bass were nearly all males. The river level was moderate and falling and fairly turbid. Water temperatures were approximately 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The spawning season for Striped Bass and American Shad should continue for several more weeks on the Tar River.

From the NCDMF creel survey: The shad bite picked up at Battle Park last week. Anglers were catching an even mix of American and Hickory Shad. The bite was strongest earlier in the week, but anglers were still finding American shad from the shore over the weekend. Flooding closed some of the downstream boat ramps. In the Lower Tar and Pamlico River, anglers reported that red drum and spotted seatrout were still being caught. Strong wind and rain have been a factor in keeping many anglers off the water throughout last week. Black Crappie, sunfish, and Largemouth Bass were landed in Tranters Creek and along the Tar River.  Anglers also reported a lot of debris in the water, along with low visibility.


Week of April 10, 2023

WRC biologists Kirk Rundle and David Belkoski collected only four American Shad while electrofishing in the Tar River from Rocky Mount Mills Dam to the wooden suspension bridge near Atlantic Avenue. The largest shad was approximately 18 inches, with only males sampled. No Striped Bass were observed. However, the river was extremely high, turbid and at flood conditions in the Tarboro area. The river is falling in the Battle Park area and may allow for some access, but levels are still increasing downstream and quite dangerous. More rain is expected on Friday. Water temperatures were approximately 57 degrees Fahrenheit. The spawning season for Striped Bass is just beginning on the Tar River, while American Shad spawning should continue for several more weeks.

NCDMF creel agents reported that anglers in the lower Tar-Pamlico River said the Spotted Seatrout bite has slowed down. Blounts Creek and Chocowinity Bay are still very popular, and anglers are reporting good catches. Strong wind and rain have been a factor this past week as well. Anglers fishing farther up in the creeks are reporting success landing sunfishes, Largemouth Bass, Black Crappie, and a variety of catfishes. In the upper Tar River, this past week  anglers have reported good catches of shad around Old Sparta. Like previous weeks, Battle Parks construction still puts a strain on the traffic flow of anglers, so not much change in reporting for that ramp. Despite the severe weather at Port terminal over the weekend, there were reports from several anglers fishing from shore releasing Hickory Shad.


Week of April 3, 2023

Biologists Kirk Rundle and David Belkoski collected 8 Hickory Shad and 117 American Shad while electrofishing from Battle Park to Route 64 and from Swift Creek to Bell's Bridge this week. The majority of American Shad (90) were sampled near Battle Park, whereas all of Hickory Shad were sampled in the vicinity of Swift Creek and downstream. The largest Hickory Shad was approximately 18 inches, and the largest American Shad was approximately 22 inches. Equal numbers of male and female Hickory Shad were collected, while American Shad consisted of approximately 55% females. Four Striped Bass were observed. The river was at moderate levels and falling. Rain forecast for later this week should allow the river to rise to more ideal levels, particularly for safer boating access and maneuverability. Water temperatures were approximately 62 degrees Fahrenheit. The spawning season for Striped Bass is just beginning on the Tar River, while American Shad spawning should continue for several more weeks.

On the lower Tar-Pamlico River, NCDMF creel agents reported that anglers were targeting red drum, spotted seatrout, and striped bass with good success last week. Largemouth bass, along with black crappie, and sunfishes were targeted further upstream in the creeks along the river. Strong wind and rain kept many anglers off the water this past weekend. On the upper Tar River, anglers reported consistent bites and a fair amount of luck catching American Shad. The best catches come out of Old Sparta. Battle Park’s construction still puts a strain on the traffic flow of anglers, and activity was similar to previous weeks. Despite the severe weather over the weekend, there were several anglers catching shad at the Port Terminal boat ramp in Greenville.


Week of March 27, 2023

Biologists Kirk Rundle and Seth Mycko collected 6 Hickory Shad and 106 American Shad while electrofishing from Battle Park to Route 64 and from Swift Creek to Bell's Bridge this week. The majority of American Shad (74) were sampled near Battle Park, whereas the Hickory Shad were sampled in the vicinity of Swift Creek and downstream. The largest Hickory Shad was approximately 19 inches, and the largest American Shad was approximately 22 inches. Equal numbers of male and female Hickory Shad were collected, while American Shad consisted of approximately 55% females. Only one Striped Bass was observed. The river flow was moderate and rising. Recent rains raised the river to levels helpful for safer boating access and maneuverability. Water temperatures were approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The spawning season for Striped Bass is just beginning on the Tar River, while the spawning season for American Shad spawning season should continue for many more weeks.

NCDMF creel agents reported more shad angling activity this past week with more bites and releases than previous weeks, especially at Old Sparta. Battle Park is still under construction, which makes it more difficult to access the ramp, so angler turnout has been low. The shad bite was slow in the Rocky Mount area last week. Anglers fishing in the lower reaches of the Tar River are reporting catches of Stiped Bass, and spotted seatrout were biting in the creeks along the river. The best catches were coming from Goose Creek and Blounts Creek


Week of March 20, 2023

Biologists Kirk Rundle and David Belkoski collected 70 Hickory Shad and 85 American Shad while electrofishing from Battle Park to Route 64 and from Swift Creek to Bell's Bridge this week. The majority of American Shad (51) were sampled near Battle Park, whereas the majority of Hickory Shad (60) were sampled in the vicinity of Swift Creek and downstream. The largest Hickory Shad was approximately 20 inches, whereas the largest American Shad was approximately 22 inches. Equal numbers of male and female American Shad were collected, while Hickory Shad consisted of approximately 60% females. Only two Striped Bass were observed. The river was relatively clear, at low levels and dropping. Rainfall is needed to allow the river to rise to more ideal levels, particularly for safer boating access and maneuverability. Water temperatures were approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The spawning season for Striped Bass is just beginning on the Tar River, while the spawning season for Hickory Shad is at a peak and the American Shad spawning season should continue for many more weeks.

NCDMF creel agents reported that anglers in the upper Tar River saw similar conditions from the previous week due to high winds and chilly weather once again. Anglers luck was hit it miss as far as the catch and release goes. The construction underway at Battle Park has slowed down the traffic for anglers. The bite picked up over the weekend with the best catches of shad coming from Old Sparta and Falkland. Most anglers were catching around 5-10 shad each. In the lower Tar-Pamlico, the action with spotted seatrout continues to slow down. Most anglers in this area have been catching undersized trout around 12-13 inches. Anglers are also targeting red drum, sunfish, and black crappie in the creeks along the river. Strong winds and cold weather have been a factor as well. 


Week of March 13, 2023 

Biologists Kirk Rundle and David Belkoski collected 91 Hickory Shad and 17 American Shad while electrofishing from Swift Creek downstream to Bell's Bridge this week. American Shad and Hickory Shad were most abundant in the vicinity of Swift Creek, although fish were collected in fairly good numbers throughout the entire reach. The largest Hickory Shad was approximately 20 inches, whereas the largest American Shad was approximately 22 inches. Equal numbers of male and female American Shad were collected, while Hickory Shad consisted of approximately 70% males. Only one Striped Bass was observed. River levels were moderate and starting to decline. Water temperatures were approximately 52oF. The spawning season for Striped Bass is just beginning on the Tar River, while the spawning season for Hickory Shad is at a peak and the American Shad spawning season should continue for many more weeks.

NCDMF creel agents reported that anglers are having success catching shad in the upper Tar River within the last week. While many anglers have been just catching and releasing shad, they have had some good bites particularly at Old Sparta. Some anglers have also had luck putting in at Falkland and fishing downstream. Anglers reported little or no luck on recent days with messy weather and high winds. Angling traffic is increasing at the ramps in comparison to last week. In the Pamlico River, anglers have been landing spotted seatrout, red drum, and striped bass in the creeks along the Pamlico River. In the lower Tar River area, anglers are reporting catches of white perch, yellow perch, sunfishes, and black crappie. Rain and windy weather slowed down the activity towards the end of last week. 

Neuse River

Week of May 21, 2023 (Last report of the season)

WRC biologists T.D. VanMiddlesworth and Nick Shaver were able to sample around Goldsboro this week. They launched at Coxs Ferry and collected 11 American Shad and no Striped Bass. The female and male American Shad were in equal proportions. They also launched at Goldsboro along Highway 117 to collect 2 American Shad (male and female) and 1 Striped Bass male. The Neuse was very low, and the water temperature was around 72F. It seems the spawning season for Striped Bass has come to an end for the year, but as has been the case in the past, there appears to be a “May run” of American Shad still spawning in the Neuse River.

NCDMF creel agents reported that water levels at the sites sampled in the upper Neuse River this week have dropped significantly lower than previous weeks. Some sections of the Neuse River only contained a few feet of water which dissuaded anglers from making trips. In the middle Neuse River, fishing activity slightly picked up last week. Anglers fishing in Kinston caught mostly sunfish. Around the Maple Cypress area, anglers were finding plenty of good-sized channel catfish between Pitch Kettle Creek and Contentnea Creek. In the lower Neuse, anglers fishing in the New Bern area and around the mouths of nearby creeks reported catches of spotted seatrout, red drum (mostly undersized), several bluefish, and a few flounders. Further up the river and in the Trent River, anglers were catching bluegill, redear sunfish, and largemouth bass, and catfishes.


Week of May 15, 2023

Despite the low river level, WRC biologists T.D. VanMiddlesworth and Nick Shaver were able to sample around Goldsboro this week. They launched at Coxs Ferry and collected a couple spent male Striped Bass and 20 American Shad. The female and male American Shad were in equal proportions. They also launched at Goldsboro along Highway 117 but did not collect any American Shad or Striped Bass there. The Neuse was very low, and the water temperature was around 75F. It seems the spawning season for Striped Bass has come to an end for the year, but as has been the case in the past, there appears to be a “May run” of American Shad still spawning in the Neuse River.

NCDMF creel agents said that angling activity in the upper and middle Neuse River has picked up as the water levels have gone down. Anglers fishing in Raleigh were catching sunfish and perch last week, but activity in the Goldsboro area was slow during sampling hours. In the middle section of the Neuse, anglers were mostly fishing for largemouth bass and catfish. Anglers fishing the lower Neuse River in the New Bern area and downriver this past week caught red drum and spotted seatrout (mostly undersized), striped bass for catch and release, and bluefish. The weather was fine for fishing over the weekend, and anglers fishing in the Trent River brought in some nice catches of bluegill, and a few redear sunfish. The Trent River also yielded channel catfish, white perch and yellow perch.  Anglers caught mostly bluegill fishing a bit farther upriver on Sunday.


Week of May 8, 2023

Biologists T.D. VanMiddlesworth and Nick Shaver sampled near Smithfield and Goldsboro this week. A total of 41 Striped Bass were collected near Smithfield on Monday. The fish seemed to continue moving downriver in response to the reduced flows from Falls Lake Dam. For the remainder of the week, the duo collected 39 Striped Bass and 25 American Shad from multiple accesses near Goldsboro. The water was falling this week and the water temp was warm. Spawning migrations for both species may be coming to an end soon.

Angling activity in the upper and middle Neuse River remained relatively light last week. NCDMF creel clerks reported that the anglers they interviewed were targeting catfish, and a few Channel Catfish were caught at Cox’s Ferry. In the lower Neuse River, anglers had limited success fishing for largemouth bass and sunfishes last week. Those fishing in the Swift Creek area had better conditions on Saturday but still reported slow going for the same species.  Despite the return of a strong west wind last Sunday, anglers fishing upriver in the Neuse and adjacent creeks had somewhat better luck with mostly bluegill and redear sunfish.


 


Week of May 1, 2023

Biologists T.D. VanMiddlesworth and Nick Shaver sampled the upper Neuse River near the Falls Lake tailrace in Raleigh, Smithfield, and Goldsboro this week. A few female Striped Bass and American Shad were collected near the tailrace this week, but the fish seemed to have moved downriver in response to the reduced flows from Falls Lake Dam. They collected 131 Striped Bass near Smithfield on Thursday. On Friday, the duo collected 12 American Shad and only 3 Striped Bass near Goldsboro. The water remained high this week and the water temp was still cool. Although, the American Shad have been actively spawning for a few weeks, some of the shad collected this week looked like they have yet to spawn. The spawning migrations for both species may be coming to an end soon.

NCDMF creel clerks reported that continued high water resulted in reduced fishing effort in the upper and middle sections of the Neuse River last week. Those that did make it out reported no catch. Rain over the weekend kept anglers inside as well. In the lower Neuse, anglers fishing in the New Bern area continued to catch spotted seatrout, red drum, and bluefish. Anglers fishing in the Trent River on Saturday did well with bluegill, redear sunfish, pumpkinseed, and largemouth bass.


Week of April 23, 2023

On Monday of this week , WRCbiologists T.D. VanMiddlesworth and Nick Shaver sampled the upper Neuse River near the Falls Lake tailrace in Raleigh and collected nearly 100 Striped Bass (mostly males) along with 1 American Shad male. On Tuesday, they collected around 30 Striped Bass (half males/females) and 1 American Shad at Smithfield. On Wednesday, they traveled to Goldsboro and collected seven Striped Bass (half males and females) and 33 American Shad (half males/females). Water temps were around 18-19oC. The high river flows from recent rain events caused the Striped Bass to migrate to the upstream reaches of the Neuse. The American Shad and Striped Bass have been actively spawning for a couple weeks and the spawning migrations for both species may be coming to an end soon.

NCDMF creel clerks reported that high water led to no fishing activity being observed in the upper Neuse River last week. In the middle Neuse River, angling activity also remained low last week. High water levels prevented many boat anglers from making trips. The few who did go out did not report any catch, but most anglers were targeting catfish. In the lower Neuse, anglers fishing in the New Bern area and nearby creeks caught bluefish, a mix of keeper and undersized Spotted Seatrout and Red Drum, Striped Bass and flounder last week. Trent River anglers caught Largemouth Bass, Black Crappie, Bluegills, Redear and Redbreast sunfish, catfishes, and some nice White Perch.

 


Week of April 17, 2023

WRC biologists T.D. VanMiddlesworth and Nick Shaver collected 39 American Shad while electrofishing at Coxs Ferry Boat Access Area near Goldsboro. At Smithfield on Friday, they collected around 20 Striped Bass. They also collected Striped Bass broodfish that will be used to make juvenile Striped Bass for stocking the river this fall. The river level was high in all parts of the river but was falling throughout the week. Water temperatures were around 64oF. The American Shad and Striped Bass are actively spawning and should remain upriver for several more weeks.

NCDMF creel clerks reported that angling activity was slow last week due to elevated water levels and bad weather. Few anglers were interviewed in the middle and upper Neuse River area and no catches were reported. In the lower Neuse River, anglers fishing in the New Bern area and adjacent creeks caught a mix of keeper and undersized Spotted Seatrout, Red Drum, and Striped Bass for catch and release.  The Trent River yielded Spotted Seatrout in joint waters, and White Perch, sunfishes, Largemouth Bass, and catfishes farther upstream. Anglers fishing upstream reported catches of Largemouth Bass, sunfish, and catfishes.


Week of April 10, 2023

WRC biologists T.D. VanMiddlesworth and Nick Shaver collected 5 American Shad in Goldsboro and 4 American Shad in Raleigh while electrofishing this week. Numbers of male and female American Shad were ideal. Low catches were due to high river levels and cooler water temperatures. Three Striped Bass were collected in Goldsboro and 2 Striped Bass in Raleigh. The American Shad and Striped Bass spawning season should continue for several more weeks.


Week of April 3, 2023

Biologists T.D. VanMiddlesworth and Nick Shaver collected 128 American Shad while electrofishing in Goldsboro this week. American Shad were most abundant at Coxs Ferry Boat Access Area. Numbers of male and female American Shad were ideal. River level is on the decline and water temperatures are warming. A total of 18 Striped Bass were collected in Goldsboro with the majority of fish at Coxs Ferry Boat Access Area. The American Shad and Striped Bass spawning season should continue for several more weeks.


Week of March 27, 2023

Biologists T.D. VanMiddlesworth and Nick Shaver collected 73 American Shad while electrofishing in Goldsboro this week. American Shad were most abundant at Coxs Ferry Boat Access Area. Numbers of male and female American Shad were nearly equal. River level is on the incline, and water temperatures are warming. Four Striped Bass were collected in Goldsboro with the majority of fish at Coxs Ferry Boat Access Area. The American Shad and Striped Bass spawning season should continue for several more weeks.

NCDMF creel clerks reported that angling activity remained low in the upper Neuse River last week, but shad fishing picked up towards the weekend. Folks targeting shad had some luck in the Goldsboro area with good catches of hickory and American shad. Anglers were also targeting largemouth bass, catfishes, and black crappie. In the middle Neuse, a few hickory and American shad were caught around the mouth of Contentnea Creek, but the bite was hit or miss. In the lower Neuse, typical spring weather prevailed last past week, starting out cool and breezy and warming up for the weekend. Shore anglers upriver had good luck with hickory shad during the early part of the week, while boating anglers in the New Bern area caught spotted seatrout (mostly undersized) and reported some nice catches of striped bass for catch-and-release during the weekend.  The Trent River also yielded black crappie, white perch, largemouth bass, sunfishes, and catfishes.


Week of March 20, 2023

Biologists T.D. VanMiddlesworth and Nick Shaver collected 15 American Shad while electrofishing in Goldsboro this week. American Shad were most abundant at Coxs Ferry Boat Access Area. Numbers of male and female American Shad were nearly equal. River levels are on the decline and water temperatures are still cool. No Striped Bass were collected. The American Shad spawning season should continue for several more weeks.

NCDMF creel agents reported that anglers had moderate success on the lower Neuse fishing for shad, as did boaters fishing for largemouth bass. One bass fisherman reported having caught a slot-sized striped bass, for catch and release. The bite slowed down on the middle Neuse last week due to cooler temperatures, but angling activity was still high around the Kinston area. Over the weekend the shad bite picked up. Anglers were finding good numbers of American shad and hickory shad in Contentnea Creek. On the upper Neuse, fishing was slow last week but picked up over the weekend. Shad fishing has been hit or miss lately. The best catches have been coming from Mill Creek and Falling Creek around Ferry Bridge Road.

Cape Fear River

Last Report of the Season

WRC biologists Kyle Rachels and April Pope collected 163 American Shad and 24 Striped Bass while electrofishing at Lock & Dam 1, Lock & Dam 2, and Lock & Dam 3 this week. American Shad were most abundant at Lock & Dam 3 while Striped Bass were most abundant at Lock & Dam 1. Water temperatures warmed considerably over the last week (75°F) and streamflow was low (1,600 cfs) and steady. Boaters and anglers are reminded that Lock & Dam 3 is closed but can be accessed by boat using Tar Heel BAA.

According to anglers interviewed by NCDMF creel agents, fishing was fantastic last week in the Cape Fear River. The water levels were down, and the May shad fishing was as good as it has been all year at Lock 1. Along with the shad the striped bass fishing has been very good at Lock 1 for those anglers fishing in the early morning hours.


Week of May 8, 2023

WRC biologists Kyle Rachels, and April Pope collected 75 American Shad and 32 Striped Bass while electrofishing at Lock & Dam 1, Lock & Dam 2, and Lock & Dam 3 this week. American Shad were most abundant at Lock & Dam 2 and Lock & Dam 3, while Striped Bass were most abundant at Lock & Dam 3. Water temperatures warmed slightly over the last week (70°F) and streamflow was normal (4,600 cfs) and falling. Most of the female American Shad and Striped Bass were spent, indicating we’re near the end of the spawning runs. Boaters and anglers are reminded that Lock & Dam 3 is closed but can be accessed by boat using Tar Heel BAA.

According to NCDMF creel agents, high water again was an issue for fishing for most of last week, but water levels receded by the weekend. Largemouth bass fishing has been decent in both the Cape Fear and the NE Cape Fear. There were no reports of American Shad catches last week.


Week of May 1, 2023

WRC biologists Kyle Rachels, April Pope, and Ben Ricks collected 68 American Shad and 59 Striped Bass while electrofishing at Lock & Dam 1, Lock & Dam 2, and Lock & Dam 3 this week. American Shad were most abundant at Lock & Dam 2 and Lock & Dam 3, while Striped Bass were most abundant at Lock & Dam 1. Anglers were observed catching catfish at Lock & Dam 2. Water temperatures warmed slightly over the last week (67°F) and streamflow was above normal (9,000 cfs) and rising. Boaters and anglers are reminded that Lock & Dam 3 is closed but can be accessed by boat using Tar Heel BAA.

NCDMF creel agents reported that water levels decreased and fishing returned to normal on the Cape Fear last week. There were a few shad caught around the locks last week, but no real numbers of late. Striped bass are still being caught near the downtown Wilmington area and up around Lock 1 and 3. Bass, sunfishes, and catfish are also being caught throughout the Cape Fear River.


Week of April 23, 2023

WRC biologists Kyle Rachels and April Pope collected 27 American Shad and 56 Striped Bass while electrofishing at Lock & Dam 1, Lock & Dam 2, and Lock & Dam 3 this week. American Shad were most abundant at Lock & Dam 3, while Striped Bass were almost evenly split between Lock & Dam 1 and Lock & Dam 3. A few American Shad and Striped Bass were also observed at Lock & Dam 2. Water temperatures have been stable over the last week (65°F) and streamflow was normal (6,200 cfs) but slowly falling. The peak of the shad run is likely over, but a few late-season “May Shad” will continue to offer opportunities. Striped Bass spawning is currently peaking. Boaters and anglers are reminded that Lock & Dam 3 is closed but can be accessed by boat using Tar Heel BAA.

From NCDMF creel agents: High water limited fishing last week. Locks 1 and 2 are now open, but there was little activity as water levels were still not favorable for fishing last week. Northeast Cape fear river anglers caught fair numbers of largemouth bass and decent numbers of various sunfishes.


Week of April 17, 2023

WRC biologists Kyle Rachels and April Pope collected 21 American Shad and 52 Striped Bass while electrofishing at Lock & Dam 1, Lock & Dam 2, and Lock & Dam 3 this week. Lock & Dam 1 produced the greatest catch of both species, but a few American Shad and Striped Bass were still holding behind Lock & Dam 2 and Lock & Dam 3. Blue Catfish were also observed in abundance at Lock & Dam 3. Water temperatures were considerably warmer than the previous week (64°F) and streamflow was above normal (17,000 cfs) but slowly falling. Boaters and anglers are reminded that Lock & Dam 3 is closed but can be accessed by boat using Tar Heel BAA.

NCDMF creel agents reported no activity from anglers fishing for shad or striped bass last week because the high water in the Cape fear river had all Lock and dams closed. Anglers fishing in the NE Cape fear river reported catches of crappie, Largemouth Bass, and sunfishes.


Week of April 10, 2023

Biologists Kyle Rachels and April Pope collected 5 American Shad and 16 Striped Bass while electrofishing at Lock & Dam 1 this week. High streamflow prevented sampling at Lock & Dams 2 and 3. Water temperatures were cooler (58°F) and streamflow was above normal (20,000 cfs) and rising. Flood conditions are forecast to extend through April 17 and may affect boat ramp access for several days after. Boaters and anglers should exercise caution due to swift moving water and submerged hazards. 

NCDMF creel agents reported that anglers are still catching shad with the best catches at Lock 2 and 3.  Striped Bass are being caught around the downtown Wilmington area and at Lock 1 and Lock 3. Catfish, sunfishes, Largemouth Bass, and Black Crappie are being caught throughout the inland sections of both the Cape Fear and NE Cape fear river.


Week of April 3, 2023

Biologists Kyle Rachels (WRC), Keegan Nelsen (WRC), and Maggie Gaither (Clemson University) collected 95 American Shad while electrofishing at Lock & Dams 1, 2, and 3 this week. American Shad were most abundant at Lock & Dam 2 (60 fish) and Lock & Dam 3 (33) with relatively few fish (2) observed at Lock & Dam 1. Slightly more males were collected than females (1.6:1 ratio). A few Striped Bass were also observed below Lock & Dam 1, but peak Striped Bass spawning is still a few weeks away. Water temperatures were warming (63°F) and streamflow below normal (2,550 cfs). Anglers should be aware that Lock & Dam 3 (William O’Huske) is closed indefinitely; boaters can access Lock & Dam 3 using Tar Heel BAA. 

NCDMF creel agents report that shad fishing has been really good of late. Lock 2 has been the hot spot, but Lock 1 has been productive as well when the water levels are favorable. Striped bass fishing remained good around the downtown Wilmington area along with some slot size red drum and keeper size spotted seatrout.


Week of March 27, 2023

Biologists Kyle Rachels and April Pope collected 75 American Shad while electrofishing at Lock & Dams 1, 2, and 3 this week. American Shad were most abundant at Lock & Dam 2 (49 fish), with decent catches at Lock & Dam 1 and Lock & Dam 3. Slightly more males were collected than females (1.6:1 ratio). Water temperatures were warming (61°F) and streamflow low (2,100 cfs) but rapidly on the rise. Bottom line—the peak of the shad run has finally arrived. Anglers should be aware that Lock & Dam 3 (William O’Huske) is closed indefinitely; boaters can access Lock & Dam 3 using Tar Heel BAA. 

NCDMF creel agents reported similar fishing success to the previous week. Striped Bass fishing remains good around downtown Wilmington. Lock 1 and 2 have been producing fair numbers of American shad with almost all anglers interviewed last week reported catching some.


Week of March 20, 2023

Biologists Kyle Rachels and Jeremy McCargo collected 18 American Shad while electrofishing at Lock & Dam 2 this week. Equal numbers of male and female American Shad were collected. No American Shad were collected at Lock & Dam 1 or Lock & Dam 3. Water temperatures were cool (55°F) and streamflow low (2,800 cfs). Anglers should be aware that the boat ramp at Lock & Dam 3 (William O’Huske) is closed indefinitely. 

NCDMF creel agents reported that Striped Bass fishing remained good around the downtown Wilmington area last week. Shad fishing was steady at Lock and Dam 1 and 2. There were some shad at Lock 3, but fishing has been slower there.


Week of March 13, 2023

Biologists Kyle Rachels and April Boggs collected 8 American Shad while electrofishing at Lock and Dam 1, Lock and Dam 2 and Lock and Dam 3 this week. Equal numbers of male and female American Shad were collected. Water temperatures were cool (56°F) and streamflow was low (3,000 cfs) but on the rise after weekend rain. Historically, peak American Shad catch rates at Lock & Dam 1 are observed during the last week of March. Anglers should be aware that Lock & Dam 3 (William O’Huske) will be closed indefinitely beginning on March 20.  

NCDMF creel agents reported that striper fishing has been very good around the Downtown Wilmington area and at Lock and Dam 1. Shad fishing has been fair with the best catches coming from Lock and Dam 1 and 2. Crappie fishing has been very good throughout the Cape fear and NE Cape fear river as well.
 

2022 Archived Reports

May 14-May 20, 2022

Scroll down the page for all four rivers. 


Roanoke River - May 19, 2022 (LAST REPORT OF THE SEASON)
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
5/16/22 Weldon 67 Weldon BAA
5/19/22 Gaston 72 Hwy 48 Bridge


Sampling Information for the Roanoke River:

5/16/22: Water temperatures were below 70 during sampling this week but should climb with the hot temperatures forecasted for this weekend.  A few Striped Bass over the slot were collected on Monday, but most were small males. A few females, most of which were spent, were still present in the collection this week. Schools of Striped Bass were seen from the rapids at the boat ramp downstream to Little River. Striped Bass numbers tapered off downstream of Big Rock.

5/19/22: The majority of American Shad collected this week were around the Hwy 48 bridge.  Few Shad were seen along the banks or in the middle of the river. Shad collected were spent and likely done spawning.  Water temperatures were in the low 70s and should increase with the warm temperatures and low flows expected for the weekend and into next week.  A few Striped Bass were also collected around the Hwy 48 bridge and in the middle of the river. Most were slack and have finished spawning.

 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 149 34  
Min. Size (in) 14 13  
Max. Size (in) 29 20  
Max. Weight (lb) 11.6 1.8  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 110M 36F 3U 26M 8F  

 


Larger Image

In cooperation with the Wildlife Resources Commission, Division of Marine Fisheries staff tags every Striped Bass collected during WRC’s annual spawning grounds survey.


Creel Survey Information for the Roanoke River:

5/14/2022 – 5/19/2022: Fishing effort slowed tremendously over the past week. Anglers were still able to find a few Striped Bass near Weldon, but catches were much lower this week than the previous week. The low water and warm temperatures seem to have sent the fish back downriver or at least slowed the bite. The spring run of Striped Bass on the Roanoke River appears to be coming to an end. Anglers are reminded to be cautious of rocks while navigating the river near Weldon. Also, remember to use catch-and-release practices that encourage survival of Striped Bass. Keep the fish in the water when releasing if possible. Use a landing net if necessary and use a dehooker tool to facilitate release.

Lower Region (Scotland Neck to Plymouth)

5/14/2022 – 5/19/2022: No report

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Tar River - May 5, 2022 - Last Report of the Season

 
Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
5/3/22 Battle Park to Rte 64  62 Battle Park  
       


Sampling Information for the Tar River:

American Shad were sampled in the vicinity of Battle Park and fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition. The river was quite clear, at low levels, and dropping. We were only able to sample in the Battle Park area due to low river levels.  Some precipitation would be helpful to allow the river to rise to more ideal levels, particularly for safer boating access and maneuverability. One angler was observed fishing in the vicinity of Battle Park. American Shad and Striped Bass numbers should remain at moderate levels over the next couple of weeks, depending on river flows and temperature.  
 
Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 0 40 0
Min. Size (in)   15  
Max. Size (in)   21  
Max. Weight (lb)   3  
Sex Ratio (M:F)   30:10  



Larger Picture

David Belkoski with an approximate 3-pound female American Shad downstream of Battle Park.

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Tar/Pamlico River:

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

4/25/2022–5/1/2022: Striped Bass continue to be caught in the Tar River especially around Tarboro and Rocky Mount in the evenings. American and Hickory Shad are scarce, but American Shad can be located on light tackle around Rocky Mount

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

4/25/2022–5/1/2022:The temperatures in the area are rising and the wind has been dropping leading to an increase in angling activity. Anglers pursuing spotted seatrout have moved further east near the Pungo River. Anglers fishing the creeks along the Pamlico River are landing a variety of species including white perch, largemouth bass, and striped bass.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Neuse River - May 13, 2022 - Last Report of the Season
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
5/02/22 Goldsboro 65 Cox's Ferry
5/03/22 Kinston 66 Kinston

 


Larger Image

Juvenile American shad collected near Kinston boat access area.

Sampling Information for the Neuse River:

American Shad were collected on the spawning grounds near Goldsboro. Due to very low water levels limiting access to Neuse River spawning grounds, American Shad and Striped Bass were collected near Kinston following Goldsboro. Water level continued to fall due to lack of precipitation and reduced discharge from Falls Lake Dam. The weather was cooler and a few fishermen were observed at the Cox Ferry boat access area.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 2 14 0
Min. Size (in) 20 15  
Max. Size (in) 23 20  
Max. Weight (lb) 4 3  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 1:1 2:1  

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Neuse River:

Upper Region (Raleigh to Goldsboro)

5/06/2022–5/13/2022: No report.

Middle Region (Core Creek to Seven Springs, Goldsboro Area)

5/06/2022–5/13/2022: No report

Lower Region (Spring Garden to New Bern)

5/06/2022–5/13/2022: No report.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Cape Fear River - May 6, 2022 - Last Report of the Season
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (oF) Boat Ramp
5/5/22 Lock and Dam 1 72 Lock and Dam 1
5/5/22 Lock and Dam 2 72 Lock and Dam 2
5/5/22 Lock and Dam 3 72 Lock and Dam 3

 


Larger image

NCWRC fisheries biologist April Boggs measuring a Striped Bass collected at Lock & Dam 3 on April 23.

Sampling Information for the Cape Fear River:

This is the last report of the sampling season. It appears the anadromous spawning activity in the Cape Fear River is coming to an end for the year. Only one striped bass was collected at Lock and Dam 1 this week. Electrofishing was not conducted at Locks and Dams 2 and 3 due to the abundance of American shad in poor condition seen last week. We suspect they are still at both locations, but we do not conduct electrofishing samples when fish are concentrated and water temperatures are high in order to reduce mortality. 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 1 0
Min. Size (in)      
Max. Size (in)       
Max. Weight (lb)       
Sex Ratio (M:F)      

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Cape Fear River:

4/25/2022-5/10/2022 - Lock 2 and 3 both had good catches of shad last week with early mornings producing the best catches. There were some striped bass being caught at all the Locks last week as well with again early mornings producing the best results.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

 

May 7-May 13, 2022

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Roanoke River - May 13, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
5/09/22 Weldon 67 Weldon BAA
       


Sampling Information for the Roanoke River:

Water temperatures continued to stay in the spawning range this week, although it seems the bulk of the spawning has already occurred. No large females were seen this week, and the females collected were mostly spent.  Schools of Striped Bass were seen from the rapids at the boat ramp down stream to Little River and just below Big Rock. Striped Bass were scarce below Troublefield Gut.

 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 286    
Min. Size (in) 11.5    
Max. Size (in) 31.5    
Max. Weight (lb) 14    
Sex Ratio (M:F) 250:36    

 


Larger Image

In cooperation with the Wildlife Resources Commission, Division of Marine Fisheries staff tags every Striped Bass collected during WRC’s annual spawning grounds survey.


Creel Survey Information for the Roanoke River:

5/7/2022 – 5/13/2022: Anglers fishing from Weldon continued to have good success catching striped bass last weekend and throughout the week. Catches of 40 to 50 fish per boat were common. Effort has waned a bit this week due to the unsettled weather. If you make a trip to the river this weekend, please use caution while boating and be aware that the water level is relatively low, exposing many rocks near the surface. Also, please practice safe catch and release techniques to reduce injury and mortality of released fish. Use a single barbless hook and minimize handling time out of the water as much as possible.

Lower Region (Scotland Neck to Plymouth)

5/7/2022 – 5/13/2022: No report

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Tar River - May 5, 2022 - Last Report of the Season

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
5/3/22 Battle Park to Rte 64  62 Battle Park  
       


Sampling Information for the Tar River:

American Shad were sampled in the vicinity of Battle Park and fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition. The river was quite clear, at low levels, and dropping. We were only able to sample in the Battle Park area due to low river levels.  Some precipitation would be helpful to allow the river to rise to more ideal levels, particularly for safer boating access and maneuverability. One angler was observed fishing in the vicinity of Battle Park. American Shad and Striped Bass numbers should remain at moderate levels over the next couple of weeks, depending on river flows and temperature.  
 
Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 0 40 0
Min. Size (in)   15  
Max. Size (in)   21  
Max. Weight (lb)   3  
Sex Ratio (M:F)   30:10  



Larger Picture

David Belkoski with an approximate 3-pound female American Shad downstream of Battle Park.

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Tar/Pamlico River:

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

4/25/2022–5/1/2022: Striped Bass continue to be caught in the Tar River especially around Tarboro and Rocky Mount in the evenings. American and Hickory Shad are scarce, but American Shad can be located on light tackle around Rocky Mount

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

4/25/2022–5/1/2022:The temperatures in the area are rising and the wind has been dropping leading to an increase in angling activity. Anglers pursuing spotted seatrout have moved further east near the Pungo River. Anglers fishing the creeks along the Pamlico River are landing a variety of species including white perch, largemouth bass, and striped bass.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Neuse River - May 13, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
5/02/22 Goldsboro 65 Cox's Ferry
5/03/22 Kinston 66 Kinston

 


Larger Image

Juvenile American shad collected near Kinston boat access area.

Sampling Information for the Neuse River:

American Shad were collected on the spawning grounds near Goldsboro. Due to very low water levels limiting access to Neuse River spawning grounds, American Shad and Striped Bass were collected near Kinston following Goldsboro. Water level continued to fall due to lack of precipitation and reduced discharge from Falls Lake Dam. The weather was cooler and a few fishermen were observed at the Cox Ferry boat access area.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 2 14 0
Min. Size (in) 20 15  
Max. Size (in) 23 20  
Max. Weight (lb) 4 3  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 1:1 2:1  

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Neuse River:

Upper Region (Raleigh to Goldsboro)

5/06/2022–5/13/2022: No report.

Middle Region (Core Creek to Seven Springs, Goldsboro Area)

5/06/2022–5/13/2022: No report

Lower Region (Spring Garden to New Bern)

5/06/2022–5/13/2022: No report.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Cape Fear River - May 6, 2022 - Last Report of the Season
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (oF) Boat Ramp
5/5/22 Lock and Dam 1 72 Lock and Dam 1
5/5/22 Lock and Dam 2 72 Lock and Dam 2
5/5/22 Lock and Dam 3 72 Lock and Dam 3

 


Larger image

NCWRC fisheries biologist April Boggs measuring a Striped Bass collected at Lock & Dam 3 on April 23.

Sampling Information for the Cape Fear River:

This is the last report of the sampling season. It appears the anadromous spawning activity in the Cape Fear River is coming to an end for the year. Only one striped bass was collected at Lock and Dam 1 this week. Electrofishing was not conducted at Locks and Dams 2 and 3 due to the abundance of American shad in poor condition seen last week. We suspect they are still at both locations, but we do not conduct electrofishing samples when fish are concentrated and water temperatures are high in order to reduce mortality. 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 1 0
Min. Size (in)      
Max. Size (in)       
Max. Weight (lb)       
Sex Ratio (M:F)      

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Cape Fear River:

4/25/2022-5/10/2022 - Lock 2 and 3 both had good catches of shad last week with early mornings producing the best catches. There were some striped bass being caught at all the Locks last week as well with again early mornings producing the best results.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

 

April 30-May 6, 2022

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Roanoke River - April 29, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/25/22 Weldon 68 Weldon BAA
4/28/22 Gaston 67 Hwy. 48 BAA


Sampling Information for the Roanoke River:

4/25/22: Boat anglers were concentrated around the rapids near the boat ramp, Big Rock, and below Trouble Field this week. Spawning activity (Rock fights) were seen mid-day from Trouble Field downstream to the powerlines. The cooler weather near the end of this week might have slowed and prolonged spawning for another week. Collections of Striped Bass this week included multiple fish above the slot limit. 

4/28/22: A few boat anglers were seen fishing above the Hwy 48 bridge. The peak of the American Shad run has likely occurred as fish continued to decrease once again this week. Signs of spawning were present on most fish that were collected this week.

 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 183 28  
Min. Size (in) 13 15  
Max. Size (in) 49 20  
Max. Weight (lb) 55 2.8 lb  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 122M:61F 21M:7F  

 


Larger Image

Anadromous Research Coordinator Jeremy McCargo with a 55-lb., 48-inch female Striped Bass collected from the Big Rock in Weldon earlier this week


Creel Survey Information for the Roanoke River:

Upper Region (Roanoke Rapids Dam to Scotland Neck)

4/23/2022-4/29/2022: Striped Bass catches improved this week; anglers had luck during the harvest days from Edwards Ferry all the way to Weldon. Anglers are reminded the Striped Bass harvest season for the Roanoke River Management Area will close at 11:59 tonight (4/29/2022). 

Lower Region (Scotland Neck to Plymouth)

4/16/2022-4/22/2022: During the harvest days this week and weekend, anglers caught Striped Bass; however, angler effort was relatively light on non-harvest days. Decent catches were reported from Jamesville, Williamston and Hamilton. Anglers are reminded the Striped Bass harvest season for the Roanoke River Management Area will close at 11:59 tonight (4/29/2022). 

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Tar River - May 5, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
5/3/22 Battle Park to Rte 64  62 Battle Park  
       


Sampling Information for the Tar River:

American Shad were sampled in the vicinity of Battle Park and fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition. The river was quite clear, at low levels, and dropping. We were only able to sample in the Battle Park area due to low river levels.  Some precipitation would be helpful to allow the river to rise to more ideal levels, particularly for safer boating access and maneuverability. One angler was observed fishing in the vicinity of Battle Park. American Shad and Striped Bass numbers should remain at moderate levels over the next couple of weeks, depending on river flows and temperature.  
 
Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 0 40 0
Min. Size (in)   15  
Max. Size (in)   21  
Max. Weight (lb)   3  
Sex Ratio (M:F)   30:10  



Larger Picture

David Belkoski with an approximate 3-pound female American Shad downstream of Battle Park.

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Tar/Pamlico River:

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

4/25/2022–5/1/2022: Striped Bass continue to be caught in the Tar River especially around Tarboro and Rocky Mount in the evenings. American and Hickory Shad are scarce, but American Shad can be located on light tackle around Rocky Mount

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

4/25/2022–5/1/2022:The temperatures in the area are rising and the wind has been dropping leading to an increase in angling activity. Anglers pursuing spotted seatrout have moved further east near the Pungo River. Anglers fishing the creeks along the Pamlico River are landing a variety of species including white perch, largemouth bass, and striped bass.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Neuse River - May 6, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
5/02/22 Goldsboro 71 Cox's Ferry
5/03/22 Kinston 75 Kinston

 


Larger Image

14-lb, 33-inch Striped Bass collected from the Neuse River near Cox Ferry boat access area.

Sampling Information for the Neuse River:

American Shad and Striped Bass were collected on the spawning grounds near Goldsboro at the start of the week. Despite the low water levels and warm temperatures, spawning fish are remaining in the upper Neuse River. Due to very low water levels limiting access to Neuse River spawning grounds, American Shad and Striped Bass were collected in Kinston this week. Water level continued to fall due to lack of precipitation and reduced discharge from Falls Lake Dam. The weather was warm. A few anglers were observed at the Kinston boat access area. Sampling will resume on the spawning grounds once river flows allow.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 27 33 0
Min. Size (in) 15 14  
Max. Size (in) 26 19  
Max. Weight (lb) 7 3  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 2:1 4:1  

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Neuse River:

Upper Region (Raleigh to Goldsboro)

4/25/2022–5/01/2022: No report.

Middle Region (Core Creek to Seven Springs, Goldsboro Area)

4/25/2022–5/01/2022: This week water levels have been low and dropping throughout the middle Neuse and its major tributaries. Most anglers are targeting sunfish and catfish with great success on sunfish and moderate success with catfish anglers. Major sunfish species have been bluegill and redear sunfish. A few striped bass and hybrid striped bass were caught in the Maple Cypress area by anglers targeting catfish. Flathead catfish from multiple age classes have been seen in the Neuse River and Contentnea Creek.

Lower Region (Spring Garden to New Bern)

4/25/2022–5/01/2022: Anglers fishing in the lower Neuse and Brice’s Creek had good luck with bluegill, redear sunfish, black crappie and largemouth bass.  In the Trent River, good catches of sunfish and largemouth bass were also reported, along with white perch.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Cape Fear River - May 6, 2022 - Last Report of the Season
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (oF) Boat Ramp
5/5/22 Lock and Dam 1 72 Lock and Dam 1
5/5/22 Lock and Dam 2 72 Lock and Dam 2
5/5/22 Lock and Dam 3 72 Lock and Dam 3

 


Larger image

NCWRC fisheries biologist April Boggs measuring a Striped Bass collected at Lock & Dam 3 on April 23.

Sampling Information for the Cape Fear River:

This is the last report of the sampling season. It appears the anadromous spawning activity in the Cape Fear River is coming to an end for the year. Only one striped bass was collected at Lock and Dam 1 this week. Electrofishing was not conducted at Locks and Dams 2 and 3 due to the abundance of American shad in poor condition seen last week. We suspect they are still at both locations, but we do not conduct electrofishing samples when fish are concentrated and water temperatures are high in order to reduce mortality. 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 1 0
Min. Size (in)      
Max. Size (in)       
Max. Weight (lb)       
Sex Ratio (M:F)      

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Cape Fear River:

4/25/2022-5/10/2022 - Lock 2 and 3 both had good catches of shad last week with early mornings producing the best catches. There were some striped bass being caught at all the Locks last week as well with again early mornings producing the best results.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

 

April 23-29, 2022

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Roanoke River - April 29, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/25/22 Weldon 68 Weldon BAA
4/28/22 Gaston 67 Hwy. 48 BAA


Sampling Information for the Roanoke River:

4/25/22: Boat anglers were concentrated around the rapids near the boat ramp, Big Rock, and below Trouble Field this week. Spawning activity (Rock fights) were seen mid-day from Trouble Field downstream to the powerlines. The cooler weather near the end of this week might have slowed and prolonged spawning for another week. Collections of Striped Bass this week included multiple fish above the slot limit. 

4/28/22: A few boat anglers were seen fishing above the Hwy 48 bridge. The peak of the American Shad run has likely occurred as fish continued to decrease once again this week. Signs of spawning were present on most fish that were collected this week.

 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 183 28  
Min. Size (in) 13 15  
Max. Size (in) 49 20  
Max. Weight (lb) 55 2.8 lb  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 122M:61F 21M:7F  

 


Larger Image

Anadromous Research Coordinator Jeremy McCargo with a 55-lb., 48-inch female Striped Bass collected from the Big Rock in Weldon earlier this week


Creel Survey Information for the Roanoke River:

Upper Region (Roanoke Rapids Dam to Scotland Neck)

4/23/2022-4/29/2022: Striped Bass catches improved this week; anglers had luck during the harvest days from Edwards Ferry all the way to Weldon. Anglers are reminded the Striped Bass harvest season for the Roanoke River Management Area will close at 11:59 tonight (4/29/2022). 

Lower Region (Scotland Neck to Plymouth)

4/16/2022-4/22/2022: During the harvest days this week and weekend, anglers caught Striped Bass; however, angler effort was relatively light on non-harvest days. Decent catches were reported from Jamesville, Williamston and Hamilton. Anglers are reminded the Striped Bass harvest season for the Roanoke River Management Area will close at 11:59 tonight (4/29/2022). 

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Tar River - April 29, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/26/22 Battle Park to Rte 64  62 Battle Park  
4/27/22 Fishing Creek to Tarboro Town Ramp at Riverfront Park 62 Tarboro Town Ramp


Sampling Information for the Tar River:

The majority of American Shad were sampled in the vicinity of Battle Park, whereas they were observed sporadically downstream to the Tarboro town ramp.  A few Striped Bass were observed just upstream of Highway 64, while rather high numbers of Striped Bass were sampled just downstream of Fishing Creek.  All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition.
American Shad and Striped Bass should remain in the river over the next several weeks, whereas Hickory Shad have completed their spawning run and migrated out of the river. The river was quite clear, at low levels, and dropping. Some precipitation would be helpful to allow the river to rise to more ideal levels, particularly for safer boating access and maneuverability. Only one boat was observed fishing downstream of Fishing Creek, while several bank anglers were observed fishing at Battle Park.
 
Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 59 48 0
Min. Size (in) 16 15 n/a
Max. Size (in) 31 21  
Max. Weight (lb) 12 3  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 48.11 26:22  



Larger Picture

District 3 LEO Shane Weeks with an approximately 12-pound female Striped Bass just downstream of Fishing Creek.

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Tar/Pamlico River:

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

4/18/2022–4/24/2022: The shad bite has dwindled in most of the Tar River. Anglers are still encountering post spawn shad upriver especially around Rocky Mount. Low water levels have made boating difficult, but anglers navigating the low water have had success targeting Striped Bass from Falkland to the mill dam in Rocky Mount with larger fish being landed currently around Rocky Mount. 

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

4/18/2022–4/24/2022: Over the past week, anglers reported that the spotted seatrout bite has remained slow. Anglers are continuing to target spotted seatrout farther east and into the Pungo River. There have been reports of red drum and striped bass caught in the Pamlico River, as well as largemouth bass and black crappie in the creeks.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Neuse River - April 29, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/26/22 Goldsboro 71 Cox's Ferry
4/27/22 Goldsboro 72 Goldsboro

 


Larger Image

 

NCWRC District 2 Fisheries Biologist T.D. VanMiddlesworth with Neuse River Striped Bass at Cox Ferry boat access area.

Sampling Information for the Neuse River:

Decent numbers of American Shad and Striped Bass were collected on the spawning grounds near Goldsboro this week. Last week we collected American Shad in Raleigh downstream of Milburnie Dam. Water level was falling due to lack of precipitation and reduced discharge from Falls Lake Dam. The weather was warm during the beginning of the week. Only a couple anglers were observed at the Cox Ferry boat access area.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 24 53 0
Min. Size (in) 16 14  
Max. Size (in) 33 20  
Max. Weight (lb) 14 2  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 1:1 2:1  

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Neuse River:

Upper Region (Raleigh to Goldsboro)

4/18/2022–4/24/2022: No report.

Middle Region (Core Creek to Seven Springs, Goldsboro Area)

4/18/2022–4/24/2022: Water levels have been low throughout the week. Fishing in Kinston has been pretty good. Most individuals are targeting catfish and catching a mix of blue catfish, channel catfish and flathead catfish all caught. Very few anglers are targeting striped bass or shad, but a few striped bass have been caught while catfishing.

Lower Region (Spring Garden to New Bern)

4/18/2022–4/24/2022: Fine weather conditions gave anglers plenty of opportunity to fish on the lower Neuse this past week.  Spotted seatrout continued to be caught in New Bern area creeks, along with largemouth bass, and sunfish.  Catch and release anglers caught striped bass in the Neuse, while those fishing in the Trent reported catches of sunfish, largemouth bass and some white perch.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Cape Fear River - April 29, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (oF) Boat Ramp
4/25/22 Lock and Dam 1 65 Lock and Dam 1
4/25/22 Lock and Dam 2 66 Lock and Dam 2
4/25/22 Lock and Dam 3 70 Lock and Dam 3

 


Larger image

NCWRC fisheries biologist April Boggs measuring a Striped Bass collected at Lock & Dam 3.

Sampling Information for the Cape Fear River:

American Shad were very abundant at Lock & Dam 2 and Lock & Dam 3. Anglers were observed catching shad at both locations. A few Striped Bass were collected at each Lock & Dam. Streamflow during sampling was 2,500 cfs at Lock & Dam 1 and steady.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 29 204  0
Min. Size (in) 14 14 0
Max. Size (in) 24 21   0
Max. Weight (lb) 6.0 3.4   0
Sex Ratio (M:F) 1.7:1   1.1:1 0

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Cape Fear River:

4/18/2022-4/24/2022 - The shad bite was very good at Lock 3 this week and weekend with limits being caught by anglers targeting them. Along with the shad, the Striped Bass fishing has been good this week at all the Locks along the Cape Fear, with lock 3 producing the best. Early mornings have been the best time to fish for the stripers.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

 

April 15-April 22, 2022

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Roanoke River - April 22, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/20/22 Weldon 58 Weldon BAA
4/21/22 Gaston 58 Gaston BAA


Sampling Information for the Roanoke River:

4/20/22: This week’s sampling near the Weldon BAA consisted of mostly keeper-sized Striped Bass with a few slot-sized fish mixed in. The number we collected was lower this week than last, but stripers should continue to move upriver over the next couple of weeks as water temperatures increase. Boat anglers were concentrated around the rapids near the boat ramp, Big Rock, and below Trouble Field this week. The reduction in flows along with the colder weather likely pushed some fish back down stream.

4/21/22: Collections of American Shad near the Gaston BAA continued to decrease despite females still containing eggs. Signs of spawning were present on several males that were collected this week. Boat anglers were seen fishing above the Hwy 48 bridge.

 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 43 24  
Min. Size (in) 14 15  
Max. Size (in) 25 19  
Max. Weight (lb) 7.3 2.7 lb  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 38M:5F 17M:7F  

 


Larger Image

William Ridgeway, collects American Shad during weekly surveys near the Hwy 48 bridge in Gaston, NC.


Creel Survey Information for the Roanoke River:

Upper Region (Roanoke Rapids Dam to Scotland Neck)

4/16/2022-4/22/2022: Angling effort was relatively light over the weekend but picked during the latter part of this week. Fishermen reported catches of Striped Bass at Weldon and Edwards Ferry. Only a few Hickory Shad were reported this week. Anglers are reminded the Striped Bass harvest season for the Roanoke River Management Area will open on at 12:00 am Saturday, April 23 and close at11:59 on Sunday, April 24. 

Lower Region (Scotland Neck to Plymouth)

4/16/2022-4/22/2022: Angling effort was also light in the lower river over the weekend, but more anglers were observed at all the lower river boat ramps on Friday. Catches of Striped Bass, White Perch and catfish were reported during the last week. Anglers are reminded the Striped Bass harvest season for the Roanoke River Management Area will open on at 12:00 am Saturday, April 23 and close at11:59 on Sunday, April 24.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Tar River - April 22, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/21/22 Battle Park to Rte 64 and Swift Creek to Fishing Creek 63 Battle Park and Bell’s Bridge 
       


Sampling Information for the Tar River:

A good abundance of American Shad was observed this week, and Striped Bass are starting to show up on the spawning grounds. Hickory Shad were not observed this week. It appears the Hickory Shad spawning run has come to an end for this year. American Shad numbers are expected to remain at high levels over the next several weeks. A few Striped Bass were observed just upstream of Highway 64, while moderate numbers of Striped Bass were sampled between Swift Creek and Fishing Creek.  Striped Bass are expected to increase in numbers over the next several weeks.  All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition. The river was turbid, at moderate levels, and rising in the Tarboro area.  A few boats were observed fishing in the vicinity of Battle Park, while several bank anglers were also observed fishing at Battle Park and near Bell’s Bridge.
 
Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 23 64 0
Min. Size (in) 19 15 n/a
Max. Size (in) 27 21  
Max. Weight (lb) 10 3  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 15.8 46.18  



Larger Picture

David Belkoski with an 5-pound striped bass collected from the Tar River.

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Tar/Pamlico River:

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

4/12/2022­–4/19/2022: The shad bite has slowed in the Tar River, but a post spawn bite can be elicited with patience and extremely light tackle. Sizable Striped Bass have been caught from Old Sparta all the way to Rocky Mount over the last week in decent numbers especially early in the day.

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

4/12/2022­–4/19/2022: Anglers are reporting that the bite for spotted seatrout has slowed down. The strong wind conditions over the past week have made fishing more difficult. Because of the excessive wind, many anglers were having good luck with largemouth bass, black crappie, and a variety of sunfish in the tributaries along the river.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Neuse River - April 22, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/19/22 Goldsboro 62 Cox's Ferry
4/20/22 Raleigh 61 Anderson Point


Larger Image

American Shad observed near Cox Ferry boat access area.

Sampling Information for the Neuse River:

American Shad and Striped Bass were collected in on the spawning grounds near Goldsboro and Raleigh this week. Water level increased due to recent precipitation and the weather was warm. No anglers were observed at the Cox Ferry and Anderson Point boat access areas while sampling. The abundance of American Shad and Striped Bass is expected to increase in the coming weeks.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 16 74 0
Min. Size (in) 19 14  
Max. Size (in) 27 20  
Max. Weight (lb) 8 3  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 4:1 2:1  

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Neuse River:

Upper Region (Raleigh to Goldsboro)

4/5/2022–4/11/2022: Angler’s fishing at Cox’s Ferry were catching mostly catfish, bluegill, and largemouth bass. No fish were caught at Milburnie Park when sampling. Water levels have gone down over the last week and are extremely low currently in the Goldsboro Area.

Middle Region (Core Creek to Seven Springs, Goldsboro Area)

4/12/2022–4/17/2022: No report this week.

Lower Region (Spring Garden to New Bern)

4/12/2022–4/17/2022: No report this week.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Cape Fear River - April 22, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (oF) Boat Ramp
4/19/22 Lock and Dam 1 65 Lock and Dam 1
4/19/22 Lock and Dam 2 67 Lock and Dam 2
4/19/22 Lock and Dam 3 66 Lock and Dam 3

 


Larger image

NCWRC fisheries biologist April Boggs with a Striped Bass collected at Lock & Dam 2

Sampling Information for the Cape Fear River:

American Shad were very abundant at Lock & Dam 2 and Lock & Dam 3. Anglers were observed catching shad at both locations. A few Striped Bass were collected at both Lock & Dam 1 and Lock & Dam 2. Streamflow during sampling was 2,000 cfs and on the rise. Higher streamflow is projected to be maintained through the weekend.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 24 113  0
Min. Size (in) 9 14 0
Max. Size (in) 26 21   0
Max. Weight (lb) 6.8 3.3   0
Sex Ratio (M:F) 1.9:1   1.8:1 0

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Cape Fear River:

4/12/2022–4/19/2022: Anglers reported good catches of American Shad at Lock and Dam 3 last week and over the weekend, but effort slowed down with the increase in streamflow this week. A few American Shad were also reported at Lock and Dam 2 last weekend. Anglers fishing at Lock and Dam 1 reported good catches of Blue Catfish.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

 

April 8-April 14, 2022

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Roanoke River - April 14, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/11/22 Weldon 57 Weldon BAA
4/12/22 Gaston 59 Gaston BAA


Sampling Information for the Roanoke River:

4/11/22: Striped Bass are starting to trickle in from the Sound and will continue to do so over the next few weeks. Most of the Striped Bass collected were in Little River and were slot-sized males. There were about five to six boats scattered from the boat ramp past big rock. Several were observed catching Shad.  There were 10-15 bank anglers near the boat ramp, mainly targeting Shad, but a few Striped Bass were observed being caught. 

4/12/22:  American Shad collections were low on Tuesday, likely due to the fish falling back down river with the reduction in flow from Roanoke Rapids dam. The American Shad that were collected were found near the Hwy. 48 bridge and in the middle of the river.  A few Striped Bass were collected as well. Two boats were observed fishing near the Hwy 48 bridge on Tuesday.

 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 71 21  
Min. Size (in) 16 15  
Max. Size (in) 27 20  
Max. Weight (lb) 9.5 2.4 lb  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 69:2 18:3  

 


Larger Image


District 1 Assistant Fisheries Biologist, Christopher Smith, dips a Striped Bass during weekly American Shad spawning surveys near the Hwy 48 bridge in Gaston, NC


Creel Survey Information for the Roanoke River:

Upper Region (Roanoke Rapids Dam to Scotland Neck)

4/9/2022-4/14/2022: There were fewer Hickory Shad caught in the upper river this week than last week. However, the Striped Bass catches are starting to pick up. A few anglers reported good catches of Striped Bass at Weldon on Tuesday.

Lower Region (Scotland Neck to Plymouth)

4/9/2022-4/14/2022:  Fishing effort continued to be down in the lower river this week. Those anglers trying for Striped Bass around Hamilton and Plymouth reported good catches. It seems there are some Striped Bass scattered throughout the lower river. Other anglers were targeting White Perch and catfish.

 

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Tar River - April 14, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/11/22 Battle Park to Rte 64 and Swift Creek to Bell’s Bridge 62 Battle Park 
4/12/22 Fishing Creek to Tarboro Town Ramp at Riverfront Park 64 Tarboro Town Ramp


Sampling Information for the Tar River:

American Shad numbers were collected in high numbers this week, whereas the majority of Hickory Shad appear to have migrated back downstream. A few Striped Bass were observed just upstream of Highway 64, while moderate numbers of Striped Bass were sampled just downstream of Fishing Creek. American Shad numbers are expected to remain high and Striped Bass should be increasing in numbers over the next several weeks.  All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition. The river was quite clear, at moderate levels, and dropping. Some precipitation would be helpful to allow the river to rise to more ideal levels, particularly for safer boating access and maneuverability. Several boats were observed fishing in the vicinity of Battle Park and Fishing Creek, while several bank anglers were also observed fishing at Battle Park and at Shiloh Mills.
 
Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 36 77 0
Min. Size (in) 16 15 n/a
Max. Size (in) 26 21  
Max. Weight (lb) 8 3  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 1.75 5.0  



Larger Picture

David Belkoski with an 5-pound striped bass collected from the Tar River.

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Tar/Pamlico River:

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

4/5/2022–4/11/2022: Anglers around Old Sparta have continued to successfully target Striped Bass. The shad bite has been slow, but anglers are finding Hickory Shad lower in the river around Old Sparta and Falkland primarily in creeks.

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

4/5/2022–4/11/2022: Over the past week anglers are still targeting mostly spotted seatrout from Goose Creek, Blounts Creek, and Bath Creek. Anglers have reported that the catch has slowed down. Excessive wind was a serious problem this past week.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Neuse River - April 14, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/11/22 Goldsboro 60 Cox's Ferry
4/12/22 Goldsboro 63 Goldsboro


Larger Image

Sampling Information for the Neuse River:

American Shad and Striped Bass were collected in greater numbers on the spawning grounds near Goldsboro this week. The water level continued to fall and the weather was warm this week. Some anglers were observed at the Goldsboro boat access area fishing for Striped Bass and catfish while sampling in Goldsboro. The abundance of American Shad and Striped Bass is expected to increase in the coming weeks. However, access will be limited in Goldsboro if the water level remains low.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 34 55 0
Min. Size (in) 17 13  
Max. Size (in) 29 20  
Max. Weight (lb) 10 3  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 2:1 2:1  

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Neuse River:

Upper Region (Raleigh to Goldsboro)

4/5/2022–4/11/2022: Angler’s fishing at Cox’s Ferry were catching mostly catfish, bluegill, and largemouth bass. No fish were caught at Milburnie Park when sampling. Water levels have gone down over the last week and are extremely low currently in the Goldsboro Area.

Middle Region (Core Creek to Seven Springs, Goldsboro Area)

4/5/2022–4/11/2022: There were a few channel catfish as well as largemouth bass caught in Kinston early last week. Few anglers are going shad fishing as the catch has been low. Most anglers are targeting catfish or bass now. Water levels have been lower than previous weeks in the Maple Cypress area.

Lower Region (Spring Garden to New Bern)

4/5/2022–4/11/2022: It was another cool and breezy week on the lower Neuse.  Anglers continued to have good luck in and around New Bern area creeks with catches of spotted seatrout, catch-and-release striped bass & flounder, along with some small red drum.  Further up the Neuse largemouth bass, black crappie and catfishes were caught.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Cape Fear River - April 14, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (oF) Boat Ramp
4/12/22 Lock and Dam 1 64 Lock and Dam 1
4/12/22 Lock and Dam 2 64 Lock and Dam 2
4/11/22 Lock and Dam 3 62 Lock and Dam 3

 


Larger image

NCWRC fisheries biologist April Boggs with an American Shad collected at Lock & Dam 3.  

Sampling Information for the Cape Fear River:

American Shad were very abundant at Lock & Dam 2 and Lock & Dam 3. Anglers were observed catching shad at both locations. A few Striped Bass were located at Lock & Dam 1 and Lock & Dam 2. Streamflow was low and approximately 3,500 cfs at Lock & Dam 1. 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 29  90  0
Min. Size (in)  16 14 0
Max. Size (in) 32 21   0
Max. Weight (lb) 12 3.7   0
Sex Ratio (M:F) 3.1:1   1.4:1 0

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Cape Fear River:

4/5/2022­–4/11/2022

The shad have made it to Lock and Dam 3 and are being caught at all lock and dams. Decent numbers of striped bass were being caught at lock one last week, but overall angling activity has been low.  The catfish have been biting for anglers fishing with cut baits. Anglers have reported catches of sunfishes and black crappie as well.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

 

April 2-April 8, 2022

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Roanoke River - April 8, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/06/22 Gaston 61 Gaston BAA
       


Sampling Information for the Roanoke River:

Biologists sampled for American shad at the Gaston Boating Access Area this week. They collected a decent number of fish. Most of the American Shad continued to be found along the shoreline. It appeared that spawning had continued to occur throughout the past week based on the body condition of the fish. Several Striped Bass and Hickory Shad were seen but not targeted this week. Weekly Striped Bass sampling at Weldon will begin next week.

 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 5 53 1
Min. Size (in)   15  
Max. Size (in)   21  
Max. Weight (lb)   3.2 lb  
Sex Ratio (M:F)   11F 42M  

 


Larger Image


Creel Survey Information for the Roanoke River:

 

Upper Region (Roanoke Rapids Dam to Scotland Neck)

4/2/2022-4/8/2022: Fishing effort increased at Weldon last weekend but was relatively light during the weekdays. Shad fishermen reported excellent catches of Hickory Shad at Weldon and fair catches at Edwards Ferry. A few Striped Bass were caught and released as well.

Lower Region (Scotland Neck to Plymouth)

4/2/2022-4/8/2022: Fishing effort continued to be light on the lower Roanoke River this week. Very few anglers were interviewed in the past week. Those interviewed were fishing for white perch and catfish.

 

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


 

Tar River - April 8, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/04/22 Battle Park to Rte 64 and Swift Creek to Bell’s Bridge 60 Battle Park and Bell's Bridge
4/06/22 Dunbar to Swift Creek 64 Dunbar


Sampling Information for the Tar River:

A good abundance of American Shad and Striped Bass starting to show up on the spawning grounds. American Shad were abundant and should remain at high levels over the next several weeks.  Only a few Hickory Shad were observed in the vicinity of Swift Creek.  A few Striped Bass were observed just upstream of Highway 64, while moderate numbers of Striped Bass were sampled just upstream of Swift Creek.  Striped Bass should be increasing in numbers over the next several weeks.  All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition.
The river was relatively clear, at moderate levels, and dropping. Some precipitation on Thursday will be needed to cause river levels to rise to ideal levels over the weekend.
Several boats were observed fishing in the vicinity of Battle Park, Dunbar, and Swift Creek, while several bank anglers were also observed fishing at Battle Park.

.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 29 91 7
Min. Size (in) 16 15 14
Max. Size (in) 41 21 18
Max. Weight (lb) ~35 3 2
Sex Ratio (M:F) 2.63 1.94 0.167



Larger Picture

Kirk Rundle with an approximate 2 pound female American Shad just downstream of Battle Park.

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Tar/Pamlico River:

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

3/27/2022 – 4/4/2022: The Hickory Shad bite has continued around Greenville and been getting stronger upstream around Falkland and Conetoe. Anglers have had success in Town Creek near Old Sparta boating Access. American Shad are being caught in low numbers in Rocky Mount around Battle Park. Medium to large Striped Bass have been caught consistently from Greenville all the way to the Mill Dam in Rocky Mount.

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

3/27/2022 – 4/4/2022: Overall angling activity and catch was low last week due to excessive winds. The weather has caused some boat ramps to be temporarily inaccessible. Anglers were catching mostly spotted seatrout with the best catches coming from Blounts Creek. However, anglers have reported that the bite has been slowing down in the area.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Neuse River - April 8, 2022  

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/04/22 Goldsboro 61 Cox's Ferry
       

 

Sampling Information for the Neuse River:

American Shad and Striped Bass were collected on the spawning grounds near Goldsboro this week. Water level was falling and the weather was warm. No anglers were observed while sampling in Goldsboro. As the water temperatures continue to warm, abundance of American Shad and Striped Bass is expected to increase in the coming weeks

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 14 38 0
Min. Size (in) 20 14  
Max. Size (in) 29 20  
Max. Weight (lb) 9 3  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 4:1 3:1  

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Neuse River:

Upper Region (Raleigh to Goldsboro)

Angling activity in the area has been low. The shad bite has been slow lately and many anglers have begun to target other species. Catfishes made up the bulk of last week’s catch. Windy conditions and river flow contributed to the low angler turnout and catch.

Middle Region (Core Creek to Seven Springs, Goldsboro Area)

High waters and windy days slowed down angling activity earlier in the week, but conditions improved by the weekend. The shad bite has slowed down from previous weeks, but anglers are still catching some hickory shad around the Maple Cypress area and in Kinston. Anglers are also catching good numbers of largemouth bass and catfish.

Lower Region (Spring Garden to New Bern)

Windy and cool conditions prevailed on the lower Neuse this past week.  Anglers continued to catch spotted seatrout in New Bern area creeks.  Those fishing in the Trent River had good luck with white perch.  

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Cape Fear River - April 8, 2022
 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (oF) Boat Ramp
4/05/22 Lock and Dam 1 59 Lock and Dam 1
4/05/22 Lock and Dam 2 61 Lock and Dam 2
4/05/22 Lock and Dam 3 60 Lock and Dam 3

 


Larger image

NCWRC fisheries biologist Kyle Rachels with a Striped Bass collected at Lock & Dam 1. 

Sampling Information for the Cape Fear River:

American Shad were abundant at Lock & Dam 2 and Lock & Dam 3. Striped Bass were on the move and abundant at Lock & Dam 1. Peak fishing for both species should continue over the next week or two. Streamflow was normal and steady at approximately 6,000 cfs at Lock & Dam 1. 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 50  73  0
Min. Size (in)  8 14 0
Max. Size (in) 30 22   0
Max. Weight (lb) 10.8 3.9   0
Sex Ratio (M:F) 2.3:1   1.5:1 0

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Cape Fear River:

3/27/2022 – 4/4/2022: The water levels in the Cape fear are getting back to normal. Anglers caught some American shad at lock #1 as early as late February, but then high water shut the fishing down for most of March. As of late, there are shad being caught at both Lock 1 and 2. The DMF creel clerk has yet to observe any American Shad caught at Lock 3.  Blue, Channel and Flathead catfish along with some black crappie, Largemouth bass, Striped bass, along with some bream are being caught throughout the Cape fear river.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

 

March 27-April 1, 2022

Scroll down the page for all four rivers. 


Roanoke River - April 1, 2022

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/01/22 Gaston 56 Gaston BAA
       


Sampling Information for the Roanoke River:

Biologists sampled for American shad at the Gaston Boating Access Area this week. They collected a decent number of fish. Most of the American shad were on the banks. It appeared the fish had been spawning based on the body condition of the shad. Striped bass and Hickory Shad were not targeted this week. Weekly striped bass sampling at Weldon will begin in two weeks.

 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected   51  
Min. Size (in)      
Max. Size (in)      
Max. Weight (lb)   2.4 lb  
Sex Ratio (M:F)   16F 35M  



Creel Survey Information for the Roanoke River:

Upper Region (Roanoke Rapids Dam to Scotland Neck)

Angling effort has picked up in the upper river this week. The anglers we interviewed reported good catches of Hickory Shad at Weldon. It seems there are plenty of hickory shad to catch at Weldon. There have been a few striped bass caught and released upriver as well.

Lower Region (Scotland Neck to Plymouth)

Fishing effort was fairly light in the lower Roanoke River this week. A few hickory shad were caught. Striped bass catches have been fair, with fish scattered from Williamston to Plymouth. The highest catches were reported in the around Plymouth from fishermen fishing in Albemarle Sound.

 

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


 

Tar River - April 1, 2022

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
3/30/22 Battle Park to Rt 64 & Swift Creek to Bell's Bridge 55 Battle Park and Bell's Bridge
       

Sampling Information for the Tar River:

American Shad numbers should remain at high levels over the next several weeks.  Only one Hickory Shad was observed near the Battle Park area, while the majority were sampled downstream just below Swift Creek.  A few smaller Striped Bass were observed just upstream of Highway 64 and should be increasing in numbers over the next several weeks.  All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition.

The river was turbid and at moderate levels. Precipitation on Thursday will cause river levels to rise to ideal levels over the weekend.

One boat was observed fishing in the vicinity of Battle Park, while several bank anglers were also observed fishing at Battle Park.

Ideal river levels and ideal weather conditions coupled with a good abundance of American Shad and Hickory Shad, along with Striped Bass starting to show up on the spawning grounds, should make this one of the best anadromous fishing weekends of the spring on the upper Tar River!

.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 3 71 25
Min. Size (in) 16 15 14
Max. Size (in) 24 21 18
Max. Weight (lb) 5 3 2
Sex Ratio (M:F) 3 1.33 0.67


Larger Picture

Lawrence Dorsey, Piedmont Region Supervisor, with an approximate 3-pound female American Shad just downstream of Battle Park.

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Tar/Pamlico River:

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

No report this week

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

No report this week

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Neuse River - April 1, 2022  

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
3/28/22 Goldsboro 57 Cox's Ferry
       

 


Larger Picture

NCWRC District II Fisheries Biologist T.D. VanMiddlesworth with American Shad from the Neuse River

Sampling Information for the Neuse River:

Low numbers of American Shad and Striped Bass were collected on the spawning grounds near Goldsboro this week. Water levels have been high this spring but are now falling quickly. Weather was cold and breezy this week. No anglers were observed while sampling in Goldsboro. Catches are expected to increase next week.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 2 5 0
Min. Size (in) 20 15  
Max. Size (in) 29 20  
Max. Weight (lb) 11 2  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 1:1 4:1  

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Neuse River:

Upper Region (Raleigh to Goldsboro)

No report for this week

Middle Region (Core Creek to Seven Springs, Goldsboro Area)

No report for this week

Lower Region (Spring Garden to New Bern)

No report for this week

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations


Cape Fear River - April 1, 2022

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (oF) Boat Ramp
3/30/22 Lock and Dam 1 58 Lock and Dam 1
3/30/22 Lock and Dam 2 58 Lock and Dam 2
3/30/22 Lock and Dam 3 57 Lock and Dam 3

 


Larger image

 

WRC fisheries biologist April Boggs tags a striped bass collected at Lock & Dam 1.

 

Sampling Information for the Cape Fear River:

American Shad and Striped Bass were abundant at Lock & Dam 1. River levels are on the decline and water temperatures are warming; American Shad will become more abundant at Lock & Dams 2 & 3 over the next week.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 31  58  2
Min. Size (in)  7 15 13
Max. Size (in) 25 21    17
Max. Weight (lb) 6.5 3.2    1.6
Sex Ratio (M:F) 1.4:1    1:1 1:0

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Cape Fear River:

April 12-18:  None for this week

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

 

2021 Archived Reports

April 23, 2021

Scroll down the page for all four rivers. 


Roanoke River - April 23, 2021 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/19/21 Weldon 61.1 Weldon
4/22/21 Near Hwy 48 Bridge 60.4 Gaston BAA


Sampling Information for the Roanoke River:

Water temperatures decreased a few degrees this week as the week progressed. Flows during both sampling days were stable around 11,000 cfs but are expected to decrease some over the weekend and into next week. The abundance of Striped Bass near Weldon increased this week and should continue to increase over the next few weeks. The majority of the Striped Bass captured on Monday were above the rapids, and most were between 20-inches and 24-inches. A few Striped Bass were also collected on April 22, near the Hwy 48 bridge in Gaston. A few Hickory Shad were still seen near Weldon but were absent from the surveys near the Hwy 48 bridge, while American Shad abundance remained stable this week. Most female American Shad still contained eggs, but there was evidence that some females have begun to spawn. About 15-20 boat anglers were observed fishing on April 19 near Weldon, while one boat angler and three bank anglers were observed fishing on April 22.

 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 258 22  
Min. Size (in) 12 16  
Max. Size (in) 25 20  
Max. Weight (lb) 7.5 3  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 219M; 36F; 3U 8M; 14F  


Larger Picture

NCWRC fisheries biologist, Chris Smith, netting Striped Bass collected during the weekly elelctrofishing survey near Weldon​.


Creel Survey Information for the Roanoke River:

April 3 – April 9

Upper Region (Roanoke Rapids Dam to Scotland Neck)

Anglers at Weldon and Scotland Neck reported excellent catches of Hickory Shad over the weekend and throughout this week despite the high flows resulting from recent rainfall. There were not many anglers trying for Striped Bass this week, and only two stripers were reported being caught and released from the Scotland Neck area. Anglers are reminded the Striped Bass harvest season will be open April 24–30 in the upper river zone (upstream of the U.S. 258 Highway bridge at Scotland Neck to the base of Roanoke Rapids Dam). The minimum length limit is 18 inches, and no Striped Bass between 22 and 27 inches (the protective slot) may be possessed at any time. The daily creel limit is two fish, only one of which may be larger than 27 inches. Additionally, from April 1–June 30 in Inland Waters of Roanoke River upstream of U.S. Highway 258 bridge, only a single barbless hook or lure with a single barbless hook (or hook with barb bent down) may be used.

Lower Region (Scotland Neck to Plymouth)

Fishing effort was moderate in the lower river this week. A handful of Striped Bass were caught and released in Hamilton over the weekend, and decent catches of Hickory Shad were reported from Jamesville on Wednesday. Anglers are reminded that the harvest season for Striped Bass will be open April 10–16 in the lower river zone (downstream of the U.S. 258 Highway bridge at Scotland Neck to the mouth at Albemarle Sound. The minimum length limit is 18 inches, and no Striped Bass between 22 and 27 inches (the protective slot) may be possessed at any time. The daily creel limit is two fish, only one of which may be larger than 27 inches.

April 10–16

Upper Region (Roanoke Rapids Dam to Scotland Neck)

Fishing effort was relatively low around Weldon this week. Anglers reported decent catches of Hickory Shad over the weekend, but the bite slowed throughout the week. It appears the Hickory Shad run at Weldon is coming to an end. Only a couple anglers reported catching Striped Bass.

Lower Region (Scotland Neck to Plymouth)

The Striped Bass harvest season was open on the lower river this week, and fishing effort was high. Striped Bass appeared to be widely distributed throughout the lower river, as anglers caught and harvested Striped Bass from Scotland Neck to Plymouth. Anglers reported excellent catches of Striped Bass around Williamston and decent catches in Hamilton over the weekend. Anglers were also successful near Jamesville during the week. Most of the harvested fish were large keepers, around 20-21 inches, and anglers also reported releasing some fish in the protective slot of 22-27 inches. The harvest season will close at 11:59 pm on Friday, April 16.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

Tar River - April 23, 2021

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/19/21 Dunbar to Swift Creek 66.2 Dunbar 
4/20/21 Fishing Creek to Tarboro Town Ramp 65.4 Tarboro Town Ramp

 

Sampling Information for the Tar River:

Moderate numbers of American Shad were collected between Dunbar and Swift Creek.  We were unable to sample in the Battle Park area this week due to low water levels, but we expect American Shad to remain near Battle Park for at least another week. Moderate to high numbers of Striped Bass were observed in both reaches of the river sampled. All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition, except several Striped Bass were sent to the Edenton National Fish Hatchery to provide fish for the Tar River Striped Bass stocking program.

The river was relatively clear, at low levels, and decreasing. Rain forecasted for this weekend should increase flows and make access easier next week. Several boats were observed fishing in the vicinity of Fishing Creek, while one boat was observed near Dunbar. Several bank anglers were also observed fishing between Fishing Creek and Riverfront Park in Tarboro.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 133 35 0
Min. Size (in) 16 15  
Max. Size (in) 29 21  
Max. Weight (lb) 11 3  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 2.5 0.7  


Larger Picture

Kirk Rundle, District 3 Fisheries Biologist, with an approximately 5-pound male Striped Bass near Fishing Creek​.

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Tar/Pamlico River:

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

April 12-18: The shad bite continues to decline around Greenville and only a few catches of American shad were reported around Rocky Mount. Striped Bass numbers are increasing, and anglers reported catching double digits around Tarboro and Rocky Mount. A few monster-sized flathead and blue catfish were pulled out around Tarboro. Anglers also targeted assorted sunfish species with great success in the tributaries and confluences along the main River.

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

April 12-18: Last week in the lower Tar-Pamlico River, anglers saw an increase in the number of fish landed and a variety in species. Anglers reported catches of southern flounder, yellow perch, red drum, and striped bass in the main river. Along the creeks and tributaries, anglers targeted black crappie, largemouth bass and assorted sunfish species. 

 

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

Neuse River - April 23, 2021  

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/19/21 Smithfield 62 Smithfield BAA
4/20/21 Goldsboro 62 Cox's Ferry BAA
4/21/21 Smithfield 63 Smithfield BAA
4/22/21 Goldsboro 62 Goldsboro BAA

 


Larger Picture

NCWRC Fisheries Biologist Ben Ricks with an American Shad from the Neuse River​.

 

Sampling Information for the Neuse River:

The Striped Bass spawning run is in full swing, and Striped Bass are concentrated between Goldsboro and Clayton. While some Striped Bass have already spawned and are headed downstream, the cold front this week has slowed spawning activity and Striped Bass spawning should continue when water temperatures rise. American Shad numbers continue to increase as well. This week we observed the highest catches of American Shad so far this year. Lower flows this week prevented us from sampling at Raleigh, and the American Shad were only collected in the Goldsboro area.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 170 69 0
Min. Size (in) 11 13  
Max. Size (in) 30 22  
Max. Weight (lb) 11 4  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 5:1 1:1  

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Neuse River:

Upper Region (Raleigh to Goldsboro)

April 12-18: Even with sunny weather and normal water levels, the number of anglers fishing for shad has decreased substantially last week. Anglers taking to the banks or their boats successfully caught assorted catfish and sunfish species, while there were no reports of shad or striped bass.

Middle Region (Core Creek to Seven Springs, Goldsboro Area)

April 12-18: Over the last week, anglers targeted largemouth bass, catfish, and sunfish. The best catches were around the Maple Cypress area where anglers landed plenty of bluegill, catfish, largemouth bass, and black crappie. No reports of shad or striped bass.

Lower Region (Spring Garden to New Bern)

April 12-18: Last week on the lower Neuse, there were no catches of shad or striped bass. Anglers fishing for largemouth bass, sunfish, white perch, and black crappie were successful on the Trent River and in Brice’s Creek.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

Cape Fear River - April 23, 2021

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (oF) Boat Ramp
4/19/21 Lock and Dam 1 67 Lock and Dam 1
4/19/21 Lock and Dam 2 67 Lock and Dam 2
4/19/21 Lock and Dam 3 66 William O. Huske BAA

 


Larger Picture

WRC fisheries biologist April Boggs measuring an American Shad collected at Lock & Dam 3​.

 

Sampling Information for the Cape Fear River:

American Shad were very abundant at Lock & Dam 2 and Lock & Dam 3. A handful of Striped Bass were observed below Lock & Dam 1. Shad anglers were catching fish from boat and bank at both Lock & Dam 2 and Lock & Dam 3. Streamflow was well below normal, with 3800 cfs at Lock & Dam 1.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 24  132  0
Min. Size (in)  11 15  
Max. Size (in) 30 21     
Max. Weight (lb) 11.5 3.6     
Sex Ratio (M:F) 1.8:1    1.9:1  

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Cape Fear River:

April 12-18:  The water level and weather both cooperated last week on the Cape Fear River. Most days were sunny with scattered clouds, and the water level remained low enough to see the rocks at all of the lock and dams. American shad were caught at Lock and Dams 1, 2, and 3, and some shad were even large enough to claim a citation certificate. Anglers reported catches of blue, channel, and flathead catfish downriver from the dams, primarily caught on cut bait. White perch, black crappie, and bluegill were also caught along the shoreline. 

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

 

April 16, 2021

Scroll down the page for all four rivers. 


Roanoke River - April 16, 2021 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/12/21 Weldon 60.6 Weldon
4/15/21 Near Hwy 48 Bridge 63.0 Gaston BAA


Sampling Information for the Roanoke River:

Water temperatures continue to rise as air temperatures increase and flows decrease. Flows were near 11,000 cfs during both sampling days. Water clarity improved with lower flows this week as well. The abundance of Striped Bass near Weldon was low this week but should continue to increase over the next few weeks as schools move upriver. A few large males were collected on April 15, near the Hwy 48 bridge. Hickory Shad were still seen near Weldon but were absent from the surveys near the Hwy 48 bridge.  American Shad abundance remained stable this week but is expected to increase in abundance as water temperature increases and fish move upriver. About five boat anglers and six bank anglers were observed fishing on April 12 near Weldon, while one boat angler and eight bank anglers were observed fishing at Gaston on April 15.

 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 43 26  
Min. Size (in) 11.8 16  
Max. Size (in) 32 22  
Max. Weight (lb) 22 3.3  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 35 M; 8 F 12 M; 14 F  


Larger Picture

NCWRC Coastal Research Coordinator, Kevin Dockendorf, with a 32-inch, 22 lb female Striped Bass that was collected and tagged with a high reward tag (red) on Monday, April 12 near Weldon.


Creel Survey Information for the Roanoke River:

April 3 – April 9

Upper Region (Roanoke Rapids Dam to Scotland Neck)

Anglers at Weldon and Scotland Neck reported excellent catches of Hickory Shad over the weekend and throughout this week despite the high flows resulting from recent rainfall. There were not many anglers trying for Striped Bass this week, and only two stripers were reported being caught and released from the Scotland Neck area. Anglers are reminded the Striped Bass harvest season will be open April 24–30 in the upper river zone (upstream of the U.S. 258 Highway bridge at Scotland Neck to the base of Roanoke Rapids Dam). The minimum length limit is 18 inches, and no Striped Bass between 22 and 27 inches (the protective slot) may be possessed at any time. The daily creel limit is two fish, only one of which may be larger than 27 inches. Additionally, from April 1–June 30 in Inland Waters of Roanoke River upstream of U.S. Highway 258 bridge, only a single barbless hook or lure with a single barbless hook (or hook with barb bent down) may be used.

Lower Region (Scotland Neck to Plymouth)

Fishing effort was moderate in the lower river this week. A handful of Striped Bass were caught and released in Hamilton over the weekend, and decent catches of Hickory Shad were reported from Jamesville on Wednesday. Anglers are reminded that the harvest season for Striped Bass will be open April 10–16 in the lower river zone (downstream of the U.S. 258 Highway bridge at Scotland Neck to the mouth at Albemarle Sound. The minimum length limit is 18 inches, and no Striped Bass between 22 and 27 inches (the protective slot) may be possessed at any time. The daily creel limit is two fish, only one of which may be larger than 27 inches.

April 10–16

Upper Region (Roanoke Rapids Dam to Scotland Neck)

Fishing effort was relatively low around Weldon this week. Anglers reported decent catches of Hickory Shad over the weekend, but the bite slowed throughout the week. It appears the Hickory Shad run at Weldon is coming to an end. Only a couple anglers reported catching Striped Bass.

Lower Region (Scotland Neck to Plymouth)

The Striped Bass harvest season was open on the lower river this week, and fishing effort was high. Striped Bass appeared to be widely distributed throughout the lower river, as anglers caught and harvested Striped Bass from Scotland Neck to Plymouth. Anglers reported excellent catches of Striped Bass around Williamston and decent catches in Hamilton over the weekend. Anglers were also successful near Jamesville during the week. Most of the harvested fish were large keepers, around 20-21 inches, and anglers also reported releasing some fish in the protective slot of 22-27 inches. The harvest season will close at 11:59 pm on Friday, April 16.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

Tar River - April 16, 2021

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/13/21 Swift Creek to  Fishing Creek 66.2 Bell's Bridge 
4/14/21 Battle Park to Rte 64 66.2 Battle Park

 

Sampling Information for the Tar River:

American Shad were sampled at very high numbers in the vicinity of Battle Park with relatively few fish sampled between Swift Creek and Fishing Creek.  No Hickory Shad were sampled this week. Moderate numbers of Striped Bass were observed in both reaches of the river sampled.  Striped Bass should be increasing in numbers over the next several weeks. All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition. The river was relatively clear at moderate levels and decreasing slightly. One boat was observed fishing in the vicinity of Swift Creek, while four boats were observed around Battle Park.  Several bank anglers were also observed fishing at Battle Park.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 7 120 0
Min. Size (in) 18 15  
Max. Size (in) 26 22  
Max. Weight (lb) 7 4  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 3 0.8  


Larger Picture

David Belkoski, NCWRC fisheries biologist, with an approximately 5-pound male Striped Bass collected near Fishing Creek.

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Tar/Pamlico River:

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

April 5-11: The hickory shad bite was slow around Falkland and Old Sparta. American shad were still being caught upriver near Rocky Mount. Anglers started shifting their efforts towards other species including striped bass and started to catch some quality fish in Edgecombe and Nash counties.

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

April 5­–11: Warmer temperatures made the weather more favorable for fishing this past week. Anglers mainly targeted shad and largemouth bass in adjacent creeks, while several anglers reported catches of striped bass in the main river.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

Neuse River - April 15, 2021  

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/12/21 Goldsboro 63 Cox's Ferry BAA
4/13/21 Smithfield 62 Smithfield BAA
4/14/21 Raleigh 59 Anderson Pt

 


Larger Picture

NCWRC Fisheries Biologist TD VanMiddlesworth with a Striped Bass from the Neuse River.

 

Sampling Information for the Neuse River:

Water levels are on the way down, and with warm weather this week, water temperatures should increase. American Shad are starting to show up in good abundances in Goldsboro and are beginning to be seen in Raleigh as well. Striped Bass—mostly smaller males—have started their migration to the spawning grounds, but spawning runs for both species are still in the beginning stagesWe collected good numbers of Striped Bass between Goldsboro and Clayton, and spawning has begun. Now is the time if you want to fish the spawning run.  American Shad were abundant, and their numbers continue to rise as well. The river level was moderate during sampling with increased flows coming from Falls Dam because of recent rains. The current level of discharge from the dam is expected to be maintained through the weekend but will likely drop next week unless we get more rainfall.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 59 47 0
Min. Size (in) 16 16  
Max. Size (in) 26 22  
Max. Weight (lb) 8 4  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 10:1 1:1  

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Neuse River:

Upper Region (Raleigh to Goldsboro)

April 5–11: The Neuse River was down to 7-8 ft. last week near Goldsboro (the lowest all year) making the water slower and easier to fish. There were no reports of American or hickory shad, and a few striped bass were caught near Goldsboro. Anglers primarily caught catfish, black crappie, assorted sunfish, and bowfin. 

Middle Region (Core Creek to Seven Springs, Goldsboro Area)

April 5–11: Last week there were no reports of American or hickory shad in the middle Neuse area. Instead, anglers targeted largemouth bass, catfish, and assorted sunfish. The weather was very nice last week with temperatures in the mid 70's to 80's, however overall angling activity was low.

Lower Region (Spring Garden to New Bern)

April 5–11: Weather conditions were favorable last week, with mostly sunny skies and light breezes. Upper Broad Creek anglers reported catches of white perch, bluegill, and largemouth bass. Largemouth bass and sunfish were also reported a little further up the Neuse at Cowpen Landing. There were no reports of American Shad, Hickory Shad, or Striped Bass.

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Cape Fear River - April 16, 2021

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (oF) Boat Ramp
4/12/21 Lock and Dam 2 67 Lock and Dam 2
4/13/21 Lock and Dam 1 67 Lock and Dam 1
4/13/21 Lock and Dam 3 66 William O. Huske BAA

 


Larger Picture

WRC fisheries biologist April Boggs measuring a striped bass collected at Lock & Dam 1.

 

Sampling Information for the Cape Fear River:

Due to low streamflow preventing upstream passage, American Shad were very abundant at Lock & Dam 3. Striped Bass were abundant at Lock & Dam 1 and will likely be at peak abundance over the next week or two. Three boat anglers were catching shad at Lock & Dam 1, and one kayak angler was catching shad at Lock & Dam 3. Streamflow was steady this week, with 6200 cfs at Lock & Dam 1 during sampling.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 46  57  1
Min. Size (in)  8  15   13 
Max. Size (in) 27 20    13  
Max. Weight (lb) 6.5 3.2    0.5
Sex Ratio (M:F) 6:1    2.5:1 1:0

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Cape Fear River:

April 5–11: The water level and weather cooperated with anglers on the Cape Fear River last week. Anglers at Lock and Dam 1 were able to catch American shad, white perch, and striped bass right below the rocks. Downriver from the dam, anglers were able to catch blue catfish using shad as cut bait. Lock and Dam 2 also produced American shad, white perch, and striped bass right below the rocks. Blue catfish were also caught downriver using shad as cut bait. Anglers fishing out of Elwell's Ferry caught a good number of blue catfish, assorted sunfish, black crappie, and largemouth bass. 

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

 

April 9, 2021

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Roanoke River - April 9, 2021 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/08/21 Near Hwy 48 Bridge 58 Gaston BAA
       


Sampling Information for the Roanoke River:

Water temperature increased to the upper 50s this week, and flow during sampling was around 17,500 CFS. Water clarity improved slightly this week as flows from Roanoke Rapids dam decreased. Very few Hickory Shad remained in the river this week indicating their spawning run is likely coming to an end. American Shad were seen in slightly higher numbers than last week and are expected to increase in abundance as water temperature increases. A few Striped Bass were collected as well. No anglers were seen fishing while we were sampling. Weekly Striped Bass surveys are expected to begin around the Weldon area on April 12, and we should have reports on the Striped Bass spawning migration next week.

 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 43 22 2
Min. Size (in) 15 16 14
Max. Size (in) 29 20 16
Max. Weight (lb) 12 3 1
Sex Ratio (M:F) 21 M; 22 F 14 M; 8 F 1 M; 1 F


Larger Picture

NCWRC conservation technician, Heather Colter, with a Striped Bass collected from the Roanoke River near Gaston, NC.​


Creel Survey Information for the Roanoke River:

April 3 – April 9

Upper Region (Roanoke Rapids Dam to Scotland Neck)

Anglers at Weldon and Scotland Neck reported excellent catches of Hickory Shad over the weekend and throughout this week despite the high flows resulting from recent rainfall. There were not many anglers trying for Striped Bass this week, and only two stripers were reported being caught and released from the Scotland Neck area. Anglers are reminded the Striped Bass harvest season will be open April 24–30 in the upper river zone (upstream of the U.S. 258 Highway bridge at Scotland Neck to the base of Roanoke Rapids Dam). The minimum length limit is 18 inches, and no Striped Bass between 22 and 27 inches (the protective slot) may be possessed at any time. The daily creel limit is two fish, only one of which may be larger than 27 inches. Additionally, from April 1–June 30 in Inland Waters of Roanoke River upstream of U.S. Highway 258 bridge, only a single barbless hook or lure with a single barbless hook (or hook with barb bent down) may be used.

Lower Region (Scotland Neck to Plymouth)

Fishing effort was moderate in the lower river this week. A handful of Striped Bass were caught and released in Hamilton over the weekend, and decent catches of Hickory Shad were reported from Jamesville on Wednesday. Anglers are reminded that the harvest season for Striped Bass will be open April 10–16 in the lower river zone (downstream of the U.S. 258 Highway bridge at Scotland Neck to the mouth at Albemarle Sound. The minimum length limit is 18 inches, and no Striped Bass between 22 and 27 inches (the protective slot) may be possessed at any time. The daily creel limit is two fish, only one of which may be larger than 27 inches.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

Tar River - April 9, 2021

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/7/21 Battle Park to Rte 64  63 Battle Park 
4/8/21 Swift Creek to Fishing Creek 64 Bell's Bridge

 

Sampling Information for the Tar River:

American Shad were sampled at very high numbers in the vicinity of Battle Park with relatively few fish sampled between Swift Creek and Fishing Creek.  American Shad numbers should remain at high levels over the next several weeks. Only two Hickory Shad were observed near the Battle Park area, while none were sampled downstream below Swift Creek. The majority of Hickory Shad have completed their spawning migration and are headed downstream. Moderate numbers of Striped Bass, including a large, 38-lb female, were observed in both reaches of the river sampled.  Striped Bass should be increasing in numbers over the next several weeks.  All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition. The river was relatively clear at moderate levels and decreasing. One boat was observed fishing in the vicinity of Swift Creek, while three boats were observed in the vicinity of Battle Park.  Several bank anglers were also observed fishing at Battle Park.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 5 161 2
Min. Size (in) 18 15 13
Max. Size (in) 44 22 16
Max. Weight (lb) 38 4 1
Sex Ratio (M:F) 4 0.7 1.0


Larger Picture

WRC fisheries biologist, David Belkoski, with an approximately 5-pound male Striped Bass collected near Fishing Creek.​

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Tar/Pamlico River:

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

March 29 to April 4. Fishing was slow this week and higher water levels hurt the bite last week. Patient anglers around Rocky Mount were able to hook-up with some quality American Shad. Striped bass are beginning to show up near the mill dam in Rocky Mount.

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

March 29 to April 4. Strong winds and varying temperatures created unfavorable fishing conditions last week. Anglers who did fish targeted American and hickory shad, largemouth bass, yellow perch, and black crappie. There were some reports of spotted seatrout caught towards the mouth of the river.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

Neuse River - April 9, 2021  

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/5/21 Goldsboro 58 Cox's Ferry BAA
4/7/21 Raleigh-Milburnie 59 Anderson Pt

 


Larger Picture

NCWRC Fisheries Biologist TD VanMiddlesworth with an American Shad from the Neuse River.

 

Sampling Information for the Neuse River:

Water levels are on the way down, and with warm weather this week, water temperatures should increase. American Shad are starting to show up in good abundances in Goldsboro and are beginning to be seen in Raleigh as well. Striped Bass—mostly smaller males—have started their migration to the spawning grounds, but spawning runs for both species are still in the beginning stages. 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 6 25 0
Min. Size (in) 16 16  
Max. Size (in) 18 22  
Max. Weight (lb) 4 4  
Sex Ratio (M:F) 5:1 1:2  

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Neuse River:

March 29 – April 4

Upper Region (Raleigh to Goldsboro)

The Neuse River was within its banks this week allowing easy access for boats and shore anglers. The shad catch was much smaller than previous weeks, but a few hickory shad were caught.  Many anglers were targeting sunfish and catfish and caught some sizable blue and channel cats. 

Middle Region (Core Creek to Seven Springs, Goldsboro Area)

Overall angling activity was low this past week. Anglers were able to catch a few hickory shad, but anglers were targeting largemouth bass, sunfish, and catfish more than in previous weeks. The consensus among many anglers is that the hickory shad season is almost over.

Lower Region (Spring Garden to New Bern)

Anglers fishing for hickory shad had a slow time of it on the lower Neuse this past week. Catches of largemouth bass and black crappie remained consistent, and one angler caught and released a striped bass.

 

 

Cape Fear River - April 9, 2021

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (oF) Boat Ramp
4/5/21 Lock and Dam 3 59 William O. Huske BAA
4/6/21 Lock and Dam 2 59 Lock and Dam 2
4/6/21 Lock and Dam 1 60 Lock and Dam 3

 


Larger Picture

WRC fisheries biologist April Boggs with an American Shad collected at Lock and Dam 3.

 

Sampling Information for the Cape Fear River:

American Shad were abundant at Lock & Dam 1 and Lock & Dam 3, but mostly absent at Lock & Dam 2. Striped Bass were staging downstream of Lock & Dam 1 and should be moving upstream as the water warms this week. About 5 boat anglers were catching shad at Lock & Dam 1, while 2 boat anglers at Lock & Dam 3 appeared to be targeting catfish. Several bank anglers were fishing for shad and sunfish at Lock & Dam 2. Streamflow was declining this week, with 6000 cfs at Lock & Dam 1 during sampling.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 30  42  0
Min. Size (in)  10  16    
Max. Size (in) 24 21      
Max. Weight (lb) 5.6 3.5     
Sex Ratio (M:F) 1.3:1    1.4:1  

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Cape Fear River:

March 29 ­– April 4. Fishing was slow on the Cape Fear River and few anglers got their hands on fish last week. High waters closed Lock and Dam 3, while Lock and dam 1 and 2 remained open despite debris on the ramps. Anglers who did go fishing targeted largemouth bass, catfish, and shad. The shad bite was extremely slow because of the high water and bank anglers had difficulty accessing the river from shore. 

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

 

April 2, 2021

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Roanoke River - April 2, 2021 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
4/01/21 Near Hwy 48 Bridge 55 Gaston BAA
       


Sampling Information for the Roanoke River:

Water temperature remained relatively low this week, and flow during sampling was around 20,000 CFS, causing murky conditions. Still some Hickory Shad remained in the river this week; some had been spawning but there were still some gravid females that have yet to spawn. American Shad were seen in slightly higher numbers than last week and are expected to increase in abundance as water temperature increases. A few Striped Bass were collected as well. No anglers were seen fishing while we were sampling. Weekly Striped Bass surveys are expected to begin around the Weldon area on April 12, and we should have reports of Striped Bass spawning migration.

 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 12 30 30
Min. Size (in) 11 15 12
Max. Size (in) 22 21 18
Max. Weight (lb) 4.4 4.0 1.8
Sex Ratio (M:F) 4M  5F  3 UNK 12M  18 F 13M  17F


Larger Picture

A female American Shad collected during the weekly electrofishing survey on the Roanoke River near Gaston, NC.


Creel Survey Information for the Roanoke River:

March 27–April 2

Upper Region (Roanoke Rapids Dam to Scotland Neck)

Despite the recent high flows, anglers reported excellent catches of Hickory Shad in the Weldon area over the weekend and throughout the week. There weren’t too many boat anglers trying their luck, but those that ventured out were able to find good numbers of Hickory Shad. Fishing was a little slower at Edwards Ferry, but anglers caught a few Hickory Shad there last weekend.

Lower Region (Scotland Neck to Plymouth)

A few Striped Bass were caught and released at Plymouth over the weekend, and some anglers were able to catch a few stripers at Williamston earlier in the week. Fishing effort picked up at Jamesville mid-week, and anglers reported decent catches of Striped Bass and Hickory Shad.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

Tar River - April 2, 2021

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
3/30/21 Battle Park to Rte 64 &
Swift Creek to Bell's Bridge
60.8 Battle Park &
Bell's Bridge
       

 

Sampling Information for the Tar River:

American Shad were abundant in this week’s sample, while Hickory Shad appear to be on the decline. Most of the American Shad were collected near Battle Park. Only one Hickory Shad was observed near the Battle Park area, and only four were sampled downstream below Swift Creek. A few small Striped Bass were observed just upstream of Highway 64 and should be increasing in numbers over the next several weeks. All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition. The river was turbid and high during sampling, and recent precipitation on Wednesday and Thursday should cause river levels to remain high over the next few days. One boat was observed fishing in the vicinity of Swift Creek. One boat was observed launching at Battle Park, while several bank anglers were also observed fishing at Battle Park.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 1 44 5
Min. Size (in)   15 14
Max. Size (in) 26 21 18
Max. Weight (lb) 7 3.5 2
Sex Ratio (M:F) 1 F 0.8 1.0


Larger Picture

Commission fisheries biologist, David Belkoski, with a female American Shad collected just downstream of Battle Park.

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Tar/Pamlico River:

For the week of March 22–28:

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

With the water high and rain on several days, anglers struggled to find the shad bite. Those who put in the time were rewarded with some successful catches of shad here and there, but numbers were low overall. Around Old Sparta, Falkland, and in Greenville, primarily hickory shad were caught with American shad being seen further upriver near Rocky Mount.

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

Spring weather has finally arrived to the Lower Tar and Pamlico rivers, bringing with it warm temperatures and high winds this past week. Anglers targeted largemouth bass and striped bass in and around the Pamlico River.  Though rumors of good spotted seatrout and red drum bite started to spread, very few anglers reported landings of these species.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

Neuse River - April 2, 2021  

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
3/30/21 Goldsboro 63 Cox's Ferry BAA
4/01/21 Contentnea 64 Black Swamp Rd/Stantonburg BAA

 


Larger Picture

NCWRC Fisheries Biologist TD VanMiddlesworth with an American Shad from the Neuse River.

 

Sampling Information for the Neuse River:

High, muddy water has fish activity backed off this week. Warming water temperatures should encourage both American Shad and Striped Bass to move up river in the coming weeks. 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 4 20 1
Min. Size (in) 16 16 19
Max. Size (in) 18 22 19
Max. Weight (lb) 4 4 2
Sex Ratio (M:F) 4:0 1:2 0:1

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Neuse River:

March 22–28

Upper Region (Raleigh to Goldsboro)

The Upper Neuse was down significantly (to around ten feet) allowing boaters to access ramps much easier last week.  Many anglers were targeting shad from both the bank and boats, and good catches of hickory shad were reported with very few American shad.  The mouth of Falling Creek and Mills Creek produced a lot of fish including multiple species of catfish and sunfish.  A few striped bass were reported near Goldsboro.

Middle Region (Core Creek to Seven Springs, Goldsboro Area)

This week's trends were similar to last week's, with anglers reporting some catches of shad around Maple Cypress. Greater numbers of shad were caught on the Neuse River in Kinston. Anglers also caught striped bass, catfish, and black crappie.

Lower Region (Spring Garden to New Bern)

Shore anglers continued to have success fishing for hickory shad on the lower Neuse this past week. Anglers fishing in Pitch Kettle Creek brought a limit of hickory shad to shore, while largemouth bass anglers reported strong catches as did those fishing for sunfishes. 

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

Cape Fear River - April 2, 2021

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (oF) Boat Ramp
03/30/21 Lock and Dam 1 61 Lock and Dam 1
03/30/21 Lock and Dam 2 63 Lock and Dam 2
03/30/21 Lock and Dam 3 62 Lock and Dam 3

 


Larger Picture

WRC fisheries biologist Kyle Rachels with a Hickory Shad collected on the Cape Fear River.

 

Sampling Information for the Cape Fear River:

American Shad were taking advantage of high water and were moving upstream, being abundant at Lock & Dam 3. Shad were present but at lower abundance at Lock & Dams 1 and 2. Striped Bass were observed moving up towards Lock and Dam 1. A few boat and bank anglers were at each lock and dam but were not having much success due to the high water. Streamflow was on the rise and reaching flood conditions, with 16,500 cfs at Lock & Dam 3.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 18  34    2 
Min. Size (in)  10  16 17   
Max. Size (in) 27 22    19   
Max. Weight (lb) 8.5 4.7    2.0
Sex Ratio (M:F) 0.75:1    1.6:1 1:1

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Cape Fear River:

With better weather and less rain this past week, anglers targeted multiple species in the Cape Fear River. Anglers targeted largemouth bass near Castle Hayne, while anglers fishing at Lock and Dam 1 reported good catches of American shad. American shad were also caught out of Lock and Dam 2, but in much lower numbers. Anglers caught a good number of catfish below Lock and Dam 2 using shad as bait. No reports of striped bass.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

 

March 26, 2021

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Roanoke River - March 26, 2021 

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
3/25/21 Near Hwy 48 Bridge 50.9 Gaston BAA
       


Sampling Information for the Roanoke River:

Despite the warm air temperatures this week, water temperatures on March 25th, were near 50°F. Flow during sampling was around 20,000 CFS, causing the water to be very murky. Striped Bass, Hickory Shad, and American Shad were seen in low numbers but are expected to increase in abundance as water temperature increases. Two boat anglers were seen fishing near the Hwy 48 bridge. Weekly Striped Bass surveys will begin around the Weldon area in a few weeks.

 

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 7 21 6
Min. Size (in) 21 15 12
Max. Size (in) 26 21 16
Max. Weight (lb) 9.0 3.8  
Sex Ratio (M:F)   0.6  


Larger Picture

A 26-inch female Striped Bass was captured while electrofishing near the Hwy 48 bridge in Gaston, NC


Creel Survey Information for the Roanoke River:

Upper Region (Roanoke Rapids Dam to Scotland Neck)

Catches of Hickory Shad have begun to pick up in the Weldon area over the weekend and throughout the week. Our creel clerks reported decent catches by boat and bank anglers. Increased flows this week have caused the fishing to be hit or miss; some anglers reported good catches while others weren’t as fortunate.

Lower Region (Scotland Neck to Plymouth)

Anglers reported good catches of Hickory Shad at Jamesville last weekend, but it has been quiet at the other ramps in the lower river. A few Striped Bass were caught and released at Jamesville last weekend as well. Catches of Striped Bass have been low but consistent in the Plymouth area the last couple weeks. Many anglers interviewed around Plymouth headed to Albemarle Sound to find fish.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

Tar River - March 26, 2021

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
3/24/21 Battle Park to Hwy 64 &
Swift Creek to Bell's Bridge
57 Battle Park &
Bell's Bridge
       

 

Sampling Information for the Tar River:

Good numbers of American Shad were observed between Battle Park and Highway 64, yet only two Hickory Shad were collected in the upper river. Moderate numbers of Hickory Shad were sampled downstream below Swift Creek, and they should remain there for another week or two. A few small Striped Bass were observed just upstream of Highway 64.  All fish sampled were returned to the river in good condition. The river was rather turbid and at moderate levels. Precipitation on Wednesday will likely cause river levels to increase over the next few days. One boat was observed fishing in the vicinity of Swift Creek and one boat was observed launching at Battle Park, while many bank anglers were also observed fishing at Battle Park.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 3 79 60
Min. Size (in) 12 15 12
Max. Size (in) 25 22 19
Max. Weight (lb) 7 4 2
Sex Ratio (M:F) 0.5 0.5 0.5


Larger Picture

David Belkoski, NCWRC Fisheries Biologist, with an approximately 1.5-pound female Hickory Shad collected just downstream of Swift Creek.
 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Tar/Pamlico River:

Upper Region (Rocky Mount to Greenville)

Anglers found Hickory Shad in decent numbers around Falkland and Old Sparta early last week. Rain later in the week brought the water level up and slowed the bite, but American Shad were consistently found around Battle Park and the Highway 97 pipe. Anglers who sought other species were able find sunfish, Black Crappie, and multiple catfish species close to the Mill Dam in Rocky Mount. Striped Bass are moving up the river but are not being caught in significant numbers.

Lower Region (Greenville to Washington) 

In the lower Tar and Pamlico rivers, anglers had to contend with strong winds over the weekend with little to no fishing activity during the week. Those anglers who did brave the weather targeted Spotted Seatrout in the main river and had some success with catches of Largemouth Bass and Black Crappie in the adjoining creeks.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

Neuse River - March 26, 2021  

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (F) Boat Ramp
3/23/21 Goldsboro 49 Cox's Ferry BAA
3/24/21 Raleigh
/Goldsboro
55 Anderson Pt/Goldsboro BAA

 


Larger Picture

NCWRC Fisheries Biologist TD VanMiddlesworth with a Striped Bass from the Neuse River.
 

Sampling Information for the Neuse River:

American Shad and a few Striped Bass are starting to show up on the spawning grounds of the upper Neuse River.  The majority of Hickory Shad and American Shad were collected near Goldsboro this week. Water levels have been high but are expected to drop. Weather when sampling was breezy and overcast. No anglers were observed on the river in Raleigh, and two anglers were observed in Goldsboro.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 6 34 28
Min. Size (in) 18 16 13
Max. Size (in) 29 22 20
Max. Weight (lb) 11 4 2
Sex Ratio (M:F) 1:1 1:1 3:1

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Neuse River:

Upper Region (Raleigh to Goldsboro)

Weather conditions were less favorable with colder temperatures and scattered rain.  Water releases from Falls Lake Dam dropped significantly so the river height near Raleigh was lower than previous weeks allowing more anglers opportunity to fish.  Anglers reported catches of Black Crappie and some of the first Hickory Shad of the year near Raleigh.  Increased rainfall kept the river high near Goldsboro, but the 2021 Shad Fishing Tournament went on as planned with good catches of Hickory Shad and a few American Shad.

Middle Region (Core Creek to Seven Springs, Goldsboro Area)

The rain and wind slowed down the shad bite during the week, but the catch picked up over the weekend. The shad are making their way up the river, with anglers reporting catches in fewer numbers around the Maple Cypress area and greater numbers on the Neuse River in Kinston and Seven Springs. The catch has been mainly Hickory Shad, but a few American Shad have been reported in the Kinston area. No reports of Striped Bass.

Lower Region (Spring Garden to New Bern)

Even though windy conditions sometimes made it a challenge, anglers continued having moderate success fishing for Hickory Shad in the lower Neuse this past week. Boaters at Cowpen Landing reported catching Hickory Shad at Pitch Kettle, and shore anglers at Spring Garden caught Hickory Shad.  Anglers in the Trent River reported catches of Hickory Shad and Striped Bass for catch-and-release.  The Trent also yielded Black Crappie, White Perch, Largemouth Bass, sunfish, and Blue Catfish. 

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

Cape Fear River - March 26, 2021

Sample Date Area Sampled Water Temp (oF) Boat Ramp
03/23/21 Lock and Dam 3 55 Lock and Dam 3
03/24/21 Lock and Dam 2 56 Lock and Dam 2
03/24/21 Lock and Dam 1 55 Lock and Dam 1

 


Larger Picture

WRC fisheries biologist April Boggs with an American Shad collected at Lock & Dam 2.
 

Sampling Information for the Cape Fear River:

American Shad were abundant at Lock & Dam 1 this week. Streamflow during sampling was slightly above normal with 8,500 cfs. About 6 boat anglers were observed catching American Shad along the east bank below the dam. Few shad or anglers were observed at Lock & Dams 2 and 3. Warming water temperatures should bring more shad upstream over the coming weeks.

Species Striped Bass American Shad Hickory Shad
Number Collected 4  28    2 
Min. Size (in)  10  16 17   
Max. Size (in) 27 21    20   
Max. Weight (lb) 8.5 3.8    2.2
Sex Ratio (M:F) 0:1    1.5:1 1:1

 

DMF Creel Survey Information for the Cape Fear River:

There was not much fishing to report on the Cape Fear River last week because of high water levels and severe weather toward the end of the week. Water was high but accessible at Lock and Dam 3, while debris blocked the main fishing spot for boats at Lock and Dam 1. The debris from recent flooding combined with high winds, cold weather, and severe thunderstorms seemed to deter most anglers. Anglers who persisted reported catching one American Shad while shore anglers targeted Largemouth Bass and catfish.

Striped Bass Regulations

Shad Regulations

 

 

2020-2013 Archived Reports

NOTE: There were no reports during the 2020 season due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Roanoke River Fisheries Reports

Tar River Fisheries Reports

Neuse River Fisheries Reports

Cape Fear River Fisheries Reports