"Everyone’s catching fish now.”

That was Bobby Colston’s reply on Wednesday when asked how the fishing on the Roanoke River at Weldon had been over the last few days.

Reports from several sources are saying the same thing; the hickory shad are running strong. As anticipated, the warmer air temperatures kicked off the shad fishing in earnest with some anglers catching up to 40 and 50 shad per person over the weekend and earlier this week. Creel clerks reported that some boat anglers were catching up to 70 shad.

Kevin Dockendorf and Jeremy McCargo, fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, sampled the river on Monday. They collected 193 hickory shad, a rate Dockendorf attributes to the warming of the river temperatures, which ranged from 50 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Boating anglers can start at the boat ramp to the mouth of Little River down to the Big Rock and beyond. “Wherever anglers can find a nice flow, or nice eddies, a change in flow, they can likely find some hickory shad,” Dockendorf said.

Dockendorf said most fishermen were using a standard shad dart and spoon combo, while Colston said fly-fishing anglers were having good success with white and pink flies. In fact, it seems the shad were hitting just about anything colored chartreuse, white and pink or silver.

Bank anglers are doing better when the water level is lower because the fish are congregating right at the boat ramp.

While the shad are biting well, the striped bass have yet to make an appearance at Weldon although anglers are catching stripers downstream from Plymouth. According to Ricky Mobley, owner of the Roanoke Sportsmen in Williamston, the striper fishing is fantastic in and around Williamston, particularly from Williamston down to the Hwy. 45 bridge.

“I’ve never seen the striper fishing this good at this time of year,” Mobley said. “It is really, really good.”

He said anglers who fish early in the morning have their limit by 9:45 a.m. Some of the lures fishermen are using include baby striper Bombers, blue and silver Rebels and chrome/blue Cotton Cordells.

From Plymouth up to Jamesville, anglers are bottom fishing and using cut bait, such as shad, to catch stripers.


Back to archives