There’s good news and not-so-good fishing news from the Roanoke River this week. The good news is that the hickory shad are in the upper river at Weldon in good numbers—and they’re biting.

Jeremy McCargo and Kevin Dockendorf, fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, sampled the river on Monday and collected just over 100 shad, a pretty decent number, especially for this time of the year. They also saw plenty of people catching shad, both from boats and from the boat ramp at Weldon.

Bobby Colston, owner of Colston's Tackle Box on Highway 48 south of Gaston also said shad fishing had really picked up over the last week, particularly around the 48 bridge in Roanoke Rapids. He said he heard a guy fishing Chockoyotte Creek, which is upriver from the boat landing at Weldon, caught over 100 shad, using gold spoons. They’re catching them at Weldon as well, just not as many – maybe 10 or 12 in an afternoon, which isn’t a bad day of fishing effort.

Ricky Mobley of the Roanoke Sportsman in Williamston agreed with McCargo and Colston that the shad fishing was good and getting better each day. He’s heard reports of fishermen doing well at the mouth of the creek down at Williamston over the weekend, and today. Most of them were using shad spoons and darts.

With water temps and air temps on the rise, the fishing should be even better this weekend. Hickory shad begin showing up on the spawning grounds near Weldon when water temperatures warm to around 50oF and will remain in the river until water temperatures reach about 65oF.

Now for the not-so-good news: the stripers still haven’t made their appearance at Weldon, although McCargo reported that creel clerks saw a few at Plymouth over the weekend and Colston heard that a couple of fishermen caught a few rock on bucktails and flukes right below the Hwy. 48 bridge in Roanoke Rapids. Mobley notes that down his way in Williamston, the striper action is about the same as it was last week, meaning a few bites here and there but nothing to write home about.

SAFETY NOTE: High flows following periods of low flow dislodge limbs, logs and in some cases, trees from up river locations. Boaters should take extreme caution when traveling on the water and be on the look out for these floating hazards!

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