The harvest season on the Roanoke River closed last Friday, and although the river is still full of fish now, the “bite” can be inconsistent throughout the day. Some of the best catches are being reported early in the morning and mid-to-late afternoon.

Heavy spawning activity was reported over the weekend as the water temperatures moved into the preferred spawning range of 64 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.   By Monday, afternoon water temperatures in the vicinity of Weldon had reached 69 F. 

N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission fisheries biologists Chad Thomas and Kevin Dockendorf collected 964 striped bass during their weekly sampling run on Monday, a good number that will start to dwindle as the water temperatures begin to consistently exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Short-term weather forecasts are calling for air temperatures in the region in the mid-80s for the next few days, which will boost water temperatures up past optimal spawning conditions. In other words, the time is now if anglers haven’t had a chance to catch a striped bass this spring.

According to Bobby Colston, of Colston’s Tackle Box on Hwy. 48 south of Gaston, anglers are still catching fish in the Weldon area, adding that the top water bite has been really good early in the morning and late in the afternoon when the shadows get on the water. No matter what anglers are throwing, they’re catching fish, although live minnows seem to be the best bait from reports he’s heard. For anglers fishing artificial bait, bucktails and flukes seem to be the best choices, while fly-fishing has also been “pretty good” this week.

Striped bass anglers are reminded that they need to use a single barbless hook or lure with a single barbless hook when fishing in the upper river until June 30. The upper Roanoke River is defined as the main river channel and all tributaries, upstream from the U.S. Hwy. 258 bridge near Scotland Neck to the Roanoke Rapids Lake dam.

While anglers can make their existing hooks barbless by crimping down the barb with pliers, the Wildlife Resources Commission, in partnership with Eagle Claw, is handing out barbless circle hooks to anglers fishing on the upper Roanoke River this spring. Informational cards with a single barbless hook attached are available from Wildlife Enforcement officers, fisheries biologists and creel clerks working in the vicinity of the river from now until the end of June.

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!  Similarly, extreme low flows can expose rock outcroppings and make many areas too shallow to access. 

For additional safety measures, the Commission urges boaters to file a float plan before getting on the river. Filling out a float plan and giving it to a reliable person before you leave the ramp can be a life-saving decision.

Check out the North Carolina Boating Checklist to be sure you’re complying with on-the-water rules and safety recommendations.

American Shad Regulation Information

Within the inland waters of the Roanoke River and its tributaries, only one American (white) shad can be included in the daily limit of 10 shad per angler. Inland waters on the mainstem of the Roanoke River are  upstream of the US Highway 258 Bridge near Scotland Neck.

For a downloadable, color pamphlet identifying the species of shad and herring found in North Carolina waters, click here.

Back to archives