Although there are still good numbers of fish in the Roanoke River at Weldon this week, another year of striped bass fishing is winding down.

Jeremy McCargo and Ben Ricks, fishery biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, collected approximately 580 striped bass on Monday. McCargo said that fishermen were still catching good numbers of fish between the Weldon boat ramp and the big rock. Many were fishing with artificial lures, an observation echoed by Bobby Colston of Colston’s Tackle Box on Hwy. 48 south of Gaston. He said fishermen were catching plenty of stripers on flukes and bucktails and that the top water bite was good, as well, particularly in the early morning and late afternoon.

Water temperatures continue to be within spawning range and several spawning fights have been observed. As water temperatures increase, so does striper mortality from catch-and-release angling. From April 1 through June 30, anglers can use only a barbless hook or a lure with a single barbless hook (or the hook bent down) when fishing in inland waters of the Roanoke River upstream of the U.S. Hwy. 258 bridge. Using barbless hooks is one way to reduce striper mortality. Other ways to help keep stripers alive are:

  • Keep the fish in the water when unhooking it
  • Use de-hookers whenever possible to help remove hooks quickly
  • Cut the line if the hook cannot be removed easily
  • Use a landing net made of rubber or knotless nylon, if necessary
  • Use small, non-offset circle hooks, preferably ones with the least amount of distance between the hook point and shank.


Studies show that striped bass caught on small, barbless circle hooks are usually hooked in the jaw, which means they have a much greater chance of survival after being released than fish hooked in the throat or gut. Anglers can get free samples of Eagle Claw barbless circle hooks from Commission creel clerks working at the Weldon boat ramp.

Download and print a pocket-sized card on “Releasing Stripers Safely.” (PDF)

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.