Fishing Report for North Carolina May 17, 2012

Visit the Striped Bass Fishing page for more information on striped bass fishing in the Roanoke River.

After a flurry of heavy fishing activity during late April and early May, fishing effort on the Roanoke River has slowed dramatically this week. The few fishermen giving it a try, however, are still reporting decent catches of striped bass. Jeremy McCargo, Ben Ricks and Kevin Dockendorf, fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, sampled the river with electrofishing techniques on Tuesday and collected around 400 striped bass. The fish were measured, tagged, and released.  While on the river, McCargo reported only four boats fishing for striped bass.

As in the last few weeks, stripers have been scattered from the Weldon boat ramp downstream beyond Troublefield Gut.  McCargo’s sampling revealed fish were schooled up in pockets, indicating that anglers should consider moving around to find fish. Water temperatures at Weldon are approaching the upper end of the preferred striped bass spawning range. This means the annual spawning run will soon be coming to an end, but higher water temperature also means catch-and-release mortality can increase. Be sure you’re following some simple rules to keep stripers alive to be caught another day.

From April 1 through June 30, anglers can use only a barbless hook or a lure with a single barbless hook (or the barb bent down) when fishing in inland waters of the Roanoke River upstream of the U.S. Hwy. 258 bridge. Also, anglers who are using top-water lures, or any artificial plug, should replace the two barbless hooks with a single barbless hook in the middle of the bait to reduce striper mortality.

Other ways to 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.

Other studies have shown 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.”
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.

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