An immensely popular fishing season – for striped bass on the Roanoke River – begins Tuesday.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has announced that the entire Roanoke River Management Area will be open through April 30 unless closed or extended by proclamation.
This is the period during which stripers migrate upstream in the Roanoke from the sea and sounds to spawn.
The Management Area includes the Roanoke River and its tributaries from the dam near Weldon to Albemarle Sound, including the Cashie, Middle and Eastmost Rivers.
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Appropriately, there are strict size and creel limits. The daily creel limit is two fish per angler. The minimum length limit is 18 inches, and no striper between 22 and 27 inches may be possessed at any time. Only one striped bass larger than 27 inches can be included in the daily catch.
Additionally, from April 1-June 30 on the upper Roanoke River anglers are required to use a single barbless hook. Even artificial lures must have only a single barbless hook. The Upper Roanoke is defined as the main river channel and all tributaries from Roanoke Rapids Dam to the Highway 258 Bridge near Scotland Neck.
Beginning in early March and into May the wildlife commission will post online striper fishing reports from the Roanoke, as well as the Tar, Neuse and Cape Fear Rivers. These can be found at ncwildlife.org on the fishing page.
▪ If tradition holds, expect several reports of trophy-sized largemouth bass of 8 pounds and bigger starting Tuesday from Monroe’s three municipal reservoirs. Lakes Lee, Monroe and Twitty reopen to fishing Tuesday after being closed since November. Almost always, it seems, the trio yield lunker largemouth during the first two to three weeks of their seasons. Tom Higgins
▪ Noted fly fisherman Jack Dennis of Wyoming will be among the instructors in a fly-tying event for wounded warriors and disabled veterans March 19 in Fayetteville. The third annual Marabou Madness will be held at the Pechmann Fishing Education Center, 7489 Raeford Road near Lake Rim. It’s co-sponsored by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the Fayetteville chapter of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. In its previous two years the fly-tying class has included participants from several states. Information: Thomas Carpenter, 910-868-5003 or Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org.
▪ The Chattooga River Chapter of Trout Unlimited has donated $10,000 to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to help with a brook trout restoration program. The money will be used to cover the cost of genetic analysis by a biotechnology lab. This screening will ensure that wild brook trout used in restoration efforts are from pure native sources. The funds also will support brook trout restoration in the Jocassee Gorges. The $10,000 was obtained from the Pete and Sally Smith Foundation,, based in Charlotte.
▪ Five public boating access areas in Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties reopened this week. Burch Station, Yadkin Shore, Elkin Access, Roaring River and Ferguson Access had been closed because of damages from flash flooding.
Catches of the week
▪ Five largemouth bass weighing 24 pounds by Joey Bramlett and Barry Holloman, both of Darlington, S.C., to win a Carolinas Bass Challenge Series tournament Saturday at Lake Wateree. The victory earned the two $10,550. A close second was the duo of Tommy Williams and Thomas Hardwick with 23.98 pounds, good for $8,000.
▪ A 10-pound largemouth bass at Fontana Lake by Steve Reeves of Maryville, Tenn., while fishing in the Sawyer Creek arm. The fish was released.
▪ A 220-pound bluefin tuna and several yellowfins off Oregon Inlet by a party trolling with skipper/owner Kenneth Brown on the Trophy Hunter.
▪ A large bull dolphin of approximately 35 pounds off Myrtle Beach by Billy Berg.
▪ Four large wahoo, including two of near 80 pounds each, off Murrells Inlet by a party fishing from the Waste Knot with skipper Dallas Dellinger.
▪ Limits of black seabass off Ocean Isle by Deborah and Shawn Lathen while fishing with skipper Brant McMullan.
▪ Catfish weighing 57.14 pounds by Jamie Carter and Morice Witcher at Kerr Reservoir. Their catch led a group of Virginia anglers to victory over North Carolinians in the annual Icebowl tournament. Anglers aboard a tourney record 108 boats took part. The Virginians totaled 632.34 pounds, the Tar Heels 532.76.