The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will open the entire Roanoke River Management Area to striped bass harvest from March 1 through April 30. The Roanoke River Management Area includes the Roanoke River and tributaries from Roanoke Rapids Lake Dam downstream to Albemarle Sound, including the Cashie, Middle and Eastmost rivers.
The daily creel limit within the Roanoke River Management Area is two striped bass per person. The minimum length limit is 18 inches, and no striped bass 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 creel limit.
Anglers are required to use a single barbless hook or a lure with a single barbless hook when fishing in the upper Roanoke River from April 1 through June 30. The upper Roanoke River is defined as the main river channel and all tributaries, upstream from the U.S. Highway 258 Bridge near Scotland Neck to 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.
Striped bass anglers are encouraged to 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.
Click here to find information on fishing on the Roanoke River, including a pocket-sized card on releasing stripers safely; an electrofishing video; striped bass catch-and-release tips; and locations of free Commission-managed boat ramps on the Roanoke River.
From March until the end of May, the Commission will post online weekly fishing reports from the Roanoke River every Thursday afternoon.
For more information on fishing in public, inland waters, call the agency’s Division of Inland Fisheries, (919) 707-0220.
Photo from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service