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I've heard several folks talk about fishing for Striper on the Roanoke River. I've never fished the Roanoke and don't have a clue what is involved. Would someone share some information about where you fish, bait, tackle and rod/reel size, size boat, etc. And if you have any photos of those river stripers, I'd love to see them in the Gallery. Thanks!
 

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Unfortunately, RR striper fishing got "discovered" 6 or 7 years ago, and it has gone from a dream of a trip to one where you can walk from boat to boat, and on a good day, might only have to wait an hour or so to launch/recover your boat. However, the Roanoke in April-May is absolutely gorgeous, and usually the fishing is absolutely fantastic. Never--I repeat NEVER--try to make that trip on a weekend when it is still "keeper" season, and it gets but marginally better on non-keeper weekends. Weekdays are the only semi-tolerable days in terms of boat traffic. But catching those beauties (especially for you fly-fishermen) is definitely a blast!

Didn't want to clog up the website, but to answer some of your questions: you can "catch" the stripers as they begin their migration up the Roanoke down at Plymouth in March-April, and a bit later up at Williamston. Most of the hubub you hear around here about stripers involves fishing out of Weldon, just outside of Roanoke Rapids. Best time there is around mid-April to mid-May, with the peak being around the first week of May. I use my Key West center console, but you see everything up there. If you have an aluminum jon boat, that's best, because there are some hellacious big-ass rocks in that river, including precisely in front of the boat launching ramp! (Protect that lower unit on your outboard)! I use light tackle and 10-lb mono line, but I use a 20-lb leader on circle hooks or plugs. REMEMBER TO CRIMP THE BARB on your hooks--wildlife officers are up there all the time, and check gear and coolers regularly!!! I fish with shiner minnows, but plastics work OK, and late in the day (especially later in the season) top water plugs can result in some spectacular bites! The "Tackle Box," a small tackle shop in Gaston always has all the latest info and can address any tackle needs, and I don't have their number right off hand, but they are very, very nice about giving you a fishing report. They also have live bait available. Hope this is a little helpful--it would be a nice trip to take your children on, because the catch rate is pretty dependable. Make sure they wear life jackets, though---it can be a tricky river. Good luck!
 

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The North Carolina Wildlife website has a really good article on fishing the Roanoke River for Stripers, www.ncwildlife.org. They also provide weekly fishing reports during the season. I would agree with the avoid the weekends advice. I have only been during the week on non-keeper days and it's been crowded then...but still plenty of fish for everyone. Many people fish with shad or cut bait but the fish may be taken very well on artificials, like bucktails, and flies. A sinking line is a must for flyfishermen to get the fly to the bottom. The fish may range from a couple of lbs. to 30-40 lbs. and we have found an 8 wt. or 9 wt. fly rod to be a good match but you could easily use a 6 or 7 wt. if you are in smaller fish. Count on many snags as the river is full of wood and rocks.

Also, don't over look the Hickory Shad (the poor man's tarpon) run in mid to late March in the Weldon area. Pound for pound these fish fight as well as any fish, they are acrobatic and willing to be caught.
 

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Can't wait to get on some of the Striper action next month. One thing to mention: Have your stuff right. I.E. know the rules and regs. The man WILL be out, and you WILL get checked.
 

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Ok, we're days away from the opening of rockfish season. Everybody chime in with the "ins" and "outs" of rockfishing the Roanoke. I'll start: A lot of people use live bait...I.E. shad, and they catch them on Roanoke Rapids lake in front of the dam. If you're new to throwing a cast net, then take precautions. People have been known to be pulled through the flood gates with cast nets wrapped around their wrists. If you don't have the means to catch shad, then you'll be in good shape using a "fuzzy worm." This is simply a leadhead bucktail jig with a plastic worm trailer. A good color combo to start with is white on red. You'll also want to have a lot of them. It's not uncommon to go through a dozen baits or more because of snags. Be sure and check the regs. on barbless hooks. If you have hooks with barbs, they can be bent back flat with a pair of plyers.
This is no longer an "insiders" fishery. Everyone on the east coast seems to know about how the rockfish stack up on the Roanoke River in spring. This is due partly because the RR valley tourism has promoted the hell out of it because RR is poor for tourism and business. This means be prepared for long lines at the public ramps, and just understand the gamewardens will check
nearly every boat that comes out of the river. When you measure your fish be sure and take into account that fish not kept in a livewell of some sort will
probably shrink in length during the day. This may make your 18" fish 17 3/4" when the game warden checks it. And yes, he will hand you a tissue when
you sob explaining that it was 18" 4 hours ago. I don't know exactly why, maybe because nothing much else is in season, but Rockfish size and limits are taken extremely seriously on the Roanoke River. However, don't let any of this deter you from going. It is one of the best fisheries around, and esp. for young people because you will catch and catch and catch until you are sick of it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hey Spinorfly. NCWRC has given me permission to repurpose their fishing articles on our site. So I've posted the article that you mentioned on Roanoke River Stripers here on NCangler.com. I'm looking for as many good fishing articles from our members and other sources as I can find. As members you guys can submit articles too. Let me know what you think.

spinorfly said:
The North Carolina Wildlife website has a really good article on fishing the Roanoke River for Stripers, www.ncwildlife.org. They also provide weekly fishing reports during the season.
;)
 

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Posting articles is a great idea, there is so much information on the internet it would be nice to have a lot of anglers looking out for informative articles about our NC fisheries.

By the way, on that same web site they are now posting fishing updates for Shad (and soon stripers) for the Weldon area of the Roanoke River. The reports are updated every Wednesday and a link can be found on the home page.

I plan on taking on the Shad within the next two weeks and can't wait!!

Tight Lines,

Spinorfly
 

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Although a great number of people crowd the Roanoke from all over the locals still have the weather on thier
side. We've been wanting to go down for the past 2 weeks but illness and weather have held us up. The locals can be ready at a drop of a hat and if you're within 40 minutes you can usually get in a few hours of fishing if the weather gives you a chance. I remember a few years back it seemed they had high water during the "prime" time that everyone shows up. Turns out when the weather finally broke and the water dropped in early summer the local crowd had it all to thier selves. The "ins" in my point of view is that the great majority of people anchor within a mile of the landing, the "out" is that you have to squirm through that mess when you come in. Just about forgot the other thing is when a guy without a trolling motor drifts over you twice already and on his third interruption he gets caught in the anchor rope. When that happens the anchor usually looses out.
 

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Plymouth

Just to tout my spot, but I would say come to Plymouth, The stripers are still here even though the season is closed and the river is big enough that you won't be crowded, weekend or not. A couple of weeks ago we caught 'em with every cast, what a blast!
 

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Just to tout my spot, but I would say come to Plymouth, The stripers are still here even though the season is closed and the river is big enough that you won't be crowded, weekend or not. A couple of weeks ago we caught 'em with every cast, what a blast!
Thanks Roddo - spent this afternoon at Weldon wearing out a flyrod. Crowd was pretty manageable.
 

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Explain something to me...............if the whole dang river all the way up past Weldon is slam full of them......................does that mean they ALL passed under the catwalk at the Bonner Bridge at Oregon Inlet?...... and if so..........why is that not the hotttest spot on the planet Earth to catch them back sometime in early March ?
 

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Well - that's a good question. Being Anadramous, stripers head up (fresh) river to spawn. Their eggs require a certain amount of time suspended in the river current, once fertilized, to remain viable. Instinctively, the stripers will migrate as far up the river as possible to spawn so the eggs have the best chance for a long ride on the current. This explains the concentration at Weldon - end of the road. It also reckons that if you swam from the Bonner to Weldon chasing Striper tail, then you'd be pretty hungry, too! If you've never seen a bunch of striper bucks ball up on a cow and milky up the water, it's worth the trip just to see them congregate.
 

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Has every fish in Weldon swum under the bridge en route?
 

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Roanoke Stripers

Explain something to me...............if the whole dang river all the way up past Weldon is slam full of them......................does that mean they ALL passed under the catwalk at the Bonner Bridge at Oregon Inlet?...... and if so..........why is that not the hotttest spot on the planet Earth to catch them back sometime in early March ?
I'm not sure where they all come from and go to, but the way I understand it is that there are several separate populations of fish some of which swim under Bonner Bridge and some that don't. There are separate seasons for the Albemarle Sound and the Roanoke River. The reason for this I am told is that the fish are from separate populations, with some of the fish staying in the river year-round. I can verify that this is true. Rock are definitely in the Roanoke around Plymouth year-round. I know because I have caught them year round. I am not sure if its young fish that stay in the river and go to sea later in life or what, but the ones in the river year round seem to generally be smaller ones. The fish we catch in the Albemarle are generally bigger. I think all of them go to Weldon, and that's why the fishing is so hot there.

And if they are all coming through Oregon Inlet, March is definitely too late. The best fishing I have seen in the Albemarle has been in February.
 

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Just to tout my spot, but I would say come to Plymouth, The stripers are still here even though the season is closed and the river is big enough that you won't be crowded, weekend or not. A couple of weeks ago we caught 'em with every cast, what a blast!
Howdy,
I am planning to do just that. Come to Plymouth or Jamesville and give me a try. Newbie here. Curious if the stripes are around now? Thanks, Dean aka Calabash513

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

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The Roanoke hasnt been a secret in over 25 years. see in the 90's the trailers back waaaaaaaay out onto 301. Here is your best way to find em . Use a hook for the size bait you are using depending if you are using bass minnows or the size of the shad you get . You can rig it 3 ways, 1 is the way my BIL did and he was the 1st and best guide on the river(now retired). he put a big split shot 1 ft above the hook. The other way is a 3 way rig and the 3rd and least used but best IMO is a Gapen bait walker with 2-3 ft leader. What you do is drift down the river to find the fish. My BIL always drifted with the boat side ways and the bait is then behind the boat. You hang up you lock down and break off then put another rod out or retie. when you get hit you will get several hits. when it quits you crank up , go to the other side run upstream and drift back through them again. also, should of said you drift down 1 side or the other about 25 percent of the way out. Middle is not to great and too close to shore can be dangerous. after a few drifts through the same school you can motor above them and anchor and cast back to them. Now with the barbless rule in place sometimes the bait flips off. the way I defeat that is I take some white floating worms. I cut them into small pieces. put bait on the hook then add a little piece of the worm. It holds tight to the hook and prevents the bait from flipping off. I have used this tactic many times in my square stern canoe and outfished the big boats. Use it in friends boats as well.

Another month and there should be catchable numbers up high...............
 

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Well - that's a good question. Being Anadramous, stripers head up (fresh) river to spawn. Their eggs require a certain amount of time suspended in the river current, once fertilized, to remain viable. Instinctively, the stripers will migrate as far up the river as possible to spawn so the eggs have the best chance for a long ride on the current. This explains the concentration at Weldon - end of the road. It also reckons that if you swam from the Bonner to Weldon chasing Striper tail, then you'd be pretty hungry, too! If you've never seen a bunch of striper bucks ball up on a cow and milky up the water, it's worth the trip just to see them congregate.
Not to nitpick but Weldon is not the end of the road. Many many fish make it way up past weldon. They can go up another 6 or 7 miles. Gaston is pretty much end of the road.
 
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