Here's a link to the NCDMF website page with the current Striper regulations including the open season dates. I'm posting the link rather than the info because it changes from time to time during the year so it is always best to check for the latest rules before going. Good luck and hope you catch 'em up.
robbk, the season on the Roanoke will be open from March 1 untill April 30. Last year the powers that be decided to extend the season slightly, because not enough fish were harvested. Keep an eye on this website:
If they do extend the season beyond April 30, it will be posted there. Like RobS said, the last two years I have fished it seemed like the action really picks up towards the end of March, but that does not mean you are not gonna catch any before then.
I'm from Roanoke Rapids. The fishing always seems to get good when the season goes out. Try the lake, last year we caught more on the lake than the river. About the warm weather and drought, I'ld say the run won't be as good in the river. Fish probably never really got down as far as they usually do. Thanks a lot el nino.
Made first trip of the season today. 3/22. We put in at Jamesville and fished upstream between the 4th and 5th turn. We landed 4 Rock, about a dozen Bowfin and 1 Largemouth Bass. The Striper were 15", 16", 17.75" and 20". So only one keeper. All Striper came on the rods that were fished towards the middle of the river, using cut shad on the bottom.
Fished at the mouth both Friday and Saturday. Caught one keeper on Friday (19 inches). We caught a lot of small ones on both days. Everyone I talked to had been catching small ones, and the game warden said he had only seen two keepers all day on Friday.