Guide Tim Biesecker said that Roanoke Rapids Lake fishes more like a river system than a lake, and fishermen who understand the difference are a good bit of the way toward successful trips, especially in August.
“It produces best when water is being generated for electrical power,” said Biesecker (252-532-1846). “The current enhances the predictability of where fish will hide to pick off prey.”
For instance, largemouth bass will hover along the stumpy edges of the old river channel. Unfortunately, over the past few years, Roanoke Rapids has been inundated with vegetation, limiting the places where Biesecker can crank the river channel for bass, his favorite technique.
If there’s too much vegetation for cranking, Biesecker resorts to other methods.
Biesecker said the Senko rigged with a 1/8- or 1/4-ounce tungsten weight is an excellent bait when there is water flow. It should be fished in grass pockets along grass edges and around stumps in the grass. He favors a football jig for probing heavy cover.
If fish aren’t buried in the grass, Biesecker opts for a Carolina rig fished along the outside edges of the grass. His soft-plastic choice is a Zoom Baby Brush Hog in watermelon, pumpkin or cotton candy colors.
For morning and evening hours, Biesecker picks a weightless Zoom Fluke for fishing shallow cover and grass. Once the sun gets up, he adds a small jighead to the plastic jerkbait and fishes it along grass edges.
On cloudy days, Biesecker sticks with the weightless Fluke for working the grass and chooses baits in pearl and blue albino hues.
He may also fish a black frog on cloudy days or a white frog early and late, tossing the bait into the thickest vegetation available.
Roanoke Rapids offers a bonus species, the striped bass, which are often mixed with largemouth bass when conditions prompt a surface bite.
Biesecker said stripers can be caught behind the dam and over open water. Flukes are used to take feeding stripers in the vicinity of the dam where the surface action is most likely while jigging spoons are used in the main-lake area for deep fish.
Biesecker said stripers and blue cats that once populated the low end of the lake are no longer there in numbers. He blames the over-harvesting of these two species for their decline.
Boaters beware. Roanoke Rapids’ shallows are riddled with prop-bending stump beds and ridges and rocks near the dam.
“Boaters should pay attention to navigation buoys because you can go from deep to shallow water in a hurry,” said Biesecker.