Roanoke striper harvest closed

NCWRC has closed the 2024 Roanoke River Management Area’s harvest season for stripers.

Catch and release fishing still allowed

The NCWRC signed a proclamation last month that closes the harvest season for stripers in the Roanoke River Management Area for the 2024 season.

The striper population, which has continued declining for the past several years, is the reason for the closure.

The Roanoke River Management Area includes the Roanoke River and tributaries from the Roanoke Rapids Lake Dam, downstream to the Albemarle Sound. This includes the Cashie, Middle and Eastmost rivers.

In 2023, the NCWRC’s fisheries biologists observed the lowest abundance of striped bass in the Roanoke River on record during the agency’s annual spawning grounds survey.

Over the past two years, lower harvest limits reduced the numbers of fish taken from the Management Area, but the already low abundance of stripers, coupled with high mortality rates due to numerous factors has severely limited the spawning success during the past 6 years. That’s been true even during years that conditions were considered optimal for successful spawning.

Striper harvest has been halted in the Albemarle Sound Management Area.

Along with the NCWRC’s closure, the NC Division of Marine Fisheries has already closed coastal waters in the Albemarle Sound Management Area to both recreational and commercial harvest. This results in striped bass in both Areas having the most protection they’ve ever had in North Carolina.

Catch and release

Aside from closing the harvest season, NCWRC and DMF are also stocking striped bass in the lower Roanoke River and Albemarle Sound.

Catch-and-release fishing will still be allowed throughout the spring. Single, barbless hooks are required from April 1 through June 30 when fishing the upper Roanoke River above the US Hwy 258 bridge near Scotland Neck.

The striper fishery in the Roanoke River is important for many reasons, and is the state’s only self-sustaining population of striped bass, said NCWRC Coastal Region fishery biologist Ben Ricks.

About Brian Cope 2745 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@sportsmannetwork.com.

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