The shad bite has started in the Neuse and Pamlico rivers and they provide great fighting on light tackle. They'll be around the lower river areas February thru mid-March before migrating up the rivers to spawn. For some fishermen, this is the first fish of spring that is eagerly awaited. Built in 1900, the Milburnie Dam below Raleigh was removed in November 2017. Its removal now provides unimpeded passage for both the shad and stripers to the Falls Lake dam at the headwater of the Neuse River. Hopefully they'll find their way to our friends in the capital city in late March and April
As most of you have heard, we had some fish kills in the lower river sections and creeks during our January cold spell. This was unfortunate because 2017 was a great trout year. With the kill came a closure for keeping trout until June 15. This will allow all the remaining trout to spawn in May. Don't be confused and think we can't fish for trout until June. We'll still be fishing for them. Currently, the water temperature is in the mid 40's. Once it rises into the 50's in early March, we'll see the trout activity start picking up.
We've stored our topwater lures and brought out our deep divers and heavier jigheads for the winter stripers. This time of year, you have to go deep. With water temperatures in the mid-40's, the stripers aren't as aggressive and consistent. However, when you find the school, good fish are being caught. In late March and April, the stripers will follow the shad up the rivers to spawn. April 30 is the end of keeper season, but about the beginninng of spring topwater season. This coincides with the stripers returning and hungry from their upriver escapades.