Crappie fishing still hot on High Rock
Crappie fishing on High Rock Lake has been hot the past week despite high wind, cold air and rain.
Fishermen are bringing in limits of fish daily with the largest weighing in just under 2 pounds. Crappie are staging at creek mouths and dropoffs, preparing for spawning.
A wide variety of jig colors are working, along with the ever faithful minnow. Standby colors such as black/chartreuse and yellow/white are working well along with head sizes from 1/32 to 1/16 of an inch.
For bank fishermen, focus on visible structure on points, and any trees or brush that extend into deeper water.
For boaters who troll, fish seem to be in the 11-foot to 18-foot range with a slow presentation best. Fishermen fishing log jams and creek mouths along the Yadkin River from York Hill upstream have been bringing in some slabs with two fishermen catching and releasing more than 200 crappie in a short time. Once again black/chartreuse was the hot color.
Areas to try when fishing from boats would be the Yadkin River from Interstate 85 upstream. Focus on the numerous log jams scattered along the shorelines, especially in the deeper bends of the river. The mouths of various creeks on the High Rock Lake, including Crane, Crow, Dutch Second, Swearing and Abbott’s creeks are all great places to try, according to the wind direction.
Early in March, the crappie will continue their move into shallow water, where fishermen on docks and trollers fishing in water under 15 feet deep will start catching bigger fish.
Crappie size limits on the entire Yadkin/Pee Dee Rivers and Lakes from Idols Dam to the South Carolina state line are a minimum of 8 inches and a total creel limit of 20 fish per day per fishermen.
Both white and black crappie are counted together for the 20-fish limit.
If you are given crappie by other fishermen, you should obtain a receipt that records the number of fish, date, license number and name of the person that gave the fish. You do not want to be the one sitting on a cooler of 80 crappie after your two friends caught their limit and went home when a Wildlife Officer comes by.
One recent violator who had caught and kept 47 crappie over the limit was found guilty in district court in Lexington and ordered to pay $10 per fish. A total of $470 was ordered by the judge to be paid to the state as replacement for wildlife resources.
Fishermen are reminded to check regulations when fishing in a new lake or river. Size and creel limits can greatly vary, according to the body of water you’re on.Striped bass
Striped bass have been caught on High Rock and Tuckertown lakes in the past two weeks.
The “rockfish” weighing up to 12 pounds were caught on live shad, crappie jigs and buck tails. By mid-March these fish will start to move upriver along the entire Yadkin River but especially in portions upstream of High Rock Lake.
Boating in the shallow river areas above the South Yadkin River intersection of the Yadkin River can prove to be hazardous to props and lower units of motorboats to those that are not familiar with river navigation. But the payoff is often great with stripers weighing up to 30 pounds being caught each spring. Try the numerous deeper holes in the bends and behind rock shoals with buck tails and live shad.
Water conditions on High Rock and Tuckertown are clear to slightly stained with water levels near full. Water temperatures are hovering in the low to mid 40s in most areas.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will open the entire Roanoke River Management Area to striped bass harvest from March 1 through April 30.
The Roanoke River Management Area includes the Roanoke River and tributaries from Roanoke Rapids Lake Dam downstream to Albemarle Sound, including the Cashie, Middle and Eastmost rivers.
The daily creel limit within the Roanoke River Management Area is two striped bass per person. The minimum length is 18 inches. And no striped bass between 22 and 27 inches may be possessed at any time. Only one striped bass larger than 27 inches can be included in the daily creel limit.
Anglers are required to use a single barbless hook or a lure with a single barbless hook when fishing in the upper Roanoke River from April 1 through June 30. The upper Roanoke River is defined as the main river channel and all tributaries upstream from the U.S. 258 Bridge near Scotland Neck to Roanoke Rapids Lake Dam. Anglers can make hooks barbless by crimping down the barb.
The Wildlife Commission encourages striped bass anglers to use small, non-offset circle hooks, preferably ones with the least amount of distance between the hook point and shank.
Studies show that striped bass caught on small, barbless circle hooks are usually hooked in the jaw, which means they have a much greater chance of survival after being released than fish hooked in the throat or gut.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is accepting applications from businesses interested in serving as wildlife service agents.
More than 1,000 wildlife service agents currently operate throughout the state, selling hunting and fishing licenses, magazine subscriptions and vessel registrations for the Commission.
With summer right around the corner, additional agents are needed along the coast to sell fishing licenses, particularly the Coastal Recreational Fishing License, which is now required of all anglers 16 and older who want to fish recreationally in the state’s coastal waters, including sounds, coastal rivers and their tributaries out to three miles into the ocean.
Bait and tackle shops, coastal businesses and others who operate from a fixed location in North Carolina and have been in business for at least one year are encouraged to apply.
“Customers need more places to purchase coastal fishing licenses in the popular vacation areas, and several businesses have expressed an interest, which is why we wanted to make those businesses in the community aware that now is the time to apply in order to get set up before the peak season,” said Lisa Hocutt, chief of the Commission’s Customer Support Services section. “Adding additional agents to the high volume areas benefits everyone ó from business owners who want to increase traffic in their stores, to current agents who are overwhelmed by anglers seeking to purchase a license, to anglers who have more places to purchase a license.”
Businesses that apply by March 15 and are approved will receive training and equipment before Memorial Day. Call 1-888-248-6834. for more information.
A hunter education course is scheduled for March 21 and 22 in Salisbury at the World of Faith Church located at 220 East Horah Street. The course is from 10 a.m. at 5 p.m. To sign up or for more information, contact Pastor Michael King at 704-431-7326 (9 a.m.-9 p.m.)
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E-mail Sgt. Anthony Sharum of the N.C. Wildlife Resources at huntfishguy66@ aol.com.