Richard Andrews of Tar-Pam Guide Service in Bath said two weeks of warm weather had done wonders for the fishing in the Tar and Pamlico rivers. The stars of the show have been stripers, which everyone expects to see moving upriver in April, and speckled trout, which were a question mark to many after the January trout kill in the Pungo River.
“Stripers are moving up the river to their spawning grounds between Tarboro and Rocky Mount,” Andrews said. “This warming weather and rising water temperatures have them heading that way. Many of them are coming through Washington right now; the river narrows there, which concentrates the stripers and makes them easier to catch.”
Andrews (252-945-9715) said the action on stripers begins around BlountsBay and is often at it best near the mouth of Tranters Creek, which joins the Tar River to form the Pamlico at the US 17 bridge at Little Washington. Fishermen are catching trout in almost every creek off the PamlicoRiver and in Chocowinity Bay. Most of the trout – which must be released until June 15 – are nice fish, he said, longer than 18 inches with many in the 20s and some to 25 inches or better.
“With everything going on right now, fishermen need to pay special attention to fishing regulations,” said Andrews.
The rivers are in the Central/Southern Striped Bass Management Area. Regulations for stripers and specks can be found on the NC Division of Marine Fisheries website at www.ncdmf.net. There are also maps showing the Striped Bass Management Areas and the coastal, joint and inland water boundaries.
Fishermen in the Pamlico River may keep two stripers per person per day, with a minimum size of 18 inches. There is a prohibited slot from 22 to 27 inches in all inland and joint waters in the system. Inland and joint waters begin at most creek mouths and where the river becomes the Tar.
“Both fish are hitting topwater lures most days, and several days, the schools have been mixed, especially in the creeks,” Andrews said. “You’ll be watching trout herd bait and suddenly a striper will charge in and throw water everywhere with a wild strike. MirrOlures and Skitterwalks are both working well. The other hot baits are Z-Man soft plastics; MinnowZ, StreakZ and DieZel MinnowZ.”