Regional Reports-South

Roanoke River

Although the lower section of the Roanoke River is best known for its springtime striped bass fishing, post-spawn largemouth action doesn't exactly take a backseat. The picturesque river, which rises in the Virginia highlands and courses through hundreds of miles of countryside, offers excellent bass fishing in the 80 miles upstream from where it empties into Albemarle Sound. Despite the flood-control measures installed upstream, the river usually gets out of its banks every spring, flooding low-lying areas between the towns of Weldon and Plymouth. When the waters begin to recede, usually in late May, the bass fishing heats up. The hottest places are ditches, creeks or cuts that drain the land adjacent to the river's banks. As the water recedes, bass stack up at the mouths of cuts and ditches, where the current pulls baitfish back to the main river. Falling water is the key to excellent fishing because it concentrates food and bass in a small area. Productive lures are spinnerbaits, floating worms and shallow-running crankbaits. The best stretch for fishing cuts that empty into the river is probably the 30 miles from Plymouth upstream to Williamston, but some fishermen will go another 20 miles upstream to Hamilton. Downstream from Plymouth, it's about 10 miles to Albemarle Sound, where fishing takes on more of a tidal complexion, with cypress and tupelo trees in the shallows and lily-pad fields. Boat landings in Plymouth, Williamston and Jamesville provide public access to all parts of the lower Roanoke. Contact: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (919-733-3391).