Northern District — Contact: Brian Melott (Brian.Melott@ncdenr.gov)
Dare, Hyde, Currituck and Beaufort Counties
For the fishing year, all owners/operators of vessels recreationally fishing for and/or retaining regulated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) (Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish) in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, must obtain an Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling permit. This permit has replaced the Atlantic tunas Angling category permit. In North Carolina, additional HMS harvest reporting requirements are also in place. To obtain a permit go to: http://www.hmspermits.gov.
Report a tagged fish
Please Note: Anglers sometimes confuse small king mackerel with Spanish mackerel. King mackerel and spanish mackerel have different size and catch limits. Make SURE you properly identify the mackerel you are catching. (Tips here)
A recreational Recreational Fishing License went into effect Jan. 1, 2007 for all of the state's coastal and ocean waters.
Click here for the latest seasons, size and bag limits.
Please note: New reports are usually posted by early Monday afternoon.
Northern District Fishing ReportOcean: Winter anglers catch plenty of yellowfin tuna, as well as wahoo, when conditions permit, making for some good offshore action. Offshore bottom fishing can be excellent in the winter, as well. Midrange anglers target striped bass, if they migrate to North Carolina waters, and red drum fishing can be very good during warmer periods. Find a regional fishing website that reports daily catches or contact a local tackle shop for up-to-date fishing reports. Anglers may want to improve their chances of a great day of fishing by using the services of a charter boat or guides.
Inlets/Sounds/Bays: When weather permits, fishing will be heavy with anglers targeting striped bass. Striped bass fishing was on fire this fall at Mann’s Harbor and surrounding areas and in the Roanoke, Croatan and northern Pamlico sounds, especially near bridges or any other structure. Striped bass fishing is managed through a quota, and fishing has been so good this fall that a winter fishery closure is possible. Check with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries before heading out. Also, there will likely be good winter catches of spotted seatrout and red drum. Good places to try include around the barrier islands, Roanoke Sound and Oregon Inlet's Green Island Slough from pre-dawn to mid-morning hours, and again just before dark.
Piers/Beaches: Piers are currently closed. Most will re-open around Easter. Beach anglers may have a tough time fishing this time of year due to rough surf and adverse weather, but when conditions permit, some of the largest red drum and striped bass are taken from the surf in the winter. Bluefish blitzes can happen this time of year, as well, and offer anglers some short-term active fishing. There is also the possibility of some excellent speckled trout surf fishing on the beaches from Rodanthe southward.
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N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632