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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Northern District

Marine Fisheries

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Northern District: Dare, Hyde, Currituck and Beaufort Counties

Contact: Nicholas Harvey

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 Report

Winter 2014-15

Ocean: Winter anglers catch plenty of yellowfin tuna, when conditions permit, along with a few wahoo making for some good offshore action. Offshore bottom fishing can be excellent, 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.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: When weather permits, activity will be heavy with anglers targeting striped bass. They are often found throughout the Roanoke, Croatan and northern Pamlico sounds, especially near bridges or any other structure. There will also be some 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. Don’t forget about 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

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