Northern District Fishing Report — Contact: Brian Melott (Brian.Melott@ncdenr.gov)
Dare, Hyde, Currituck and Beaufort Counties
Winter of 2016-17Ocean: Anglers can catch plenty of yellowfin tuna, as well as wahoo, in the winter when conditions permit. Offshore bottom fishing can be excellent in the winter, as well. In midrange waters, anglers target striped bass (if they migrate to North Carolina waters), and red drum fishing can be very good during warmer periods. Anglers should 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 guide.
Inlets/Sounds/Bays: When weather permits, fishing will be heavy with anglers targeting striped bass. Striped bass fishing was good this fall at Mann’s Harbor and surrounding areas and in the Roanoke, Croatan and northern Pamlico sounds. Fishing was especially good near bridges or any other structure. Striped bass anglers should check out the Wanchese Harbor, as well. Striped bass fishing is managed through a quota, so anglers should also check with the Division of Marine Fisheries before heading out. Other good winter catches are spotted seatrout and red drum. Good places to fish include around the bridge at Pirates Cove, barrier islands, Roanoke Sound and Oregon Inlet's Green Island Slough and rock jetty. Fishing is generally best from pre-dawn to mid-morning hours, then again just before dark.
Piers/Shore: 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, but it’s been a long time since North Carolina observed this kind of activity. There is also the possibility of some excellent speckled trout surf fishing on the beaches from Rodanthe southward.
For the fishing year, all owners/operators of vessels recreationally fishing for and/or retaining regulated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (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 Angling permit. This permit has replaced the Atlantic tunas Angling category permit. In North Carolina, additional Highly Migratory Species harvest reporting requirements are also in place. To obtain a permit go to: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/compliance/permits_reporting/index.html
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 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.