My trips this past Monday and Tuesday yielding excellent trout fishing with 16 fish limits. The weather and water temps are starting to cool off, finally. Some of the best trout fishing of the fall may be yet to come. I have Nov. 16, 30, Dec. 1, 6, 8 open. Let’s go get em!
Today, I’m grounded. A cold front has moved in, and so has the wind and rain. This weather is more similar to what we experience in the winter on the lower Roanoke River. I’m getting excited about a productive winter season. Last year, we had extremely low flow in the river, resulting is less than ideal winter fishing in the Roanoke. Over the last seven years of guiding on the lower Roanoke, I’ve seen the fishing heat up and cool off (mostly it’s been good and consistent), but I’ve never seen a year like last year. The fish didn’t have very good feeding conditions and really weren’t there in any quantity. Luckily, we had some good fishing on the Tar and the Neuse as our Plan B. This year is the first year that Dominion Power and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be managing the winter flows in a more “natural” way. What this means is that after a period of heavy rain or snowfall in the upper river basin and subsequently having to move a large volume of water through the lakes and down our way, the resulting dam releases will be more “flashy”. In years past, releases from the dam would never exceed 20,000 cfs. They would release at this rate for as long as it took to move the water through. In wet winters, this would sometimes mean 4-6 months straight. I’ve seen the flow remain at 20k for the entire late fall, winter, and early spring in several of the past 10 or so years. This is not ideal for some of the tree species in the floodplain (mainly some of the wetland oaks that are less tolerant to being underwater for extended periods of time). Before the river was dammed, natural flooding of the lowgrounds would have been more flashy, meaning that the water would have risen higher and faster and then gone back down after a few days, allowing the flood surge to move through. To mimic a more natural, pre-dam flow regime, the dam releases will be higher and shorter. They might release at 35 or 40k for just a week or so to move the water through instead of 20k for two months. What implications will this have for the winter striper fishing?
I think it will make it even better. As a fisherman trying to locate ideal feeding conditions for these hungry stripers, I think the rising and fall water will create a more dynamic and changing feeding environment for the fish. It will definitely put them on the move, but they move a lot anyway, so we’re always having to chase them around all winter. I’m really exciting about some amazing fishing this winter. I’ll be booking winter striper charters all winter. We generally get cranked up steadily after the New Year, with January being one of the best times to go; however, I’ve seen the bite really heat up as early as early Dec. If you want to experience this fishery this winter, plan your date now. I still have plenty of openings, but my winter calendar will be full when the fishing is at its best.
Here’s a little preview of what you can expect from this experience: