Hunting & Fishing
Rockfish On The Roanoke River
Each March, to the delight of anglers, thoughts of love drive the saltwater rockfish to begin their spawning run up the Roanoke River. So get out the live bait, the bucktails, spoons and crankbait because in Halifax County, the world’s capital for rockfish, the season has arrived.
The entire month of April, anglers can harvest rockfish – or striped bass as they also are known – by hook and line in the Roanoke River Striped Bass Management Area.
Local anglers compete with fishermen from all over the country on the Roanoke River this time of year. In 2001, brothers Chad and Josh Hardison pulled in a 39-inch rockfish before class. Scales at their local boat ramp only went to 26 pounds. This monster was an estimated 30 pounds, which is remarkable not just because of its size, but also because the species was over-fished for years. At long last, striped bass are back in a big way thanks to ongoing conservation efforts.
Whether you prefer paddle or motor, there are plenty of ramps on the Roanoke from which to launch your boat, canoe or kayak. However, you don’t have to fish for striper to appreciate the species of the Roanoke River spawning ground. More than 200 miles of rivers and creeks, complete with camping platforms, combine with the copious wildlife to make the Roanoke River into a popular eco-tourism destination, too.
The Roanoke, named after an Indian word meaning “river of death” because of a number of flood deaths over the centuries, is actually a river of life for animals and plants alike. Primeval forests of old growth cypress and water tupelo hover over the river, providing roosts for more than 200 species of native and migratory birds. Visitors can enjoy watching long-legged egrets and white heron tiptoeing along the muddy shores. Black bear, bobcats and river otters also are abundant here.
So, whether you’re in search of tranquility or stripers, take the bait and come to Halifax County.
added: December 23, 2008
updated: December 26, 2008