It's time for shad, but where are they?
By Gene Price
Published in Sports on February 12, 2006 2:27 AM
The annual shad run is either getting a slow start or anglers are being mighty coy about their catches.
Grifton Shad Festival officials say the first catch reported to them was by Hugh Hines of LaGrange who caught a 14-ouncer on January 29.
I have spotted a few folks casting from around the boating access area on the Neuse at Kinston and a few others scattered along the river. And one report held that a shad or two had been taken well upstream from Goldsboro.
But I have not seen a one.
The time is at hand, however. I suspect plenty of anglers are trying their luck at Pitch Kettle, one of the favorite spots for shadding. The hickories should be arriving in force anytime now and the big white shad should be right on their heels.
If you're new at shadding, try light or ultra light tackle and shad darts or small spoons -- or a combination of both. Most folks don't eat the hickory shad, but the roe is excellent. The big white shad are excellent food, although very bony.
Grifton shad festival
While the competition is on and will continue until April 5, the Grifton Shad Festival will be held April 5-9.
This will be the 39th festival and it has become a gala event. This year will be no exception. On tap are a parade, a fish fry, art show, amateur floor shows, a magic show, art classes, craft show and pony rides for the kids.
Clogger groups from Wilson and Greenville will perform and offer instructions on Saturday afternoon, April 6.
Allow elk importation?
Should North Carolina allow the importation of as many as 30 elk into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? The Park Service has requested that it be allowed to bring in that many elk from Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky.
Fifty-two elk now are in the park as the result of a restoration project begun in 2001. But the importation of elk, deer and any other cervids into North Carolina has been on hold since 2002.
The importation ban was initiated by the Wildlife Resources Commission in an effort to prevent introduction of chronic wasting disease into North Carolina.
The disease has been found in deer and elk herds in 14 states and two Canadian provinces. In recent months it showed up in West Virginia 300 miles from North Carolina and the closest the disease has been found to this state.
It is untreatable and always fatal. Should it be discovered, all deer or elks within an area of several miles would have to be destroyed.
Under existing regulations, the Wildlife Commission can waive certain restrictions and allow importation of cervids.
But two conditions which must be met are that the herd from which the elk are to be imported must have been carefully monitored; and that the existing herd in North Carolina is in "imminent danger of dying out without an infusion of new animals."
The Wildlife Commission staff and representatives of the N.C. Department of Agriculture met in January with the Park Service and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to discuss the proposal.
More meetings will be held this month to discuss more detailed information about the herd condition and disease concerns.
Herring season open
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has opened the herring season in coastal and joint waters for commercial and recreational fishermen. There is no limit on commercial fishermen's catches but recreational fishermen are limited to 12 fish per day.
Poor tuna catch
The bluefin tuna season has ended for commercial fishermen, but it was a poor season. Commercial fishermen landed only a third of their allotted poundage. Speculation is that the fish were moving farther offshore than in previous years.
The season for recreational fishermen is still open.
Wild game dinner
Mattamuskeet Ventures will be putting on its famous wild game dinner on February 25. The affair will begin at 6 p.m. at the fruit grader building on Piney Woods Rd. near the state prison.
Ventures President Jamin Simmons, who is sponsoring the event, said the dinner will be in honor of the late Chip Parks, the Fayetteville building supply business owner who founded Mattamuskeet Ventures.
On the menu will be an assortment of goose dishes -- Canada, Ross, speckled bellied, blue and snow goose. Also, whitetail deer, elk, black bear, rabbit, quail, pheasant, dove, beaver, raccoon, turkey, wild boar, shrimp, oysters, crab, tuna and other items "cooked in several different ways."
Some 450 people attended the function last year.
There is no charge, but separate containers will receive donations to the Hyde County Waterfowl and the North Carolina Waterfowl Association.
An impoundment dedication to Chip Parks will be held at 10:30 on the morning of the 25th.
Details: (252) 926-9664.
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