07/30/06 — More opportunities for striper anglers?

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More opportunities for striper anglers?

By Gene Price
Published in Sports on July 30, 2006 2:18 AM

There could be greater opportunities for striped bass fishermen in the Roanoke River in the years ahead.

Stripers in the Roanoke have been a showcase example of successful fisheries management -- thanks in large part to the leadership of Mount Olive native Pete Kornegay. He is a regional fisheries coordinator for the Wildlife Resources Commission.

The Roanoke is an important nursery area for striped bass. The stock was suffering until the Wildlife Commission and the Division of Marine Fisheries joined hands in an aggressive management program.

Today, the stock is regarded as fully restored.

But regulations on the taking of stripers can be a bit confusing. Seasons vary depending on whether one is fishing in the "upper" or "lower" portions of the river. The upper portion is that area upstream from US 258. They lower Roanoke includes the river and its tributaries downstream from the bridge.

The Fisheries Division of the Wildlife Commission is preparing a proposal to open the striper season in the entire river at the same time. It also feels the season should be extended by two weeks.

In addition, the Commission will propose increasing the harvest of stripers in the Roanoke Management Area by 100,000 pounds a year. The current recreational fishing allotment is 137,500 pounds. A final ruling on increasing the quota would have to be approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

The public will have the opportunity to present views on the proposals at public hearings if the Wildlife Commission adopts the recommendations now being drafted.

WRC Fisheries Chief Bob Curry sees the proposals as simplifying regulations and increasing fishing opportunities.

We'll keep you posted as this idea develops.

Birding is big

Bird watching is a popular activity for people of all ages -- and for 12 months out of the year.

It also has a largely unrecognized economic impact. Birders from various areas of the state, and for other states, travel to various parts of North Carolina observe birds and other wildlife. This is particularly true during spring and fall migration periods.

An outgrowth of this interest has been the establishment of the North Carolina Birding Trail. This includes the designation of 102 viewing sites east of I-95.

"Birding trails have been successful in more than 40 states, generating ecotourism dollars and providing financial incentives to protect vanishing habitat," said Salinda Daley, Birding Trail coordinator for the Wildlife Resources Commission.

Designated birding sites are found on federal, state, local government and private lands. Ms. Daley says among some remarkable birds found in this state are the painted bunting, cerulean warbler, wood stork and enormous flocks of snow geese.

Establishing Birding Trails is a joint effort by the Wildlife Commission, the U.S. Fish and wildlife Service, the Cooperative Extension Service, N.C. Sea Grant, State Parks and the Audubon Society.

The Cliffs of the Neuse State Park is among the sites already listed. For a complete list and other details check the Birding Trail Web site at www.ncbirdingtrail.org.

Have martins left?

On the subject of birds, it occurred to me several days ago that my purple martins had left. At first I thought that perhaps they were off feeding somewhere. But they're gone.

This was interesting since it seems to me that they usually are around until mid-August. (They arrive in mid-March.)

My more serious bird-watching buddies say the martins begin congregating in big flocks before migrating. I didn't notice that happening this year. Just one day they simply were gone.

If you haven't taken up bird-watching, you might give it consideration. "Birding" is for all ages and all seasons. And one doesn't have to be able-bodied to enjoy birds. They can even be watched from the windows of rest homes.

Putting out feed is a sure way to increase activities in an area. On a single sitting on our deck one morning I identified 14 different species.

Longbeards event

Wayne County Longbeards, a chapter of the National Turkey Federation, has an interesting event as a part of its Aug. 25 fundraiser.

It will have drawings for 10 upscale guns -- weapons valued at an average of around $600 each. Chances are $100 each. But only 100 tickets are offered -- meaning a ticket holder has a one-in-10 chance of winning.

That sure as heck beats the lottery chances!

Many other items will be auctioned or offered through drawings. They include a number of guns, animal calls, sporting art, outdoor equipment and other things.

Tickets to the affair are $50, or $80 for couples. President Brent Hood said a special effort is being made to recruit active duty military personnel by making tickets for them available at $35. Folks at Seymour Johnson will find the banquet a great place to make friends with fellow sportsmen and nature lovers.

The banquet will be at the Big Barn Theater on US 13 near Grantham and will begin with a reception at 6 p.m.

For more information, call Brent Hood at (919) 658-0550; or he can be reached at www.wildturkeys.org.

The Wild Turkey Federation played a leading role in establishment of wild turkey populations now found in harvestable numbers in all 100 counties of North Carolina.

Herring meeting

The Marine Fisheries Inland Advisory Committee will meet Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Archdale Building in Raleigh. A draft management plan for the river herring will be presented.

Details of the management plan can be accessed at www.ncdmf.net/fmps/index.htm. Other details are available by phone at (800) 682-263 or (252) 726-7021.28he meting will be in Room 504-2A on the 5th floor.

Close call

A charter boat crewman was speared through the chest by the bill of a blue marlin and knocked overboard near Brmuda last week. He freed himself from the bill and was rescued from the water by his father.

The man is recovering after surgery. The marlin had jumped through the air close to the boat after being hooked.