Spring on the Roanoke

Published 1:07 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Remember that song that goes— “Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning.”

Right now I think we could replace being in Carolina with being “on the Roanoke.”

It’s such a beautiful time here. There are not many things more striking than the early blush of spring on the Roanoke. The fresh shades of green, splashes of pink and white and familiar sounds of wildlife waking up all play a starring role in the return of spring on the Roanoke.

If you know anything about fishing, you know that the Roanoke has a reputation as a prime destination this time of year. Right now, fishermen from all over are scrambling to get to the river—some in boats and some on the bank. Fortunately the annual run of stripers—along with a host of other native and migrating species—ensure a steady flow of anglers headed our way.

Over the past few weeks I have enjoyed seeing the “catch of the day” that folks are posting on social media. Stripers and big old granddaddy catfish coming out of the Roanoke are making their Facebook and Instagram debut. There is little doubt that the Roanoke is a great place to hook a “selfie-worthy” lunker.

Maybe you too have a favorite story about a prize catch or perhaps the stunner that got away?

With the onset of spring we also see the return of paddlers to the Roanoke. Our Roanoke River Paddle Trail—with its sixteen camping platforms/sites that span from the Town of Halifax all the way down to the Albemarle Sound—is a real “bucket list” destination for many outdoor enthusiasts. You might not be surprised to know that our trail draws paddlers from all across North Carolina, but did you know that we also get some from as far as Canada?

After months of high water, we have all been anxious for levels to drop so these paddlers and campers can get back out on the river. They’ve been anxious too! They’ve been calling to see if the coast (or the river as the case may be) is clear.

We are keeping our fingers crossed that the water will continue to drop so they can return to experience the abundant wildlife and the great beauty the Roanoke has to offer.

In many ways, the Roanoke River is our golden goose. It brings visitors, and with them much-needed dollars, each year.

The visitors that we draw to the Roanoke are critical to our regional economy and Roanoke River Partners is grateful to be a link to connect these folks to our river and to the communities along the river—many of which are partners guiding, supporting and benefiting from our work.

I think we are particularly lucky to live here – along the Roanoke – surrounded by the unique natural and cultural assets that have contributed to our early development. As we go forward, it seems these same assets offer new economic opportunities and promise for our future.

Whether you are a local or a visitor, spring is one of the best times to experience the Roanoke! Hope you will find the opportunity to get out on the river or at least close to it sometime soon.

Don’t miss out. Come Go Roanoke … before spring slips away!

Carol Jones Shields is the Executive Director of Roanoke River Partners, Inc. You can contact her at (252) 798-3920 or director@roanokeriverpartners.org. You can learn more about Roanoke River Partners at www.roanokeriverpartners.org.