As far as flies go, you cannot go wrong with the dragonfly, damselfly, mayfly or even leech.

Angling for bass during spring takes a little more effort than the rest of the year as this is the spawning season for Roanoke Bass. The males aren’t going to bite while they are defending the nest or protecting the fry. They can be encouraged to take a lure in order to protect the nest from a perceived danger. However, as this is a threatened species, we encourage you to practice catch and release.

Closed Season

When convincing a male to leave the nest during spawning is very doable, many areas have closed season during spawning. Be sure to check your local fishing department. Local bait shops and lodges will also know this information.

Fishing for Roanoke Bass

Roanoke Bass are river fish so river techniques are pretty much all that will work on this fish. Both casting and fly fishing are excellent methods for catching the Roanoke Bass.

Bait Casting

Use a light rod and reel. A simple $30.00 package from Wal-Mart will easily do the job. While the Roanoke Bass will go after leeches, fathead minnows, gizzard shad, crayfish and worms, we recommend going with worms as they are easy to work with, easy to locate and easy to keep fresh in the fridge when not being used.

Cast your line around rock outcrops, river ledges, sunken debris and near weed beds. The use of a bobber will keep the bait suspended six inches from the river floor.

Fly Fishing

When it comes to river fishing, fly fishing should be your first choice if you have fly gear. The roanoke bass is not a big fish, so light to ultra light is the way to go. If you plan on fly fishing other small to moderate sized species, go with a weight-3 rod and a simple reel with a drag option.

As far as flies go, you cannot go wrong with the dragonfly, damselfly, mayfly or even leech. As the Roanoke Bass inhabit the bottom of the river, you are well advised to go with wet flies.


Effective lures include light spincasting tackle, jigs, doll flies, small crank baits that imitate minnows and spinners. Effective yes, but really unnecessary. If you are going to use casting techniques, simply use lives baits like minnows and earth worms.