ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Spring Herring Run Spans a Festival in Jamesville, NC

Updated on December 29, 2018
DonnaCSmith profile image

Donna Campbell Smith is an author, freelance writer, and photographer. She has an AAS degree in equine tech and is a certified instructor.

About the Herring

Through the centuries blueback herring, also known as river herring, have found their way from the Atlantic Ocean, through rivers, creeks and canals to spawn in the lakes and the sounds of coastal North Carolina. Those that survive return to the sea, the young fish wait until the following fall to make their exodus to the Atlantic Ocean.

The tradition of spring herring fishing goes back long before the first European settlers arrived on the shores of the Carolina Coast. American Indians fished the coastal waters for thousands of years before their arrival. The native fishermen taught the newcomers how to make nets woven from plant materials, and how to use traps called weirs that are still incorporated by today's commercial herring fishermen. The bow and dip nets of ancient times are made from more modern materials, but follow the same pattern as those used by Indians long ago and many recreational fishermen still use them to catch herring. Some nets were simply a big chicken wire basket with a cord attached. When the fish swam into the net and the fisherman felt them bump he just yanked the net out of the water by the cord.

The Annual Herring Run Prompts a Festival Every Spring in Jamesville, NC


Cooking and Preserving Herring

Herrings were preserved in the old days by packing them in salt brine or pickling them in a vinegar and spice concoction. Before cooking the salted herring the fish must be soaked overnight in fresh water to take out the saltiness, changing the water at least twice. The fish are then rolled in meal and fried in hot lard. Herring have many fine bones and are eaten bones and all. Fresh herring are fried the same way, only after cleaning the fish the sides are notched every half an inch down the length to ensure the fish are cooked through and the bones can be eaten.

Recipe for Herring Roe and Scrambled Eggs.

Six strips bacon

1 8-ounce can Herring roe drained, or 1 cup chopped cooked fresh roe

2 tablespoons bacon drippings

Six eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Fry bacon, drain on paper towels, keep warm in oven. Pour off and reserve drippings. In same fryer, put 2 tablespoons bacon grease, add roe, salt and pepper. Brown slightly. Beat eggs. Add salt and pepper. Add 2 teaspoons bacon grease to browned roe, pour in eggs and mix scramble roe and eggs. Cook until eggs are partially done. Remove from heat, cover for a minute. Serve immediately topped with bacon. Serves 4 to 6.

(Recipes courtesy of Eddy Browning, food columnist for the Washington Daily News)

Fried Herring at Easter Monday Herring Festival

photo by Donna Campbell Smith
photo by Donna Campbell Smith | Source

Let the Festivities Begin

On Easter Monday in Jamesville the air is filled with the fragrance of fish frying in deep fat and the streets and riverfront are lined with vendors. Visitors and residents browse through an array of arts and crafts, while the kids beg for balloons and pony rides.

A parade, complete with floats, a band, and the crowned Herring Festival Queen kicked off the festivities. Folks used to line up to eat fried herring at the Cypress Grill, a weathered old eatery on the banks of the Roanoke River. In spite of the fact the restaurant burned to the ground in July 2018 the festival will still carry on its 70 year old tradition. Patrons will still be able to enjoy the treat of fried herring and herring row from participating vendors.

Located on the banks of the Roanoke River, the herring was once an important source of income for this small community. A "fishing machine" was used to harvest the fish, which were then processed and salted for distribution. No longer an industry in that sense, the festival brings large crowds to Jamesville, population 612, on that one day a year.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Oh how I miss fried herring and rockfish stew and the Cypress grill. Folks in the Piedmont where I live now have no idea what a true "fish camp" is.

      I was sad to hear that the herring no longer "run" in the Roanoke and Cashie the spring.

    • profile image

      NC Herring Festival Committe 

      11 years ago

      For anyone interested in being a vendor or a pataron of the NC Herring Festival, plans have started for 2010. We are taking vendor information to get out vendor packets, and the festivities will be similar to last year. We will soon have an update to the website coming soon, but the contract information is still the same for anyone interested!! Hope to see ya there.

    • DonnaCSmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Campbell Smith 

      11 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Dineane, remember a few years ago there were dolphins or porpoises in the river at the paper mill?

    • profile image

      NC Herring Festival Committee 

      11 years ago

      Hey, have new info. We now have an OFFICIAL website w/ the calander of events. It just opened today, WWW.NCHERRINGFESTIVAL.COM. The times are pretty much correct, but there are a couple that is off the mark. The corrections hopefully will be made tommorrow. The contact phone number and email is in the bottom corner. Sharon Britt. If you want to have a spot, please call her ASAP, she wants to do the vendor setup map this weekend. We have our next meeting Monday, and she wants to have it finished by then. You can tell her how you are getting the info, and let her know why you are late asking for the paperwork. The cut off is supposed to be April 3rd. Sorry I didn't have anything new, so I haven't logged on to your site until tonight. Thanks for the interest, and hope that you can particapate.


    • DonnaCSmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Campbell Smith 

      11 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Can you give us contact information? Might be interested in vendor space, etc.

    • profile image

      New Herring Festival Committee 

      11 years ago

      I just wanted to let u know that the Parade time has been changed to a tentative time @ this time. I will try to up date the scheduled time after it has be but in concrete. Hope u can make it.

    • DonnaCSmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Campbell Smith 

      11 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Thank you so much for that update! I will put it on my calendar.

    • profile image

      New Herring Fest Committee 

      11 years ago

      2 those of u that r checking this page out, the have been so fresh new updates 2 the Herring Festival this year. It starts Friday nite w/ a street dance & carnival rides. Saturday there will be all kinds of stuff going on. 9-5 (give or take) Carnival rides, Easter egg hunt @ 11am with pics w/ Easter Bunny for the kids. Classic Car cruz-in,Parade @ 1. Live entertainment throughout the day. New vendor setup, Baseball tournaments throughout the day. Sunday, sunrise service @ the Jamesville Cemetary, and fireworks & gospel singing @ dark. April 10-12, 2009. Spread the word. We are trying 2 renew the life of the Festival by changing things around. Any ?'s call town hall n Jamesville. Hope 2 have a website next year.

    • DonnaCSmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Campbell Smith 

      12 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Hey, Jamie! You should write some stories, too. I know you have lots of them.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Yup we even had i Manatee behind the mill back during the summer the porpoises are in the sound a lotin the summer the water is getting very brackish !!! I'm really enjoying your and Dineane's hubs Donna!!!

    • DonnaCSmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Campbell Smith 

      12 years ago from Central North Carolina

      I remember seeing pictures of them behind the paper mill a couple of years ago.

    • dineane profile image


      12 years ago from North Carolina

      One of these days I'll make it to Jamesville for the Herring Festival. On a side note, Daddy said one of his neighbors saw porpoises in the river behind his house (in Jamesville) last week! I've never heard of them coming so far up the river.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)