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Striped bass
Striped bass
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Moronidae
Genus: Morone
Species: M. saxatilis
Binomial name
Morone saxatilis
(Walbaum, 1792)

The striped bass (Morone saxatilis, also called Atlantic striped bass, stripers, linesiders, rock, pimpfish or rockfish) is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and the state saltwater (marine) fish of New York and New Hampshire. They are also found in the Minas Basin and Gaspereau River in Nova Scotia Canada.


Morphology and lifespan

The striped bass is a typical member of the Moronidae family in shape, having a streamlined, silvery body marked with longitudinal dark stripes running from behind the gills to the base of the tail. Maximum size is 200 cm (6.6 ft) and maximum scientifically recorded weight 57 kg (125 US pounds). Striped bass are believed to live for up to 30 years.[1]



Natural distribution

Striped bass are native to the Atlantic coastline of North America from the St. Lawrence River into the Gulf of Mexico to approximately Louisiana. They are anadromous fish that migrate between fresh and salt water. Spawning takes place in fresh water.

Introductions outside their natural range

Striped bass have been introduced to the Pacific Coast of North America and into many of the large reservoir impoundments across the United States by state game and fish commissions for the purposes of recreational fishing and as a predator to control populations of gizzard shad.[2][3][4] These include: Elephant Butte Lake in New Mexico; Lake Ouachita, Lake Norfork, Beaver Lake (Arkansas) and Lake Hamilton in Arkansas; Lake Powell, Lake Pleasant, and Lake Havasu in Arizona; Castaic Lake, Pyramid Lake, Silverwood Lake, Diamond Valley Lake, Lake Cumberland, and Lake Murray in California; Lake Lanier in Georgia; Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee; and Lake Mead, Nevada; and in Texas, Lake Texoma, Lake Tawakoni, Lake Whitney, Possum Kingdom Lake, and Lake Buchanan.

Striped bass have also been introduced into waters in Ecuador, Iran, Latvia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, and Turkey primarily for sport fishing and aquaculture.[5]

Environmental factors

The spawning success of striped bass has been studied in the San Francisco Bay-Delta water system, with a finding that high total dissolved solids (TDS) reduce spawning. At levels as low as 200 mg/L TDS there is an observable diminution of spawning productivity.[6]

Former President of the United States George W. Bush in an Executive Order on October 20, 2007 designated the Striped Bass as a protected game fish. This prohibits sale of Striped Bass caught in Federal waters and encourages states to consider designating Striped Bass as a protected game fish within state waters.[7]

Life cycle

Illustration of a group of striped bass

Striped bass spawn in freshwater and although they have been successfully adapted to freshwater habitat, they naturally spend their adult lives in saltwater (i.e., it is anadromous). Four important bodies of water with breeding stocks of striped bass are: Chesapeake Bay, Massachusetts Bay/Cape Cod, Hudson River and Delaware River. It is believed that many of the rivers and tributaries that emptied into the Atlantic, had at one time, breeding stock of striped bass. One of the largest breeding areas is the Chesapeake Bay, where populations from Chesapeake and Delaware bays have intermingled.[8] There are very few successful spawning populations of freshwater striped bass, including Lake Texoma and the Arkansas River as well as Lake Marion (South Carolina) that retained a landlocked breeding population when the dam was built; other freshwater fisheries must be restocked with hatchery-produced fish on an annual basis. Stocking of striped bass was discontinued at Lake Mead in 1973 once natural reproduction was verified.[9]

Hybrids with other bass

Striped bass have also been hybridized with white bass to produce hybrid striped bass also known as sunshine bass, palmetto bass, or wiper with the white perch to produce white perch hybrid also known as Virginia bass or Maryland bass; and yellow bass to produce paradise bass. These hybrids have been stocked in many freshwater areas across the U.S.[10][11]

Fishing for striped bass

Striped bass caught in the Atlantic Ocean off the New Jersey coast.

Striped bass are of significant value as sport fishing, and have been introduced to many waterways outside their natural range. A variety of angling methods are used, including trolling and surfcasting. Striped bass will take a number of live and fresh baits including bunker, clams, sandworms, herring, bloodworms,mackerel with shad being the best bait for freshwater striper fishing. The largest striped bass ever caught by angling was a 35.6 kg (78.5 lb) specimen taken in Atlantic City, New Jersey on September 21, 1982.[12]. The record-holder is Albert McReynolds, who fought the fish from the beach for an hour and twenty-minutes before landing it in the surf.[13]

Recreational limits vary by state.

Land locked striped bass

Striped bass are an anadromous fish and their spawning ritual of traveling up rivers to spawn led some of them to become landlocked during lake dam constructions. It was once believed that the first area they became landlocked was in the Santee-Cooper river during the construction of the two dams that impounded Lake Moultie and Lake Marion, and because of this believe the state game fish of South Carolina is the striped bass. [14]

Recently biologists believe that striped bass stayed in rivers for long periods of time, some not returning to sea unless temperature changes forced migration. Once fishermen and biologists caught on to rising striped bass populations, many state natural resources departments started stocking striped bass in local lakes. Striped bass still continue the natural spawn run in freshwater lakes, traveling up river and blocked at the next dam, which is why they are landlocked. Landlocked stripers have a hard time reproducing naturally, and one of the few and most successful rivers they have been documented reproducing successfully is the Coosa River in Alabama and Georgia.[15]


The Striped bass population declined to less than 5 million by 1982, but efforts by fishermen and management programs to rebuild the stock proved successful, and in 2007, there were nearly 56 million fish, including all ages. Recreational anglers and commercial fisherman caught an unprecedented 3.8 million fish in 2006. The management of the species includes size limits, commercial quotas, and biological reference points for the health of the species. Overfishing of striped bass may still be occurring, which is why there's a major movement to abolish the commercial fishery and manage the species as a game fish throughout the Eastern Seaboard.[16]


  1. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2007). "Morone saxatilis" in FishBase. March 2007 version.
  2. ^ Striped Bass Management Plan retrieved on 10 June 2007.
  3. ^ Pennysylvania State Fish & Boat Commission, Gallery of Pennsylvania Fishes, Chapter 21. Retrieved 10 June 2007.
  4. ^ Indiana Fish and Wildlife, Evaluation of Striped Bass Stockings at Harden Reservoir. Retrieved 10 June 2007.
  5. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2007). "Morone saxatilis" in FishBase. March 2007 version.
  6. ^ Kaiser Engineers, California, Final Report to the State of California, San Francisco Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Program, State of California, Sacramento, CA (1969)
  7. ^ "Office of the Press Secretary" (October 20, 2007"). ["" ""Executive Order: Protection of Striped Bass and Red Drum Fish Populations""]. Press release. "". Retrieved "October 21, 2007". 
  8. ^ Chesapeake Bay Program, Striped Bass
  9. ^ Wilde, G. R. and L.J. Paulson. 1989. Food habits of subadult striped bass in Lake Mead Arizona-Nevada. The Southwestern Naturalist 34(1) 118-123.
  10. ^ Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Status of the Striped Bass/Hybrid Bass Bass Fishery March 2006 retrieved 10 June 2007.
  11. ^ Pennysylvania State Fish & Boat Commission, Gallery of Pennsylvania Fishes, Chapter 21. Retrieved 10 June 2007.
  12. ^ New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife
  13. ^ David DiBendetto, On The Run, An Angler's Journey Down the Striper Coast, page 195
  14. ^ "History of Freshwater Striped Bass". Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  15. ^ "Striped Bass in River Systems". Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  16. ^ "Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission: Striped Bass". Retrieved 2009-07-02. 

External links

Striped bass at the Open Directory Project


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