Striped bass

The striped bass (Morone saxatilis, also called rock or rockfish) is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and the state Saltwater (marine) fish of New York.

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.


Natural distribution

Striped bass are found along 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 freshwater.

Introductions outside their natural range

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

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.

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.

Life cycle

Striped bass spawn in freshwater and spend their adult lives in saltwater (i.e., it is anadromous). They can also live exclusively in freshwater and currently flourish in inland water bodies such as Elephant Butte Lake in New Mexico, Lake Ouachita, Lake Norfork, Beaver Lake and Lake Hamilton in Arkansas Lake Murray, Lake Powell, Lake Havasu, Lake Pleasant, Lake Texoma, Lake Cumberland, Reelfoot Lake, and Lake Mead. For saltwater striped bass, four important bodies of water with breeding stocks of striped bass are: Chesapeake Bay, Massachusetts Bay/Cape Cod, Hudson River and Delaware River.The Arkansas river contains a successful spawning population of Striped Bass and there are many smaller breeding areas that contribute to the overall striped bass population such as the Takanasse Lake. 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.

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.

Fishing for striped bass

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, bloodworms, and mackerel. 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.


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