Striped Bass Biologist Studies

Striped Bass Biologist Studies and Documentation.

AG&FC Striped Bass Management Plan

Use Of Lake Ouachita Nursery Pond Stocking

Striped Bass Predation On Bass And Crappie


Dismissing Striped Bass Myths

The definition of controversies "an earnest debate," and there has certainly been earnest debate over the stocking of striped bass in Arkansas. Itís a controversy that has been going on since stripers were first stocked in Arkansas in 1956.

So why all the controversy?

Striped Bass in Arkansas grow to 40 pounds and larger. Anglers who preferred to fish for other species started assuming
stripers were eating all the game fish like bass and crappie? The myth of the striper had started

Only Five lakes in Arkansas have become acclaimed Striped Bass lakes. Lakes Ouachita , Norfork, Greeson, Hamilton and Beaver are all well known for their striper fishing.

So in the 1970s and 1980s, Fisheries Biologist have conducted numerous studies on the feeding habits and preferences of striped bass in fresh water reservoirs.

As the Biologists' knew, study after study after study done by a variety of State Fish and Game agencies and universities indicated striped bass greatly preferred the forage species such as shad or alewife and rarely ate other fish.

Results indicated stripers preferred to eat fish that had no spines, Not the sharp spine species like on the backs of Bass and crappie. Armed with information from these studies, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission felt confident that, as long as there were good numbers of shad in the Arkansas Lakes where Stripers are stocked, it was safe to continue stocking Striped bass.

Then, in the 1990s another myth arose about striped bass in reservoirs.

  • They were eating all the bait fish.
    False Again

Studies indicate little or no competition in lakes with large numbers of shad. Studies show there is some competition with the shad forage.

The level of competition, however, is low, particularly with bass, crappie, bluegill and other sunfish species. The conclusion of this study estimated that if striped bass were removed, the total remaining fish population could increase by a maximum of  5 to 10 percent. That may sound like a substantial increase, but keep in mind that is an increase for the combined total of other fish.

For example, Arkansas Lakes have about 11 other fish species that feed on shad, so each species could gain only one-half percent to 1 percent, not a very significant increase.

The only fish in Arkansas that stripers significantly compete with are white bass.

In fact, the white bass population, by far, consumes more shad each year than stripers do.
During the years when white bass numbers are up, the threadfin shad population usually drops considerably.

So what does all this mean?  It means that rumors about striped bass have little to no truth to them.

Some of the statements about stripers heard through the years include:

  • "Striped Bass are eating all the young bass and crappie."

    • False:
      Stripers prefer soft fined fish like the shad and will rarely eat gamefish.

      Stripers are the least of worries for young bass and crappie. The other species of sunfish are the primary consumers of these young fish.

      In fact, adult bass and crappie are probably the largest consumers of young bass and crappie along with Gar.

       

  • "A striped bass can eat its weight in fish each day."

    • False:
      Have you ever tried to eat your weight in food in a day?

      Striped Bass are like any other fish, that is they have feeding periods.
       

  • "Striped bass are spawning in Arkansas Lakes."

    • False:
      Stripers require many miles of river current to reproduce successfully.

      Stripers do make spawning runs up Lake river tributaries, but striper eggs must float free in a riverís current for two to three days to hatch.
       

  • "Stripers and black bass are not compatible."

    • False
      The only body of water in Arkansas where stripers reproduce is the Arkansas River.

      Yet, the Arkansas River consistently has some of the best Black Bass fishing in the United States.

We hope this information helps to dispel some mis-information about striped bass. But there will probably always be a controversy about stocking them and everyone is certainly entitled to his own opinions.

Sometimes controversy is a good thing because it brings an issue out into the open and requires us to seek the truth. Sadly some people don't let facts or truth get in their way when they are seeking their own selfish agenda.

 


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