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Striped Bass
Roccus Lineatus
(Striper, Rockfish, Lineside)

Description

The striped bass is the largest member of the sea bass family, often called "temperate" or "true" bass to distinguish it from species such as largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass which are actually members of the sunfish family Centrarchidae. Although Morone is of unknown derivation, saxatilis is Latin meaning "dwelling among rocks." As with other true basses, the dorsal fin is clearly separated into spiny and soft-rayed portions. Striped bass are silvery, shading to olive-green on the back and white on the belly, with seven or eight uninterrupted horizontal stripes on each side of the body. Younger fish may resemble white bass (Morone chrysops). However, striped bass have two distinct tooth patches on the back of the tongue, whereas white bass have one tooth patch. Striped bass have two sharp points on each gill cover, and white bass have one. Additionally, the second spine on the anal fin is about half the length of the third spine in striped bass, and about two-thirds the length of the third spine in white bass.

Biology

The striped bass is native to a variety of habitats including shores, bays, and estuaries. In coastal populations, individuals may ascend streams and travel as much as 100 miles inland to spawn. There are land-locked populations that complete their entire life cycle in freshwater. These generally ascend tributaries of the lakes or reservoirs where they spend their lives. Spawning begins in the spring when water temperatures approach 60°F. Typically, one female is accompanied by several males during the spawning act. Running water is necessary to keep eggs in motion until hatching. In general, at least 50 miles of stream is required for successful hatches. Stripers may reach a size of 10 to 12 inches during the first year. Males are generally mature in two years, and females in three to four. Adults are primarily piscivorous, feeding predominantly on members of the herring family such as gizzard shad and threadfin shad. Alewife and glut herring are often found in their stomachs in the northern states.

Arkansas Distribution

Striped bass are anadromous by nature (living in the ocean and spawning in freshwater streams) and were first introduced in Arkansas in the 1960's. Ten to twenty-pounders aren't uncommon, and these fish have reached weights over 50 pounds in Arkansas. Characteristics include a long body profile, distinct unbroken stripes (although hatchery strains occasionally have broken lines) and two separate tooth-patches on the tongue. Eight major reservoirs - Ouachita, Beaver, Norfork, Maumelle, Hamilton, Greeson, Millwood, DeQueen, and Catherine - plus the Arkansas River and the Little River below Lake Millwood have established striped bass fisheries.
 


Common Baitfish For Stripers

Gizzard Shad
Dorosoma cepedianum

Preferred Habitat: large rivers and reservoirs

Range: all waters except the smallest streams and foothill streams

Common Size: 10-12 inches. Approximate maximum weight: 2 pounds

Food Habits: The gizzard shad feeds by filtering microscopic plants and animals in their gill rakers. They also filter mud and material from the bottom to obtain food matter, which is ground in the gizzard-like section of the gut.

Spawning: Gizzard shad are prolific spawners with spawning peaks from May through June when up to 400,000 adhesive eggs are released to attach to various shallow water substrates until they hatch.

Miscellaneous: Although the gizzard shad inhabits all of Arkansas's major freshwater rivers, streams and reservoirs, they occur in larger numbers in the state’s more productive reservoirs. In reservoirs, the species congregates in schools, which use both inshore and open water habitats. Upon hatching, the emerging gizzard shad become an important food item to most game fish and continue in importance until they become too large for most species to swallow. Only striped bass and large catfish can utilize most adult gizzard shad.

Gizzard shad are considered to be a very poor target for anglers and are of no benefit as a food fish. Many fishermen, especially catfish and striped bass fishermen, will use gizzard shad for live or cut bait.

Threadfin Shad
Dorosoma petenense

The Threadfin Shad is one of the primary baitfish that Striped Bass feed on in the Arkansas, and Mississippi rivers. Threadfin shad in the United States are native to streams flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. Threadfin shad occur as far north as Arkansas in the Arkansas River, Mississippi River and their tributaries, as well as reservoirs.

Nicknames: yellow tails, shad, shad minnows.

Characteristics: Head is strongly compressed, scale less. Mouth terminal, floor of oral cavity is spotted with black. Bottom lip protruding; upper lip with a slight indication of a notch or notch lacking. Back dark gray to bluish black; sides and abdomen silvery; distinct post opercular dark spot present; spot smaller than the eye. Fins, except the dorsal, yellowish; caudal deeper yellow than the other fins. Body is deep, strongly compressed laterally. .

Typical Size: Adult length: normally less than 6 inches

Habitat: The threadfin inhabits large lakes and rivers with moderate current, usually congregating in schools over deep water during the daylight hours, moving into shallower areas at night.

Feeding Habits: Threadfin shad are mainly limnetic particulate feeders on larger plankton and filter-feeders on smaller plankton; however, some bottom feeding does occur. Adult threadfin shad may also prey upon fish larvae.

Fish Facts: It is sensitive to cool temperatures, and below 45 deg. F it has decreased swimming and schooling abilities. It cannot tolerate water temperatures below 35 deg F.

Bait: The Threadfin Shad are used whole and live for Striped Bass. Alive or dead, they make great catfish bait.

 


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