z-man

Where do Striped Bass Spawn?

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2 hours ago, CWitek said:

Connecticut DEEP will be quick to tell you that bass do not spawn in state waters.

 

As to why the fish are at Holyoke in the spring, food could be the reason.  There is some research showing that the fish concentrate on the river herring, shad, etc. that concentrate below the dam.  It's relatively easy pickings compared to chasing bait in open water.

Where else do Bass travel that far up river NOT to spawn?

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1 hour ago, CWitek said:

I don't know of any that break age down by month, and most of the state websites don't even include Year 0s in the charts that they provide.

 

Connecticut does show bass reaching 8 inches in length--presumably length over all as it doesn't specify otherwise.

 

It's possible that a quick email to the ASMFC's Fishery Management Plan Coordinator for striped bass might get you an answer, although I suspect that she's a little busy right now, given that the comment period on the PID ends today.

Do you think that the small 8” bass that people catch late summer or fall are born that year or the previous year? 8” growth in a few months seems like a lot. Last summer (late May to June) I was catching them on the cape that were 11-12”. I assume those are a year old. It seems strange that they would grow 8” in the first 3-4 months and then only 3” the next 8-9 months. 

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29 mins ago, Pickerel92 said:

Where else do Bass travel that far up river NOT to spawn?

Delaware River.

 

The spawning fish stay in the estuary, as they need brackish water to successfully spawn.  But bass will run way up into the freshwater sections--maybe following herring and shad--where they terrorize the trout and have upset trout fishermen calling the DEC complaining that the (native, naturally reproducing) striped bass are eating all of their precious (invasive, and often stocked) browns and rainbows.

 

 

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2 mins ago, CWitek said:

Delaware River.

 

The spawning fish stay in the estuary, as they need brackish water to successfully spawn.  But bass will run way up into the freshwater sections--maybe following herring and shad--where they terrorize the trout and have upset trout fishermen calling the DEC complaining that the (native, naturally reproducing) striped bass are eating all of their precious (invasive, and often stocked) browns and rainbows.

 

 

Those damn Bass eat EVERYTHING!

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10 mins ago, z-man said:

Do you think that the small 8” bass that people catch late summer or fall are born that year or the previous year? 8” growth in a few months seems like a lot. Last summer (late May to June) I was catching them on the cape that were 11-12”. I assume those are a year old. It seems strange that they would grow 8” in the first 3-4 months and then only 3” the next 8-9 months. 

If the Connecticut information is accurate, and a 1-year-old bass is 8 inches, then yes, I think that the fish that are 8 inches long in late summer are Year 0s; fish growth tends to depend on food availability, and winter isn't a feeding or growing time for bass that winter in their northeastern nursery areas.

 

An 11 or 12 inch fish caught in a the spring could easily be a fish in its second year that is beginning to put on some size after wintering over.  That's speculation on my part, but it seems reasonable.

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1 min ago, Drew C. said:

Those damn Bass eat EVERYTHING!

It was actually pretty funny, back in the early 2000s when the bass population was still increasing.  I was in a car with New York's then-fisheries manager, going out to lunch or dinner at a Mid-Atlantic Council meeting, when he was talking about the calls he was getting from the trout guys on the Delaware complaing that bass were eating trout right off their lines.  He thought the whole thing was funny.

 

Apparently, he told one of them something like "So wait.  You're telling me that you want the DEC to kill off a native fish species, because they're eating too many of your stocked, non-native trout?"

 

We were both laughing a bit at the time.

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1 min ago, CWitek said:

If the Connecticut information is accurate, and a 1-year-old bass is 8 inches, then yes, I think that the fish that are 8 inches long in late summer are Year 0s; fish growth tends to depend on food availability, and winter isn't a feeding or growing time for bass that winter in their northeastern nursery areas.

 

An 11 or 12 inch fish caught in a the spring could easily be a fish in its second year that is beginning to put on some size after wintering over.  That's speculation on my part, but it seems reasonable.

Do you think small, call it incidental, spawning happens along the entire coast in most major river systems? With the removal of dams and improvements to env regs/water quality, it seems totally plausible.

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4 mins ago, CWitek said:

It was actually pretty funny, back in the early 2000s when the bass population was still increasing.  I was in a car with New York's then-fisheries manager, going out to lunch or dinner at a Mid-Atlantic Council meeting, when he was talking about the calls he was getting from the trout guys on the Delaware complaing that bass were eating trout right off their lines.  He thought the whole thing was funny.

 

Apparently, he told one of them something like "So wait.  You're telling me that you want the DEC to kill off a native fish species, because they're eating too many of your stocked, non-native trout?"

 

We were both laughing a bit at the time.

It’s crazy that the trout guys continued fishing for the little trout instead of targeting the big bass. Live lining a trout sounds fun. :laugh:

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Just now, Pickerel92 said:

Do you think small, call it incidental, spawning happens along the entire coast in most major river systems? With the removal of dams and improvements to env regs/water quality, it seems totally plausible.

Honestly don't know.  

 

Bass require certain conditions to spawn successfully, a particular combination of salinity, etc.  They also need available nursery habitat, and zooplankton sized and timed appropriately to feed the juvenile fish.  Such conditions probably don't exist in every river, and even in places where they once existed, the destruction of salt marsh habitat, etc. may have eliminated necessary conditions.

 

The restoration of the spawn in the Kennebec suggests that some rivers might be able to host spawns.  But maybe the Kennebec was unique because it hosted spawns in the past.

 

Part of the answer might be found in historical research; where were spawning bass confirmed yerars ago (remembering that the presence of bass in the spring doesn't necessarily indicate that they were spawning).  But if Chesapeake Bass colonized the Delaware after the original Delaware stock collapsed, it's not unreasonable to believe that bass, during periods of abundance, would colonize any river where the right conditions exist.  We didn't see that happen during the most recent abundance peak, which suggests that the right conditions might not be all that common along the coast.  It's probably worth noting that the estuaries that support spawns tend to be broad, low-gradient, and with abundant nursery habitat, which are similar to conditions in southern rivers that support bass populations.  So "major river system" might not be the criterion that matters; the configuration of the estuary might matter more.

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2 mins ago, z-man said:

It’s crazy that the trout guys continued fishing for the little trout instead of targeting the big bass. Live lining a trout sounds fun. :laugh:

Striped bass don't generally eat bugs or #20 dry flies, which are things that tend to matter to trout fishermen.

 

But a big bunker-fly type of thing tied to imitate a rainbow would be an interesting thing to see someone throwing on the main river.

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21 mins ago, CWitek said:

Striped bass don't generally eat bugs or #20 dry flies, which are things that tend to matter to trout fishermen.

 

But a big bunker-fly type of thing tied to imitate a rainbow would be an interesting thing to see someone throwing on the main river.

years ago NJ was trying to establish a sea run program in the manasquan. It didn’t work but they threw a ton of trout in the river and I know they were caught (cast nets can work well on recently stocked trout) trout for live lining for Bass. 

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This is interesting, the last line does answer the question above.

Retention of white perch and striped bass larvae: Biological-physical interactions in Chesapeake Bay estuarine turbidity maximum

Estuaries volume 24pages756–769(2001)Cite this article

Abstract

Physical and biological properties of the Chesapeake Bay estuarine turbidity maximum (ETM) region may influence retention and survival of anadromous white perch (Morone americana) and striped bass larvae (Morone saxatilis). To evaluate this hypothesis we collected data in five cruises, three during May 1998 and two during May 1999, in upper Chesapeake Bay. Time series of freshwater discharge, water temperature, wind, and water level explain differences in ETM location and properties between cruises and years. During high flows in 1998, a two-layer response to wind forcing shifted the ETM up-estuary, while a high discharge event resulted in a down-estuary shift in the salt front and ETM location. In 1999, extremely low discharge rates shifted the salt front 15 km up-estuary of its position in 1998. During 1999, the ETM was less intense and apparently topographically fixed. Gradients in depth-specific abundance of ichthyoplankton were compared with salinity and TSS concentrations along the channel axis of the upper Bay. During 1998, the high flow year, most striped bass eggs (75%) and most early-stage white perch larvae (80%) were located up-estuary of the salt front. In addition, most striped bass (91%) and white perch (67%) post-yolk-sac larvae were located within 10 km of maximum turbidity readings. Total abundance of white perch larvae was lower in 1999, a low freshwater flow year, than in 1998, a high flow year. In 1999, striped bass larvae were virtually absent. White perch (1977–1999) and striped bass (1968–1999) juvenile abundances were positively correlated with spring Susquehanna River discharge. The ETM regions is an important nursery area for white perch and striped bass larvae and life-history strategies of these species appear to insure transport to and within the ETM. We hypothesize that episodic wind and discharge events may modulate larval survival within years. Between years, differences in freshwater flow may influence striped bass and white perch survival and recruitment by controlling retention of egg and early-stage in the ETM region and by affecting the overlap of temperature/salinity zones preferred by later-stage larvae with elevated productivity in the ETM.

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Nothing scientific just decades of experience. Every spring like now an abundant runt bass population is in the western most creeks of Peconic Bay. The creeks are shallow and usually a soft black mud bottom. Ribbed mussels line the banks in the salty area, with hard clams inthe mud. As the salinity decreases the shellfish changes also with soft shelled clams favoring the fresher water. At the top of the freshwater supply are small shrimp like that are about 3/8" overall. My alarm goes off with 3 sunny days and Temps hi 50's plus. I've witnessed kids during warm stretches of winter fishing with snapper tackle- bobber cane pole walking home with stringers of small bass and occasional catfish. These fish are also schooling during the month of December. Osprey nests are plentiful within the proximity of the Peconic River. It's a great show to watch the frantic feeding with sometimes as many as 3 young in the nests, with both parents "shopping" for food. Around Mother's day especially after a screaming east wind double digit Blues invade and bunker schools clog the creeks. The small bass disappear, they will show up again with the snappers in late summer. It's my guess they spawn in smaller numbers up and down the coast.

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