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E. Guido Soda

Non-Native Striper

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So I was in a local impoundment fed by a faily shallow, slow moving "river" last week in my kayak; I have fished there hundreds of times and have caught the following species:

 

- LMB - PB 6.5 lbs

- spots - PB 5.5 lbs

- yellow bass (non-native)

- crappie

- bream

- chain pickerel

- blue / channel cats

 

As we were leaving at dusk, I threw one last cast off of a generally productive point with a white 4" Storm Twitch Stick, and on the first jerk I felt a freight train hit and I was at the mercy of whatever was on the other end of the line; I knew it wasn't a largemouth, was pretty sure it wasn't a monster spot, and it was moving *way* too fast to be a big cat.  So I held on, let out some line, and let it take me for a ride.  The water was pretty shallow, around 6' max, and after a couple of minutes it came up - it was an 11 lb. saltwater striper - no, it was *not* a hybrid.  I wouldn't have been more surprised if I woke up with my head sewed to the carpet, to quote Clark Griswold.  It was ~ 27" - 30", I didn't measure it.  The pics are a little blurry, but you get the idea.

 

Walking the story back a bit, last year I was launching into the same place and my son noticed two monster striper laid out, dead, in the brush near the launch - they were probably around 30" - 35" in length.  I thought it very odd, but stuff happens.  Cut to a month ago, and I saw the same thing again; but this time there were five of them...not quite as large as last year, but still pretty good sized striper.  This time I started thinking that someone or someones was catching them in one of the larger impoundments, the Coosa or the Tallapoosa River chains come to mind, transporting them to this spot, and letting them go...dumping out the ones that don't survive the trip in the live well.  After I caught one in the lake, it pretty much confirmed my suspicion.  But the larger questions is this - how will introducing these fish into a non-native body of water affect the lake ecosystem?  I know they can't propagate, as the river that supplies the water does not provide the flow the eggs need to survive and hatch.  If I catch another one, should I throw it up on the bank, in the best interest of the other native species, or should I just let it go and hope to catch it again?  The reservoir is a little over 1000 acres, FYI...

 

Thanks,

 

EGS

 

PS - caught it on a MH 13Omen Black, 12 lb. Seaguar fluoro, Storm Twitch Stick - 4" white, BPS Pro Qualifier 7.1...

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Stripe bass are good table fare, kill and eat them.

We have stripe bass in small reserviors and they find a way to spawn, regardless of needing suspended eggs to survive. Stripe bass are much faster and eat more often than largemouth bass, if the lake doesn't have the food biomass to support both species of predators, the strongest survive.

Tom

PS, report your findings to your local DNR.

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They won't be in a landlocked lake in large numbers for very long unless stocked by the state. While true that under the best conditions they can reproduce, in a lake where they can't get to a constantly flowing tailrace (almost any lake), they won't self-sustain.

 

If they came over the dam, they'll probably die out. After the spawn, it's not uncommon to see larger ones floating as they attempted to fulfill their biological directive for the last time. I've caught stripers, white bass, white perch and what I would bet are hybrids all in one day. But hybrids were not stocked on that lake and white bass had long been presumed displaced by the perch. I asked an SCDNR fisheries manager about it and he told me they do go over dams in large numbers occasionally.

 

My guess is same as yours. People know they aren't supposed to be there and tossed them. Check with DNR and proceed. You might be able to keep them all if you catch a mess. They taste great, like an ocean fish such as grouper. If they've gotten easy to catch it's probably because they're competing with bass for limited resources. But their time is short. Try the tailrace when the water temp is creeping into the 60's and the dam is generating.

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They won't be in a landlocked lake in large numbers for very long unless stocked by the state. While true that under the best conditions they can reproduce, in a lake where they can't get to a constantly flowing tailrace (almost any lake), they won't self-sustain.

 

If they came over the dam, they'll probably die out. After the spawn, it's not uncommon to see larger ones floating as they attempted to fulfill their biological directive for the last time. I've caught stripers, white bass, white perch and what I would bet are hybrids all in one day. But hybrids were not stocked on that lake and white bass had long been presumed displaced by the perch. I asked an SCDNR fisheries manager about it and he told me they do go over dams in large numbers occasionally.

 

My guess is same as yours. People know they aren't supposed to be there and tossed them. Check with DNR and proceed. You might be able to keep them all if you catch a mess. They taste great, like an ocean fish such as grouper. If they've gotten easy to catch it's probably because they're competing with bass for limited resources. But their time is short. Try the tailrace when the water temp is creeping into the 60's and the dam is generating.

 

It isn't landlocked, it's fed by a small river, or more accurately, a medium-sized creek that at most times flows very slowly.  And the dam is a one-way only; there is no way anything comes over it - but they are not native to these waters anyway.  I'm guessing this is an anomaly and that people are putting them in there, as I've fished there 100 times and this is the only one I've ever caught...only a week after seeing a bunch of dead ones at the launch.  As far as eating them goes, I generally don't eat anything from the public waters of Alabama! 

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It isn't landlocked, it's fed by a small river, or more accurately, a medium-sized creek that at most times flows very slowly.  And the dam is a one-way only; there is no way anything comes over it - but they are not native to these waters anyway.  I'm guessing this is an anomaly and that people are putting them in there, as I've fished there 100 times and this is the only one I've ever caught...only a week after seeing a bunch of dead ones at the launch.  As far as eating them goes, I generally don't eat anything from the public waters of Alabama! 

Then they'll die out. I can't imagine people putting that many stripers in a place, but there they are. They need some deeper water to find the right temps and oxygen content to make it through the heat of summer.

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Then they'll die out. I can't imagine people putting that many stripers in a place, but there they are. They need some deeper water to find the right temps and oxygen content to make it through the heat of summer.

 

The main lake does get to about 45' - 55' at full pool, but I caught this one in the headwater main channnel which is currently running at about 6' - 8' due to the lack of rain this fall.  I suspect they could survive in there, but I doubt seriously that they can propagate.

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Thanks for posting this.Striped Bass are one of my favorite fish to catch.

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Thanks for posting this.Striped Bass are one of my favorite fish to catch.

 

YW - that was my first one to ever catch; as long as they don't decimate the native population, I hope whoever is putting them in there keeps up the good work!  It was a hell of a fight.

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They will go over dams and swim a long ways up rivers and streams, especially this time of year. If where you're fishing is connected to a body of water with stripers, it's possible that's how they're getting in there. 

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They will go over dams and swim a long ways up rivers and streams, especially this time of year. If where you're fishing is connected to a body of water with stripers, it's possible that's how they're getting in there. 

 

The "lake" flows northeast to southwest.  It is an impoundment of a tributary to the east that is not connected to any larger body of water in any way, and is extremely shallow - it is more or less a mid-sized creek when it isn't raining.  The river it ultimately empties out into _does_ terminate in the Alabama River, some 90 miles to the south.  There is no way they are in the headwaters, but I suppose if they could traverse 90 miles of water that is extremely shallow in most locations, and scale a 50' spillway, it is possible - but highly doubtful.  Again, the most logical conclusion is that locals fishing bigger waters are catching them and transporting them here for sport.  There are plenty of options for striper fishing within an hour or less from here...

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You know they live to almost 30, right. My guess is they are swimming in, not being put there, but anything is possible.

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You know they live to almost 30, right. My guess is they are swimming in, not being put there, but anything is possible.

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Beautiful catches - looks like a blast!  Not to beat a dead fish here, but I would have to hear some pretty convincing talk as to how it is more likely that they are swimming 90 miles upstream in a river that in many, many places is less than ankle deep (not to mention scaling multiple spillways) than some locals are dumping them in for sport.  The dam at the impoundment itself has a 40' - 50' spillway and about five miles from that dam is another dam / spillway that is probably 25' 30'.  I don't think there are any other dams along the way, but for them to get over the two I mentioned just doesn't seem possible. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I realize that they can, and do, travel great distances in shallow waterways, but in this instance I just don't see how it's possible to get into that impoundment naturally.  But as you say, anything is possible!

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Stripers are not magical creatures, they are of flesh and blood. Most dams will stop their migration path.

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