The striped bass is a saltwater fish found in the United States and Canada. It is the state fish of South Carolina, Rhode Island, Maryland, New York, and New Hampshire. In Canada, they are found in the Gaspereau River and Minas basin in Nova Scotia. They are native to the Atlantic coastline of North America, from the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana, to the St. Lawrence River. They are anadromous, meaning that they migrate between salt water and fresh water. They have also been introduced into South Africa, Turkey, Mexico, Latvia, Russia, Iran, and Ecuador for aquaculture and sport fishing.
Striped bass have a silvery, streamlined body. As their name suggests, they have horizontal long dark stripes that go from its gills to the base of its tail. The maximum size of the striped bass is 6.6 feet (200 cm), and have a maximum recorded weight of 125 oz. (57 kg). They are thought to live up to 30 years of age.
Striped bass spawn in fresh water. The 4 most important areas for breeding are the Delaware River, Hudson River, Cape Cod/Massachusetts Bay, and Chesapeake Bay. The spawning population in Lake Marion, Arkansas River, and Lake Texoma are not successful. This is because dams were built here, and the fish have to be restocked here annually. Lake Mead formerly was a body of water that required re-stocking of striped bass, however this was stopped in 1973 when it was verified that the striped fish were naturally reproducing again.
Striped bass are valuable for their sport fishing. They can be caught in several ways, such as surfcasting and trolling. Striped bass will take live baits, such as shad, mackerel, bloodworms, herring, sandworms, clams, and bunker. However, shad is the best bait for freshwater striper fishing. The largest striped bass every recorded that was caught by an angler was at 35.6 kg, which was caught in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1982.
Sadly, in 1982 the striped bass population declined to less than 5 million. Fortunately, due to the efforts by both Government management programs as well as fishermen, the population grew up to 56 million fish in 2007. This included the unprecedented 3.8 million fish that was caught by both recreational and commercial fishermen in 2006. The management of these species includes commercial quotas, size limits, and other biological reference points to try and avoid overfishing. In 2007, Former President George W. Bush declared that the Striped Bass was a protected game fish. This means that striped bass cannot be sold if they have been caught in Federal waters.