Salt Water Stripers

Nitro Owners Forum

Help Support Nitro Owners Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Parrotth3ad _

Well-Known Member
Apr 18, 2001
Reaction score
OK, here's a question for you folks that the people on my home lake have been battling over for a few years now. What effect, if any, do you think the stocking of salt water stripers has on your lake?

A little about my home lake... I mainly fish Lewis Smith Lake in north-central Alabama. It's a deep, clear water lake with little to no growing vegetation. Threadfin shad is the prevalent food source, and also the original reason for the stocking of the stripers, to take out the over grown shad. Nutrients in the lake would be considered low due mainly to the lack of growing vegetation and the lake sees heavy fishing pressure, as heavy as you can get on a 22,000 acre lake anyway... The biologist say stripers don't eat bass, but almost any T fisherman can tell you different. We have seen stripers schooling up waiting on the bass to be released after many T's, picking off the weakened spots. This is becoming a nightly event and even the striper guides have started to work these schools since they are so predictable. From conversations with long time Smith fishermen, since the practice of stocking stripers in the lake began some 15 odd years ago, the quality of bass fishing has declined immensely and the state has invoked a 13" to 16" slot limit, asking that all fishermen keep the fish under 13". Now I don't consider myself a stripe hater, but I had rather be catching spots and largemouth, and yes there are a few smallies in the lake, but I have yet to see one brought into a boat, and most T's on Smith don't allow you to weigh in smallmouth anyway...

How are the stripers on your home lake?


You description of Lewis Smith Lake fits Lake Lanier very well, also. No surprise, since they are both man made, power generating reservoirs about the same age (40 years for Smith, about 43 for Lanier).

The reading I've done suggests that erosion is the main enemy of the bass population in aging reservoirs such as these. The repeated rise and fall of the water levels wipes out much of the shallow vegetation. Largemouth bass get hit hard because their natural habitats slowly get wiped away with time. Spots seem to be more resistant because they favor deeper structures.

I think when biologists say "Stripers don't eat bass" what they are really saying is that it's not their natural forage. Nature finds it's own equilibrium. If bass are what's for dinner, and that's all a hungry Striper can get, well, you are seeing (human influenced) evolution in action.

Maybe this article will help you some.

Stripers vs, Black Bass

by Ralph Manns

In recent years there has been much debate of the value and negative impact of striped bass introduced into black bass waters. Some bass anglers have gone so far as to claim that "biologists" are deliberately deceiving them and denying the fact that adverse impacts appear to exist. They no longer trust biologists.

But don't knock "experts." It's just that you must read and listen to the right ones. Some biologists responsible for the striper programs have distorted the facts for more than 20 years. But, there have always been other biologists, like myself, who have argued that there are indirect impacts on black bass and other gamefish populations from EXCESS striper stockings. These impacts have been documented by population research. but the situation isn't always as bad as some anglers believe.

Some anglers, looking for someone else to blame for poor black bass angling, have often distorted the biological relationships involved, particularly in the TVA lake arguments. They want aging waters that have become unsuited to black bass to produce as well as the reservoirs did in the first few years when natural factors didn't limit the first few year classes of black bass. Many waters that once briefly produced decent black bass fishing cease doing so naturally as waters age. Good black bass habitat requires cover and flats, and many highland lakes with steep sides are not particularly good black bass habitat, even though they briefly produced superior bassing in the first 6-10 years of impoundment.

Moreover, anglers themselves have destroyed many early reservoir black bass populations by over harvesting fish.

Stripers eat preyfish, particularly shad. When shad are in short supply, this puts them in direct competition for food with black bass and other gamefish like crappie that also eat predominantly shad when shad are abundant.

But the impact on black bass is usually not direct. Black bass also eat sunfish and minnows, which are normally not found abundantly in the open water habitats occupied by striped bass. LARGE stripers have a temperature limitation that keeps them separated from black bass when waters warm above about 74 degrees F. As a result, large stripers only compete directly with black bass in seasons when bass are in cool water and eating less. Thus, surveys have tended to show little decrease in size of the bass populations, and little decrease in growth rates of bass after stripers are stocked, particularly in waters already shared with white bass.

But, exceptions have occurred when too many stripers have been stocked or stripers have reproduced naturally. In these cases shad overexploitation and food shortages have occurred, directly limiting bass numbers and growth.

The impact of stripers stocked in acceptable numbers on bass is almost nil in waters where black bass already compete with white bass for shad resources. Stripers tend to merely substitute for the level of competition that already existed between black and white bass.

However, there is a behavioral impact when big stripers occupy a water previously dominated by black bass or black and white bass. When alone in a water and not fished-down by anglers, black bass typically school and feed in open (pelagic) water to take advantage of abundant shad resources. The bass population size is maximum as they have access to maximum food.

Bass, whites and blacks, share open water. Black bass populations are decreased by having a more limited food supply, but continue to school and feed in open water.

But, if big stripers are present, small black bass, though not normally eaten by stripers, learn to avoid swimming in areas where the stripers often threaten them. Juvenile black bass tend to stay near cover and shoreline habitat, remaining primarily in coves. Studies at La

Latest posts