Female striped bass can mature as
early as age 4, however, it takes several years (age 8 or older) for
spawning females to reach full productivity.
Spawning is triggered by an increase
in water temperature and generally occurs in April, May and early
Once a female broadcasts her eggs in
the current, they are fertilized by milt ejected from a mature male (age 2
or 3). Depending on the size of the female, one female can lay from 14,000
(3 pounder) to 3,000,000eggs (10 pounder). A thirty pound female is
capable of producing as many as five million eggs. In a fast moving
current, the eggs hatch out at a considerable distance downstream from the
spawning place. At the time of hatching, the tiny transparent fish, less
than 1/4 inch long emerges with a heavy yolk sac attached. It derives
nourishment from this sac. The fry at this stage is at the mercy of
the water currents. Within four to five days, the yolk sac is absorbed and
the fry begins to swim and feed on small crustaceans.
The fertilized eggs need to drift
downstream with currents to hatch into larvae. A flow velocity in the
river of approximately one-foot per second is required to keep the eggs
afloat. If the egg sinks to the bottom, it's chances of hatching are
reduced because the sediments reduce oxygen exchange between the egg and
the surrounding water. This need for flowing water to hatch is the reason
Striped Bass don't naturally reproduce in Reservoirs and lakes across
America and must be stocked by the Fisheries Department of each state
where Striped Bass are located.
Striped Bass males usually reach
sexual maturity at two years. Females can reach maturity at four years.
Nearly all of the females are mature at five years of age when they reach
a weight of six pounds or a length of twenty-three inches.
Eggs hatch 29 to 80 hours after
fertilization, depending on the water temperature, The larvae's survival
depends primarily upon events during the first three weeks of life.
Eggs and newly hatched larvae
require sufficient turbulence to remain suspended.
The larvae begin feeding on
microscopic animals during their downstream journey.
The mouth forms in two to four days,
and the eyes are not pigmented.
The larvae are nourished by a large
yolk mass. Eggs produced by females weighing 10lbs or more contain greater
amounts of yolk and have a greater probability of hatching.
Larvae begin feeding on their own
about five days after hatching.
Striped bass larvae feed primarily
on zooplankton in both larval and mature stages, and caducean (water
Juvenile stripers eat insect larvae,
larval fish, mysids (shrimplike crustaceans) and amphipods (tiny
Adults are piscivorous, or fish
eaters. soft ray fish like shad make up their primary diet. They do not
like to eat spiny fish for the most part and therefore are not a threat to
other species of fish like Black bass and Sand Bass. It has been shown the
the population of competing fish DO NOT suffer as a direct result of
Striped bass eating the competing fish's fry. The extra shad being
consumed by striped bass has also been shown NOT to adversely affect the
population of competing fish.
The rumors that Stripers deplete the
population of other fish is just a MYTH and has not been verified by any
The largest striped bass ever
recorded was a 125 pound female from North Carolina, in 1891.
The oldest ever recorded was 31
years of age.
The average 6-year-old female
striped bass produces 500,000 eggs, while a 15-year-old can produce over
three million eggs.
How Much Does a
"KEEPER" Lake Murray Striper Weigh & How Old Is It ?
NOTE: Female stripers
typically weigh 1 to 1.5 lbs more than a male fish the same age.