Since being introduced into Arkansas lakes, striped bass have been accused of eating popular sport-fish.
In response to this concern, numerous food habit studies have been conducted in Arkansas.
These research articles have proved that predation on Bass, Crappie and other sport fish is insignificant.
Beaver Lake Striped Bass food habit study:
- Fourt (1985) examined 104 striped bass stomachs and found approximately 95% f the content was shad. Most of these shad were 1-4 inches in size. Seventeen
hybrid stripers were also examined for stomach content. These also contained about 93% shad.
Lake Hamilton Striped Bass food habit study:
- Filipek (1984) found during a food habit study of Lake Hamilton, Arkansas, the striped bass diet consisted of 92.8 percent shad with the remainder of the diet consisting of
rainbow trout, sunfish, minnows, and crayfish.
- During the Food study period of (2-years) Lake Hamilton was under a winter drawdown of 9-feet which further concentrated prey species with the stripers.
- Sample size consisted of 116 adult striped bass which were all examined for stomach contents.
- The same study documented the hybrid striped bass also prefers mainly shad with a slightly more diverse diet including crayfish and minnows.
- Shad accounted for nearly 82% of the hybrid diet.
Striped bass reproduce in the Arkansas River
and still the river has world renown Black Bass fishing.
Striped Bass prefer the deep water of Arkansas's Lakes.
A Report on difficulties of establishing a population Striped Bass because of
the mortality caused by Black Bass eating the striper fry.
The impacts of stocking stress and largemouth bass predation on the survivorship
of juvenile Striped Bass stocked in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.
Alabama Striped Bass stocking
Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries began stocking Atlantic-strain striped bass on a limited basis in Lake
Martin on the Tallapoosa River in 1965. The goal behind the stockings was to
diversify the fishery and to provide anglers the opportunity to catch a trophy
The program expanded in 1969 to five reservoirs and eventually peaked to include
24 reservoirs -- seven of which are still stocked with striped bass annually.
Weiss was stocked with striped bass in 1972, 74, 80, 85 and 86. During those
years, a total of 131,535 Atlantic-strain stripers were introduced.
Concurrent with the Alabama stockings, the Georgia Department of Natural
Resources stocked approximately 4.7 million Atlantic-strain striped bass
in the upper Coosa River drainage basin between 1973-92.
Striped bass began appearing more frequently in angler creels and standardized
gill net samples in Weiss Lake during the early 1990s. Speculation at the time
was that either natural reproduction was occurring or emigration was taking
place from reservoirs upstream in Georgia.
A review of Georgia striped bass stocking records indicated that Georgia stocked
Gulf-strain striped bass exclusively in the upstream impoundments of Carters and Allatoona in 1993-94. Electrofishing
samples in March 1994 netted four one-year-old striped bass near the
Alabama-Georgia border. Mitochondrial-DNA analysis revealed that all four were Atlantic-strain fish. These results
prompted Alabama to conclude that natural reproduction of striped bass was
occurring in the upper Coosa River. Since 1997, Dr. Bill Davin (Berry College,
Rome, GA) has documented that striped bass are indeed spawning in the Oostanaula
River near Rome. He has collected thousands of eggs heading southwesterly into
the Coosa River toward Alabama.
Alabama Food diet study of Striped Bass
The increasing striped bass population in Weiss Lake prompted
Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries to conduct a
food diet study. Four hundred fifty striped bass stomachs were examined.
Of those 450, one hundred fifteen had empty stomachs.
The remaining 335 stripers had a
total of 2,699 prey items in their stomachs; 2,522 were shad (93.4 percent)
were unidentifiable fish remains (5.9 percent)
6 were crappie (0.2 percent)
were bluegill (0.2 percent)
3 were minnows (0.1 percent)
2 were freshwater
drum (0.07 percent)
and one was a crawfish (0.04 percent).
These results were
similar to studies conducted in Oklahoma, Virginia, South Carolina,
Florida, Arkansas, Utah and Tennessee that concluded that sport fish are not a
major prey item of striped bass.
Alabama was also concerned that the influx of striped bass would impact the
native sport fishes through competition for food.
Data collected by Auburn University and Alabama personnel have shown no adverse
affects on the crappie or largemouth bass populations in Weiss Lake.
has documented movement of these naturally reproduced striped bass from
northwest Georgia all the way down the Coosa River to Lake Jordan.
Striped Bass Predation on Bass and Crappie
Prepared by Brett Hobbs Dist. 8 (Hot Springs)
Ralph Fourt & Ron Moore Dist. 1 (Rogers)
Striped Bass are a open water species preferring the deep portions of Arkansas
Lakes. Ever since their introduction into inland lakes, striped bass have been
suspected of preying directly on popular sportfish. In response to this concern,
numerous food habit studies have been conducted in several Southeastern
Repeatedly these studies indicate striped bass are extremely unlikely to eat
black bass or other game fish. (Miranda, et al. 1998).
A nine-year study (Nash, et al. 1987) dealt with the establishment of a striped
bass population in Lake Wateree, South Carolina.
Largemouth bass growth, abundance, and condition were not detrimentally affected
by the striped bass.
The largemouth bass length-weight relationship did not change after striped bass
During a Lake Texoma study (Harper & Namminga, 1986) it was determined after
establishment of a striped bass population, changes in the abundance of several
other species, including black bass and crappies, was the result of periodic
strong year classes of those species.
Striped bass predation did affect the size distribution of the gizzard shad
population but had no apparent influence on native predator or prey species
other than shad.
Another Lake Texoma analysis of striped bass interaction with black bass
(Matthews and Hill, 1986) included the analysis of 250 striped bass stomachs.
The diet of these stripers was mostly shad.
The second most abundant food item was found to be inland silversides.
In parts of spring and early summer stripers also fed heavily on insect larvae
as they were abundant at that time.
Striped bass study on Lake Powell, Arizona:
(Gustaveson, et al. 1985) indicated a virtual absence of a threadfin shad forage
Under these adverse conditions striped bass in Powell were observed to barely
feed (many documented with empty stomachs) and their condition withered to near
The recorded condition for the striped bass collected was the lowest on record
at that time. Only the youngest stripers foraged affectivity and utilized
zooplankton for their diet.
During 1982-1985 on Lake Powell a self-sustaining smallmouth bass population was
There was no evidence of smallmouth fingerling predation by the starving striped
bass. This could be attributed to the fact the smallmouth are a littoral
(shallow water) species.
Reservoirs capable of sustaining a healthy striped bass population must have
sufficient thermal refuge areas for the striped bass to survive high summer
The striped bass also must have access to a plentiful forage base of threadfin
and gizzard shad or other closely related species (alewife or herring).
Landlocked striped bass have been found to be very sensitive to temperature
variations within stocked waters and will sacrifice food requirements to remain
in areas with cool water during the summer months (Moss, 2001).
In Arkansas, two striped bass studies have shown that predation on sportfish is
Fourt (1985) examined 104 striped bass stomachs and found approximately 95% of
the content was shad. Most of these shad were 1-4 inches in size. Seventeen
hybrid stripers were also examined for stomach content. These also contained
about 93% shad.
Filipek (1984) found during a food habit study of Lake Hamilton, Arkansas, the
striped bass diet consisted of 92.8 percent shad with the remainder of the diet
consisting of rainbow trout, sunfish, minnows, and crayfish. During this period
of study (2-years) Lake Hamilton was under a winter drawdown of 9-feet which
further concentrated prey species with the stripers. Sample size consisted of
116 adult striped bass which were all examined for stomach contents. The same
study documented the hybrid striped bass also prefers mainly shad with a
slightly more diverse diet including crayfish and minnows. Shad accounted for
nearly 82% of the hybrid diet.
Norris Reservoir, Tennessee:
A more recent study (Smollen, 1999) investigating striped bass food habits was
conducted on Norris Reservoir, Tennessee. This study was also conducted during a
winter drawdown period. In this study stomach contents of 85 striped bass were
examined. Over 99% of the striped bass stomach content was alewives and
A study by the Mississippi Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit (Miranda, et al.
1998) assessed if the predation of forage species by striped bass limited the
native game fish population. Results of this study indicated striped bass in
Norris Reservoir, Tennessee could potentially compete with coexisting game
fishes for food if the prey-supply-to-predator-demand ratio is low. Miranda
estimated by discontinuing stocking of striped bass, the remaining predator
population biomass could increase by 5-10% total weight.
Striped bass reproduction has only been documented in the Arkansas River as the
striped bass eggs must stay suspended in flowing water until hatching. The AGFC
must stock fingerlings at interval to keep year-classes present in our
reservoirs. Viable striped bass fisheries exist in Arkansas in Lakes Hamilton,
Lake Greeson, Catherine, Lake Ouachita, Beaver, and Lake Norfork.
Important to note is these fisheries also have strong black bass populations.
Smallmouth bass have been successfully re-introduced into Beaver Lake while
sustaining the stocking of striped bass.
As stated in the draft AG&FC Striped Bass Management Plan (Fourt, et al., 2000)
of vital importance is the accurate evaluation of shad densities in our striped
bass waters. The shad prey base should be regularly monitored for trends as
there can be competition for the same prey species between striped bass and
black basses .
Filipek, S. & L. Claybrook, 1984. Stripers and Hybrids, What Do They Really Eat?
Arkansas Game and Fish Magazine. Volume 15, Issue 4. September/October 1984. pp
Fourt, R., D. Brader, & S. Wooldridge, 2000. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission,
Striped Bass Management Plan, November 20, 2000 (Draft).
Fourt, R.A., 1985. Age, Growth, Food Habits, Angler Harvest, Tournament Catches,
and Stocking of Striped Bass and Hybrid-Striped Bass in Beaver Reservoir, 1985.
Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, In-House Report.
Gustaveson, W.A., B.L. Bonebrake, S.J. Scott, and J.E. Johnson 1985. Lake Powell
Fisheries Investigations. Publication No. 86-8. Utah Dept. of Nat. Res. 1596
West North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84116.
Harper, J.L. and H.E. Namminga 1986. Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
Conservation. P.O. Box 53465 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Pages 156-165 in G.E. Hall
and M.J. Van Den Avyle, editors. Reservoir Management Strategies for the 80's.
Reservoir Committee, Southern Division American Fisheries Society, Bethesda,
Matthews, W.J. and L.G. Hill, 1986. Annual Report For Year 1 for the Project
"Potential Interactions Between Striped Bass and Black Bass in Reservoir
Environments". Sponsored by the Bass Research Foundation. University of Oklahoma
Biological Station, Kingston, Oklahoma 73439.
Miranda, L.E., M.T. Driscoll, and S.W. Raborn 1998. Competitive Interactions
Between Striped Bass and Other Freshwater Predators. Sport Fish Restoration.
Final Report October 1996- September 1998. Mississippi Cooperative Fish and
Wildlife Research Unit. Mississippi State University. Mail Stop 9691 Mississippi
State, Mississippi 39762.
Moss, J.L. 2001. Cool Striped Bass. Fisheries Section News Article. Alabama
Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.
Nash, V.S., W.E. Hayes, R.L. Self, and J.P. Kirk, 1987. Effect of Striped Bass
Introduction in Lake Wateree, South Carolina. Proceedings of Annual Conference
Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 41: 48-54.
Smollen, Mary 1999. Food Habits of Adult Predators in Norris Reservoir during
winter drawdown. M.S. Thesis, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 47pp.