How Striped Bass Spawn

Water temperature signals spawning time, with some spawning occurring at 55 degrees, but most at 60 to 67 degrees, near the surface over water 1-20 foot, by broadcasting her eggs.

During the spawning ritual, seven or eight smaller males surround a single, large, female and bump her to the water surface in what appears to be a battle, but it is actually frantic spawning antics and frenzied swimming – the striped bass’s courtship and spawning ritual.
This spawn activity is known as a rock fight. Striped bass eggs are greenish and have a large oil globule and are semi-buoyant.

When water current is present the eggs drift downstream and swell to to about 3 times their original size it is during this time the eggs become buoyant. This "drift" is necessary for approximately 48 - 72 hours which is important to pre-larval survival. The eggs hatch in 2-3 days depending on the water temperature / flow / sallity.

On the East Coast Adult striped bass can and do move considerable distances upstream prior to spawn, so that their eggs will experience adequate downstream "drift".
This is why striper eggs do not successfully hatch in Lake Ouachita even though the stripers go through the spawning process the Striped bass eggs sink to the bottom and die,  becoming covered with silt and other factors.
Fertilized eggs must be carried by currents until hatching to avoid this.

Newly hatched stripers are about 5.5 mm long. After the egg absorbs the yolk-sac, they feed on zooplankton (tiny invertebrates suspended in the water). Just-hatched striped bass grow rapidly and stay in brackish bays at the end of their downstream float.

Striped bass first reach maturity at 6 to 10 pounds, though many run from 15 to 50 pounds on the spawning grounds.
Young females may average 65,000 eggs. More than three million have been recorded for a 50 lb. female! About 100,000 eggs is typical.

Research by Ed Houde at the UMCES Chesapeake Biological Lab showed that in addition to considerably more eggs per pound, larger striped bass produced higher quality eggs.
Houde's findings were for wild stripers. Studies of captive striped bass by Yonathan Zohar showed that when spawning for the first time, striped bass generally do not produce good quality eggs. "They have low fertilization if any," says Zohar, "or they just do not hatch." The reasons have to do with a lack of full maturity of the endocrine systems.

Rutgers biologist doing studies on Striped bass Spawning
 

Fresh water lakes and rivers known to have a natural producing population of Striped Bass

Lake Texoma
Arkansas River
Red River
Lake Mead
Kerr Reservoir
Santee
Weise
Colorado River
 

 

 

ArkansasStripers.com

Striped Bass History

AGFC Biolgist

Andrew Hulsey
Fish Hatchery


Arkansas Striped Bass Management Plan

Striped Bass Life Cycle

Striped Bass
Research References


Striped Bass History

Striped Bass Santee Cooper Systems

Striped Bass Die off at Lake Norman

Striped Bass
Sampling Strategies
Used on Reservoirs


Striped BassHooking Mortality

Striped Bass and Crappie Predations

Norris Reservoir Controversy

Site Map

Morone Saxatilis