Hybrid Striped Bass Spawning Habits
Hybrid striped bass, unlike some other hybrids, are fertile. It is oviparous (egg-laying) like the parental species,
Producing eggs and sperm in the spring when temperatures are 60 to 70° F.
However - Hybrid striped bass experience great difficulty reproducing naturally. Eggs and sperm produced by hybrids are usually weak or improperly formed. The same is true of any fry that might be produced by chance fertilization. For this reason, hybrids are considered “functionally sterile,” and their populations are totally dependent on repeated stockings. Natural spawning of hybrids has been verified in a few instances. They may participate in spawning runs with striped bass or possibly white bass. There has been confirmed cases of reproduction in reservoirs that contain only hybrid striped bass.
Most males mature at the age of 1 year ( approximately 10 inches long and 1 1/4 pounds), all are mature at 2 years of age.
A few females are mature at 2 years of age, but all are mature at 3 years. Females produce an average of 160,000 eggs per pound of bodyweight and spawn once a year. Males may spawn many times over the spawning season.
Hybrid striped bass produce sperm and eggs during the spring when water temperature is between 55 to 70° F. Temperatures of 65° to 68° F are ideal for spawning hybrids
Spawning occurs from mid-March through May depending on location and water temperature. Spawning season in any one location usually lasts 4 to 5 weeks. Hybrids have been observed participating in spawning acts in areas that contain clear shallow rocky shoals as shallow as 1 to 3 feet deep.
Females come to the surface during the spawning act with several males accompany her. The males appear to bump and butt the female which may stimulate egg release. Released eggs are immediately fertilized by the males.
The eggs of the hybrids are intermediate in size to those of the parental species. They are semi-buoyant like striped bass eggs, although they seem to be heavier than striped bass eggs. Eggs of this cross are generally not adhesive like white bass eggs and must be buoyed up by the turbulent water flow till they hatch. Eggs hatch in approximately 2 days at water temperatures of 65 to 68° F. At colder temperatures eggs may take over 72 hours to hatch.