Striped Bass Predation on Bass and Crappie

Striped Bass Predation on Bass and Crappie in Arkansas.

Prepared by Brett Hobbs Dist. 8 (Hot Springs, Arkansas)
Ralph Fourt & Ron Moore Dist. 1 (Rogers)

Striped Bass are a open water species preferring the deep portions of Arkansas Lakes.

●  More Arkansas Striped Bass Predation Studies on Bass and Crappie

Ever since their introduction into inland lakes, striped bass have been suspected of preying directly on popular sport-fish. In response to this concern, numerous food habit studies have been conducted in several Southeastern reservoirs. Reservoirs capable of sustaining a healthy striped bass population must have sufficient thermal refuge areas for the striped bass to survive high summer water temperatures.

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).

Repeated scientific 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 were introduced.

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 base. Under these adverse conditions striped bass in Powell were observed to barely feed (many documented with empty stomachs) and their condition withered to near starvation levels.
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 established.
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.

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 threadfin/gizzard shad.

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.

In Arkansas, 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 AGFC 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 8-9.

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, Maryland 1986.

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.

Ben Sanders'

AGFC Biolgist

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Arkansas Striped Bass Predation
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Andrew Hulsey
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Striped Bass Die off at Lake Norman

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Striped Bass and Crappie Predations

Norris Reservoir Controversy

Striped Bass Predation on Bass and Crappie

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