Poor Striper Spawn in 2022

Dave_W

Dave_W

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The Chesapeake striper spawn was poor this year, as it was last year.

One should keep in mind that these data sets show wide swings on an annual basis and that stripers are slow growing fish. Better than average spawns have occurred as recently as 2018 and the very strong 2011 year class likely makes up much of the population of larger fish these days.

Nevertheless, the poor results this year are disappointing and serves to reinforce the concerns many of us have for the Atlantic striper population.
 

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So many factors, i have read some of the material made for public consumption on this and gotten bits and pieces of this as well as concerns. Concerns over Bunker harvest, the Susquehanna’s and other streams effects on the bay and the grass needed for habitat and forage, concerns competition for worms and crabs between juvenile stripers and blue cats and possibly direct predation, recreational over-handling and over- harvest. I am sure its all more complicated than just those factors. Does anyone know of any comprehensice recent articles, agency documents/assessments of various factors, or reviews? I’d be interested to read more about this.
 
So many factors, i have read some of the material made for public consumption on this and gotten bits and pieces of this as well as concerns. Concerns over Bunker harvest, the Susquehanna’s and other streams effects on the bay and the grass needed for habitat and forage, concerns competition for worms and crabs between juvenile stripers and blue cats and possibly direct predation, recreational over-handling and over- harvest. I am sure its all more complicated than just those factors. Does anyone know of any comprehensice recent articles, agency documents/assessments of various factors, or reviews? I’d be interested to read more about this.
Go to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission web site’s section on striped bass. Also keep an eye out for stock assessments there and the agendas for meetings of the Commission, but specifically the Striped Bass Board. Annual reports (written in full) from each state appear there at times, at least that’s where I think I used to see them, meaning that just because I was on the striper tech committee representing Pa I don’t think that I saw those reports just for that reason. You may also like to review the materials found on Menhaden at the ASMFC web site. There is a menhaden board as well.
 
Go to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission web site’s section on striped bass. Also keep an eye out for stock assessments there and the agendas for meetings of the Commission, but specifically the Striped Bass Board. Annual reports (written in full) from each state appear there at times, at least that’s where I think I used to see them, meaning that just because I was on the striper tech committee representing Pa I don’t think that I saw those reports just for that reason. You may also like to review the materials found on Menhaden at the ASMFC web site. There is a menhaden board as well.
Thanks Mike, i’ll have to dig in on some snowy weekends this winter. Have those managers said anything about the lower Susquehanna dams? I am just curious if spawning habitat was limiting at all. You always hear how the Chesapeake is the or one of the largest repro sites on the east coast and i always wonder if anyone has ever tried to quantify how much being cut off from most of the susky has factored into the current situation?
 
No, in about 15 yrs on the STB tech committee I never heard them mentioned. Striped bass generally spawn to the greatest extent for a few miles above the salt line. In typical springs the salt line is pushed well downstream by higher freshwater inflow.

For example, in the case of the Delaware they spawn from at least the Delaware Memorial Bridge upstream to the Pa Turnpike bridge, with peak spawning occurring in Delaware (state) and in the Pa portion of the Delaware below Walt Whitman bridge. However, we had found good numbers of spawning fish as far upstream as NE Philly at times with high numbers within a couple of miles of Tacony Palmyra Bridge in either direction. In low flow springs, even more fish seem to appear in Pa since the salt line is farther upstream. The focal point of the spawning in the Chesapeake system likely shifts from yr to yr based on inflow as well.
 
No, in about 15 yrs on the STB tech committee I never heard them mentioned. Striped bass generally spawn to the greatest extent for a few miles above the salt line. In typical springs the salt line is pushed well downstream by higher freshwater inflow.

For example, in the case of the Delaware they spawn from at least the Delaware Memorial Bridge upstream to the Pa Turnpike bridge, with peak spawning occurring in Delaware (state) and in the Pa portion of the Delaware below Walt Whitman bridge. However, we had found good numbers of spawning fish as far upstream as NE Philly at times with high numbers within a couple of miles of Tacony Palmyra Bridge in either direction. In low flow springs, even more fish seem to appear in Pa since the salt line is farther upstream. The focal point of the spawning in the Chesapeake system likely shifts from yr to yr based on inflow as well.
Ahh ok, so would stripers ever have gone further up the susky for any reason historically like to follow a shad run for food or was it kinda just not really advantageous going past the areas they spawn when the food rich bay was right there?
 
I would expect so, just as they do in the Delaware and Hudson. They seasonally (summer) use the non-tidal portion of the Delaware and probably part of the tidal Delaware as nursery water for up to three years. Additionally, a very small portion of the spawning stock moves to various portions of the non-tidal Delaware post-spawn for the summer. Unfortunately, the river becomes so warm that the larger fish lose body weight and condition, finishing the summer with large heads and variously thin bodies for the most part.
 
Forgot to mention one thing in the paragraph above. Historical records show stripers and white perch running the Schuylkill as far upstream as Port Carbon, Schuylkill Co. That’s just above Pottsville, not Pottstown, Momtgomery Co, but Pottsville, Schuylkill Co. That’s upstream movement above tide by at least 100 mi. I would note, however, that no mention is made of the size of the stripers and I suspect that they were age 1-3 juveniles. That would have been wild ST water in Schuylkill Co.
 
Forgot to mention one thing in the paragraph above. Historical records show stripers and white perch running the Schuylkill as far upstream as Port Carbon, Schuylkill Co. That’s just above Pottsville, not Pottstown, Momtgomery Co, but Pottsville, Schuylkill Co. That’s upstream movement above tide by at least 100 mi. I would note, however, that no mention is made of the size of the stripers and I suspect that they were age 1-3 juveniles. That would have been wild ST water in Schuylkill Co.
Wow thats crazy wild Native brook trout, white perch, shad, juvenile stripers, American eels. Mike is it probably safe to say we can throw native chain pickerel and red fin pickerel species into that assemblage along with some species of bullhead cat fish?
 
Bullheads and CP were unlikely since they are in Auburn Dam at Landingville, but don’t even show up in the transitional water between Landingville and Schuylkill Haven, let alone up to Pottsville. The only native transitional zone “sportfish” in the mix up that way are fallfish, except for some sunfish escapees from old mine related ponds along that part of the river. I also have doubts regarding redfin pickerel being there in the past because the physical habitat isn’t right. I doubt that there were aquatic plants and the gradient is pretty steep. Plus the water was probably colder than they would desire. Lastly, I don’ think I ever found a redfin in the entire upper Schuylkill basin within Schuylkill Co. Can’t blame that on degradation because it’s not all degraded. As an aside, CP are apparently naturally occurring in the transitional portion of the Ltl Schuylkill and in the Schuylkill at Berne, located between Hamburg and Shoemakersville, unless the YOY there come from the Schuylkill Canal remnant (but there does not appear to be a connection between the remnant and the river anymore).
 
From a fishing stand point can’t imagine swinging flies for smaller stripers in Schuyllkill county lol
 
This seems rather dire, as the 2015 year class approaches the slot limit for harvest.


So I’m not sure why the Orvis video was released today, but apparently there was a positive development in providing updated regulations on the slot limit and harvest limit.

 
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I just hope the Stripers don't go the same way the BIG Dealware Bay Weakfish went. They need to act NOW.
 
I just hope the Stripers don't go the same way the BIG Dealware Bay Weakfish went. They need to act NOW.
Listen to the podcast bc it sounds like the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has approved emergency action to provide new regulations/guidance to protect striped bass.
 
Direct causative data is lacking because it essentially has not been seriously studied but if your rooting for stripers pray MD Governor’s disaster declaration over invasive blue cats accepted and the feds take away some of these processing requirements that are stifling blue cat commercial operations. Also think they are planning to use for cat chow Stuff like that
 
I wish they would just get rid of sizes and slots and just go no harvest already.
Yea I agree, the Blue cats keeping almost all sizes it seems with obviously no limit on number. Saw article in bay journal that they found a 20 incher in one and they think their feeding on juvenile’s like crazy and the crabs juveniles depend on.


i think when they get the data thwy should have gotten 5 years ago it will prove its bo coincidence blue crabs and stripers took a dive in the setting of a blue cat explosion.
 
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