March 23 2016

America’s National Fish


Ryan French

Approximately 33.1 million people fish in America. Fishing has gained popularity in recent decades, with dozens of different species being available targets.

Each coast of the United States offers unique fish, and the East coast is a notable area for a variety of gamefish.

Among these fish is the striped bass. The striped bass is perhaps the most important species along the East coast, both for the environment and economy.

​The striped bass, commonly known by fisherman as 'stripers', ranges from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada, with a stock also being introduced to the West coast.


Striper Physiology

Stripers are anadromous, which means they live in salt water for the majority of their lives, going to fresh water to spawn. Once the fry hatch from eggs, they drift down rivers into brackish estuaries.

As juveniles, they spend one to four years in these estuaries until they are large enough to migrate with the adults into the ocean. Once females are 4 years old and males are 2 years old, they return to the rivers to spawn.

​Striped bass can live up to 30 years old. A large striper is about 5 feet long and 50-70 pounds, with the world record standing at an 81pound specimen caught off of Groton, CT.

However, striped bass are estimated to reach 6 feet long and 125 pounds. The fry eat only zooplankton, while young striped bass eat insects, mayflies, small crustaceans and smaller fish.

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  • Fascinating report on the striper situation. It should would be great to see similar ones on cod, flounder, halibut and other species popular in the Northeast fisheries.

    • It’s sad to see the depletion of cod to the extent it is right now, and halibut are pretty much non-existent in the Atlantic now. However, stripers have shown that rebounds are possible, hopefully these species will as well.

  • Thanks for the presentation! Great job! Did you find any information about environmental factors like very cold winters like the one we experienced the winter before or to hot summers in other words the global warming to affect the fish (stripers) population?

    • No I did not, I did investigate the effect of pollution on the striped bass population at the beginning of the industrial revolution and in the mid 1900s, when the stock almost collapsed. Water tempuratures must affect the striped bass, I’ll have to research that as well 🙂

  • Great job. Understanding the history of this fish provides an appreciation of how lucky we are to share a moment or two with one.
    Catch and release baby!

    • Thank you! I wrote this for a science report last year and was very excited to share it with Ryan Collins. Catch and release is the only way I fish for stripers now

  • Proper fishery management is necessary, just look at the repercussions down in Florida right now. Also a 125lb bass is massive. Imagine that in the cape cod canal haha. My old boss who was a tackle shop owner (he’s an honest guy.) told me that years ago he witnessed a 100lb striper come out from under his boat and swallow his 10lb bluefish whole. He did lose it, because the line snapped. That’s about triple the size of my biggest bass lol.

    • Even Albert McReynolds, the former world record holder, says that there are most defiantly 100 pounders out there. Hopefully they make an appearance in cape cod soon 😉

  • Kudos … outstanding research and presentation …if you don’t get an “A” on this, let me know … some of my RI buddies can visit with your professor (how YOU do-in’?)

    Seriously, this is full of info I was unaware of. It really is amazing to see how close the stock was from vanishing to becoming (somewhat) thriving again. This is a real lesson that needs to be communicated to folks when regulations are being reassessed.

    • Thank you very much! Actually, it isn’t a professor, it’s a high school teacher :). I used a lot of information from the book ‘On the run; An anglers journey down the striper coast’. Extremely good read, I recommend it to anyone who loves the pursuit of stripers. Here’s a link I used in my presentation as well;

      Thank you for the positive feedback, I agree with you on the regulations as well.

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