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#1 Bitethis

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 08:25 AM

I read a recent article about the Stripers caught over the last couple of years at Bull Shoals. It indicated that the BIG stripers are not going to be there much longer, since the stripers were an accidental stock some time back. It lead me to believe the maybe the reproduction and growth of the stripers wasn't successful or significant enough to keep a healthy Striper fishery at Bull Shoals, but I may have over-exaggerated my assumption and misunderstood the author. Anyone able to speak to this, please do so.

 

And...when is the best time to start fishing them, and where? :-)



#2 Bill Butts

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:14 AM

What and where was the article you read recently?

I'd like to read it before responding to your questions about the Bull Shoals fishery.

There are a lot of misconceptions about the fishery, and its future.

Let me know what you read and I'll get back with you.

If it was online, a link would be helpful and others could read it, too.

Thanks!


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#3 Bitethis

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:13 AM

What and where was the article you read recently?

I'd like to read it before responding to your questions about the Bull Shoals fishery.

There are a lot of misconceptions about the fishery, and its future.

Let me know what you read and I'll get back with you.

If it was online, a link would be helpful and others could read it, too.

Thanks!

 

Sorry, should have included it first post:

 

http://www.outdoorli...record-missouri

 

It was this comment that got me thinking:

"Interestingly, striped bass aren't even supposed to be in Bull Shoals Lake, which sits along the Arkansas/Missouri border. They were stocked there on accident in 1998."

 

and then the last paragraph:

"According MDC News, Shirley says the surviving fish from that stocking now weigh between 30 and 60 pounds and are slowly reaching the end of their life span. He says the boom in trophy striper fishing at Bull Shoals will taper off over the next five years as fish from the accidental stocking begin to disappear."



#4 fishinwrench

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:29 AM

How exactly does an "accidental stocking" happen?

"Whoops, those aren't hybrids, who loaded this truck?! Oh well, too late now". :)
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#5 Wayne SW/MO

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:52 AM

There have been a lot of theory's on how the stocking happened and I'm not sure anyone knows.  MDC wanted to begin stocking stripers in BS, but as usual the bass only fishermen whined so loud the idea was apparently abandoned.  It's kind of ironic that they protested adding a fish that was little competition and overlooked the walleye stockings that put in a fish more likely to compete.

The striper catches in upper BS have been between River Run and the dam and, as far as I know, were during high water which affected BS and TR.  TR was dumping a lot of water those winters and created a deep flow below Powersite.  That's what it seemed to me, for what its worth. 


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#6 Dutch

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:57 PM

There used to be stripers down there when I was a kid.  I guess they didn't reproduce and died out.  For what it is worth, I was told that the current stripers were put in by the Arkansas DNR.



#7 Wayne SW/MO

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:22 PM

I have caught small hybrids out of BS, I had 2 last year that were about 16/17.  I assumed they came from natural reproduction.


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#8 Bill Butts

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:37 PM

That article was dated August 2011, and probably written as much as a few months prior to that publication date.

There has been quite a lot of discussion about the future of a Striper fishery in Bull Shoals (BS) Lake since that time.

 

First let's address the historical aspects:

It is a fact that the AR Fish & Game (AGFC) unitentionally stocked about 17,000 Striped Bass fingerlings (I think that was the size, and I believe the year was 1998 but not positive) that was the result of a communication error, thinking they were Walleye.  Oops!

Over the years, Stripers have been caught in many different locations of the lake from Powersite to Bull Shoals Dams.  There are very few fishermen who intentionally target the Stripers, but those who do and are very persistent are occasionally rewarded, as we periodically hear in the news.  Stripers are difficult to locate or pattern consistently since they are very nomadic (remember their gentic roots are in saltwater) and can and will move great distances if they choose to. 

 

What is difficult to understand or explain conclusively is where did the Stripers come from that today are the 20-45# range?

Are they part of the original mistakened stocking?  Maybe.  I doubt it seriously.  I don't know if the state fisheries guys from MO or AR really care about that, I have not directly asked them. 

 

There are multiple possibilities: maybe they are part of the original stocking, maybe some of the original stock has been successfully spawning despite the fishery lacking anywhere close to the required river length, maybe AR or MO has been secretly planting very small numbers of Stripers over the years to help control the Gizzard Shad population, or just maybe small numbers of Stripers (and Hybrid Stripers) have made their way thru Beaver, Table Rock and Powersite Dams during high water and flow years and ended up in BS Lake.  Which do you think sounds most likely? 

 

For a long time, I thought it was logical that small numbers could have been stocked for Shad control, which is a fairly common fisheries management practice in multiple states.  However, the best Striper fisherman I know of on that fishery, who intentionally targets them and releases most of the ones he catches, claims that the source of those smaller Stripers is Beaver Lake during the high water years.  That is his opinion.

It would be interesting to know the ages of the fish that are not in that original year class group.  The only way to verify age is to extract the otolith (ear bone) and count the rings (similar to aging a tree).

 

So, what about the future of Stripers in Bull Shoals?

Several years ago, I contacted (can't recall who at the moment) the AGFC to see what changes they planned to make in their Striped Bass Management Plan which was dated 2002 and I believe it was a 5 year plan.  I had heard that the fisheries guys in the field requested a regular stocking strategy to build an intentional Striper fishery. My notes indicate they requested 22,000 Stripers to stock each time, which I believe was to be every two years.  That request was squashed at the administrative level, and has never been pushed to approval.  Off the record, I was told that one of the primary opponents to the Striper fishery was Forrest Wood, the founder of Ranger Boats. 

 

In conversations in recent years with AGFC folks involved in the Striper program they have highly encouraged me and other fishermen to speak their feelings about the Striper and Hybrid Striper fisheries in the state.  They say their department gets a lot of public criticism about the potential harmful affects on their beloved LM Bass fisheries, even though MANY research studies in a number of states have found quite the opposite in most cases.   But that discussion is for another day.

 

So, when the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) publicly introduced the concept of establishing and funding a Striper stocking program in BS Lake a couple of years ago, I was pleasantly surprised.  Interestingly, they are proposing the stocking of 22,000 Stripers every other year, which is identical to the AR proposal.

 

The MDC and AGFC have communicated closely on this, given the MO and AR public a very long period of time to submit comments, held public info forums in Gainesville and Forsyth MO (not sure about public forums in AR), allowed more public input and probably double checking all their scientific data, and now they appear to be coming closer to making a final decision.

 

The latest I've heard is that there may be some discussion and/or a decision made at the MDC Commission regular meeting in March.  I'm following this, and since the Commission met today they will have set a date and location for the March meeting.

 

If the Striped Bass Proposal is on their agenda for March, I plan to attend and request to address the Commission as a suppoter of the plan. 

I'll post any follow up information that I think would be of interest to the Ozark Angler community.

 

(Sorry this was so long, but hope that it has been informative for those who are interested in the prospective future of the Striped Bass fishing in Bull Shoals Lake)


Bill Butts
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#9 Wayne SW/MO

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:02 PM

Bill are you familiar with the history of Texoma lake?  I remember that there was a lot of adverse fears about stocking stripers in an above average black bass lake.  I fished the lake quite a bit in the period before it was stocked with stripers and for about 5 or 6 years after.  I never saw any difference in the black bass fishing.  I did know the lake pretty well when it was stocked and never needed to look beyond myself for excuses for a bad day.


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#10 Bill Butts

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 05:29 PM

Wayne,

Yes, I'm familiar with some of the aspects of the Texoma fishery, but not alot about the history of it.

Did you ever meet Paul Mauck who was the main Striper fisheries biologist for OK on Texoma?

He was with the ODWC for something like 30 years, though he would have certainly worked closely with the TX fisheries folks.

You might be interested to know, too, that Paul's nephew, Matt Mauck now has his old position since Paul is retired.

Matt interned with Brent Gordon in OK, who has responsibility for the Striper fishery in the AR River.

Then, he moved to Springfield to work for the MDC for a few short years before moving back to OK and Stripers. 

Have you ever heard of or met George Glazener who lives in north TX and was the creator of the Spinster fly for Stripers on Texoma?

Really neat guy, still going strong at about 90 yr old.

The awesome thing about the Texoma fishery is that the Red River above the lake is ideal spawning ground for Striped Bass, so they have one of the handful of naturally reproducing Striper fisheries in the US. Unfortunately, they have tremendous numbers of Stripers but have apparently declined in average size.

That would not be a factor in the Bull Shoals fishery, if they approve the stocking program.

BB


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#11 Wayne SW/MO

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:28 PM

I never met the Mauck's, and I don't really recall any names associated with the program.  Most of my knowledge came from a long time fishing buddy whom I also worked with. He converted about the time that the fishery became viable and was pretty excited about it.

The name Glazener sounds familiar, but I can't really link it to Texoma?? 

Do the stripers need about the same conditions as the whites, only deeper and longer current stretches? 

I've had two different fellows tell me they have caught 5-10lb hybrids at the pothole, but I didn't know them personally.  I did catch two fish there last spring that had 2 tooth patches?


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#12 Bill Butts

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:19 PM

The mating ritual of Striped, Hybrid Striped and White Bass is pretty much identical.

But, there is a huge difference after the eggs are fertilized in mid stream.

White Bass eggs sink to the bottom, hopefully on a nice clean gravel bottom, where their eggs stick to the gravel for a few days before hatching.

Striped Bass eggs sink to the bottom intially, but then slowly rise from the gravel as the egg slightly increases in size from a gas-like content that develops inside the egg.

As the eggs rise in the water column, they need to drift in neutral buoyancy of well oxygenated flowing water for 48-72 hours in order to hatch.

This is the main factor why very few inland Striper fisheries have successfully reproducing, self-sustaining fisheries. 

Think about how many miles of free flowing river those eggs would need.

Another interesting difference is the eggs of Striped Bass are a beautiful green color, unlike the yellowish color of White Bass eggs.


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#13 fishinwrench

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:11 AM

How cool! So if the eggs wash into an eddy, or let's say they drift less than 10 miles and end up in the still water shallows at the upper end of a lake tributary arm (even though it is oxygenated well from wind chop or whatever) then hatching could still be possible, just substantially reduced? Or can it theoretically just not happen at all?
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#14 Feathers and Fins

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 06:51 AM

Sorry been away and missed this, Wrench, there are several lakes in Southern California that has successful striper hatches. Now before you get your hopes up they are fed by the Aquitduct system that allows the free flowing water they must have to hatch. Here is a good paper on them http://www.rockportf...triped_bass.pdf

 

In a flood year it could be possible for them to breed in our lakes if the rains came and if the gates were open both togeather long enough to keep the flow right but that would be a fluke and then some.


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#15 aarchdale@coresleep.com

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:29 PM

If some stripes come from beaver and make it to BS why I have we never caught them in Table Rock

#16 Dutch

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 04:52 AM

If some stripes come from beaver and make it to BS why I have we never caught them in Table Rock

They have been caught in Table Rock from time to time, but not often.  One of the Fletchers caught on that was like 60# just a few years ago.  A friend of mine caught one in Flat Creek many years ago.



#17 Feathers and Fins

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 07:23 AM

Ive caught several i nthe tailwaters below beaver dam and that is also where the AR record cam from. They are in TR but not in very high numbers. People often forget those tailwaters are part of Tablerock.


https://www.facebook.com/pages/Beaver-Lake-Arkansas-Fishing-Report/745541178798856




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