Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis)
The striped bass is a large open water predatory fish that can often be found in schools. These fish are anadramous and spend most of their life in salt
water. During the spawning season they travel far up rivers to spawn. Some of these fish became landlocked due to the damming of rivers, which resulted in
them becoming completely freshwater. Their success in the freshwater environment has led to their stocking in many impoundments across the country.
Stripers are strong fish and are known for their fighting ability and are a favorite game fish for many.
Striped bass are large fish that can reach a maximum length of 79 inches and weigh more than 50 lbs. The Georgia state record striped bass is 63 lbs;
Lake Lanier’s record is currently 47 lb, 12 oz. They have anywhere from 6-9 dark gray unbroken stripes on silvery white sides, which is distinctive from its
relative the white bass that has broken stripes. The dorsal fins are completely separate, and it has 3 anal spines with the second noticeably shorter than the
third. The fins are usually clear to gray-green, but large adults have a white pelvic fin and the anal fin has a white edge.
Where you will find these fish in Lake Lanier will depend on a few factors. One is the food source. One of the main preys of these fish is the shad species
that are found in the lake. If you locate a school of shad it is likely that larger predatory fish will be nearby. Another factor is the water temperature. In very
cold water they will stay a little deeper where the temperature will fluctuate less. As the water warms into the mid fifties through the seventies they can be
caught in shallower areas and on the surface. In late summer when the water temp reaches its highest level the fish will stay deep usually just above the
thermocline, which is about 35 feet deep. A variation on the summer pattern will be on overcast days, early morning, or late evening when they may be found
in shallower water. These fish do not generally relate to structure so the best key is finding the food source. Lures should be chosen that imitate shad or
other baitfish such as; crankbaits, large spinners, bucktails, large topwaters, and large 6” to 8” stickbaits. These baits then need to be chosen for the specific
situation and depth that the fish are holding at.