Above Average Striped Bass Spawn indicated by Maryland Survey

The results from Maryland’s 2018 Young of Year survey indicated a YOY Index of 14.8, which is higher than the 65-year average of 11.8.

This is the second year in a row with an above-average spawn, and one of four above-average spawns in the past decade.

From the Maryland Department of Natural Resources:

The juvenile striped bass survey is conducted annually to measure spawning success and help predict future abundance. The index represents the average number of young-of-year – those hatched in the current year – striped bass captured in each sample.

During this year’s survey, department biologists collected more than 36,000 fish of 55 species, including 1,951 young-of-year striped bass. Results show that white perch and American shad also experienced above-average spawning success this spring.

“Consecutive years of healthy reproduction is a great sign for the future of this iconic species,” Fishing and Boating Services Director David Blazer said. “The survey results are encouraging and complement our efforts to conserve and protect the striped bass fishery throughout the watershed for the benefit of anglers, commercial watermen and the species.”

The department has monitored the reproductive success of striped bass and other fish species in Maryland’s portion of Chesapeake Bay annually since 1954, making it one of the oldest fish community surveys in the nation. Twenty-two survey sites are located in the four major spawning systems: Choptank, Potomac and Nanticoke rivers and Upper Chesapeake Bay. Biologists visit each site three times during the summer, collecting fish with two sweeps of a 100-foot beach seine net. The fish are evaluated for age, size and other factors, and then returned to the water.

These fish will enter the migration in two to three years, as 12- to 18-inch schoolies, and they will approach keeper size between 2024 and 2025.

22 on “Above Average Striped Bass Spawn indicated by Maryland Survey

  1. LOU


  2. Donald

    I have fished the Chesapeake Bay for over 45 years. In the past couple years I have seen the large ( 35 to 45 inch) rockfish populate dwindle. As in years past, I think all bay fisherman are depleating the large rockfish population. It is the charter boat fleets that do the most damage when it comes to the spring season… You have approx. 1000 charter boats that harvest the bays rockfish. I am not real good at math, but it you have a 1000 boats that on average 6 fisherman two trips a day that is about 12,000 fish caught a day. Now if you add the recreational fisherman that is maybe another 1000 fish caught a day. So, if you have 13,000 rockfish caught each day, how long would it take to wipe out the large rockfish stock….Something to think about!

  3. Dan Beetz

    Under the disguise of “jobs, jobs, jobs” any rape of the resource seems ok. The value of a striper caught by a sport fisherman and generally released is many times the value to the economy of breeding stock kept by commercial fishermen. For the third season in a row, Maine stripers were about 97% short fish. They never get a chance to breed. People have to make a living, but as with elvers the resource belongs to the general public not to commercial interests. Bass are a sport fish like a trout.

  4. Joe G

    More research needs to be done on these fish with a habitat stretching thousands of miles, it would be interesting to see a electronic tagging program put in place to help us really understand the lives of these fish and how many there really could be. The reason i say this is because the YOY results fluctuate too much to me, when the nets are dragged maybe there’s a school of passing then the next time the school of fish isn’t there, i mean we all know on any given day a river can be full of fish and the next empty. I’m also not trying to say this research is useless but i think more can be done. Tight lines guys

  5. Bill

    Tons of bass we seen this year in never seen areas as far north as Maine and Nova Scotia.. and where were the bluefish this year? Anybody studying them?

  6. Norm

    I agree that these 6 pack charter boats are disastrous for the striped bass population. As stated 6 fishermen per boat taking two fish each and ive seen the mate keep another two. Legislation needs to be put in place to protect the fish. There guys know just where the fish hold and the depth and it’s not too difficult to fill their quotas. At most those Boat should be limited to one fish per fisherman and 6 total

  7. Dana S

    Well, we went out on the bay in 17’ with a charter during spring trophy season. Out of 6 boats in the fleet, 1 fish was caught, and released. And the rest of the charters were doing the same. Had been like that for over a week with the weather and muddy water. So, the whole fleet near Annapolis, and within 40 miles, had probably fewer than 100 keepers in a weeks time. So much for math.

  8. Leo Mazerall

    My wife and I caught large numbers of short stripers between Penobscot Bay in Maine and the mouth of the Merrimack in Mass. Not one legal fish. Why not allow one fish per day any size . We are not into catch and release we fish for food! . Most fish we caught were released in good shape but occasionally we know we were tossing back a corpse. That makes no sense. I know that some people will cheat, but that has always been the case. If consequences are severe enough (equipment confiscation Truck ,boat gear. etc. ) that could be pretty much eliminated.

  9. Ray Phillips

    Striper fishing on the CT River has been horrible the last few years and is getting worse every year.

  10. Joseph P GaNun

    Not to rain on this parade but…the above posters are all on target. The one thing no one has even mentioned is the actual mortality rates for a fish to achieve the 28″ legal harvest size.
    Less than 3% of these fish will make it through the gauntlet of poaching, by catch, poor release techniques, predators, myco bacteriosis, party boats, charters and the states that a allow regional “keep” sizes of 15″ and 18″. Also let’s recognize that 4 out of 10 OK, not great, results stinks.

  11. vince

    Plenty of big fish out there… The problem is that the barometric pressure has been relatively high this year causing the fish to become lethargic. I mark tons of fish on the sonar but getting them to bite is another thing. With the water temperature rising, the fish are moving past the 3 mile line. There needs to be research on climate change and perhaps extend the 3 mile restriction to 4 miles? Shore fishermen are screwed!

  12. bubbles

    I have been fishing for many years along the eastern sea border and this article is completely and utterly fake news.

  13. Dan Kokofsky

    There’s plenty of strippers in the river, just need the right bait! Strippers are eating machines that’s why there’s hardly no evewifes and shad left. Should be able to keep at least 2 keepers each day!!

  14. Matt Nicoletti

    4 out of the last 10 years above the threshold and 3 out of those 10 years were at or below moratorium levels. So let’s not get all joyous and celebrate. As far as I’m concerned it’s all smoke and mirrors. Look at the graph. The numbers are there.

  15. Roguewave

    Well… complaining to OTW about the treatment of the remaining SB stocks…

    … is the same as complaining to a Pimp convention… about how they treat their female “employees…”

    Vince, your point re. Climate/ warming is idiotic… because there are two seasons when SB should be inshore / available to the Surfcaster (i.e., me)… and, the amount then is a shadow / 10% of what it was in 2007. When a species population shrinks… there appearances shrink– in all waters! Not to mention, motived pinhookers/ Charters wipe clean the few “dumb” SB left, that venture inshore.

    Re. the “YOY” survey– I did serious research papers in College, on the Chessy Bay Spawning SB science. Even back then… (longer ago than I care to admit) — one major point of my research was– the “science” of this YOY survey is piss- poor.! Swipe some nets… in one/ small area… (non- scientists doing most). Then- see the results… then allow more commercial take? Or 2 SB/ day for Charters… vs. the one that makes sense. Based on this silly science. Etc…

    Bottom line– because the comm. gets peanuts for killing breeder SB anyway (vs. the big- city seller)… GAMEFISH NOW! Anyone into SB, & their benefit would agree with this. Way more valuable than 2.50 / lb. for gas $, on the end of your line for sport. Or your kids, 10 years hence…

    This talk wasted here, where dead SB impress most (& win prizes!)

    1. Bill

      FWIW, the science of stock assessments and young-of-the-year surveys is sound. The analysis of the data is questionable, slow and somewhat inaccurate, but still somewhat reasonable. The decisions based on the analysis are entirely too generous. The modified final numbers based on pressure from commercial interests which make the numbers even more generous are bordering on criminal. The real issue is that someone takes a survey, mortality, and harvest rate, which should extrapolate and interpolate out to a total allowable catch limit. However, survey estimation levels are often too high and mortality levels are often too low and the recreational catch rate is never even close. And then, they blow all that out of the water because someone pressures them to give them a break.

  16. Bill

    This is inarguably good news. That said, the issue with this good news is that 5 years from now, fisheries managers will be pushing to raise the coast-wide limit back to 2 fish per person. People will take home 2-per and we will be back in this same situation in 15 years where you can’t catch a fish.

  17. Roguewave

    Hey– I’m super – impressed OTW let my comments stand. Free speech does live… for OTW? (I guess here. No one is reading here is why?

    I guess when you publish regurgitated Wm. A. Muller / Fisherman mag. articles here… few read. Understandable!

    In all seriousness, I have a plea / ask of OTW. Please?

    In light of the recent SB population decline, inshore esp… do you realize how offensive the Striper Cup is– esp. to all of your ex- subscribers who left?

    At the expense of SB breeders… you want to award prizes to the comms. / pinhookers most motivated (& successful) in killing breeder Cows? Really?

    I’d guess you lost way more readers doing this / keeping the Cup / Trucks for dead Cows thing alive…

    Then you ever gained catering to the “Contender” sell SB for gas $ crowd!

    More serious SB articles, surf & small boat included. Esp. those that C & R every SB, like me.

    Less about preparing halfbeak baits for slow- trolling school Bluefin from your 125K boat!

    Do as I say– & the SB will thank you… & flourish! Don’t… & only “meat” guys will respect OTW.

    Your call/ choice!

    Now/ Sat. the 27th– it’s finally time to fish! See you out there! 🙂

  18. Bob

    Reading these responses I see that many are blaming the charter boats for the lack of fish. I think it’s more complicated than just that. We are dealing with massive catches of Bunker off the Virginia Coast as well as the Chesapeake bay. I’ve seen many bass that should have been well fed, thin and when opened , nothing in their stomach.
    In addition, other bait fish are being decimated due to storm water runoff which is polluting the water. There’s ample proof of that. Then the elephant in the room is commercial fishermen , by-catch is harvested and although thrown back in many areas, they are dead. How much, no one seems to be able to answer that. Lastly, everyone like a big fish, so much so that in season, many of the best breeders are removed from the population to be put on a wall, or cut up. We all need to be better stewards, catch and release the big ones, keep no more than 1 small one for a meal. Needless to say, we need to help with the most important fish of the sea. Menhaden, or Bunker. Without these, we will be sitting at home dreaming of what it once was……

  19. Jack Bosch

    I”m late weighing in late, but better late than never. While we are all pointing fingers and venting let’s include natural predation, in this case, “manmade” natural predation.
    All comments I read spoke of over-harvest as the culprit causing lack of SB and to some degree they all contribute to “the SB problem”, charter, recreational, poaching harvest and to some degree, pollution.
    Not one addressed natural predation, particularly unmanaged predators protected by manmade federal legislation! I specifically refer to law that protects sea mammals (including seals) passed in 1972, also legislation that protects cormorants and until recently spiny dogfish. They all proliferate in our inshore waters and feed unabated, disrupting any semblance of natural order and driving striped bass elsewhere. For example, the Inuit in Canada are upset at recent appearance of migrating stripers that are consuming salmon smolts in the St. Lawrence and call them “pests”.
    The intent of our laws was good, but unforeseen consequences are right in front of us. Current headcount of seals is 70,000 and growing in our local waters. They can reach 400# or more and they eat inshore fish, actually they eat viscera and discard the carcass before hunting again to the tune of 12-15% of their body weight, daily conservatively, 10% of 400#= 40#). How many fish are needed to provide 40# of fish intestine 24/7? I will not expound on seal waste (read: e-coli) now in the inshore and oceanic food chain and washing on our beaches and in our bays.
    Marine Fisheries, Fish and Game, NOAA and Dept. of Commerce all respond to laws enacted by our US Congress. I believe that’s where the ultimate solution lies, but I also believe that’s how we got here in the first place.

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