Maryland Striped Bass Juvenile Index Is Eighth Highest On Record

American Shad, White Perch, Herring Reproduction Strong

Volunteers counting samples

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that the 2015 striped bass juvenile index is the eighth highest on record. The survey, a measure of spawning success, found an average of 24.2 juvenile fish per sample, approximately double the long-term average of 11.9.

“This year’s survey demonstrates that striped bass are a very resilient species when given favorable environmental conditions for reproduction and survival,” DNR Secretary Mark Belton said. “The robust reproduction should give Maryland anglers hope for a successful striped bass season in a few years time.”

The survey also documented healthy reproduction of other species. DNR fisheries biologists counted record numbers of juvenile American shad, which have been under a harvest ban in Maryland since 1980. The white perch juvenile index was the third-highest on record. River herring reproduction was also above average.

The annual survey is conducted throughout the summer to track the reproductive success of Maryland’s state fish. Annual reproductive success can be highly variable due to environmental factors, such as water temperature, precipitation and river flow. This year, DNR collected more than 70,000 fish of 50 different species, including 3,194 young-of-year (less than one year of age) striped bass in 132 sweeps of a 100-foot beach seine at 22 sites.

DNR has monitored the reproductive success of striped bass and other species in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay every year since 1954. The present day survey covers sites in the four major spawning systems—the Choptank, Potomac and Nanticoke rivers, and the Upper Bay. Biologists visit each site monthly from July through September to collect samples.

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science conducts a similar survey in Virginia’s portion of the bay, which can be viewed here.

Graph Showing Maryland’s Annual Striped Bass Juvenile Results (click to enlarge):

13 on “Maryland Striped Bass Juvenile Index Is Eighth Highest On Record

  1. Michael Gauthier

    How about making the size limits the same for each state. One state is 24 inch size limit the adjoining state is 32 inch size. The fish are not growing one foot during migration from state to state. Five states with each having a different size limit
    Maybe not commercial fishing 24 inch stripers would help

    1. bassrep

      Ride on Michael! Coming from a fly fishing for trout in freshwater background, it’s not a stretch for me to practice catch and release. Let me see if I can say this succinctly… If you consider what it costs to be “out there” in terms of the boat, investment, fuel, storage, maintenance, depreciation, rods, reels, bait, etc. how in the WORLD can you think that you are “fishing for food”. Even at $20 a pound, you’re still at the VERY short end of a SHORT stick. Fishing in salt and fresh and having seen my fair share of water, it amazes me that “we” can screw up things SO badly. YES, it’s trawlers, but how about greedy bastards INSHORE from commercial overfishing by US residents to Cooler Fillers very inshore on private boats. To your point, let’s establish SCIENTIFICALLY appropriate size/slot limits. But… because there will always be the Cooler Fillers, we, as fisherfolk, need to be willing to take a bit of a hit of licenses to provide FUNDING for ENFORCING these limits. I’m all for higher fines and jail times!

      1. Rick

        Bassrep, recreational salt water fishermen have already taken a financial hit when Obama made it mandatory in 2011 for people to buy a license. Sure, it’s only $10.00, but the money goes into the US Treasury general fund with none of it earmarked for fishery programs. He essentially created a new tax to fund Obama’s America at the expense of fishermen.

      2. Donald Dyer

        Rick, you’re wrong about permit fees go and how they are used, at least in Massachusetts. The following blurb was copied from the MA Div of Marine Fisheries website:

        “How are the permit fee revenues being used?
        All permit fees are deposited in a dedicated account, managed by MarineFisheries. An advisory panel assists MarineFisheries in developing programs for the expenditure of all collected funds. In accordance with the state law governing the permit program, the permit fee revenues can only be used to administer the permit program, improve the management of Massachusetts’s marine recreational fisheries, particularly with regard to developing more accurate assessments of recreational catch and effort, and enhance recreational fishing access opportunities in the state. The permit fee revenues cannot be used for any purpose that is unrelated to marine recreational fishing in Massachusetts. Please visit the Marine Recreational Fisheries Development Fund page for more information.”

  2. Bill

    Sadly, an outlier point doesn’t make a trend. One good year of reproduction, just means maybe one good year of fishing in the Northeast in 3-5 years. Of course, if Maryland and the rest of the Chesapeake keeps decimating the bottom of the food chain and keeps harvesting juvenile fish and keeps up the pollution of the Bay, one good year means nothing because the downward trend of reproduction will continue.

  3. John F

    What Bill said is sadly but unfortunately true…… Let’s not bring out the horns because of one good year….there are many other variables involved here…

  4. Andre

    After reading all the imformation about the stripers hatch the size limit should be 28 inches or more for the whole east coast. Would it nice to see big fish again , and let those big ones go south
    So we can continue to fish for years to come, and our kids will to . you guys keep up the good work.

  5. john

    Guys this is good news, I expected to hear it was another bad year for the Chesapeake strain. If we can put another couple good years back to back what could that mean for our fishery?

  6. MH

    Let the cows roam. There’s no point in keeping and killing large stripers. There’s thousands of photos of cow bass on the Internet so no one is catching anything unique. Use circle hooks to prevent gut hooking and do away with treble hooks. Eat more bluefish….lol.

  7. DJ

    Rick- States control were the money goes, so check your state. Some states like NY have no fee. This program had nothing to do with Obama. Noaa scientist needed an easy way to get survey data, we are in a crisis here over fish like the winter flounder, weakfish etc. Information is the most valuable tool and we need it badly. – DJ

  8. Striper Maine-iac

    Sportsmen have always been the leader in taking care of fish as its something that millions of anglers an their families enjoy.While we do affect the bio-mass we don’t abuse it like commercial netting does. As long as the mind set of killing thousands of pounds of bi-catch for what they sell nothing that swims will last long. When they come inshore after herring,squid,menhaden an so on they scoop up all the stripers,blues,tunas an so on that are feeding on those very same forage fish only to dump them back into the water dead or to die. I know this as I’ve worked on both draggers and gill netters in my youth. Let alone what they do to the bottom. We spend way too much time argueing with each other rather than trying to fix the real issue. Get the net boats and draggers offshore where the water is deeper and they do lessw damage. Ron

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