Poor Striper Spawn Reported in Chesapeake

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced yesterday that the annual Juvenile Striped Bass Survey indicates that the 2016 striper spawn in the Chesapeake was well below average.  However, it also found one-year-old striped bass from last year’s very successful year-class in abundance.

Striped bass spawning success is strongly affected by environmental conditions such as rainfall and varies greatly from year-to-year, with occasional large year-classes interspersed with average or below-average year-classes.


“While this year’s striped bass index is disappointing, it is not a concern unless we observe poor spawning in multiple, consecutive years,” said Fishing and Boating Services Director David Blazer. “Very successful spawning years, as recently as 2011 and 2015, should more than compensate for this below-average year-class. Nonetheless, the department and our partners will continue to work to maintain a sustainable fishery for our commercial watermen and recreational anglers.”

Survey results indicate that most anadromous species – fish that return to freshwater to spawn – experienced similarly low reproduction in 2016, potentially indicating that environmental factors such as dry weather and low river flows during the spring season may have contributed to the poor results. Intensive spring surveys found normal numbers of striped bass females on the spawning grounds, however sensitive egg and larval stages often don’t survive adverse conditions.

The department has monitored the reproductive success of striped bass and other fish in the bay since 1954. You can read more about the survey here.


28 on “Poor Striper Spawn Reported in Chesapeake

  1. Marc Hentov

    Global warming is the problem. The hotter it gets, the less it rains.

    1. Don JD

      The most influential policy was the 36″ keeper length which not only saved the species with throwbacks but kept striped bass fishing altogether a more exclusive sport which is what it needs. I am a canal regular and watch folks keep nearly everything they catch above 28″. Following the law yes but preserving the fish absolutely not. “Take a kid fishing” for blues and bottom feeders.

    2. Alan Taunton

      I think recreational two 32 inch Bass a day and 34 for commercial.
      This year the majority of the Bass we got were k between 26 and 27 1/2. I’ve also seen a lot of 2829 inch fish floating because somebody caught a bigger fish aim was scared of the one keeper a day policy I think that it will give the 27 and slightly bigger fish a couple more seasons to spawn and will also avoid the amount of small fish being wasted or Taken. There is a big difference between 28 and 32 what if you are allowed to keep two bass of 32 inches that would allow a lot of the smaller fish spawn safely and strongly and in a few years commercial fishermen as well as recreational fishermen should have a thriving bass population like other years. Keeping a 28 is like keeping a big schoolie. Min length should be 32 for Rec. Otherwise a 25 is close enough to some guys and what size fish will be able to survive in would give back a lot of spawning opportunities for it reaches 32 or commercial size 34.

    1. Steve w

      Shut down the great staging grounds of SW ledge off Block Island and leave thousands of cows alone and give them a chance to return to spawn, instead of allowing charter boats and rod and reeler so to hammer them for 6 months day and night. A no brainer

      1. Madmedic366

        They are going to do opposite and open up over the 3 mile line !!!

    2. Randy Hileman

      Back in the late sixties seventies and eighties strippers were close to being wiped out The hatchery programs and the stopping of commercial fishing and size limits have saved the fish just like many other fish Our oceans were dieing a fast death I can remember as a kid being on party boats and bring home burlap bags full of fish and also remember the foreign fishing fleet wiping out our fish hundreds of boats 12 miles out

    1. Sixtyplus

      Totally agree. Leave the bait fish alone and they will thrive.

    2. fishing frankn w

      Having been born on the Chesapeake Bay I can remember as a kid catching Stripers up to 54″
      on a daily basis. These fish went back in favor of smaller fish ( 28-32). Save the Fatbacks and save the Stripers!

  2. Fletch

    I like what Steve W suggested….do we really need to be taking the cow stripers for the table…I don’t think so. They are not only not as good to eat, but it can become a trophy pic opportunity, and a celebration of catch and release on those important producers….it really is not farfetched that we could release all the cows at some point.

  3. jeff goode

    Put an end to all tournaments that result in the pointless killing of thousands of giant striped bass.

  4. Eric

    How about a slot limit with a trophy tag? So you can keep a smaller fish for dinner (1 or 2 meals) and be able to take 1 larger fish. Why are we trying to reinvent the wheel, the southern states have done a better job with snook and redfish.

    1. Mark

      Maine had it right with slot fishing regulations for stripers, keep 20″-28″ fish and one fish over 42″. The best fish to eat are 20″-28″. I was very disappointed when they got rid to the slot regulations but for it to really work you need a federal regulation up and down the coast to preserve the fishery.

  5. Dave

    While there are, no doubt, a number of variables, I think that their diminishing food supplies are a big factor. Along the South Coast of Massachusetts, we are seeing a steep decline in the ecosystems that the support the bottom of the food chain. Global warming could be a factor but nitrogen-rich runoff that feed algae blooms that deplete oxygen in the estuaries and flats is also a big concern. I don’t think there is just one answer but many – we need to stop abusing the environment.

    1. Steve Patterson

      We need to go beyond stopping the abuse. It is time to step up and help bring the estuary ecosystems back to productive status. Selective sanctuaries along our coasts will not only help to return active food chains, but the general public living near these coasts will want to be part of the recovery effort.

      1. John Westerdale

        Bringing back the estuary ecosystems would seem to be the no brainer no one brings up. Thanks for doing so. In order to have 30″ fish, there must be a place for 20″ fish, 10″ fish and 1″ fish. With out the spawning grounds, where will they come from ? State sponsored hatcheries? Better to have a working ecosystem too.. Plus its much less expensive!

  6. Reel Raconteur

    Start a foundation with a cool sounding name so it can be written off… Then offer a $20 to everyone you see keeping fish. Buy em’ and put them back in the water right before their disbelieving eyes. I have done it several times. Perhaps the Reel Raconteur Foundation for the Preservation of Northeastern Gamefish is not far behind.

  7. Bill

    The Chesapeake is the life blood of the striper stock. If there is an isolated bad year, it is 100% the fault of whatever policies are in place there. They harvest too much bait. They take too many juvenile fish. They have too much pollution. Etc., etc., etc.

    Repeat bad years can point to an overall problem with the stock across the entire area. However, in this case, I am pointing the finger down South.

    1. Don

      Circle hooks for baiting and no trebles on plugs at least no more than 1 treble…make it a federal law and actually enforce it.

    2. Tug

      No more catch and release season in the upper Cheasapeake would go a long way to preserving the stock.

  8. Ron Mattson Sr

    Here it is 9/21 and while near Cape Charles,Va. the last month fishing for speckled trout I have noticed the emaciated appearing striped bass bycatch. At the same time seeing the spotting plane manuever the menhaden fleet corralling their catch(menhaden,striped bass,redfish,croaker,bluefish,spot,cobia,speckled trout,gray trout,etc…)into the mother ship where everything is reduced to oil. If you believe they throw back the bycatch you do not possess multiple brain cells.

  9. Keith schappach

    I’m a surfcaster and I am a regular at the cape and canal. There were so many big fish around in the cape but in 2003 they went to a two fish per day at 28″ limit and I’ve watched the Striper population year after year slowly disappear.Yes, there’s more people, more tournaments and better gear all depleting the Striper population up and down the coast and will only get worse unless we introduce a slot limit for striper that lay the most eggs. I also blame On The Water and others for not introducing a catch and release tournament full time for all individuals and teams period. I watch these fishing teams and individuals kill large stripers year after year for bragging rights which can be done with a camera. On The Water and all of Us need to practice what we preach “catch and release “and these fish will return in larger numbers as we spread the word. I as a individual challenge you On The Water to step up to the plate and change your way’s I’m sure the majority of people who fish the Striper cup would like to see catch and release implemented.Thank you and tight lines.

    1. Ken McDermott

      2.4 million gallons of water, a minute, is pumped directly from the Delaware bay estuary to cool outdated nuclear reactors . Not sure how much is pumped from the Hudson river. The amount of marine life killed is staggering. The power companies have done all, that the regulators have asked, to mitigate the fish kill. However, I am pretty sure it falls short. Couple this with commercial poaching , do largely to underfund fish and wildlife agencies.
      Your focus and energy would be much better spent aimed here..

  10. Jarlath Crowe

    I spent 30 years, raising cold water fish to be released in the New England Watershed and the success depends on the fishermen releasing their catches of endangered species. My heart sinks every time I see fishermen following our stocking trucks. There’s nothing I can do, but continue to collect my paycheck every other week. The “fishermen” have been supporting my family, not the fish.

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