The striped bass, Morone saxatilis – also known as striper, rockfish, linesider, roller, squidhound, bucketmouth, and greenhead – has been one of the most sought-after commercial and recreational finfish since colonial times.
The striper’s habitat reaches from the St. Lawrence River in Canada to the St. John’s River in Florida; and from Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana to the open waters of the Atlantic. Stripers were introduced in California at Pittsburg, which lies between the Cal Delta and San Francisco Bay in the 1870’s. From the original 470+ fish which were transported out by train from the Hudson River, the population grew to an estimate of 6 million by 1960. As many fish species have declined, the Striper suffered as well – seeing numbers falling to 600,000 by the 1990s. A healthy rebound has been witnessed into 2005. Many inland waters support huge popualtions like Lake Powell, and the San Louis Reservoir in California.
- Striped bass variously appear to be light green, olive, steel blue, brown or black. They earn their name from the seven or eight continuous stripes that mark their silvery sides, extending from the gills to the tail. Their undersides are usually white or silver, with a brassy iridescence.
- Mature stripers are known for their size (they’ve even been known to reach 100 pounds and nearly five feet in length) and fighting ability.
- Stripers are a fabulous game fish taken on flies – surface poppers and streamers.
Conventional bait fishing, trolling, and casting plugs are also productive methods.