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Stripers and invasive species
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   Fishing Fishing Discussion

Posted by silvertalon
11/29/2019 12:42 PM
I,ve been here for 5 years now and have not seen such poor fall season for black bass. Actually, let's go back to mid summer with that (for me at least). So in my last 5-6 outings I've only caught 2 or 3 LM's but more Hybrids White's & striper's than I could have wanted. One striper going very close to 20# caught out of a good LM hole. Then I hooked up on another after side imaging the area and saw a lot of them grouped up tight side-by-side (a typical formation). And this was in Soddy Creek. I've read articles on invasive striper's out west wiping out black bass populations by devouring the majority of shad and small bass. I'm not saying at all that this is what is happening here but I do see a red flag. Could it just be a fluke or a normal cycle? Look at the Asian Carp invasion wiping out KY Lake. KY was at it's very best just 1-2 year's prior. I've seen more reports here on stripers and hybrids than black bass. I'm sure soon we will see the normal winter big bass catch's popping up but, what will the future look like? Will our little TN River lake hold up to the enormous pressure going on? What ever happened to the off shore mega -schools of days past- and why have pro guides disappeared? I guess we're just gonna fish it out no matter what.
Posted by rsimms
11/29/2019 4:23 PM
Stripers have never been shown to have a direct negative impact on game fish populations anywhere, at least not in any scientific research I've ever seen (although I admittedly don't pay much attention to "out West). Their primary forage is, indeed, shad. Based on what I see and hear directly from TWRA biologists we definitely have no decline or shortage of shad! If anything our forage base is better than it has ever been.

Stripers on the lake, especially winter stripers, have always been somewhat cyclic. They show up en masse sometimes and very little other years. I think your observation is, as you mentioned, a fluke.

However, if you want me to help, PLEASE tell me where to go catch them. I'd be happy to help thin them out!

Also, since I'm a guide I do know for a fact the there are more "pro guides" locally than there have EVER been. I personally know seven dedicated, fully licensed bass guides on Chickamauga (plus several of us who guide for other species). And I am sure there are several other unlicensed guides running under the USCG radar.
Posted by flipper
11/29/2019 5:20 PM
The stripers show up late fall through winter just about every year.Fishing has been tuff lately but I think fishing pressure and water fluctuation has more to do with it more than anything. J.M.O.
Posted by SHane
11/29/2019 5:46 PM
We usually catch a couple stripe anytime throwing the A rig but none today. Had a couple at Guntersville Wednesday. Probably saw way more on graph down there.
Posted by fischnrod
11/29/2019 6:18 PM
I personally like catching striped bass of any size
Posted by elwestb
11/29/2019 8:22 PM
I don't know of a lake anywhere that hasn't been hurt by the Stripers where they have been introduced. TWRA brought the salt water Stripers in and stocked Cherokee with them back in the '70's as an experiment. They were going to control the shad with them. The story was they only ate Shad. The Shad did disappear and then the Bream and the lake hasn't been near the Smallmouth or Largemouth fishery since. They had similar results on Lanier. First the Shad, then the Bream and then the Trout disappeared. In my opinion Stripers were the downfall of the LM and SM at Tim's Ford. The same thing happened at West Point and Oconee in Georgia. All of those lakes were hot Bass fisheries until they were stocked with Stripers and then the fisheries declined. Stripers are eating machines and will eat anything that they can catch. Not just Shad. We were told that the Hybrids (a cross between the salt water Striper and the fresh water White Bass Stripe) couldn't reproduce. My understanding was that TWRA stopped stocking them here several years ago about the time that they started stocking the Florida Bass. So where do all these smaller Hybrids Stripers come from if they can't reproduce? I'm not a biologist and this is just my opinion, but about 90% of the time when any species, plant or animal has been introduced anywhere in the world and therefore being invasive, there has been other problems to follow.

Edited by elwestb 11/29/2019 8:46 PM
Posted by bullshot
11/29/2019 9:22 PM
Reservoir Aging often is the cause while Morone saxatilus stocking gets the blame.
Posted by Oldman
11/30/2019 5:58 AM
Rodney u like blue cats too.
Posted by fischnrod
11/30/2019 7:33 AM
Oldman - 11/30/2019 6:58 AM

Rodney u like blue ca ts too.


Nope I hate catfish and don't care if I ever catch another one, ever . They act just like an Oldman Stubborn and Senile
Posted by Oldman
11/30/2019 9:20 AM
wow all that and a bold of corn flakes.

Edited by Oldman 11/30/2019 9:20 AM
Posted by rusty50576
11/30/2019 10:32 PM
Cherokee lake is absolutely thick with millions of smallmouth, see the elites event last year. They’ve been tossing rockfish in there forever. Increased amount of catch and release fishing is what makes bass hard to catch. They are still there in good numbers just smarter than they used to be. The reason you don’t see bass reports anymore is because everyone seems to be geared toward winning tournaments and don’t want to give anything away. And also other media has become more popular like YouTube Instagram etc. I still prefer the written forums

Edited by rusty50576 11/30/2019 10:36 PM
Posted by 31airborne
12/1/2019 5:45 AM
Here's another thought (one I must qualify in advance by saying I am not a marine biologist, just a dood who loves to fish): I think the invasive species driving the most change in black bass behavior has been the pelagic (roaming) baitfishes. Species of herring, ales, and other large school-forming baitfishes have been introduced into our lakes. Once the predator fishes (like black bass) discovered them they started selecting for them. Black bass have evolved to a certain degree into a pelagic species in order to follow their food.

Everything I've read or heard about black bass over the years suggested they're territorial. I think the proliferation of new baitfish options is kinda rewriting everything. There's a reason people are routinely catching large LM while fishing for stripers. It's the same reason our old brush and rock piles aren't producing like they used to. The bass have simply moved closer to their preferred forage.
Posted by silvertalon
12/1/2019 10:46 AM
elwestb - 11/29/2019 9:22 PM

I don't know of a lake anywhere that hasn't been hurt by the Stripers where they have been introduced. TWRA brought the salt water Stripers in and stocked Cherokee with them back in the '70's as an experiment. They were going to control the shad with them. The story was they only ate Shad. The Shad did disappear and then the Bream and the lake hasn't been near the Smallmouth or Largemouth fishery since. They had similar results on Lanier. First the Shad, then the Bream and then the Trout disappeared. In my opinion Stripers were the downfall of the LM and SM at Tim's Ford. The same thing happened at West Point and Oconee in Georgia. All of those lakes were hot Bass fisheries until they were stocked with Stripers and then the fisheries declined. Stripers are eating machines and will eat anything that they can catch. Not just Shad. We were told that the Hybrids (a cross between the salt water Striper and the fresh water White Bass Stripe) couldn't reproduce. My understanding was that TWRA stopped stocking them here several years ago about the time that they started stocking the Florida Bass. So where do all these smaller Hybrids Stripers come from if they can't reproduce? I'm not a biologist and this is just my opinion, but about 90% of the time when any species, plant or animal has been introduced anywhere in the world and therefore being invasive, there has been other problems to follow.


Nice input and info Earl!

When loading out the other day at CFP, Saw a guy catching Hybrids off the dock and he had a 3-1/2# he was taking home to eat. In the past I've only seen LM's being caught from CFP dock. Additionally recent fisheries effected by stripers and hybrids are Texoma and Cal Delta. On the delta, they've all but wiped out the salmon and smelt. Texoma I understand, might be bouncing back but the stripers there have become a real nuisance to the tournament LM fisherman. There's numbers of other fisheries where stripers have dramatically effected the black bass populations and I've been hunting for the article I saw. I'll post more info if I can find it. Again, I'm not at all insinuating that there's a striper invasion here but we should at least keep our eyes open in coming years. Insofar as the Chick is concerned, FL largemouth strains are generally hard to catch when the water cools down and this year it happened fast. But even this past October around classic time the water was still low 80's and the bite just folded for most. this happens every year like clockwork on Table Rock and White River fisheries- When the thermocline breaks, the bass scatter and can be found from 1' to 100' deep. But that doesn't happen here and the usual mat fishing was very poor for from my observation. Where'd they go? I'd sure like to see charts from TWRA electro-shocking studies over the past 5 years. Maybe we just need to fish deeper. I can also say for sure that this year's spraying really effected my shallow bite areas worse than ever and I could only catch fish where there was some left-over grass. Spraying is turning into big biz here. I actually saw air boats out spraying in Oct. I thought that was unusual. Not trying to open up the "spraying" thread here. Just saying, when the right combination of spraying, industrial pollution, invasive species and immense fishing pressure come together...
Posted by rusty50576
12/1/2019 11:41 AM
Those electrofishing surveys really only show which species are present, they don’t even shock any fish below 10 ft maybe less

Edited by rusty50576 12/1/2019 11:47 AM
Posted by SpurHunter
12/9/2019 9:51 AM
You didnt see them catching hybrids on Chic, we have an insanely small population here. Ive been focused on stripers, whites and hybrids for 10 years on Chick and have never caught a hybrid on Chic. The few that are caught come in through the locks, and thats very rare.


silvertalon - 12/1/2019 11:46 AM

When loading out the other day at CFP, Saw a guy catching Hybrids off the dock and he had a 3-1/2# he was taking home to eat. In the past I've only seen LM's being caught from CFP dock. Additionally recent fisheries effected by stripers and hybrids are Texoma and Cal Delta. On the delta, they've all but wiped out the salmon and smelt. Texoma I understand, might be bouncing back but the stripers there have become a real nuisance to the tournament LM fisherman. There's numbers of other fisheries where stripers have dramatically effected the black bass populations and I've been hunting for the article I saw. I'll post more info if I can find it. Again, I'm not at all insinuating that there's a striper invasion here but we should at least keep our eyes open in coming years. Insofar as the Chick is concerned, FL largemouth strains are generally hard to catch when the water cools down and this year it happened fast. But even this past October around classic time the water was still low 80's and the bite just folded for most. this happens every year like clockwork on Table Rock and White River fisheries- When the thermocline breaks, the bass scatter and can be found from 1' to 100' deep. But that doesn't happen here and the usual mat fishing was very poor for from my observation. Where'd they go? I'd sure like to see charts from TWRA electro-shocking studies over the past 5 years. Maybe we just need to fish deeper. I can also say for sure that this year's spraying really effected my shallow bite areas worse than ever and I could only catch fish where there was some left-over grass. Spraying is turning into big biz here. I actually saw air boats out spraying in Oct. I thought that was unusual. Not trying to open up the "spraying" thread here. Just saying, when the right combination of spraying, industrial pollution, invasive species and immense fishing pressure come together...
Posted by SpurHunter
12/9/2019 9:53 AM
I have cleaned hundreds of stripers caught on Chick, Nick, and Watts Bar, I open every one to see what they are eating. I have seen baby drum twice, and one crappie. Lots of shad, and some crayfish. Without a doubt they do not feed on gamefish, end of story.


silvertalon - 11/29/2019 1:42 PM

I,ve been here for 5 years now and have not seen such poor fall season for black bass. Actually, let's go back to mid summer with that (for me at least). So in my last 5-6 outings I've only caught 2 or 3 LM's but more Hybrids White's & striper's than I could have wanted. One striper going very close to 20# caught out of a good LM hole. Then I hooked up on another after side imaging the area and saw a lot of them grouped up tight side-by-side (a typical formation). And this was in Soddy Creek. I've read articles on invasive striper's out west wiping out black bass populations by devouring the majority of shad and small bass. I'm not saying at all that this is what is happening here but I do see a red flag. Could it just be a fluke or a normal cycle? Look at the Asian Carp invasion wiping out KY Lake. KY was at it's very best just 1-2 year's prior. I've seen more reports here on stripers and hybrids than black bass. I'm sure soon we will see the normal winter big bass catch's popping up but, what will the future look like? Will our little TN River lake hold up to the enormous pressure going on? What ever happened to the off shore mega -schools of days past- and why have pro guides disappeared? I guess we're just gonna fish it out no matter what.
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