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Striped bass

General Facts
Striped bass are anadromous, which means they live their adult life in saltwater and migrate into estuaries and eventually freshwater to spawn. Known for their powerful fighting ability, mature striped bass are robust and large weighing upwards of 40- 50 pounds.

During the 1970-1980 period, New Jersey striped bass stocks experienced a severe decline due to overfishing. Management measures such as increased size limits, seasonal closures and recreational daily bag limits allowed recovery and increased numbers. In 1995, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) officially declared striped bass as a "restored" stock in NJ.

During spring spawning migrations, striped bass can be caught from shoreline or by boat along tidal freshwater rivers. The Delaware River, Delaware Bay tributaries (Maurice and Cohansey), Lower Delaware River tributaries (Rancocas, Big Timber, Mantua, and Raccoon Creeks), and coastal rivers (Raritan, Manasquan, Great Egg Harbor, and Mullica Rivers) are great places to concentrate angling efforts.

In tidal freshwaters, striped bass angling is limited to the springtime. When spring spawning is completed, mature striped bass leave the inland tidal freshwaters and return to marine waters. Both daytime and nighttime angling are equally productive and, depending upon the location, tidal stage and current may dictate catch rates. The presence of river herring may also determine angling productiveness. Both river herring and striped bass spawning migration times coincide and striped bass prey heavily upon river herring during this period.

Heavier fishing tackle is required for striped bass angling. A medium to medium-heavy 6-7 foot rod spooled with 10 to 20 pound test line is a good choice. The reel selected, whether conventional or spinning, must possess a well-designed drag system. Live baits such as bloodworms and river herring, and artificial lures such as minnow plugs, jerk baits and rattletraps that imitate river herring, catch striped bass consistently.

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: August 18, 2004