Archive for the ‘Striped Bass’ Tag

STRIPER WOLF PACKS PROVIDE GREAT FISHING   Leave a comment

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Our best fighting fish is a pretty apt description to anyone who has ever hooked one.  These shad eating machines prowl a number of Illinois waters providing excitement for any angler who is lucky enough to hook one.

A wonderful fighting fish, this transplant to Illinois waters spends most of his day roaming deep water in pursuit of threadfin shad.  Stable water conditions, clear skies, and the presence of shad cause this wolf of the water to move into more shallow water and dam tailwaters.  Once there, their presence is visible by the action on the surface.

Stripers will force shad to the surface and then crash the surface as they goggle up the hapless bait fish.   In tailwater situations the striper takes advantage of the injured shad that wash through locks and over dams.  Most stripers and hybrids bite on live threadfin shad or skipjack.  Some people have good luck with cut bait while others prefer artificial lures.

The Illinois State Record is 31 pounds 7 ounces for striped bass and 20 pounds .32 ounces for hybrid striped bass.  The average fish from these species range from 2 to 15 pounds.

Most anglers refer to both the hybrid striper and the pure strain fish as “Stripers.”  The hybrids are not able to reproduce and have some different physical features that make identification possible.

A saltwater relative of the white bass, stripers resemble them in appearance but have a more elongated and less compressed body.   Stripers have a more straight back and they are dark greenish is color on top with a brassy tinge that becomes lighter on the sides.  The underside is a silver color.

The most prominent feature is the presence of seven to eight narrow horizontal stripes along the sides which leads to the name striper.  The stripes on the Hybrid are less distinct and definitely broken.   The first stripe below the lateral line is distinct and complete to the tail.  Hybrids tend to grow faster making them popular for stocking.  Hybrids can reach 5 pounds by their third year.

These imports are present in some 28 waterways and lakes of the Prairie State.  They consist of three subspecies: striped bass, hybrid striped bass and striped/hybrid striped bass.  Regardless of where in the state a fisherman lives, he is but a couple of hours away from a striper fishery.

Historically, the IDNR has had problems meeting the stocking needs for this fishery.  Today they are able to produce a reliable good quality source of fry.

State hatcheries are involved in the production of striped bass and hybrid striped bass using fry purchased from out of state.  Currently Illinois stocks both striped bass and hybrid striped bass.

The best angling opportunities center on following the shad.  Both threadfin and gizzard shad are the primary food source for all three subspecies.  Many are caught incidental to fishing for other species.  Catfish anglers will often catch them in the spring using chicken livers fished near the bottom of a lake.

Most fish are caught trolling shad or shad-like imitation baits.  Both live bait and cut bait from shad work well.  The use of electronic fish locators allows the angler to locate schools of shad.  Then the angler knows at what depth to troll his offering.  Shore anglers look for points and deep water flats near current.  Current is a chief locator to find stripers.

Perhaps the best cure for fingers numbed by the cold and the chill of cold winds is the screech of a reel paying out line.  The sound of the reel means striper on the other end of the line.

 

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STRIPED ROCKETS OF SMITHLAND POOL   1 comment

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There is nothing that will stir the heart like the whine of a reel when a Striper or Hybrid Striper has taken your bait.  These striped rockets are the state’s greatest battler according to Steve Pall, former IDNR Fisheries Chief.

Although Illinois does not aggressively stock the river, Illinois anglers benefit from the extensive stocking program of Kentucky.  Although the stripers and hybrid stripers are to be found all along the southern edge of Illinois in the Ohio River, it is one of the under fished for species.  The river produces 3- to 10-pound striped bass and 8- to 10-pound hybrids.

Most of the stripers and hybrids are probably caught incidental to catfish and sauger fishing.  They bite on both cut bait and artificial lures.  If they are in feeding mode, the fish takes topwater lures like the Zara Spook, according to local angler Charles Vaughn.  He fishes the river frequently for stripers.  In high water conditions, he prefers the Rat-L-Traps and other crankbaits.

If the water is clear, he recommends chrome and black or another other shad imitation.  In darker water he selects bright colors.

Vaughn prefers 7 to 7 ½ foot rods spooled with 12-pound line in areas where there are rocks.

Charles fishes the fast running water in the tailwaters below Smithland Lock and Dam.  Fishing from a large flat bottom boat, he anchors with the bow into the current for safety.  He reaches the fishing waters by putting in at the Golconda Marina (618-683-5875) and then traveling down stream and through the Lock and Dam.  Once through the locks, he then moves back up to the dam area.

Stripers are a saltwater relative of the white bass.  Stripers have a straighter back and are dark green on top with a brassy tinge that is lighter on the sides.  The underside is silver in color.

The most prominent feature is the presence of seven or eight narrow horizontal stripes on the sides.  Hence the species name.  The side stripes on the hybrid are less distinct and definitely broken.

Hybrids tend to grow faster making them more popular with anglers.  They usually are 5 pounds by the third year of their life.

Fishing for the Smithland striped rockets is usually best when he water is at normal pool and moving well.  Water in this area of the river can change quickly due to weather and storm water run off from up river.  In high water as well as low water conditions the turbidity affects the fishing adversely.  Regulars on the river check the U.S. Corps of Engineers website for water levels.  The site is at www.CorpsLakes.US.

Information on accommodations is available from the Southernmost Tourism Bureau at their website of www.southernmostillinois.com.

 

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