SCIENTIFIC NAME: Morone saxatilis
CHARACTERISTICS: The striped bass has an elongate, compressed body and a relatively small head with an acute snout and a large, gaping mouth. Maximum body depth goes three or more times into standard length. The first dorsal fin has nine spines, the second fin has one spine and 12 soft rays. The front of the anal fin has three spines that are graduated in length. Two elongate median tooth patches are located on the back of the tongue. The lateral line is complete, with 57 to 68 scales. The back is dark gray to green: the sides are light green grading to silver with several continuous black stripes, and the venter is white to cream. Young striped bass have dusky vertical bars along the sides of the body.
ADULT SIZE: 20 to 24 in (508 to 610 mm). The Alabama record was broken with a national record for landlocked striped bass. Mr. James Bramlett caught the 69-pound, 9-ounce fish in Bankhead Reservoir. The previous state angling record (55 lb) was caught in the Tallapoosa River. The date is unknown but may have been in the mid-1960s.
DISTRIBUTION: Striped bass populations in Alabama are a mixture of Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast fish. The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division has initiated an aggressive program to reestablish Gulf Coast populations in the Mobile basin, primarily below the Fall Line. Native populations probably still enter the Mobile Delta and lower Alabama and Tombigbee drainages. Landlocked populations of Gulf Coast fish occur in the Chattahoochee River above Jim Woodruff Dam and in Lake Lewis Smith. Most individuals in the Tennessee River are probably Atlantic Coast fish, although Gulf Coast fish were introduced into Wheeler Reservoir from 1992 to 1994.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Schools of native and introduced populations of striped bass inhabit free-flowing rivers and reservoirs and feed primarily on gizzard shad and threadfin shad. Moss (1985) notes that spawning occurs from late March through April in Alabama. Using radio-tagged fish, he documented that individuals migrate from rivers into spring-fed tributaries in late May and early June in search of cooler water temperatures and higher oxygen levels. We observed similar behavior in 1992 and 1993 while sampling Big Nance, Cypress, and Shoal creeks and the Paint Rock River of the Tennessee River drainage.
REMARKS: In Alabama, striped bass angling is best during cool months and in tailwaters of locks and dams and also in Lake Lewis Smith and Lake Martin. Favorite baits include live gizzard shad, white or yellow jigs, and spoon lures.
Morone origin of this genus name is unknown.
Saxatilis means rock-dwelling.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.
ADDITIONAL COMMON NAMES: In the southeast, anglers also call striped bass: striper rockfish, squid hound, greenhead, linesider, roller, and rock, according to Cloutman and Olmstead in Fisheries (Vol. 8, No. 2). In Alabama, striped bass are commonly referred to as saltwater striped bass, even when they are found far inland.
Note: In Alabama, it is illegal to stock or move a bass or any fish, mussel, snail or crayfish to any public water without a permit.