Striped bass can be targeted by anglers anywhere from the northern Gulf of Mexico to as far north as the St. Lawrence River in Canada. They hold a special place in the angler’s heart for those who have interacted with them. Their ridiculous aggressiveness and hard-molded attitudes have landed them at or near the top of many angler’s target species lists.
In the 1970s and 80s, the millions of “stripers” around Chesapeake Bay had declined to a fraction of what it once was, mainly due to overfishing. In response, Congress passed the Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act in 1984, and several states introduced striped bass fishing bans for as much as five years. These preventative measures allowed the striped bass population to rebound to the point of being classified as a recovered species.
Now, Atlantic striped bass populations are at the lowest they have been in the last quarter century since the species was considered recovered. Again, overharvesting appeared to be the main culprit, though habitat loss, lack of oxygen and food, and pollution also played a role.
Luckily, the Striped Bass Board of the Atlantic states has been developing a new long term recovery plan for stripers. The plan has support from the American Saltwater Guides Association, and after a public hearing last week, the draft is moving forward. With input from public comment, this plan is more conservation-based than originally proposed. Learn more about the new plan for striped bass at the Flylords website.
Ryan Rintala | Social Media @mattheronflyfishing