The S.C. Department of Natural Resources recently completed the stocking of 2,582,000 hatchery raised striped bass fingerlings into Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie.
Striped bass fry for these stockings were produced at the S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Jack Bayless Fish Hatchery in St. Stephens. The fry were grown out to 1- to 2-inch fingerlings at the following state fish hatcheries: Dennis Wildlife Center in Bonneau, Cohen Campbell Fish Hatchery in West Columbia, and Cheraw Fish Hatchery in Cheraw. Two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fish hatcheries, Orangeburg National Fish Hatchery in Orangeburg, and Welaka National Fish Hatchery in Welaka, Fla., also produced striped bass fingerlings for these stockings.
For information on DNR’s freshwater fish stocking program, call (803) 734-3933 in Columbia. Check the DNR Web site for South Carolina freshwater fish regulations at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/regs/pdf/freshfishing.pdf.
Hatchery produced striped bass fingerlings help to supplement the natural reproduction of striped bass in the Santee Cooper system.
The DNR Freshwater Fisheries Section annually stocks from seven to 10 million fish in state waters, including striped and hybrid bass, largemouth and smallmouth bass, channel and blue catfish, bluegill, redbreast, red ear sunfish (shellcracker), and rainbow, brook, and brown trout. Anglers in South Carolina spend almost $742 million to fish each year, making the sport, with economic multipliers factored in, a billion dollar business in the Palmetto State.Stripers are fast growing and long-lived and have reached weights of more than 40 pounds. Maturity occurs at about 2 years of age for male stripers and at 4 years of age for females. They can reach a size of 10 to 12 inches the first year. There is no disputing the striper is a superstar among freshwater fishes. Live shad and eels are excellent baits for catching big stripers. Other popular baits include white or yellow bucktail jigs, spoons, deep running crankbaits and a spinner with plastic worm rig. Popping plugs are best when stripers are schooling at the surface.