SMITH LAKE STRIPED BASS
In 1983 the Alabama Department of Conservation started a stocking program for the Gulf Coast strain of striped bass into Smith Lake. The money for this stocking program was a federal grant to see if the striped bass could be put back into the Gulf, as they lived years ago. Smith Lake was selected for this program because striped bass had never been stocked into this lake. This would insure only Gulf Coast stripers would grow in its waters.
When the first stripers were put into Smith Lake, the state biologists told the local fishermen they would grow to at least 30 lbs and may reach 40 lbs; most of the fishermen, myself included, did not believe this possible. Well, I was wrong; it took 8 years before the first 30 lb. striper was caught. After the first 30 lb. striper, many more 30+ lbs stripers soon followed in the years to come, with 40 lbs, and some mid-40's caught each year.
Each year the state biologists come to Smith Lake during the first part of April to collect stripers for the hatchery. They will hatch the stripers eggs, and in several months after the hatch, they will return the fry back into Smith Lake and Lake Martin, also some smaller lakes in the state will receive some fry. Smith Lake usally gets three stripers per acre, approximately 66,000 each year.
If the fry can survive the first two years, their growth rate between the third and seventh year can be as much as 4 to 5 pounds per year. The striper that do live past the third year, and some striper will live 10 plus years, are the ones that keep people coming to Smith Lake for a chance to catch a trophy striper.
Atlantic Coast, Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Coast. Landlocked form exists in many Southern Impoundments and soutwestern U.S.
Long Head, projecting lower jaw; body is 3 1/2 times as long as deep (trunk).
Separated dorsal fins; first dorsal contains 9 sharp spines. 3-4 dark lateral stripes above lateral line, one on lateral line, three below this line.
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