Professional Guided Striper Fishing
Trips On Beautiful Lake Ouachita

Located In Hot Springs, Arkansas

 


The New Breed
By Randy Zellers

What eats like a white bass, grows like a striper and pulls like a runaway Buick? If you’re an Arkansas angler, you know the answer – the hybrid bass.
      Not long after hatcheries began raising stripers for Arkansas lakes, biologists learned white bass and stripers were so similar that they could be crossed to produce a new breed of tackle-testing fish. Originally called Palmetto bass because of their breeding origin in Florida, Arkansas’s hybrid is a cross between a white bass male and a striper female.
     “The hybrids grow much larger than white bass and relate more to structure than stripers, making them easier targets for anglers,” said Mark Oliver, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission assistant chief of fisheries management. “They’re typically more aggressive than stripers, and great fighters.”
     “You can even tell the difference between stripers and hybrids when they’re fingerlings,” said Mike Armstrong, AGFC chief of fisheries management. “The stripers will slowly roam the tanks, while the hybrids race back and forth looking for something to eat. One of our hatchery biologists calls them ‘Eating Machines.’ ”

 Stocking Strategies

Although some waters are reserved for trophy striper fishing, others have benefited from the new breed.
    “We stock only hybrids in DeGray and Greers Ferry lakes to offer a different type of fishing experience,” Armstrong said. “These lakes probably could have supported stripers well, but Ouachita and Greeson had already been stocked with stripers, so we went with hybrids to give anglers a fish that was a little easier to catch.”
    In lakes with warmer water, such as Horseshoe and Bear Creek in eastern Arkansas, hybrids also have found a niche. According to Armstrong, hybrids can tolerate much warmer water than stripers, making it possible for the AGFC to offer excellent fishing similar to striped bass in areas that can’t support that species.
   Other lakes – such as Lake Hamilton – have stripers, hybrids and white bass to maximize fishing opportunity while offering a chance at a trophy.

 Big, New Benefit

These hatchery creations also are being used to recruit a new angling audience. Because the hybrids can survive on food pellets in hatcheries, biologists can allow them to reach catchable sizes and stock them in new areas. City park ponds have benefited greatly from the hybrids, allowing inner-city anglers to pursue something besides catfish and bream during summer.
    “The hybrids in the ponds are easy to catch and fight hard,” said Clifton Jackson, AGFC regional fisheries biologist. “People rarely get to go after this type of fish unless they have a boat and can get out to larger lakes and rivers.”

How To Identify Your Catch

White Bass
A  Has one tooth patch near the midline towards the back of the tongue.
B  Body deep, more than 1/3 length.
C  Stripes faint, only one extends to tail.

 

Hybrid Striped Bass
A  Has two, distinct tooth patches near the midline towards the back of the tongue.
B  Body deep, more than 1/3 length.
C  Stripes distinct, usually broken, several extend to tail.
 

 

Striped Bass
A  Has two, distinct tooth patches near the midline towards the back of the tongue.
B  Body slender, less than 1/3 length.
C  Stripes distinct, several extend to tail.

 

 

This article was originally featured in the March/April 2008 issue of Arkansas Wildlife magazine.
To subscribe or learn more about the magazine, contact the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission,
 (501) 223-6300, or visit www.agfc.com.
 

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