RALEIGH, N.C. (June 25, 2012) — Summer regulations are in effect for striped bass at four Piedmont reservoirs.
Anglers fishing in John H. Kerr Reservoir, Lake Gaston, Roanoke Rapids Lake and Lake Norman can harvest any size striped bass — up to four a day — from June 1 through Sept. 30.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission removed the striped bass minimum size limit in these four lakes because research has shown that adult striped bass caught and released during warmer months, when water temperatures exceed 70 degrees, suffer higher mortality rates than during cooler months.
Catch-and-release mortality rates increase during warmer months because striped bass are typically caught in deep, cold water but released in warm water at the surface. The temperature of the surface water is higher than the preferred, and usually tolerable, water temperature for striped bass. In many cases, striped bass are unable to swim back to the deep, cold water after being released because they cannot regulate their swim bladder (the organ that helps control buoyance) as a result of the stress related to capture. Striped bass eventually will die if they remain in water temperatures that are outside their tolerable range.
“Removing the minimum size limit only works if anglers either stop fishing after they catch their four stripers or they change tactics and fish for other species,” said Christian Waters, fisheries program manager with the Commission’s Division of Inland Fisheries.
Minimum size limits, which are in effect from Oct. 1 until May 31, vary for each reservoir. In Lake Gaston and Roanoke Rapids Lake, the minimum size limit is 20 inches with a daily creel limit of four fish. In John H. Kerr Reservoir, the minimum size limit is 26 inches with a daily creel limit of two fish, and in Lake Norman, the minimum size limit is 16 inches, with a daily creel limit of four fish.
For more information on fishing in public, inland waters, visit www.ncwildlife.org/fishing
A color, high-resolution photograph to illustrate this release is available for free download here.