North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

All about that (Striped) Bass

Author: NCWRC blogger/Wednesday, August 9, 2017/Categories: Blog, Fishing

All about that (Striped) Bass

Striped Bass are anadromous fish, meaning that the adults migrate from the ocean into freshwater rivers and creeks to reproduce. It’s a team effort to manage these species: they are managed by multiple agencies and commissions, depending on where they are in their migration cycle. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) manages Striped Bass when they’re in inland waters, and the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries and federal agencies have jurisdiction over this species in coastal waters and at sea.

Striped Bass have been in the news over the past year because the NCWRC has proposed increasing the minimum size limit to 26 inches in the Neuse, Pungo & Tar-Pamlico rivers (currently, the legal size ranges from 18-22 inches). Because larger females produce many more eggs than their smaller counterparts, this proposed rule would allow fish to live longer and grow larger to reproduce and increase the Striped Bass population in these rivers.

Presently, Striped Bass populations in the Tar-Pamlico, Neuse and Cape Fear rivers are maintained by stocking. Recent studies by NCWRC staff have shown that between 80 and 100% of Striped Bass from these rivers were stocked from hatcheries in the state.

The goal with the Striped Bass fishery and other native fisheries is to achieve sustainable harvest. We want the population to grow large enough to naturally support a healthy fishery and avoid a population crash like we’ve seen in river herring, another anadromous fish in our state. The herring fishery was shut down a decade ago due to a crash from which it still hasn’t recovered.

NCWRC fisheries biologists, managers, and wildlife enforcement officers are looking out for our state’s game fish, so that these species – and the fishing traditions they support – can continue in the future.

For more information on North Carolina’s fish, visit


By: Naomi Avissar, Wildlife Education Specialist


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