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Wildlife Commission Develops New Fishery in Hyco Lake

  • 27 June 2019
  • Number of views: 642

RALEIGH, N.C. (June 27, 2019) – The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is offering anglers a unique opportunity to catch hybrid striped bass in Hyco Lake with its initial stocking of 37,500 fingerlings on June 19.

Biologists with the agency’s Inland Fisheries Division stocked the fingerlings, which are typically 1 to 2 inches in length, to establish a hybrid fishery in the lake, located in Person and Caswell counties. Biologists expect fish will be harvestable size within the next year or two. Once the fish reach harvestable size, regulations for Bodie bass in Hyco Lake will be a minimum of 16 inches in length and a four-fish daily creel limit.

Bodie bass fisheries have successfully been established in multiple reservoirs in North Carolina and continue to grow in popularity throughout the state. Bodie bass are a cross between a striped bass and a white bass. This cross allows Bodie bass to grow larger than white bass and to withstand higher water temperatures than striped bass.

With its warm year-round water temperatures, the 3,750-acre reservoir is a good candidate for Bodie bass because it contains a wide forage base of gizzard and threadfin shad, as well as tilapia, and it provides suitable habitat for Bodie bass, which prefer open and deep water.

“Adult Bodie bass are a schooling fish typically found in open water searching for shad or other prey fishes.  In Hyco Lake, tilapia may provide an additional food source not found in other reservoirs in the state,” said District 5 Fisheries Biologist Kelsey Lincoln. “This possible predator-and-prey interaction could make for some fun fishing opportunities anglers.”

Bodie bass are captured using various angling techniques including trolling, artificial lures and using live bait.  While Bodie bass do not grow as large as striped bass do, they commonly reach 5 pounds.

“Bodie Bass will reach harvestable size between ages 1 and 2,” Lincoln said. “As the population grows anglers should begin to catch harvestable-sized fish more frequently within the next four to five years.”

Next summer, Commission staff will stock additional Bodie bass fingerlings in the lake at a rate between five and 10 fish per acre. The actual rate will depend on success of broodfish collections, availability of hatchery ponds and fingerling survival.

Biologists will monitor the population to determine the success of the fishery and to update management recommendations as needed.

 For more information on the warm water stocking program in North Carolina or to view a stocking list for lakes in your area, please visit the Commission’s Hatchery and Stocking page. For more information or questions about this program, contact Lincoln at kelsey.lincoln@ncwildlife.org. 

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