Saying hybrid bass are likely to survive summer better, the state Wildlife Resources Commission said late Friday it will begin stocking Lake Norman with hybrids this year rather than the striped bass it has annually added to the lake.
Longtime fisherman David Clubb said Saturday he was elated by the decision. Clubb ended his fishing guide service in April because of what he said was the poor quality of the lake’s striped bass fishery.
“I might come out of retirement,” Clubb said. “That is great news.”
Christian Waters, fisheries program manager for the commission’s Division of Inland Fisheries, announced the news in an email to fishermen and others who attended a fisheries meeting at Lake Norman High in Mooresville in October.
Waters said the state will annually stock the lake with 162,500 hybrid striped bass beginning this year instead of 162,500 striped bass.
Fishermen at the October meeting had urged the commission to consider adding hybrids. Hybrid bass are a combination of white bass and striped bass.
Clubb told the Observer he’s seen hybrids doing just fine near the lake’s surface when water temperatures are at their highest in summer.
Striped bass, on the other hand, have been among the thousands of fish that have died in summer fish kills caused by what commission officials have said was a lack of oxygen in a middle layer of water that expands in summer.
Striped bass like the cooler bottom temperatures and die when they get trapped in the middle water layer, officials said.
The worst known kill was in 2010, when 6,993 dead fish were collected, said Brian McRae, who supervises Lake Norman and other Piedmont fisheries for the Raleigh-based commission. “Each of the past four summers we’ve had some level of a fish kill,” McRae told the October gathering.
Waters said the commission reached its decision after staff biologists completed “a thorough literature review” and contacted biologists from other state and federal agencies.
Commission staff will monitor the hybrid striped bass population annually, Waters said.