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State stocks Lake Norman with hybrid bass

MOORESVILLE Saying hybrid bass are likely to survive summer better, fisheries biologists from the state Wildlife Resources Commission for the first time Wednesday released 162,500 hybrid bass fingerlings into Lake Norman.

“With their higher heat tolerance and wider foraging range in terms of depth, everyone expects a significant drop in summer die-off,” said Rich Permenter of Denver, N.C., who is chairman of the Lake Norman Marine Commission.

The fingerlings were released at the Stumpy Creek Boat Landing off Perth Road.

The Wildlife Resources Commission agreed to stock the lake with hybrid bass after longtime fishermen urged the commission to make the move at a meeting at Lake Norman High School in October. The fishermen favored the hybrids rather than the striped bass the commission has annually added to the lake.

Christian Waters, fisheries program manager for the commission’s Division of Inland Fisheries, announced earlier this year that the state will annually stock the lake with 162,500 hybrid striped bass beginning this year instead of 162,500 striped bass. The commission stocked hybrid bass that are a cross between female striped bass and male white bass, said Brian McRae, the commission’s Piedmont Region fisheries supervisor.

Fishing guide David Clubb has 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. McRae said the bass follow river shad, their preferred food, to the bottom.

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.

Marusak: 704-987-3670
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