Just days ago, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission stocked about 162,500 fingerling hybrid striped bass in Lake Norman.Hybrids are replacing the striped bass that have difficulty surviving the lake’s summer heat and low levels of dissolved oxygen. This new entry is hardier than its predecessors and is expected to thrive in Norman’s harsh-water environment.The fast-growing hybrids will reach a length of 11 to 15 inches the first year and gain an additional 6 inches by summer 2015. The then-2-year-old fish will weigh between 2 and 3 pounds and will exceed the minimum size limit for harvesting of 16 inches.While hybrids are not new to Lake Norman, this stocking by state wildlife officials will improve the fishery. Previous placements have been made by concerned fishermen, which explains why anglers have been catching hybrids since fall 2011. Some fish since have reached weights in excess of 5 pounds. Anglers are excited about the hybrid’s introduction, since many either have caught them or read about their tenacity in a fight. Hybrids swim in schools, where, like their parents (white and striped bass), they chase and feed on shad and herring. Since the constantly roaming hybrids can be elusive at times, their fighting ability makes searching for them worthwhile.Hybrid striped bass and white perch share a similar profile. The silver/gray colors of both fish make identification somewhat difficult.To make matters more confusing, both are decorated with lateral lines. The difference is that the lines on the white perch are faint, while the lines on the hybrid bass are bolder and often broken in appearance.As mentioned, the legal size limit for hybrids on Lake Norman is 16 inches, and the creel limit is four in combination with striped bass. White perch do not have size or creel limits.Like bass and stripers, hybrids will strike a variety of lures, including everything from topwater to deep-diving crank baits.Until the new hybrid fishery becomes established, basic bass tackle is all that’s needed.TipHybrid striped bass are hatchery-conceived when the eggs of the female striped bass are fertilized by the milt of a male white bass.Fishing reportBass are hitting topwater lures at daylight, while soft plastics are being used throughout the day. Water temperatures of 80 degrees have moved white perch and crappie off the banks and into 20 to 30 feet of water.Catfish, particularly channels and blues, are pleasing anglers who fish with stink baits, chicken parts and fresh-cut bream. Flatheads are being caught around and under schools of white perch.The water level on Lake Norman is about 1.5 feet below full pond. Mountain Island Lake is 2.6 feet below full. Surface water temperatures are in the low to mid-80s, depending on location or proximity to a power plant.
Friday, Jun. 21, 2013
Lake Norman gains more hybrid striped bass
Gus Gustafson is a freelance writer and professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Have a story idea for Gus? Email him at Gus@LakeNorman.com.
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