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Name:   stripernut - Email Member
Subject:   Floating Stripes
Date:   8/31/2010 4:52:09 PM

August is a tough time for stripes. Saturday morning we were trolling in the Dixie Sailing Club area, and noticed a white belly floating about 100 yards in front of the bow. We made our way to it, and it turned out to be a 42 lb stripe flopping on its side. The fish was healthy looking, but was obviously on her way out, so we netted her. About 10 minutes later, we netted another in the same manner that weighed about 8. At first I figured these were fish that were caught and released by others, but we could find no hook marks on either fish. Moreover, one of my buddies (Mountain Man on this forum) found a fresh 25 pounder while trolling in the same general area. I was speaking to another friend (Deckhand on this forum) yesterday - he works at Bowater paper mill in Childersburg - he said their plant was not allowed to discharge in the Coosa owing to low oxygen. Neither fish that we netted had anything in their gut, making me think they were probably up looking for a meal in hot water. These occurrences taken together make me think that low oxygen/ hot water temperature has caused at least a minor stripe kill on the lower end of Martin. Although, our data/sightings are few, it seems that bigger fish were impacted harder, which is alarming. Hopefully, temperatures will moderate soon, as cooler water can hold higher concentrations of dissolved oxygen. I hope that we don't see a big die-off. This also has implications for catch and release - any stripes that you bring to the boat now, especially larger fish, will not likely make it if released.

Has anyone else found fresh floating stripes recently?

Tight Lines!
Wes

URL: http://www.lakemartinstripes.com

Name:   Bamaskeetshooter - Email Member
Subject:   Floating Stripes
Date:   8/31/2010 6:57:07 PM

Wes,

I think these floating fish are a combination of fish that are released that are exhausted and fish that are hooked and fought for a while but not landed.  I've been successful at releasing smaller fish by using tight drags and trying to get the fish to the boat as quickly as possible.  I net the fish and leave the fish in the water.  I then remove the hook and return the fish to the water very quickly.  On occasion, you will hook a mean fish, that you can't get to the boat quickly, unfortunately, it becomes dinner.



Name:   stripernut - Email Member
Subject:   Floating Stripes
Date:   9/1/2010 9:46:09 AM

Bamaskeetshooter,
I came to the same conclusion at first, but what bothers me is that when I examined the fish closely, they had no hook marks in their mouths, and they weren't gut hooked. I hope you are right, and I also hope this was an isolated event. It was a shame to have to filet a 42 pounder, although it would have been worse of a shame to leave the fish to rot. That fish could have been over 50 by next spring, potentially providing someone with a nice trophy. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

Tight Lines!
Wes



Name:   HEYART - Email Member
Subject:   Floating Stripes
Date:   9/5/2010 9:01:36 AM


I saw three dead Striper on my to and from fishing. However, I did not examine them.



Name:   stripernut - Email Member
Subject:   Floating Stripes
Date:   9/5/2010 1:43:12 PM

HEYART,
 I hate to hear that. I've also talked to several other stripe fishermen and the deputy chief of AL Fisheries Division of the DNR. There have been many reports of late of floating stripes. From what I've gathered, it's not been a major kill, but enough to be concerned about. Although, there's nothing we can do about it - Mother Nature holds the cards. I'm glad to see cooler weather moving in - maybe that will stave off further floating stripes.

BTW, this morning we netted an 8 pounder flopping on top in Long Branch Slough that had no hook marks in its mouth.

An aside - AU's QB looked great last night. Maybe Big Blue will have a good year.

Tight Lines!
Wes 

URL: http://www.lakemartinstripes.com

Name:   Bamaskeetshooter - Email Member
Subject:   Floating Stripes
Date:   9/7/2010 8:22:34 AM

Wes,

I think you could be right, the fish are having problems in all this hot water.    I saw a number of floating dead stripes and one large carp yesterday. 



Name:   Lee Gantt - Email Member
Subject:   Floating Stripes
Date:   9/8/2010 11:46:10 AM

After reading this thread, I was quite alarmed to say the least so I starting making calls.  In talking with Jim Parramore he told me that he is almost positive that the fish that people are seeing floating are the result of either catch and release fish of fish that could have been hung but got off during the fight.  I completely quit striper fishing during the summer on Lake Martin a couple of years ago after I quit guiding because I got tired of killing every fish we caught.  The pricnciple of catch and realease has been shown not to be effective on Lake Martine during the summer because of delayed mortality, period!  This is what is happening to these fish is Delayed Mortality.  Even if the fish swims off and does not die instantly as most schoolie fish do, the lactic acid build up does not dimish in the fish's body and eventually kills the fish.  It might be one day or three but it is going to happen in the majority of fish.  We are now working with the State to establish a season on stripers where if you catch one, you keep it!  Once you catch your limit you are done fishing for the day.  This is the only way to correct this thing and still maintain the trophy fishery that Lake Martin has become.   



Name:   stripernut - Email Member
Subject:   Floating Stripes
Date:   9/8/2010 11:57:32 AM

Thanks Lee. Jim called me last night, apparently after he talked to you, to discuss implementing that type of regulation. I'm all for it as well, and would like to see the rule apply year-round instead of just during warm months. The studies I've looked at show that fish mortality owing to catch and release is less during cold months, but is still significant.



Name:   Lee Gantt - Email Member
Subject:   Floating Stripes
Date:   9/8/2010 12:16:29 PM

We definitely need to look at all aspects of delayed mortality as we put this thing into motion.  My initial thoughts are just during the warm months where the themocline is distinct but studies on the lake would be very beneficial to prove this fact.  Last spring, we released 74 fish over 20 pounds in my boat before Memorial Day and I would personally feel terrible if there was in fact a number of those fish dying after they were released!  I do not want to take away people's ability to have a good time and enjoy Lake Martin's fishing but do want people as they get into this sport to be more aware of their impact on it!



Name:   Mountain Man - Email Member
Subject:   Floating Stripes
Date:   9/8/2010 2:52:11 PM

Gents, I agree that at this time of year, a caught fish is a dead fish. It's interessting that the DNR is considering implementing a mandatory 'catch and fillet' rule forcing striper fishermen to quit for the day after hooking their limit. Sounds pretty tough to enforce and a real burden for guides. There are a couple of alternatives that have been used in other areas and are certain to raise the hackles on the necks of some folks: 1) Require barbless hooks when striper fishing for all or part of the year. That will greatly reduce mortality rates while only marginally increasing the number of 'jump offs'. It has worked well in managing salmon in British Columbia and other fisheries. It's an easy and inexpensive rule to comply with. 2) (Gulp!) Close the season from July-September when nature has stressed the stripes to the limit. Striper fishing is relatively poor at that time of year, the fish are at their weakest and almost gauranteed to die if hooked. Okay, guys, fire away.



Name:   RecordBreaker - Email Member
Subject:   Floating Stripes
Date:   9/8/2010 4:33:42 PM

Closing the season is the only option I think that makes sense.  It would be too hard to enforce a catch and keep rule and a fish caught on a barbless hook during the stress months is still a dead fish, even if he swims back down better.  In my opinion, there would be more benefit to the striper population if the state increased the daily limit on striper to 3 maybe even 4 per person, that way it would take you longer to catch a limit and you would be more inclined to stop fishing once you did so.  There would be less fish let go to die and guides would be happier. Also close the season from mid june to mid september or at least outlaw live bait fishing for stripers during these months, (outlawing live bait fishing would greatly reduce the number of caught stripers during this period, therefore keeping more fish alive in the lake, but would still give the guides and other people a chance to fish for them during this period).  
    On the other hand I think the DNR looks at it this way, the number of striper fishermen are small compared to fishermen of other species of fish in the state.  The revenue the state brings in because of striper fishing alone is small compared to other fishing in the state. The striped bass is not native to the lakes and are restocked every year, and unless the state can save considerable money by inacting laws protecting the stripe, nothing will probably be done.  It is up to us, as anglers, to be as informed as we can be, and practice good conservation when fishing.  The striper population can be protected one boat at a time. Do your part! 



Name:   Bamaskeetshooter - Email Member
Subject:   Floating Stripes
Date:   9/10/2010 7:36:53 PM

I'm not sure I agree that every hooked striper in the summer time is a dead striper. I've caught and released plenty of fish this summer. I feel that most of them survived. I always put the big fish and mean fish in the cooler. They expend too much energy to survive. I think the key is a stiff drag and a rod with some backbone, so you can get the fish to the boat quickly and release it immediately.



Name:   stripernut - Email Member
Subject:   Floating Stripes
Date:   9/13/2010 4:29:54 PM

I posted this abstract earlier in the summer, but the discussion died after that. Until Steve Sammons' data on LM is published, the article below provides an idea of what can happen when it's hot.

The full article, which has a lot of good information cited from other similar studies, can be found at  http://afsjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1577/1548-8675(1998)018%3C0609%3AHMABOS%3E2.0.CO%3B2
North American Journal of Fisheries Management 
18:609–615, 1998 

Hooking Mortality and Behavior of Striped Bass Following Catch and Release Angling

PHILLIP W. BETTOLIAND RANDALL S. OSBORNE1
Abstract.—Concerns over the use of minimum-size regulations to increase the average weight of harvested striped bass Morone saxatilis in Tims Ford Reservoir, Tennessee, prompted this study of hooking mortality. To estimate mortality and examine behavior, striped bass longer than 508 mm total length were caught with conventional angling gear, tagged externally with ultrasonic transmitters equipped with floats, and released back into Tims Ford Reservoir. Over a 15-month period 89 fish were tagged and tracked for a minimum of 3 d. Mortality rates ranged from 14% in November and December 1993 to 67% in both August 1993 and July 1994. Although the confounding effects of tagging could not be separated from the effects of being hooked and released, disparate mortality rates among seasons, as well as observations of feeding and swimming behavior of tagged fish that survived, suggested that tagging effects were modest compared to hooking effects. Mortality rates were linearly related to air temperature (?? 0.012) but not to landing time, handling time, bait type, fish total length, or water temperature. Characteristics that differed between striped bass that survived and those that did not were air temperature at capture (t-test; ?? 0.007) surface water temperature (t-test; ?? 0.081), and handling time (t-test; ?? 0.06). Nine striped bass were caught, tagged, and tracked intensively following release in late August 1994 to document their short-term behavior. All six fish that survived remained in warm surface waters for about 2 h following release before descending to the top of metalimnion. The three fish that died, surfaced within 1.5 h, from which we inferred that they were unable to regulate air bladder pressure. We concluded that a proposed year-round size limit of 610 mm total length would probably not improve the size structure of the population because of the high mortality of released fish that occurred during summer months.







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