Washington D.C. Striped Bass Fishing

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The Striped Bass stocks in and around Washington D.C. are being bolstered by the resurgence and careful stockings of an essential forage fish for the Striped Bass the American shad.

Shad have grown into a major sportfishing resource across the mid-Atlantic in the last decade. Boosted by a major restocking effort in the Potomac, where 16 million American shad fry have been planted around Washington, and by protective measures banning anglers from keeping any hickory or American shad in Maryland or Virginia.

The Potomac restocking was augmented by construction of a fishway at the Brookmont Dam above Chain Bridge in 2000, which opened eight more miles of spawning territory to shad, striped bass, herring, perch and other species. Fish can now swim all the way to Great Falls.

American shad were captured in the Potomac from 1995 to 2002, ther roe and milt milked, fry is being grown in tanks and the young stocked back into the river. The hatchlings are now returning as adults to spawn naturally. The same thing is happening in the Rhappahonnack . The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, is hatching shad to stock in the Patuxent River.

It's an effort to turn back the clock to better times. "Shad was once the most important commercial fishery on the Chesapeake Bay," said Cummins, who said overfishing, pollution and dams that block spawning grounds decimated the population.

The triple environmental insults did great damage to a remarkable species. American shad swim from their birth waters to the ocean, then thousands of miles to Canada's Bay of Fundy for the summer and the Florida coast in winter. They roam the coastline that way for four years before returning to their precise birthplaces to spawn.

more to come


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