Re: Striped bass and hybrid striped do not thrive in any ole mud hole
NEBRASKA GAME AND PARKS COMMISSION
Question and answer
Does anyone know why we don't stock these at all anymore in big Mac? Daryl??? Maybe just a stocking every few years just to know that there's a greater than a 1 in a million chance of catching one?
Way back when we were stocking striped bass that was very much a fad around the country. Once they discovered that stripers could survive quite well in inland freshwaters at Santee-Cooper I believe, stripers were stocked in a lot of inland freshwaters around the country. Nebraska participated in that fad and we stocked striped bass in a number of waters. We probably had our best success with striped bass at Lake McConaughy.
At that time the prey base at Lake McConaughy consisted of almost entirely gizzard shad. Well, we are near the northern and western edges of the range of gizzard shad in the first place. In addition McConaughy is open and windswept enough that winds can keep it open during the winter and water temps. can actually get even colder than if there was a cap of ice. At least some gizzard shad die every winter; at McConaughy during the worst winters we would lose almost all of the gizzard shad. When that happened we had years when we had lots of striped bass, walleyes, white bass, rainbow trout, channel catfish, smallmouth bass and a few other predators that did not have much to eat. Of course striped bass were some of the largest of those predators and when they got hungry they started eating anything that was small enough for them to eat. We still had a decent rainbow trout fishery in McConaughy back at that time; there were stories, and I have no doubt at least some of them were true, of stripers surrounding schools of trout that had just been stocked and laying into them. Incidents like that made some folks a little unhappy and striped bass got blamed for all the problems. The problem was a lack of prey fish due to cold winters, but striped bass took the blame.
The result was our board of commissioners passed a resolution stating that there would be NO MORE stocking of striped bass in any Nebraska waters. You want to know why we do not stock striped bass in Nebraska waters anymore, that is why, our commissioners have said we cannot.
After that experience we stocked a variety of preyfish into McConaughy to diversify the prey base. Alewives were one of the prey fish that we stocked and they established an additional prey that stripers, walleyes, and any other predator in McConaughy could eat. We probably would not have the problem with lack of prey like we used to have, but there is a moratorium on striper stocking and that's that.
There are still some striped bass in McConaughy and at least some natural reproduction has been documented. There will probably be a few in there for years to come, but probably not going to be very many--just a really big striper to show up and give somebody a big thrill every now and then.
Lakes and Reservoirs Program Manager
Nebraska Game & Parks Commission