Smith Mountain Lake - News & Reports

New striped bass regulations beginning January1, 2012

June 1 - October 31

No Size Limit, two fish per day creel limit

November 1 - May 31

26 inch - 36 inch protective slot limit (all striped bass caught between 26 and 36 inches must be immediately released unharmed, fish under 26 inches and over 36 inches may be creeled), two fish per day creel limit

There was a very significant striped bass kill in April - June of 2003. Larger fish, especially those over ten pounds, were the primary sizes impacted. A new parasitic copepod combined with a winter shad kill were responsible for most of the losses of large striped bass. Research has indicated that the parasites significantly increased respiration of striped bass which also increased fish metabolism requiring much higher food demands at a time when forage was in very short supply. The older and larger striped bass were not able to consume adequate amounts of forage to compensate for very high respiration rates and most did not make it through this stressful period.

The striped bass fishery has rebounded since the fish kill with good numbers of fish in the slot limit. The slot limit has substantially improved the number of striped bass over eight pounds and stocking rates since the fish kill have been reduced to decrease the likelihood of forage depletions and prevent future fish kills.

A striped bass tagging study was initiated in the fall of 2001 to provide biologists with information on striped bass catch rates, harvest rates, movement, survival, and population dynamics. The fish tags are yellow and approximately three inches in length. The tags are attached to the abdominal area or next to the dorsal fin and should be easily recognized without dissection. Tagged fish do not have to be harvested to collect the reward. Anglers are encouraged to submit all tags collected from striped bass to the address printed on the tag with the following information: date fish was caught, marker number nearest to location of capture, length of fish, and was the fish harvested or released. Tag rewards are assigned to specific tags and not to any particular fish size. All returned tags will be worth one of the following amounts: $5, $10, $20, $35, or $50.