The annual stocking of striped bass in Smith Mountain Lake has been performed a little differently over the past two years.

In addition to littoral stocking, the traditional method of stocking striped bass fingerlings along the lake’s shorelines, young stripers have been placed pelagically, or in the lake’s open waters.

The purpose of the pelagic stocking is for young striped bass to have a better chance of survival,” said Dan Wilson, fisheries biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

“The idea is to get them away from the shoreline to hopefully reduce predation from other fish,” Wilson said.

An average of approximately 350,000 striped bass fingerlings are stocked in various parts of Smith Mountain Lake each year. The final stocking of striped bass for 2019 occurred in June.

The use of pelagic stocking was first discussed at a time when there were fewer

young striped bass making it into adulthood. Prior to 2017, which Wilson called “a good year,” there were about three or four years where the striped bass had poor survival rates at Smith Mountain Lake. Wilson said he was unable to pinpoint one single factor

which contributed to fewer fish reaching adulthood at that time.

In littoral stocking, the fish are loaded into a truck, from which the fish flow from a pipe into the waters along the shoreline. The shallower waters along the shoreline, however, contain greater numbers of fish that eat striper fingerlings, such as crappie, catfish, largemouth bass and white perch.

-For more information, see the July 3 edition of the Smith Mountain Eagle-

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