SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – With temperatures warming up across West Virginia, anglers targeting hybrid striped bass have more than favorable spring weather to look forward to in May, WV DNR officials say.
“It’s a great time to catch hybrid striped bass because they’re very active between mid-April and late May when they make false spawning runs up rivers and streams,” said Mark Scott, assistant chief of fish management for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “Anglers can find them congregating at locks and dams and at waterfalls, which makes targeting these aggressive fish a little easier this time of year.”
Hybrid striped bass are a cross between a striped bass and white bass. Despite being sterile, hybrid stripers migrate upstream in the spring in an attempt to spawn. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources purchases hybrid striper fry each year which are raised to fingerling size at the warmwater hatcheries before being stocked into WV waters.
“This time of year, you’ll find hybrids in the Kanawha, Monongahela and Ohio rivers and reservoirs and lakes like Beech Fork, Bluestone, and R.D. Bailey,” said Scott.
Hybrid striped bass are large and aggressive, which makes them popular with anglers. They actively chase gizzard shad throughout the day and can be targeted using lures that might imitate a shad such as white jigs, silver spoons, crankbaits and live minnows. The length record for the hybrid striper is just over 32 inches and the weight record is 16.75 pounds! These fish are extremely hard fighters so anglers should make sure they use proper gear to control their quick runs! If you have questions about where or how to fish for hybrids, please contact your local fishery biologist whose numbers are in the fishing regulations.
To fish for white striped bass, all anglers 15 and older need to buy a West Virginia fishing license. They can be purchased online at WVfish.com. Some rivers and lakes have special regulations for hybrid striped bass, so anglers should also check page 2 of West Virginia’s fishing regulations to see if there are special regulations for the area they’re fishing in.