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SUBJECT: Hickory Striper Report

Submitted by Seafox ( from NORTH CAROLINA on

Fished Hickory today and yesterday without a bite, It's a shame you have to drive to Tennessee, South Carolina, or Georgia to find a decent striper lake! Each time I go to these other states I see more and more people from NC and I always have a good trip. Our wildlife resources people need to take note about how much NC money is being spent in other states which are managed so much better! We need to get some fishermen on the wildlife board and not commercial net fishermen!!!!!!! With the miserably low numbers they stock Hickory has and 8 fish limit, no wonder there aren't any fish, come on, our whole state government is a joke from the governor on down!!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. Sea-Ya!! ( from NORTH CAROLINA says Totally agree!!
    Just look at the 'Striper Reports' for the above link under 'Boating Equip.' Shows lots of reports from Lake Lanier in Georgia and makes the fishing here look real bad. So does other reports from other states I have reviewed. NC needs to get off there arse and learn from other states on how to manage this issue!!

  2. Jaybee ( from NORTH CAROLINA says Lanier
    One encouraging or hopeful thing I see is Lanier has not always been as good a fishery as it is right now. I went to HS in Gainesville, Georgia back in the late '70s. The fishery then for stripers was pretty pitiful with very few fish over 10lbs caught. Now a 10lber is a dink. Also bait is no problem at Lanier. Several outlets for shad, herring, and even trout. Wouldn't that be nice here? I still have some hope but I still will probably move back to GA when I retire....

  3. sundance ( from NORTH CAROLINA says Overfishing
    The problem is not management in the sense of stocking rates. They stock plenty of stripers. This issue is bag limits and over fishing.

    The best thing that could happen is for the fishing to get tough and let some of the striper fishermen quit fishing.

    The same thing happened at Kerr. Kerr got hurt bad by over fishing 10 to 15 years ago and many people stopped fishing for stripers... Now.... Kerr is probably the best lake in NC. In most lakes... stripers are the least numbered fish in the lake. You can't catch dozens of fish a day an expect anything else.

  4. Jaybee ( from NORTH CAROLINA says Kerr
    If Kerr is the best lake in NC, I guess things really are bad. Kerr (Buggs Island to most) has fairly good numbers but cool water keepers are hard to find. A few years back they instituted an Oct-May regulation change of 2 fish with a 26" minimum. June through September,it's 4 fish any size. Problem is a keeper is pretty hard to find. I would say through very informal survey's people are catching at least 40 fish before they get one that meets the 26" requirement. Each year we catch lots of 24 to 25.5" fish and say 'wait until next year when these boogers grow' but for some reason we just don't see it happen? Don't get me wrong it's a lot of fun to catch tons of fish, I just wish they were the size they were when I started fishing here in the 80s....

  5. rodhog ( from NORTH CAROLINA says striper kills
    The 7000+ stripers that died at Jordan Lake didn't die because of bag limits or overfishing. The collapse of Badin's striper population occurred due to high water temps and low dissolved oxygen levels in the summer. Also, gill nets have been found in Badin Lake. Alcoa has retrofitted all of the dams on the Yadkin chain with new turbine technology which produces higher levels of dissolved oxygen in the water in order to restore their permit with NCDNR. Their permit was revoked because of low oxygen levels. This is an encouraging development for all who fish the Yadkin chain. Buggs Island, Smith Mt.,Lake Norman and even Badin have also experienced infestations of "gill maggots" which contributed to fish kills, especially Buggs Island, Norman, and Smith Mt. The Striper populations will recover in less time than we might think due to their tremendous growth rates. In most cases, we see only a small percentage of dead fish during a fish kill. It is comparable to your bait tank when your bait dies. Some float on top and most end up on the bottom of the tank. Unfornately Hickory may be the next lake to suffer a fish kill due to a severe infestation of "gill maggots". I hope not. Smaller bag limits may seem to be the answer, however Smith Mountain used to be one of the very best striper lakes around and it had a 2 fish limit but was still devastated by a fish kill when "gill maggots" made it into their striper population. Biologists have suggested that the "gill maggots" may have been introduced into the lakes by hatchery raised trout being used for bait by striper fisherman. They are known to carry gill "maggots". Gill maggots were almost unheard of in fresh water lakes until striper fisherman began to use them for bait 10 to 15 years ago.

  6. Jaybee ( from NORTH CAROLINA says gill maggots, trout
    Rodhog, I've heard several reasons for the gill maggots in Buggs but can't see how it would be the use of trout for bait. I think the closest lake that sells trout for bait would be Lake Norman. I don't know of anyone who has ever used them for bait here. Could have been some of the travelling tourney guys? Some folks blame herring, some say it's due to the supplemental stocking they started in '97 or so. My guess is if they used the same hatchery as the trout source, the gill maggots (actually copepods) could have made the transition there. Still hard to make the trout connection though unless Lanier also has the copepods. Trout are a preferred wintertime bait in Lanier and the source river is full of trout. As far as Jordan, there is evidence to support that the restrictive limits actually caused some of the kill. Too many fish for a limited resource of food and habitat. Hopefully the NC lakes will have a re-birth. There's always Kiptopeake and a few other spots for the monsters if you are willing to travel....

  7. bigjohn ( from NORTH CAROLINA says badin
    I know Badin's issue certainly isn't a lack of bait, and it's a positive sign to hear that Alcoa is working on that dissolved oxygen issue. When was that done? The big fish kill was just last summer, so was it done after that?

    Sucks that the striper fishing has been so bad the last year or so on those lakes. I can't believe it's necessarily limit related, although an 8 fish limit is too much in my opinion. Set it to 24" and see if we can get some decent fish once they rebound.

    I still think it's more of a water quality deal...

  8. rodhog ( from NORTH CAROLINA says striper kills
    Alcoa's turbine upgrades were completed May 2011. Learned this from an Alcoa official at the Stanley Co. festival. In my opinion, lowering the bag limit won't help because when people keep more than 8 fish why does anyone think these same people will stop at 4 fish or any other number. Enforcement at Badin is practically non-existent as I have only been checked 4 times in 25 years. As far as fishing pressure is concerned, at Badin there was more pressure on this lake in the early 90'S than there has been for the last 5 or 6 years. I can remember counting 83 boats fishing in front of old whitney in the fall. It is true that more people have learned to actually catch stripers now as opposed to then but telephone fisherman (cell phones) probably account for many of the fish problems. When a school is found calls are made to all and then the school is pounded until the fish move. We have become more proficient and perhaps we may be our own worst enemy. In any case right now it has to get better because it can't get worse. By the way, the bass guys have been doing great as well as the catfisherman.

  9. Sea-Ya!! ( from NORTH CAROLINA says Also
    Heard about the same issue with gill maggots on Hickory. However, last weekend their was a striper tournament on Hickory and 19 fish were caught. I was told that their was zero gill maggots found on the fish. Also, i heard that Badin was gonaa be double stocked and so is Jordan. Hey Big John, give me a call...

  10. sundance ( from NORTH CAROLINA says striper kills
    Who in the world thought stripers could thrive in Jordan is beyond me. Yes there are fish kills and Jordan is always going to have them. Yes. I has affected Jordan but that is not Badin's problem. Badin's problem is over fishing. Badin had a fish kill that got several hundred fish but nothing that should have caused Badin's problem.

    I'm a striper fisherman. I love the sport. Yet, striper fisherman always want to blame someone else. You know the people that go and catch 50 a day in hot weather and never give one thought on how to handle the fish or keep what they catch because they are "going to die" anyways.

    Yes. For number of fish. Kerr is probably the best. No. They do not have the size they had back in the 80's. I hope all the Kerr striper fishing quit fishing. They caused part of this problem to start with. I know several Kerr striper fisherman that use to brag about catch/keeping 4 limits a day back in the 80's. Usually with upper teens fish.

    Now look at what you've got.

  11. Dirk from GEORGIA says Lanier
    Guys, Lanier striper #'s have gone down a little bit too(not due to fish kill), but nothing like the problems you guys seem to have in NC. The GA DNR has actually increased the stock rate this year and they put over 600,000 striper fingerlings in Lanier. Lanier has EXCELLENT water quality and oxygen deep so the stripers can go down to cool water in the summer and still have plenty of Oxygen (not to mention a few go up the 2 mountain spring fed rivers to spend the summer). I hate it that I always hear about the stripers dying in the NC lakes and I am sure it is due to the summer squeeze (not enough cool water that has oxygen). Hybrids seem to handle warmer water conditions better than stripes and maybe that is what you guys should push for in the lakes that continually have fish kills, and no big stripers anyway. Not trying to pry into NC affairs though, just saying it sounds like hybrids would be a better option. Not sure what the stock rates are in NC but with all the fish kills I would hope they are atleast 12 per acre annually.

  12. Sea Fox ( from NORTH CAROLINA says Stocking
    Norman, NC's biggest lake gets 162,500 stripers, NC doesn't stock 600,000 in the whole state combined. They stock at a rate of a little under 5 per acre. Tenn stocks at about the same rate but has a two fish creel. SC and GA stock at triple the rate. I don't think summer kills are a problem at Hickory and Rhodhiss as I have never seen or heard of a kill, in my opinion it is the creel limit of 8 and the low stocking rate!

    I just hope NC will get it and have a fishery as good as SC, TN, and GA but wait no we have people that still allow gill nets at the coast in control!

  13. Jaybee ( from NORTH CAROLINA says hybrids
    Dirk, NC stocked hybids in several lakes for years and had incredible fisheries and sizes. Unfortunately it was determined that some of the hybrids were able to get downriver from the stocked lakes and back-cross with native stocks of stripers. Jordan and the Cape Fear are the best examples of this. Jordan then started stocking pure strain stripers and they did unbelievably well for such a warm water lake for a good number of years. People will still catch the occasional hybrid in Jordan and there is some thought that these could be naturally occuring from the white bass and striper populations. I think West Point in Georgia experienced the same phenomenon. Everyone misses the hybrids.

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