Fall 2011 Lake Lanier Striped Bass Status Report
The latest information from GA DNR/WRD
The LSBC would like to present a review of the information provided by Lanier’s fishery biologist Anthony Rabern, of the GA DNR/WRD Fisheries Division at the LSBC’s first meeting. This information was generated after the Fall Gill Netting sampling. Each slide of the presentation will be shown, along with comments from the LSBC, please keep in mind that the LSBC are not fisheries people, so our interpretation of the data may differ from that of the GA
There has been a fairly steady decline in the gill netting results since 2006. This correlates directly with what anglers have been experiencing. The 2011 netting is showing a rise in numbers, which is good. Hopefully the increased stocking done in 2011 (617,000) will have a high recruitment index and the numbers will continue to rise. The 2012 gill net sampling will tell us a great deal about the future of the Lanier striper fishery.
Please carefully review the DNR notes contained on the above slide as there is some good information
there. The recruitment index (stocking survival) was very low in 2006, 2007 and 2009. This is the primary cause of the current slow fishing. 2006 had .18 survival, 2007 .29 and 2009 had .36. Fortunately both the 2008 & 2010 stockings had pretty good survival with a recruitment idexe of .73 and .77. Getting more fish to survive thru their 1st year is going to be one of the primary items the LSBC focuses on. Lanier has gotten at 7.6 stripers per acre since 1998, so the DNR is going a pretty good job at meeting their targeted stocking goals. As the DNR states in their notes, high stocking numbers DO NOT directly correlate with increased stocking survival and hence number of available stripers to be caught. This could be due to many factors including but not limited to, increased stress from the increased number of striper fry being transported in the hauling tanks from the hatchery (crowding),weak/stressed fry due to lack of food in the grow out ponds at the hatchery, lack of food for the fry at the stocking locations, lack of cover at the stocking location or in highly stocked years, to many fry being stocked in too few locations, causing competition for food sources and increased stress/mortality. The LSBC is working with the DNR on addressing some of these possibilities to increase the survival rate. The last line in the slide reads “Therefore, there is more to the population equation then putting more fish in the lake!” – the LSBC couldn’t agree more – getting increased survival of the fish that are stocked is the key to the population equation!
The above slide show that most of the population captured in the fall 2011gill nets, is on the small side, with 72.8% of the fishing being stocked in 2009 (41.8%), 2010 (14.6%) and 2011 (16.4%). Not sure why fish stocked in
2009 (which had a low recruitment index) is accounting for 41.8% of the sampling.
Not much to say here, other than we agree. If you are looking to catch numbers of stripers you should down size your tackle and use techniques & patterns that target smaller fishg in 2012. Small fish tend to school more, spend more time in water less than 40 feet and relate more to brush. We also recommend that you release your
small fish so future years will have good numbers of larger fish.
Things are currently looking good for 2013 & beyond. A lot will depend on the recruitment of both the increase stocking of 2011 and the planned increased stocking for 2012. Go stripers!!
The coalition was pleased to see a target number of 15 fish per acre in 2012. That’s 570,000 fry!! Let’s hope the 2012 striper crop from the state’s hatcheries is a good one!! If the water level in the spring of 2012 permits, there will be “Scale Tournament” to assist the DNR in gathering additional data to help manage the fishery. Since the DNR does not currently have the funds for either a tagging study or a creel study the primary source of data for the striper fisheries management will be the angler survey. We strong urge each angler to fill out anger reports, whether you decide to join the LSBC or not. People have asked, should we will out a report if we don’t catch anything? The answer is a resounding YES, the DNR needs to know if the average angler is having difficultly catching striped bass on Lake Lanier. The LSBC is also going to see how we can help out with the last two items.
The LSBC would like to thank the GA DNR/WRD & Lake Lanier fisheries biologist Anthony Rabern for taking the time to compile & present this information to us and for their continuing hard work!
The LSBC also handed out survey sheets the meeting asking Lanier’s striped bass anglers what changes they would like to see (if any), those results will be complied and published soon.