Food and Growth of Age-o Hybrid Striped Bass in Ross Barnett Reservoir, Mississippi

Food and growth of age-O hybrid striped bass (Morone saxatilis x M. chrysops) were examined during June-November 1988-1989 in Ross Barnett Reservoir, Mississippi. Shads (Dorosoma spp.), especially threadfin shad (D. petenense), made up about 70%-90% of the diet by weight. Other fish made up about 3%-20% of the diet and were eaten primarily by hybrids < 150 mm total length. Invertebrates constituted a small percentage of the diet, and were eaten mostly by fish <100 mm and not by those> 150 mm. By November, the length of age-O fish averaged 241 mm in 1988 and 227 mm in 1989. Differences in growth between years might have been caused by differences in availability and consumption of shads. Widening of hybrid length-frequency distributions in August-September coincided with reduction of shad consumption and increased incidence of empty stomachs in fish < 100 mm long, suggesting reduced availability of suitable-sized prey for smaller hybrids toward the end of the summer.

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