Evidence of Striped Bass Spawning in the Upper Coosa River Basin, Georgia

Striped bass have been stocked into the Upper Coosa River Basin (Alabama and Georgia) since the 1970s. The increased presence of small striped bass within these waters in recent years suggested the possibility of a resident spawning population. Ichthyoplankton samples were collected once or twice per week from April to June 1997 and 1998 from sample sites in the tributaries of the Coosa River above Weiss Reservoir. Fertilized striped bass eggs were collected from the Oostanaula River during both years and the Conasauga River in 1998 (the only year sampled). The peak spawning activity for both years occurred in mid-May, when the water temperature reached approximately 18 C. The peak density was lower in 1997 than in 1998, at 4.7 and 77.1 eggs/m3, respectively. The majority of the eggs collected were spawned less than 20 hours prior to harvest, indicating that much of the spawning was occurring within 76 km of Weiss Reservoir.

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