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Hybrid Striped Bass Fishing

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Published on: Jun. 2, 2000

Last revision: Nov. 5, 2010

Just like they had done every year in late April or early May for the past decade, the two fishing buddies made their way to the upper end of Lake of the Ozarks' Niangua Arm to get in on some of the fast white bass fishing that occurs during the spawning season.

They had placed several scrappy white bass in the livewell when one of the anglers hollered, "I've got a good one; he's takin' line!" Thirty seconds later they heard the "snap" of breaking fishing line.

Both anglers watched in stunned silence as the fish, lure and all of the line from the fishing reel headed upstream.

"I got a glimpse of him when he hit the lure. That was the biggest white bass I've ever seen! It must have weighed 10 pounds!"

Although similar to a white bass in appearance, the fish that stripped the line off this angler's reel was probably one of the hatchery-produced hybrid striped bass that were first introduced to Missouri waters in the early 1980s. The Conservation Department produces hybrids by using the sperm of native white bass to fertilize the eggs of striped bass, an introduced species.

The Conservation Department has stocked hybrids in select Missouri waters to provide anglers with trophy-sized gamefish and to introduce a predator that could feed on large gizzard shad. Adult gizzard shad in our reservoirs are too large to be eaten by most other sportfish, with the exception of large predators such as flathead catfish and muskellunge.

In Missouri, hybrids commonly reach 7 to 10 pounds. Occasionally, an angler catches a 15- or 16-pound fish. A lucky angler caught the state record hybrid, a 20.5-pound fish in Lake of the Ozarks in 1986. The current world record stands at 27 pounds, 5 ounces.

How do you go about catching a hybrid? First, make sure you are fishing in a lake that has an established hybrid stocking program. At present, hybrids are stocked in Lake of the Ozarks, Truman Lake, Thomas Hill Reservoir and Blue Springs Lake. As a result of fish passage through Bagnell Dam, hybrids also live in the Osage River below Lake of the Ozarks.

The Tongue Test

  • The back of the tongue of a hybrid has one distinct tooth patch or two close patches very close together.
  • A white bass tongue has a heart-shaped tooth patch.
  • The back of the tongue of a striped bass has two distinct parallel tooth patches.

Look for current

Anglers take a

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