MDC to hold open house on proposed striped bass plan for Bull Shoals

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WEST PLAINS Mo -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will hold an open house on Tuesday, March 29, in Forsyth to discuss its proposed striped-bass management plan for Bull Shoals Lake. The open house will be from 6-8 p.m. at the Taney Center, located approximately two miles east of Forsyth on U.S. 160.

MDC staff will discuss management strategies for a fish that has had wide popularity, despite somewhat limited availability. An open house on this topic is also scheduled for April 5 at Gainesville High School.

Striped bass (Morone saxatilis) are native to the Atlantic Coast, but have been stocked in numerous reservoirs around the country, including a select few in Missouri. Because of their size (the world record is 67 pounds, 1 ounce; the Missouri record is 58 pounds, 10 ounces), fighting qualities and well-flavored meat, striped bass have been popular wherever they’ve been introduced.

Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes are the striped bass sites in southern Missouri. (Lake of the Ozarks also receives periodic stockings of striped bass.) The current Norfork population is maintained through annual stocking on the Arkansas portion of the lake by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AGFC). The current Bull Shoals striped bass fishery is the result of AGFC stocking in 1998.

The proposed striped bass plan calls for stocking 22,000 fingerling striped bass in Bull Shoals every other year beginning in 2012. Along with these stockings, MDC would like public input on the striped bass fishing regulations for Bull Shoals and Norfork.

Current regulations for Bull Shoals and Norfork allow for anglers to catch 15 white bass, hybrid bass and striped bass in the aggregate with no more than four fish exceeding 18 inches in length. The goal of the new management plan is to establish and enhance quality striped bass fisheries that complement the existing game fish variety at the two reservoirs.

For more information about the March meeting in Forsyth or the April meeting in Gainesville, contact the MDC Ozark Regional Office in West Plains at 417-256-7161.