Stripers 2021 – What can We Expect?
Yes, the striper season has begun. The question is – what can we expect? If last season is any measure, mainly schoolies. Sure, I know some guy, somewhere had great fishing. But overall, in most locations, the bass blast last year in New England was disappointing. And when you look at the stock assessment, there is no good news. None. The spawning stock biomass is down, and recruitment is poor. In fact 2016 is the only good year class coming up. You can find that data here.
Those 2016 bass should be about 25-27″ this year. So they’re sublegal until at least 2022. In fact if it was up to me, I’d raise the minimum size to 30″ next year. That would give the 2016 bass another shot on the spawning rounds. And a chance to reach 30″. Both would be great things. So for the time being, lets enjoy what we have. A striper of 25-27″ is a fun fish on a fly rod. I’ll be leaning on my Scott Meridian much of the time. It is a terrific performer, top shelf rod.
Please take care to release these fish unharmed. Pinch down your barbs and use heavier tippets so you can land the fish quickly. And remember that hook & release mortality is much, much higher in warm brackish water, such as you find up rivers. Limit your time there. These 2016 critters are pretty much all we got. I mean it.