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Striped bass fishing starts hot, as anglers adjust to a new slot

S Junker

If you’re fishing for striped bass, you’re in luck — plenty of them are showing up in our waters right now. But there’s a new rule you need to follow: the size range of the fish you can keep is much narrower.

The new recreational slot size is 28" to less than 31". Striped bass that are smaller than 28", or 31"-and-larger, must be returned safely to the water.

This rule is designed to try to protect the species, whose numbers right now are in decline.

But you wouldn't know that stripers are struggling, if you were just judging by the catch. The fish showed up early this year in their migration, and keeper-sized fish seem to be abounding. And that's exactly the problem.

It all goes back to 2015, when the spawning was the strongest in years — and much bigger than any of the years that have followed. Those eight-year-old fish are now right in the keeper-size slot. So there are plenty of them to catch. But they're also critical to protecting the future and rebuilding the stock. Fisheries managers believe enough of the 2015 class is now 31" or bigger that by protecting them, they are enhancing the odds for a quicker and stronger rebuild of striped bass.

Jimmy Fee of On the Water magazine joins us to talk all about the hot start to the striper run and the new rules. It's the first episode of the 2023 season of The Fishing News!

Give a listen.

Steve is Managing Editor of News. He came to WCAI in 2007. He also hosts the weekly News Roundup on Friday mornings and produces The Fishing News.