(Morone saxatilis), known as “stripers” and sometimes “rockfish,” are found in shallow coastal waters and rivers throughout Maine. Colored light green, olive, steel blue, brown or black, their name comes from the seven or eight continuous stripes marking their silvery sides, extending from the gills to the tail. Their undersides are usually white or silver, with a brassy iridescence. Mature stripers are known for their size–some have been known to reach 100 lbs. and almost five feet in length.
As an anadromous fish, striped bass spawn in river estuaries. They tend to move south to North Carolina and Virginia in the winter, returning to New England in the summer.
Prized by commercial and recreational anglers alike, striped bass populations plummeted in the 1970s and 80s, for reasons which are not entirely understood but most likely include overfishing and pollution. In 1984 Congress passed the Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act to stem the decline. Since that time populations appear to be recovering.