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Rhode Island State Fish

Striped Bass

Rhode Island State Fish - Striped Bass

(Morone saxatilis)

Adopted on July 13, 2000.

The state fish is the striped bass, (Morone saxatilis,) commonly measuring twenty to thirty inches in length and weighing three to ten pounds. If its habitat is favorable, the bass can reach sixty pounds and live up to thirty years.

Rhode Island State Fish: Striped Bass

Rhode Island State Fish - Striped Bass

Striped Bass are perhaps the most prized, migratory game fish in the Northeast. Striped Bass command the respect of most anglers due to their strength and speed, beauty, and their ability to navigate and hunt down their own prey under extreme weather and tidal conditions. Striped Bass are also a popular fish to eat.

Striped Bass migrate to Rhode Island in large numbers starting in April. The first "schoolie bass" are well short of keeper length, but provide excellent sport for young and old. Small, bucktail jigs, swimming plugs, and weighted, plastic baits cast with light salt water rod and reel combos using 10-15 lb. test line are popular with most anglers.

Characteristics of the Striped Bass

Striped bass have a dark, olive-green to bluish-black back and silvery-white sides and belly. There are 7 to 8 black, unbroken, horizontal stripes along the side. Temperate basses have two dorsal fins (the first with usually nine spines and the second with one spine), three anal spines, a large mouth, ctenoid scales, thoracic pelvic fins, a large spine on the gill cover and a small gill on the underside of the gill cover. These fishes are popular sport fishes.

Common Names

Striper, Rockfish, Linesides

Typical Adult

20-30 inches, 3-10 pounds. Striped bass can live in excess of 30 years under good habitat conditions and light fishing pressure. Hence they have the potential to reach 48 inches and 60 - 100 lbs or better.

HabitatRhode Island State Fish - Striped Bass

Striped bass are an anadromous species of fish. Anadromous fish inhabits both fresh water and salt water, depending on the time of year. Striped bass live in the Atlantic and Pacific coastal waters and the Gulf of Mexico but enter freshwater streams to spawn. The preferred water temperature is 65-75°F. In South Carolina, striped bass are found in Coastal rivers and estuaries, as well as large impoundments. Adult striped bass prefer water temperatures less than 75 degrees F and will often lose weight and suffer additional health problems when forced to live under warmer conditions. Their over riding selection for temperature can isolate them from prey and acceptable levels of oxygen. The striped bass is an anadromous species distributed along the Atlantic coast from northern Florida to the St. Lawrence estuary. It has been successfully introduced in numerous inland lakes and reservoirs and to the Pacific coast, where it now occurs from Ensenada, Mexico to British Columbia.

Feeding Behavior

The diet of striped bass consists mostly of soft-rayed fish. Preferred species in fresh water are threadfin shad, gizzard shad and blueback herring. Striped bass commonly herd schools of prey fish against the surface, where their frenzied feeding can splash water several feet in the air. The heaviest feeding times are at dawn and dusk.

Reproductive Behavior (Spawning)

Prior to spawning in early spring, striped bass migrate up rivers. Spawning occurs when water temperatures reach 60-70°F. Adults swim up tributary streams and spawn below dams or natural obstructions such as rock formations. The semi-buoyant eggs are released iin light to moderate current and fertilized by several males in a thrashing event known as a "fight". As many as 3,000,000 eggs may be released by one female. The eggs require a flow adequate to prevent their settling to the bottom during the incubation period of approximately 50 hours. During their first few days of life the larval fish are sustained by a yolk material while they continue to develop until they can feed on zoo plankton. Adults do not guard the eggs.

Rhode Island Law

The law designating the Striped Bass as the official Rhode Island state fish is Section 42-4-16 (State fish) of the Rhode Island General Laws, Title 42 (State Affairs and Government) Chapter 4 (State Emblems) Section Section 42-4-16.

TITLE 42: State Affairs and Government.
CHAPTER 42-4: State Emblems.
SECTION 42-4-16.

? 42-4-16 State fish. - The fish commonly known as the "Striped Bass" (Morone saxatilis) is designated as the official state fish.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Rockfish - Striped Bass

Kingdom: Animalia - animals
Phylum: Chordata - chordates
    Subphylum: Vertebrata - vertebrates
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (perch-likes)
Family: Moronidae (Temperate basses)
Genus: Morone
Species: Morone saxatilis 

State Fishes
State Fish
This is a list of official and *unofficial U.S. state fish: The only states lacking a state fish as of 2008 are Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, and Ohio.
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