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South Carolina State Fish

Striped Bass

South Carolina State Fish - Striped Bass

(Morone saxatilis)

Adopted on June 02, 1972.

South Carolina's State Fish, the striped bass, (Morone saxatilis,) (Act No. 1333, 1972), is the State's most famous game fish. Its large size and aggressive nature make it an angler's favorite. The Santee Cooper Lakes were the original home for the landlocked striped bass. Some of the best striped bass fishing in the world can be found in these lakes, with many stripers weighing 30 to 40 pounds. These great game fish have also been stocked in all of the State's major reservoirs.

South Carolina State Fish: Striped Bass

South Carolina 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 are found in major rivers and large impoundments of South Carolina. They are also found in estuarine and coastal areas. They prefer cool waters and are diadromous throughout their range, except in South Carolina.

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 South Carolina State Fish - Striped Bass

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.

Habitat

Striped bass are found in major rivers and large impoundments of South Carolina. They are also found in estuarine and coastal areas. They prefer cool waters and are diadromous throughout their range, except in South Carolina.

Diadromous fishes use both marine (saltwater) and freshwater habitats during their life cycle.

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. The semi-buoyant eggs are released in the flowing water and fertilized by several males in a thrashing event known as a "fight."
  • As many as 3 million 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 develop. Eventually they begin to feed on zooplankton.

Range

All of South Carolina's coastal rivers support striped bass, the largest populations occurring in the Savannah, Cooper and Santee rivers. Excellent reservoir fisheries exist in lakes Marion, Moultrie, Murray and Wateree. Smaller populations are found in lakes Hartwell, Thurmond, Secession and Greenwood.

South Carolina Laws

The law designating the striped bass as the official South Carolina state fish is Section 1-1-640 (Official State fish) of the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 1 (Administration of the Government) Chapter 1 (GENERAL PROVISIONS) Article 9 (STATE EMBLEMS, PLEDGE TO STATE FLAG, OFFICIAL OBSERVANCES) Section 1-1-640.

Title 1 - Administration of the Government.
CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS.
ARTICLE 9. STATE EMBLEMS, PLEDGE TO STATE FLAG, OFFICIAL OBSERVANCES.
SECTION 1-1-640.

SECTION 1-1-640. Official State fish.

The striped bass or rockfish is the official fish of the State.

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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