by Capt. Billy Pipkin
Great fishing is just around the corner, and I’m excited.
A relatively mild winter gave a slow hand-off to spring, and—with water temperatures on the rise—we are now seeing a more rapid migration of fish.
The upper Rappahannock and Potomac rivers and their tributaries have been yielding catfish and perch already, but the fish that most excites saltwater anglers in the spring are striped bass (rockfish). By late April, rockfish had already migrated up the Chesapeake Bay, into the rivers and began engaging in the spring spawn.
Striped bass are anadromous, meaning they spend most of their adult life in ocean waters, but return to their natal rivers to spawn in the spring. The migration up the bay occurs when water temperatures reach the mid-50s. These fish swim into the rivers up to or above the tide line to a lower salinity environment. Once on site, the fish stage in the area and then spawn when the water reaches 60 degrees and continue to spawn up to 68 degrees.
If the spawning grounds are able to sustain a minimum of 60 degrees, then the fry will hatch….
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