striped bass studies on coos bay, oregon in 1949 and 1950

striped bass studies on coos bay, oregon in 1949 and 1950
Yi
e)-tiA4Z(
Q
STRIPED BASS STUDIES
ON COOS BAY, OREGON
IN 1949 AND 1950
ALFRED
R. MORGAN, Oregon Fish Commission
AND
ARTHUR
R. GERLACH, Oregon Game Commission
OREGON FISH COMMISSION
PORTLAND, OREGON
Contribution No. 14
December, 1950
•
A Report to the Forty-Sixth Legislature
STRIPED BASS STUDIES
ON COOS BAY, OREGON
IN 1949 AND 1950
OREGON FISH COMMISSION
and
OREGON GAME COMMISSION
In fulfillment of the directive of the Forty-Fifth Legislative Assembly
to the State Fish Commission and the State Game Commission
jointly to conduct a study of the striped bass of the Coos Bay area,
the accompanying report is submitted to the Forty-Sixth Assembly.
December, 1950
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION
Page
Page
3
LIFE HISTORY
13
Spawning Areas and Spawning Habits._ 13
Migrations
_15
18
Tagging and Recoveries
18
Age and Growth Studies
20
Age and Size at Maturity
91
Size Composition of Catch
24
Length-Weight Relationship
Food Habits
24
Sex Ratios
26
Fecundity
27
PERSONNEL
3
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
3
STRIPED BASS SPORT FISHERY
Bi-Weekly Summary
Sport Fishery by Areas
Summary of 1949 Sport Fishery
COMMERCIAL FISHERY
History of Fishery
Commercial Gear
Fishing Areas
Relationship to Shad Fishery
Catch per Unit of Effort
Rate of Fishing and Estimate of
Population Sire
Average Weight Studies
3
6
7
8
CONDITIONS AFFECTING SURVIVAL 27
Effects of Splash Dams
27
8
8
8
9
9
____10
ECONOMIC EVALUATION
Sport Fishery
Commercial Fishery ______
SUMMARY _
RECOMMENDATIONS
LITERATURE CITED
II
12
28
28
29
_29
30
30
LIST OF FIGURES
Page
Page
Figure 1. Principal Sport Fishing Areas,
Coos Bay
4
Figure 2. The Hours Per Bass and Catch per
5
Angler in Coos Bay during 1950
Figure 3. The Total Striped Bass Catch,
Number of Anglers, and Hours Necessary
to Catch a Bass in Bi-Weekly Periods,
7
Coos Bay, 1950
Figure 4. Commercial Fishing Areas for
9
Striped Bass on Coos Bay
Figure 5. Annual Landings of Striped Bass
10
and Shad on Coos Bay, 1931 to 1950
Figure 6. Annual Commercial Catch of
Striped Bass and Average Daily Delivery
11
During the Shad Season on Coos Bay
Figure 7. Average Weights of Striped Bass
Taken During the Shad Season (AprilJune) as Determined from the Records
12
of One Commercial Dealer
Figure 8. Striped Bass Spawning Area on
Coos Bay (Darkened Portion Shows Area
13
Where Bass are Known to Spawn)
Figure 9. Gonad Condition of Female
Striped Bass Taken Commercially on
14
Coos Bay, 1950
Figure 10. Size Distribution of Striped Bass
Tagged in Coos Bay, April to September,
15
1950
Figure 11. Striped Bass Tagging Operations
And Tag Recoveries in Coos Bay in
16-17
1950
Figure 12. Age Composition of Striped Bass
in the Commercial and Sport Fisheries of
Coos Bay in 1949 and 1950. (The Actual
Age of the Fish is About One Year Greater
19
Than the Year-Class.)
Figure 13. The Growth of Striped Bass as
Determined from The Average Lengths of
the Various Age Classes. (The Actual Age
of the Fish is About One Year Greater
Than the Year-Class.)
20
Figure 14. Random Length Frequency
Curves for the Striped Bass Commercial
Fishery on Coos Bay in 1949 and 1950 21
Figure 15. Random Length Frequency
Curves for Striped Bass Taken by Sport
Gear on Coos Bay During the Months of
December to July, 1949 and 1950
22
Figure 16. Random Length Frequency
Curves for Striped Bass Taken by Sport
Gear on Coos Bay During the Months of
August to November in 1949 and 1950
and for Total Sport Catch in 1949 and
1950
23
Figure 17. Length-Weight Relationship of
Striped Bass in Coos Bay; Both Sexes
Combined. Length Measurements Made
to Fork of Tail
24
Figure 18. Food Habits of Striped Bass in
Coos Bay as Determined from Stomach
Samples
25
Figure 19. Sex Ratio of Striped Bass in the
Commercial Catch of Coos Bay in 1950 26
Figure 20. Gonads of Hermaphroditic
Striped Bass Showing the Functional Male
and Female Portions of the Gonads
27
Figure 21. Relationship between the Weight
of Female Striped Bass and Number of
Eggs in the Ovaries
28
2
STRIPED BASS STUDIES ON COOS BAY
IN 1949 AND 1950
ALFRED R. MORGAN, Oregon Fish Commission
and
ARTHUR R. GERLACH, Oregon Game Commission
INTRODUCTION
The striped bass [Roccus saxatilis (Walbaum)] was introduced to the Pacific
Coast in 1879, when 132 small fish which had been shipped from New Jersey were
planted in San Francisco Bay. In 1882 an additional plant of 300 small bass was
made in the same waters. In 1889, ten years following the original planting, the
United States Bureau of Fisheries reported a commercial catch in California of
16,296 pounds. Three years la ter the catch had increased to 56,209 pounds (Craig,
1930).
From these small plantings in San Francisco Bay the striped bass has spread
along the Pacific Coast until at present its range extends from San Diego, California to the Columbia River. In Oregon the bass are most abundant in Coos
Bay with small runs occurring in the Coquille and Umpqua Rivers. Occasionally bass are taken in some of the other rivers, including the Columbia. It has
been reported that the first striped bass caught in Coos Bay was taken by a gillnetter in 1914. At the present time the bass is important as both a commercial
and a sport fish in Coos Bay.
Personnel
The investigation has been conducted from the Fish Commission laboratory
at Charleston. The authors have devoted most of their time to the investigation
and have received considerable help from other biologists of the Fish and Game
Commissions. Messrs. C. G. Moody and R. E. Noble of the Game Commission
and Messrs. R. L. Rulifson and C. R. Reerink of the Fish Commission assisted
in various phases of the work. Mr. R. Willis of the Oregon Fish Commission
has helped in the preparation of the figures.
Acknowledgments
The commercial fishermen and dealers, moorage operators, business men of
the Coos Bay area, Chambers of Commerce, local residents, and sportsmen have
cooperated with the biologists in the collection of data concerning the striped bass.
STRIPED BASS SPORT FISHERY
The Coos Bay area supports a large sport fishery for the "striper." The fishing
area extends from the Coos River bar to the upper tidal reaches of the Coos and
Millicoma Rivers. The region has four main areas each of which supports a large
fishery at various times of the year. The complete region, with the four areas
encircled by dotted lines and the main fishing locations shaded, comprises Figure
1. These areas support a year-long fishery with the main winter fishing occurring
in Isthmus Slough and the late spring and summer areas in the Coos and Millicoma Rivers and in the lower bay.
Striped bass creel census data were obtained through personal interviews
and through boat moorage log books which contained a record of the number
of people fishing from a given dock. The data obtained in the census were composed of the number of people per party, the length of time spent in fishing,
and the number of fish caught. The lengths, weights, and, when possible, the
3
sex and stomach contents were taken from all fish. Stomach analyses and sex
determinations could not always be made since some anglers were reluctant to
have their fish cleaned.
The main methods of angling for striped bass are either by boat or bank
fishing. Of the total anglers checked 60.8 percent were bank fishermen. The
reason for the lack of boat fishing was the scarcity of skiffs. There were seven
boat liveries on the bay which could supply a total of 38 skiffs and 2 inboards,
COOS BAY AREA
z, AREA OF HEAVY FIRMING
■ BOAT RENTALS
4
and 4 launches. Only one of these establishments is open during the full year;
the others are seasonal.
Table 1 is a compilation of the creel census data for the total area. The information was gathered from December 18, 1949 to November 1, 1950.
TABLE 1. Total Creel Census by Monthly Periods for the 1949-50 Coos Bay and
Striped Bass Sport Fishery
No. of
Anglers
Month
Dec. 18-Jan. 17 ...
191
Jan. 18-Feb. 17...
138
Feb. 18-Mar. 17. .
439
Mar. 18-Apr. 17. ..
406
Apr. 18-May 17 . ..
190
May 18-June 17 .
326
June 18-July 17 .. . 1,257
July 18-Aug. 17 .
761
Aug. 18-Sept. 17 ..
460
Sept. 18-Oct. 17.. .
578
Oct. 18-Nov. 1 ....
233
Total. .
4,979
Hours
Fished
No. of
Fish
Avg. Time Fish Per
Fished
Angler
Fish Per
Hour
Hours to
Catch
One Bass
967
455
2,479
2,289
932
1,586
6,199
3,471
1,760
2,396
1,322
44
38
82
87
71
62
427
695
533
374
150
5 06
3 29
5 62
5.64
4.90
4 87
4 93
4.56
3 83
4 15
5 67
0.23
0 28
0.19
0.21
0.37
0 19
0.34
0.91
1.16
0.65
0 68
0.046
0.084
0.033
0.038
0.076
0 039
0 20
0.302
0.156
0.113
21.98
11.97
30 23
26 31
13.13
25 48
14.50
4.99
3.30
.6.41
8.81
23,8.51
2,563
4.79
0.514
0.107
9.31
0.00
Limits
Empty
Creels
0
0
0
0
6
2
17
47
60
14
11
163
121
389
351
164
292
1,022
490
236
329
162
157
3,719
During this period, 4,979 anglers fished 23,851 hours to catch 2,563 fish weighing approximately 14,931 pounds. The sport-caught stripers averaged 5.8 pounds
per fish. The hours spent in catching one fish is compared to the number of bass
caught per angler in Figure 2. The figure depicts a period of good fishing during
July, August, and September which coincides with the appearance of numerous
small fish in Coos River. Bass fishing was good in Isthmus Slough in October
because of a sudden influx of large fish. During the remainder of the year, striper
fishing was generally mediocre.
FIGURE 2. The Hours Per Bass and Catch Per Angler in Coos Bay During 1950.
5
'
The length of time the angler spent fishing is small compared to the time
required to catch one bass because the angling areas were so conveniently located
that people could go fishing after work and would spend only two or three hours
at it. Also during the summer months many people did incidental fishing while
picnicking. The average "dyed in the wool" striper angler usually spent eight
hours or more on each bass fishing trip.
Bi-Weekly Summary
Table 2 presents a summary of the data for the whole area in bi-weekly periods. It is presented to show the weekly variations as compared to the monthly
variations. Owing to severe weather conditions an erratic catch resulted in the
early part of the study. Variations were markedly reduced later in the period.
The fishing intensity was greatest during the period June 18 through July 17,
1950. The usual Fourth of July holiday crowd was augmented by many anglers
who recalled the large catch of bass taken at the same time in 1949. Many of these
people were disappointed since there was no large run of fish in July of 1950.
TABLE 2. Total Creel Census In Bi-Weekly Periods for the 1949-50 Coos Bay Area
Striped Bass Sport Fishery
Month
Dec. 18-Jan. 2.
Jan. 3-Jan. 17.. .
Jan. 18-Feb. 2 .
Feb. 3-Feb. 17. .
Feb. 18-Mar. 2..
Mar. 3-Mar. 17...
Mar. 18-Apr. 2
Apr. 3-Apr. 17 ..
Apr. 18-May 2
May 3-May 17
May 18-June 2..
June 3-June 17.
June 18-July 2 . .
July 3-July 17...
July 18-Aug. 2
Aug. 3-Aug. 17.
Aug. 18-Sept. 2..
Sept. 3-Sept. 17..
Sept. 18-Oct. 2..
Oct. 3-Oct. 17...
Oct. 18-Nov. 1..
Total.
No. of
Anglers
Hours
Fished
No. of
Fish
Avg. Time Fish Per
Fished
Angler
Hours to
Fish Per
Catch
Hour
One Bass
Limits
Empty
Creels
183
8
70
68
127
312
183
223
153
37
169
157
656
601
352
409
251
209
376
202
233
943
24
157
298
664
1,815
928
1,361
810
122
814
772
3,125
3,069
1,688
1,783
926
834
1,347
1,049
1,322
44
0
2
36
39
45
49
37
62
9
20
42
119
308
318
377
412
121
248
126
150
5 15
2 88
2.24
4.39
5.23
5.82
5 07
6.10
5 29
3.30
4.72
4 92
4.76
5.11
4.79
4.36
3 69
3 99
3 58
5.19
5.67
0 24
0
0 029
0 52
0 31
0.14
0 27
0 17
0.41
0 24
0 12
0 27
0 18
0 51
0 90
0.92
1.64
0 58
0 67
0 64
0 64
0 047
0
0.012
0.12
0 054
0.024
0.053
0.027
0 077
0.074
0.025
0 054
0.038
0 100
0 188
0.211
0 44
0 145
0 109
0 12
0.11
21 43
0
78 50
8 28
17 02
24 20
18 94
36 78
13 06
13.56
40 2
18 45
26 26
9 96
5 30
4 73
2.49
6 89
5 43
8 33
8.81
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
6
0
0
2
4
13
20
27
41
19
12
2
11
155
8
68
53
111
278
151
200
129
35
160
132
432
204
286
126
110
209
120
162
4,979
23,851
2,563
4 79
0.514
0.107
9.31
157
3,719
590
The hours per fish and catch per angler for bi-weekly periods are presented
in Figure 3. • The low fishing intensity during the first part of the year may be
attributed to inclement weather.
The first part of the graph reflects the effect of the weather. Data for the
month of June reflect the sudden increase of anglers during the holidays. In
the first week of July the increase in catch was a result of the small fish which
were taken in Coos River and, to some extent, of the large fish caught in the lower
bay. The last week of August afforded the best fishing in terms of numbers of
fish during the entire study period.
Fishing began to drop off as the small bass left the nursery grounds. The
6
shift took place during the last part of September at which time the fishing intensity moved back to Isthmus Slough. In October the fishing began to improve
with scattered catches of large fish being made during the first part of the month.
Towards the end of the month, fishing intensity increased and many anglers
caught enough large mature fish to make the period the most successful of the
year in terms of size of fish taken.
NUMBER OF ANGLERS
_
NUMBER OF BASS
70
H0171,5 REP MASS
Jw
tEE
EL e.
M.o. Nun
s••.
APE.
NAV
uNY
JUN E JUNE JULY
JUL
AU',
54t.
0[T,
140 MEEK PERIODS
FIGURE 3. The Total Striped Bass Catch, Number of Anglers, and Hours Necessary
to Capture a Bass in Bi-Weekly Periods, Coos Bay, 1950.
Sport Fishery by Areas
The Isthmus Slough area extends nine miles to the south of the town of Coos
Bay toward Coquille (Fig. 1, Region 1). Here, fishing was done mainly from
September through the middle of May. Most of the fish were mature. Bank fishing was most popular, and frozen pilchard, herring, or sculpins were used for
bait. The area is available to the public since it follows the coast highway. The
area is fished by people from Coos Bay and North Bend for the most part with
a few people from out of town using the area on week ends.
The main Coos River extends to the Coos River Creamery where it forks
into the Millicoma River and the South Fork of Coos River as is shown in Figure 1, Region 2. There were many bank fishing spots in this section because it
was accessible from the road. Bank fishing was most popular here and frozen
pilchards or sculpins were used as bait. During the first part of the season, some
trolling was done with artificial plugs. Fishing in this area occurred from March
through September. The period between June and August was most popular
with anglers as depicted in Tables 1 and 2. A total of 2,837 anglers caught 1,850
bass in this area during the season. Fishing was poor during the month of May,
which was near the height of the main spawning season, and the bass were not
actively feeding.
The main Coos area is important because of the large numbers of people on
their vacations who hear of the bass fishing and wish to stop. Many people that
were checked were fishing for bass for the first time. They were disappointed
with their catches owing to the small average size of the fish. It has been found
that the average size of bass in the same type of nursery environment in Cali-
7
fornia is usually small during the summer. This is not a sign of a declining
population but indicates that a successful hatch probably occurred during the
previous two or three years.
The lower bay includes all of the bay shown on Figure 1, Regions 3 and 4.
South Slough was included in this section because it was a promising fishing area
although it was not being utilized during the summer.
The bay was mainly a boat fishing area because of the lack of bank fishing
spots. There were six places that people could fish from the bank by the use of
artificial plugs, but the tides governed the fishing here. Skiff fishing was often
dangerous because of a strong northeast wind that blew intermittently during
the summer.
Summary of 1949 Sport Fishery
The 1949 sport fishery was exceptionally good during the summer months
of July and August. It was estimated that 4,245 anglers fishing from skiffs caught
7,168 bass weighing 60,928 pounds. From all information that could be gathered
it is believed that this was one of the best years that has ever been experienced
in the area for sports fishing.
The remaining months of 1949 were very poor. An estimated 408 anglers
fishing from skiffs caught only 168 bass weighing 1,428 pounds. During the period January to May, 1949, the sport fishery was not measured and as a result the
above figures are minimal.
COMMERCIAL FISHERY
History of Fishery
During the period from 1931 to 1946, the open fiishing season on Coos Bay
was divided into three segments as follows: April 1 to June 30, July 15 to November 20, and December 10 to March 20. Both drift and set gill nets were permitted. Deadlines during the shad season, April to June, were the same as at
present (Fig. 4) ; during the other two periods the deadline was located a short
distance below the Coos River forks. Catching and Isthmus Sloughs were closed
to all commercial fishing.
The commercial fishery for salmon was eliminated following 1946, and the
gill net fishery restricted to the taking of shad and striped bass during the period of April 1 to June 30. However, legislation was enacted at this time which
permitted the taking of striped bass commercially by means of set lines and
hook and line the year around in 1947 and 1948. The poundage so taken was
not large (the difference between total poundage and poundage landed in AprilJune in 1947 and 1948, Fig. 5). In 1949 legislation was enacted which prohibited
the taking of striped bass commercially by hook and line and limited the fishery
to gill net operations during the shad season of April through June.
From the information available, it appears that striped bass were first taken
in commercial quantities on Coos Bay in 1922. Partial landings for 1928 were
8,200 pounds; for 1929, 8,300 pounds; and for 1930, 13,400 pounds. Statistics
for the entire catch are available since 1931, in which year the catch was 18,000
pounds. Figure 5 gives the annual production of striped bass in the commercial
fishery from 1931 to 1950. The largest catch was made in 1945 when 263,000
pounds were landed. Prior to 1949, the catch of bass during the shad season
averaged about 70 percent of the year's total catch of bass.
Commercial Gear
The commercial gillnet mesh regulations permit a minimum stretched mesh
of 41/2 inches and a maximum stretched mesh of 61/2 inches. Gill nets used for
catching shad are usually of three or four ply mesh. These will capture some
bass; however, heavier nets of seven or eight ply mesh are generally used when
8
2
MILES
FIGURE 4. Commercial Fishing Areas for Striped Bass on Coos Bay.
fishing primarily for bass. Since gill nets exclude the very small and very large
fish, with certain exceptions when fish tangle in the nets, fishermen use the size
mesh which in their opinion will take the most fish available to them.
Table 3 gives the number of gill net and set net licenses issued for shad fishing
and striped bass fishing on Coos Bay since 1947. Prior to 1947, the bay was open
to salmon fishing, and, since the licensed period covered a year's fishing, it is not
possible to separate out those licensees fishing only for shad and striped bass.
TABLE 3. Gill Net Licenses Issued for Shad and Striped Bass Fishing on Coos Bay,
1947-1950
Year
1947
1948
1949
1950'
'Preliminary data.
Drift Net
34
21
10
11
Set Net
245
179
140
121
Fishing Areas
In 1950 only three striped bass fishermen of the 11 holding licenses were
known to use a drift gill net, and then only occasionally. Two of these fished
from North Bend to the McCulloch bridge on highway 101 and the other in the
vicinity of Enegrin Ferry (Fig. 4). Gill net sets are located from the mouth of
Coos River in Cooston channel upstream to a point about three miles above the
forks on both the South Fork of Coos River and the Millicoma River.
Relationship to Shad Fishery
No fishermen are known to fish solely for striped bass, although, when bass
are observed in large numbers, the relatively fragile shad nets are pulled and
9
replaced with heavier gear. This probably does not happen more than two or
three times during a season, but good catches of striped bass are made at such
times.
400
EMMM23 Striped Boss Catch tor Entire Year
Striped Boss Catch During Shad
300
Season . April - June
0
0
LL
0 200
O
O
'Do
0
YEAR
FIGURE 5. Annual Landings of Striped Bass and Shad on Coos Bay, 1931 to 1950.
When shad fishing is poor, a few fishermen, primarily at Coos River forks
and on the Millicoma, fish heavy bass nets in conjunction with the lighter shad
nets. Since the heavier nets will not fish shad efficiently, they are usually not used
unless bass are observed in the area.
As pointed out previously, the striped bass fishery has been limited to the
season of the shad fishery and is more or less incidental to it. The annual landings of both shad and striped bass on Coos Bay are shown in Figure 5. Peak
landings of shad were made in 1946 and 1947 when over 350,000 pounds of this
valuable food fish were landed. In 1950 the shad landings amounted to about
240,000 pounds.
Catch Per Unit of Effort
To arrive at a more suitable measure of abundance than the total catch, a
catch per unit of effort has been calculated. The total catch is not a suitable
yardstick since it is influenced by a number of factors other than abundance.
For example, restriction of the fishery through regulations tends to reduce the
size of the catch; on the other hand, increased demand for striped bass and resultant higher prices paid to the fishermen tends to increase the size of the catch.
Thus the intensity of the fishery as well as the abundance of the fish plays an
important part in the size of the total catch. In order to avoid the effect of changes
in intensity the average daily landing of striped bass during the shad season
only was determined. Since the shad fishery has been but slightly affected by
changes in regulations and has been a somewhat stabilized fishery for some time,
this would seem to be a more suitable period for comparison of the striped bass
catches. Furthermore, the elimination of the striped bass fishery during all but
the shad season makes it imperative to work within this short season in order
to carry on comparisons in later years.
10
280
TOTAL CATCH OF STRIPED BASS
0
APRIL — JUNE ( Shad Season 1
2I0
a.
q JULY — MARCH
0
z
I40
(r)
O
I
1— 70
75
0
50
O.
25
32
34
36 38
40
42
111-1
44 46
48
50
YE RS
FIGURE 6. Annual Commercial Catch of Striped Bass and Average Daily Delivery During the
Shad Season on Coos Bay.
The average catch of striped bass per delivery has been determined for 13
years and is plotted along with the total catch in Figure 6. Data were available
for only three years prior to 1940. It can be seen that the largest average deliveries were made in 1940 and 1941. Th average delivery was somewhat lower in
1945, the year of the largest total catch. The average delivery in 1950 was about
26 pounds compared to a mean delivery of 34 pounds for all years. With a species of fish such as striped bass where the catch consists of many age classes, it
is expected that the abundance will fluctuate considerably. This may result, for
example, from the entry into the fishery of one or more year classes in large
numbers which boosts the size of the population temporarily. The large year
classes result from unusually good spawning or survival conditions in certain
years. In studies of striped bass on the east coast of the United States (Merriman, 1941) it has been demonstrated that the production of dominant year
classes is closely associated with below average temperatures before and after
the spawning season.
Rate of Fishing and Estimate of Population Size
Although only a limited amount of tagging had been done prior to this
past season, it has been possible through the use of fish tagged in 1950 to make
a rough estimate of the rate at which the striped bass were removed from the
population by the commercial fishery. To do this it must be assumed that tagged
fish enter the fishery in the same proportion as untagged fish and that they suffer
the same fishing and natural mortality.
The average weight of commercially caught fish was 10.46 pounds in 1950.
Since the total catch for the season amounted to about 35,400 pounds, the number of fish in the catch can be calculated to be 3,384. During the commercial
fishing season, April 20 to June 20, 189 bass were tagged which could have
entered the fishery.
11'
Cooperation from the two commercial buyers was excellent, and it is assumed that all tagged bass taken by the commercial fishery were returned. The
total recovery of tagged striped bass was 36, or 19 percent of those tagged and
released earlier in the 1950 season. Thus, for the purpose of this preliminary
study it may be assumed that the total 1950 commercial catch represents approximately 19 percent of the commercially available population. The gill nets
used in this fishery are highly selective for fish beyond the second year class. If
the 3,384 fish taken by the commercial catch represents approximately 19 percent of this portion of the population, then the total population of striped bass
in Coos Bay during the fishing season of a size large enough to be taken by the
commercial fishery was approximately 18,000 fish.
Since some of the smaller tagged fish were reported to have been caught in
the nets by the tags, the rate of fishing determined here is no doubt high. Mortality due to tagging is thought to be negligible because of the hardy nature of
striped bass.
The population estimate is probably a minimum figure since the calculated fishing rate is probably high as pointed out above. Also these calculations are based only on the segment of the population available to the commercial fishery. Fish too small or too large to be taken by commercial gear would
not be included.
Average Weight Studies
One of the first indications of overfishing in a fish population composed of
several year classes is a decrease in the average size of the fish. As the older age
classes are repeatedly subjected to the fishery each year, their numbers decline to
the point where the population is composed largely of the young and smaller fish.
Records kept by one of the commercial dealers for the years 1928, 1929, and
1930 give the number of fish as well as the poundage. The average weight has
been determined from these data and plotted along with data secured from this
same buyer in 1949 and 1950. As can be seen in Figure 7, the average weights
in 1928, 1929, and 1930 were 7.3, 6.6, and 6.8 pounds respectively. In 1949 and
to
O
0
0
U)
0,
a.
Z
1928
1929
1930
1949
1950
YEAR
FIGURE
7. Average Weights of Striped Bass Taken During the Shad Season (April-June) as
Determined From the Records of One Commercial Dealer.
12
1950 they were 8.2 and 9.1 pounds respectively. One thing which should be
borne in mind here, however, is that the population in 1928 to 1930 probably
was still growing in size and may have included relatively young fish. Also the
size of the nets used in the earlier years is not completely known and also would
affect the average size of the catch.
LIFE HISTORY
Spawning Areas and Spawning Habits
Whenever possible observations of the spawning habits of striped bass were
made. At the peak of the spawning season, usually a period of only one or
two days, the fish can be observed in mating behavior throughout the day.
They appear most abundantly in the late afternoon and early evening and
spawn primarily on the flooding tide. From samples of commercially caught
fish it appears that the males greatly outnumber the females. In the act of spawning a group of fish will appear on the surface milling around in a circle. The
group may consist of only three or four fish or it may consist of many times
that number. A few seconds after the fish appear on the surface they begin to
splash the water with their tails. For about a minute all that can be seen are
the tails of the fish and splashing water which flies four or five feet into the air.
The fish stop splashing abruptly and submerge. During this spawning activity,
it is of ten possible to approach the bass with a boat and even collide with them
before they will submerge. Shad perform a similar spawning demonstration,
but the striped bass are much more violent in their splashing and usually more
fish are involved in a single group. In general the spawning area of the shad
and striped bass spawning is the same, with the area used by the bass possibly
extending a little farther downstream.
The area where striped bass have been observed spawning is shown in Figure 8. It extends from a short distance below the Enegrin Ferry on Coos River
FIGURE 8. Striped Bass Spawning Area on Coos Bay (Darkened Portion Shows Area Where
Bass Are Known to Spawn.)
13
upstream to the Coos River forks, a distance of about three-fourths of a mile,
on the South Fork of Coos River from the forks upstream about 11/2 miles, and on
the Millicoma River from the forks upstream about 61/2 miles.
Salinity readings were made with a hydrometer throughout the spawning
season at the Coos River forks with occasional readings at Enegrin Ferry. Although spawning is confined to the tidal area, all readings showed an absence
of salt water. Eight water samples taken from the bottom of the river in these
same areas during the spawning season were analyzed chemically. The salinity
was found to be zero.
Observations of the development of the gonads of striped bass have been
made throughout the year to determine the spawning season. It has been observed that some male striped bass are ripe in the fall and that a few ripe males
are present throughout most of the year. However, the bulk of the ripe males
were found in the spring months. The majority of the ripe females were found
in the spring, but some ripe females were observed as late as August. The sexual
development of the bass was studied at the buying stations where commercially
caught fish were landed and dressed. Figure 9 gives the percentage of maturing,
ripe, and spent females in the commercial catch in 1950. No ripe or spent females were found previous to May 13. The greatest percentage of ripe females
was found in the week ending June 10 when 41 percent were ripe, 43 percent
were spent, and 16 per cent were maturing. In the week ending June 24, the percentage ripe had dropped to 38, while the percentage spent had increased to 52,
and the percentage maturing had decreased to 10. The closure of the commercial
season at the end of June precluded the gathering of data beyond this date.
However, it is apparent that in 1950 the spawning season extended from about
the middle of May through at least the end of June.
On June 28 several groups of bass were observed spawning in the Millicoma
River. On July 2 a ripe, unspawned female which had been tagged nearly a
1
00
•
MATURING
H
RIPE
q
SPENT
75
50
25
4/15
4/29
5/13
5/27
6/10
6/24
PERIOD ENDING
FIGURE 9. Gonad Condition of Female Striped Bass Taken Commercially on Coos Bay, 1950.
14
month previously was recovered about three miles below the head of tidewater
in the Millicoma River.
Plankton hauls were made once a week at the forks of Coos River and occasionally below Allegany in order to obtain striped bass eggs and larvae. The
greatest number of eggs and larvae were obtained on May 27.
Migrations
In order to determine migration patterns, rate of growth, and fishing intensity, a tagging program was initiated in the spring of 1950. The majority
of the fish tagged were purchased from commercial gill net fishermen. A few
additional fish were obtained with a short gill net and a small number with
hook and line. A total of 374 striped bass was tagged from April 20 until September 30, 1950. Figure 10 shows the size distribution of the 373 tagged fish
as compared with the size of 49 recoveries. The tag used consisted of two celluloid discs, five-eighths inch in diameter, held together by a nickel pin. One tag
was numbered to identify the fish. The tag was placed just below the dorsal
fin (the large fin on the back), one disc being on each side of the body.
5
15 25
LENGTH IN CENTIMETERS
35 45 55 65 75 85 95 105 1t5
TAG RELEASES
10
N =373 1
t
z 0
TAG RECOVERIES
cc
w 15
( N=49 )
a.
I0
LENGTH IN INCHES
Size distribution of Striped Bass Tagged on Coos Bay, April to September, 1950.
(Upper Section Shows Size Distribution of All Fish Tagged. Lower Section Shows Size Distribution of Tagged Fish Which Were Recovered.)
FIGURE 10.
The tagging data have been analyzed by bimonthly periods as shown in
Figure 11. Part A shows the place of release of fish tagged in April and May and
the recoveries of these fish during this period. Part B shows the place of release
15
of fish tagged in June and July and recoveries of these as well as fish tagged
in the earlier period. Part C similarly summarizes activities in August and
September. As can be seen from Figures 1 and 4, the sport and commercial fisheries are concentrated primarily in the upper reaches of the bay. Therefore,
the migrations as shown by these tag returns are influenced by the location of the
fishery.
Numerous attempts were made to capture fish in March and April with commercial gill net gear. All attempts were unsuccessful prior to April 20 when
a small school of bass was located and three fish were captured and tagged.
Tagging and Recoveries
Recoveries made in April and May of tags put out in this period indicate
an upstream migration of bass into Coos River at least as far as the commercial fishery dead-line on the Millicoma River (Fig. 11, Part A) . Of 151 fish
tagged, 19 were recovered. The greatest distance from point of release to point
of capture was nine miles; the longest period between tagging and recovery
was 32 days.
A total of 135 bass was tagged in June and July, six of which were recovered during this period. In addition, 16 bass which had been tagged during
April and May were recovered in June and July. In general, recoveries during
this period indicated an upstream migration similar to that found in April and
May (Fig. 11, Part B). Of the recoveries during June and July, the greatest distance from point of release to point of capture was nine miles; the longest period between tagging and recovery was 94 days.
No particular pattern of migration was apparent from the recoveries of
tagged fish during August and September (Fig. 11, Part C). However, no fish
tagged in Coos Bay were recovered in Coos River during this time. Of 88 bass
tagged in August and September, only one was recovered. Three, fish which had
been tagged in April and May were recovered. The greatest distance from point
of release to point of capture was three miles; the longest period between tagging and recovery was 128 days.
Observations to date seem to indicate that there are two migrations of striped
bass into Coos Bay — the spawning migration upstream in the spring and a
second migration into the sloughs in the fall. In the summer of 1950 it appeared
that the majority of the adult striped bass left the bay within two or three
weeks after the main spawning season in late May and early June. Immediately
after the largest catches were made in the commercial fishery in Coos River,
large schools of bass were observed in lower Coos Bay. Within two weeks very few
fish could be found anywhere in Coos Bay and it seems likely that they had
passed out to sea. It appears that there is a distinct fall migration from the
ocean which supported the winter commercial fishery in the past and which
now supports a fairly intensive sport fishery.
As far as is known at the present time, no striped bass have been captured
in the ocean on otter trawls, on long lines, in shark nets, in crab pots, or on
salmon trolls. On the Atlantic Ocean, studies have shown that striped bass make
extensive coastwise migrations (Merriman, 1941). Tagging operations are being
continued and will shed further light on the migration of striped bass.
Table 5, page 31, gives additional detailed information concerning, the tagged
fish which have been recovered.
Age and Growth Studies
During 1949 and 1950, scale samples were taken from striped bass for age
analyses. Impressions of the scales were made in cellulose acetate with a hand
press. The impressions were examined with a binocular microscope and the
number of annuli on each scale was recorded. A total of 667 scales, taken from
18
bass ranging in size from seven inches to 49 inches, have been read to determine
ages. The validity of the age readings has not been completely substantiated but
has been accepted by workers in other parts of the country; studies are continuing to prove the authenticity of these readings. Having determined the percentage age composition of fish in each length group of one centimeter size and
relating this to the random length frequency samples, it has been possible to
arrive at the age composition of both the commercial and sport-caught bass. In
the discussion of year classes that follows it should be remembered that fish are
in the zero year class until they are one year of age. A fish of the first year class
is in its second year of life, etc. Ages of fish beyond the tenth year class could
not be accurately determined.
Figure 12 shows the age composition of fish in both the sport and commercial fisheries in 1949 and 1950. Most of the scale samples were taken in the
spring at the time just before the new annulus is apparent on the edge of the
scale. The actual age of the fish would thus be almost one year greater than the
age class shown in Figure 12. It will be seen that the sport catch was made up
of a larger percentage of small fish than the commercial catch. Large numbers of
fish in the first and second year classes were taken by the sports fishermen with
practically none taken by the commercial fishermen. Fish up to the tenth year
class appeared in the catches of both fisheries in considerable numbers with a
few fish being taken as old as the 16th year class.
30
20
COMMERCIAL FISHERY
1949
q
I0
mi
0
111-
1 _rn
20
1
1950
SPORT FISHERY
•
q
0
0
2
I949
1 950
111L-11711LE-1■C1■—
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
II
12
13
14
15
16
YEAR CLASS
FIGURE 12. Age Composition of Striped Bass on the Commercial and Sport Fisheries of Coos
Bay in 1949 and 1950 (the Actual Age of the Fish is About One Year Greater Than the
the Year-Class) .
The mesh size used in the commercial fishery allows the escape of practically
all fish younger than the third year class. The third, fourth, and fifth year classes
probably always contribute considerably to the commercial fishery. The large
catch of striped bass in 1945 might be explained on the basis of big third, fourth,
19
and fifth year classes in that year, resulting from good spawning conditions or
better survival conditions during the war years. The large percentages of the
seventh, eighth, and ninth year classes in the catches of 1949 and 1950 would
also represent these same large year classes which had contributed heavily to
the 1945 catch.
Since the sport fishery has access to striped bass throughout the year, and
since the gear used is not as rigid in size selection as the commercial gear, more
fish occur in the extremes of the age curve of the sport catch than in the commercial catch.
The average size of the various year classes was determined. These have been
plotted in Figure 13 to illustrate the growth rate of the bass. Fish beyond the
tenth year class have not been included because of the small number of fish involved and the difficulty in determining the ages of these older fish.
36
32
80
28
70
24
60
20 la
50
16 z
40
30
12
20
8
10
4
0
3
4
6
5
7
6
9
YEAR CLASS
FIGURE 13. The Growth of Striped Bass as Determined From the Average Lengths of the
Various Age Classes. (The Actual Age of the Fish is About One year Greater Than the YearClass.)
Age and Size at Maturity
Table 4 gives the percentage of mature females in the various age classes.
All females in the second year class were found to be immature, 18.2 percent
of the third year class (average length 19.0 inches) and 67.9 percent of the fourth
year class (average length 22.8 inches) were mature. All fish older were found
to be mature.
TABLE 4. Percentage of Mature and Immature Female Striped Bass in the Various
Age Classes at Coos Bay, 1949-1950
Year Class
I
II
Number ..
3
0
Percent
Immature . 0 100
Percent
Mature.... 0
0
III
IV
V
VI VII VIII IX
X
XI XII XIII XIV XV XVI
8
34
9
4
3
3
1
2
0
13
4
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
18.2 67.9 100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
0
22
28
81.8 32.1
20
Mature males were found to be present in all year classes except possibly
the zero year class. The majority of the males in the third year class (average
length 19.0 inches) were found to be mature.
Size Composition of the Catch
Random length frequency samples of striped bass were first obtained in
June of 1949 in both the sport and commercial fisheries with sampling continuing to date. Fork lengths have been used; that is, the length from the tip of
the lower jaw to the fork of the tail. The commercial samples are summarized
by bi-weekly periods in Figure 14. Sampling of the commercial fishery did not
begin until June of 1949. Data for the period are shown in the bottom section
15
r
I
CENTIMETERS
25 35 45
55 65
75 85 95 105 115 125
I
I
April 2- 15,1950
( N = 108 )
10 _
0
April 16- 29,1950
10 -
( N = 189 )
0
20 -
April 30- MAY 13, 1950
( N =165 )
10 _
11.1
▪
4
0
May 14- 27, 1950
( N = 318 )
10 -
z o
May 28- June 10, 1950
( N = 204)
0 10 -
•
0
June 11-29,1950
10 .
( N =75 )
1950
( N =1062 )
TOTAL
10 -
-,
Total 1949 (June only )
10
( N =277 )
0
5
10
15
25
20
30
35
40
45
INCHES
FIGURE 14. Random Length Frequencies Curves for the Striped Bass Commercial Fishery
on Coos Bay in 1949 and 1950.
21
50
of the figure. Sampling in 1950 was continuous throughout the commercial
season. The curves show the catch to be made up largely of two size groups,
the smaller ranging in size from 18 to 25 inches, consisted primarily of fish in
the third, fourth, and fifth year classes; and the larger group, ranging in size
from 26 to 34 inches, were composed largely of fish in the seventh, eighth, and
ninth year classes.
Striped bass in the catches of fishermen who were known to fish only light
shad gear seldom exceeded 25 inches. In the studies of the striped bass of California (Scofield, 1931), it was found that bass taken in 51/2 -inch mesh nets
ranged in length from about 16 to 25 inches. Samples of bass taken from the
catch of the heavier and larger bass nets in Coos Bay contained much larger
CENTIMETERS
5
15 25 35 45 55 65 75 85 95 105 115 125
DECEMBER 1949
( N . 25 )
I 0
;1 1
AI %'
I' 1 V
0
A
0
V \
.
Il1
A
11
1L1
ilv■
/-\/\ A A
APRIL 1950
( N= 40 )
0
,■
0
/--\
1-\\/\ A
20
I0
AA
MAY 1950
( N . 12 )
n
1
0
o--,
I \ .,i1
0
\
/I
5
10
JUNE
1950 (N.90)
--- 1949 (N .29)
ii,
1
r
I, .
%
''' A
10
C
AA
'
‘
...]IV
MARCH 1950
( N . 251
-
0
I
il, i\.
FEBRUARY 1950
( N . 32 )
I0
I0
I
15
....-•_
JULY
— 1950 (N.303)
--- 1949 (N . 223)
.." ,,
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
IN CI-IES
FIGURE 15. Random Length Frequency Curves for Striped Bass Taken by Sport Gear on Coos
Bay During the Months of December to July, 1949 and 1950.
22
fish than the lighter shad nets. These larger fish were mature and predominately
males.
Random length frequencies of sport caught bass have been summarized in
monthly periods and are shown in Figures 15 and 16. A total of 1,788 fish were
measured in 1949 and 1950. These ranged in length from six to 49 inches. It
can be seen that the fall sport catch was made up primarily of large bass, ranging
in length from 25 to 45 inches. No length samples were obtained in January of
1950 because of the lack of fishing effort resulting from adverse weather condiCENTIMETERS
25
15
45
35
55
65
75
85
95
60
0
125
— 1950 (N=635)
--- 1949 (N = 14)
20
I
's A
I
/
10
•
---1—■
0
90
%
A
1, II
1, ,
i
i
I%
1
1
%_---1--N---/--------1.---",.
30
SEPTEMBER
20
--- 1949 (N = 13 )
— 1950 ( N = 220)
10
JI
$
0
20
$
OCTOBER — NOVEMBER
cc
a-
115
AUGUST
30
1—
z
105
—
io
---
1950
(N
1949
(N = 14)
=
ii
89 )
40
TOTALS
— 1950 (N =1470)
30
--- 1949 (N= 318 )
20
5
10
15
25
20
30
35
40
45
50
INCHES
16. Random Length Frequency Curves for Striped Bass Taken by Sport Gear on Coos
Bay During the Months of August to November in 1949 and 1950 and for Total Sport Catch
in 1949 and 1950.
FIGURE
23
tions. The catches in February and March consisted of fish somewhat smaller
in size, ranging in length from 15 to 38 inches. From April through July small
fish were more abundant in the catches with a considerable number of fish from
eight to 20 inches in length. Large fish, greater than 20 inches were still taken
in some numbers, particularly in the month of June. Very few fish were sampled
in August and September of 1949, but in the large samples of 1950 the catch
was made up almost entirely of fish from nine to 11 inches in length.
Length-Weight Relationship
Lengths and weights were obtained for 1,329 fish in 1949 and 1950. These
fish ranged in length from seven to 49 inches and in weight from one-tenth of
a pound to 50 pounds. The length-weight curve has been calculated for both
sexes combined and is shown in Figure 17. The formula for this curve is W0.00002581 L 2.90679, where W is the weight of the fish in pounds and L is the
length in centimeters. From the curve it is possible to determine the length
for any given weight of bass or the weight of the fish if given the length.
zr:'
0
a.
z 25
20
IS
10
5
0
4
8
12
16 20
24
LENGTH
28
32
IN INCHES
FIGURE 17. Length-Weight Relationship of Striped Bass in Coos Bay; Both Sexes Combined.
Length Measurements Made to Fork of Tail.
Food Habits
Observations of the food habits of the striped bass have been made wherever
possible by examining the stomach contents. The butchering tables at the
commercial dealers afforded a good opportunity for gathering these data. Considerable information was obtained from sportsmen who allowed the biologists
to clean their fish. A total of 1,018 stomac_hs were examined during 1948, 1949,
and 1950. Of these about 50 percent were empty, 6 percent had material which
could not be identified, and 44 percent contained identifiable material (Fig. 18).
The identifiable contents found in the stomachs have been summarized in twomonth periods as shown in the remaining graphs of Figure 18. The items are
given as a percentage of the total number of items present.
24
TOTAL SAMPLE
SUMMER 1948
1948 –1950 ( N =1018)
July – September
(N=I0)
October – December ( N = 8
Misc.
Flat-fish
Crabs ( Cancer 11
Bark,Sticks, etc.
SPRING 1950
April – June (N=261)
FIGURE 18. Food Habits of Striped Bass in Coos Bay as Determined From Stomach Samples.
(Except for the Total Sample chart, upper left, the graphs represent the stomach
contents as percentages of the indentifiable material.)
25
Striped bass are voracious feeders and appear to take nearly any object which
draws their attention and which can be swallowed. During most of the year,
fishes which occur in large schools are the predominant items found in the
stomachs. These include viviparous perch, herring, anchovies, sand lances, and
surf smelt. Sculpins (bullheads), shrimp, and crabs are important food items
throughout the year. Blennies, sometimes called "eels," and flatfish also occur
throughout the year, but only in small numbers.
Barks and sticks were frequently found in the stomachs. Bay smelt, torn
cod, and various species of perch were not uncommon. An adult lamprey and
the vertebral column and caudal fin of an adult shad were found in two stomachs in the spring. Another large striped bass contained what appeared to be
the top of a tin can. In the summer of 1949, about 27 percent of the items in
the stomachs were found to he pilchard which had been cut into sections and
were being used as bait by the sport fishermen.
In April, May, and June numerous trout and salmon fry and fingerlings
were found in striped bass stomachs. During this period, salmonoids formed
almost seven percent of the items present, and nearly equalled shrimp, sculpins,
and herring in importance as striped bass food. It is during these spring months,
when the large schools of spawning bass are present, that the heavy downstream
migration of young salmon and trout occurs. Food was found in the stomachs
of maturing and spent female bass, but no females in the spawning condition
were found to be feeding. Males were found to be feeding during all stages of
development of the testes. Both males and females appear to feed heavily immediately after spawning. In former years when salmon were more abundant
in the Coos Bay drainage, it is reported that salmonoids were very numerous
in the stomachs of the striped bass.
Striped bass are capable of catching large trout as well as fingerlings. Two
bass taken in the Coquille River in the spring of 1950 contained trout 12 inches
in length. Another Coquille bass was found to contain 12 salmonoids, ranging
in length from eight to 12 inches.
Striped bass have been reported to feed heavily on their own young; however, in this study no small striped bass were found in the stomachs of larger
fish. In addition no shad fry or fingerling were found in the bass stomachs.
Sex Ratios
Whenever possible observations were made of the number of male and feq MALES
El HERMAPHRODITES
FEMALES
80
80
40
20
4/15
4/29
5/IS
5/27
6/10
6/24
PERIOD ENDING
FIGURE 19. Sex Ratio of Striped Bass in the Commercial Catch of Coos Bay in 1950.
26
male bass occurring in the catch. Considerable data on commercially caught
fish were obtained while the fish were being butchered by the dealers. Some
data were also gathered from fish taken by sport gear.
Data on the sex ratio in the commercial catch in 1950 are given in Figure
19. Females predominated in the catches of late April and early May, and the
males were more abundant in early April, the latter part of May, and throughout June. During the peak of the commercial landings on May 24 and 25 of
1950 the catch was predominately of males. A random sample of 54 fish on
May 24 showed 81 percent to be males. On May 25, of 70 fish examined, 93
percent were males, ranging in length from 25 to 40 inches.
A considerable amount of hermaphroditism has been noted in the striped
bass. Almost three percent of the bass sampled were found to be hermaphrodites. Occasionally both the ovaries and testes were ripe and in a spawning
condition at the same time. In all cases examined the testes formed the anterior portion, and the ovaries formed the remaining or posterior portion of
the sex organs. In some cases the testis formed the larger part of the gonad and
in others the ovary was the largest (Fig. 20) .
FIGURE 20. Gonads of Hermaphroditic Striped Bass Showing the Functional Male and Female
Portion of the Gonad.
Fecundity
The number of eggs contained in the ovaries of 15 female striped bass were
counted to obtain the relation between the weight of the female and the number of eggs (Fig. 21). The number of eggs per gram was determined, and, when
related to the total weight of the ovary, gave the calculated number of eggs
per ovary. Additional ova counts will be made to add to these preliminary data
on fecundity.
The number of eggs ranged from 900,000 in an 8.8 pound fish to 4,775,000
in a 50 pound fish. The ovaries of the 50 pound fish weighed 8.5 pounds.
CONDITIONS AFFECTING SURVIVAL
Effects of Splash Darns
In southwestern Oregon there exists a logging practice known as "splashing." It is a method of moving logs from log dumps in the upper river areas
downstream to tidewater by means of water released from a series of dams.
Logs are dumped below the splash dams and are flooded to tidewater where
they are caught, made into log rafts, and towed to the mills. When water is plentiful, splashing is done whenever convenient for the operators. In seasons of
low water, splashing is less frequent because of lack of water for the operation.
The effect of splashing operations on the eggs and larvae of striped bass
and shad has not been fully determined. A sudden flood of muddy water may
adversely affect the eggs and larvae. It has been observed that the striped bass
do not spawn as far upstream in years when there is considerable splashing
1
27
being carried on. It is known that the eggs and larvae of many fish can stand
wide variations in temperature providing the change is gradual. A sudden
change, such as would be expected to take place when the flood of water reaches
the tidal zone during splashing operations, probably is detrimental to the development of the eggs and larvae.
The splashing operations adversely affect fishing operations. Sport fishing
becomes almost impossible owing to the swift, muddy water and the debris
which fouls both lines and motors. Commercial fishing operations are curtailed
because of the strong currents and the accompanying trash which damages the
gill nets.
The most serious effect of splash dams has been their destruction of the
salmon spawning areas. For the most part such dams have been complete barriers to the upstream migration of adult salmon. Practically all of the gravel
in the rivers has been washed out by the splashing operations and for the most
part only bedrock remains. The effect of thousands of logs grinding their way
down the river bed is disastrous not only to fish life but to any food organisms produced in the river.
4
a 3
0
O
Z 2
O
0
I0
30
20
40
50
60
WEIGHT OF FISH IN POUNDS
FIGURE 21. Relationship Between the Weight of Female Striped Bass and Number of Eggs
in the Ovaries.
ECONOMIC EVALUATION
Sport Fishery
An economic evaluation of the striped bass sport fishery was started in December, 1949, and conducted in connection with the sport census. Two hundred
and one individuals were interviewed in order to learn what was spent for
striped bass fishing. Expenditures were determined for tackle, boat, motor,
bait, lodging, travel and miscellaneous items. Annual costs for capital goods
such as boats were calculated as if the owner had used a rental, since the cost of
renting or owning is fairly similar. The 201 interviewed anglers made 4.1 trips
per year. If items were used for other types of fishing as well as for bass, an attempt was made to pro-rate the cost for bass use. Boat and motor evaluation
was particularly difficult and special care was taken to make sure that only
the boat anglers (40 percent of all) figured in the total outlay. Bait purchases
were separated into local and out-of-town categories and the local fishermen
28
surprisingly spent about twice as much each year for bait. It was thought that
the relative inexperience of the out-of-town anglers would lead them to purchase
excessive quantities of bait. Only out-of-town anglers who spent money for lodging
were considered in determining the average lodging cost assessed to the sport
fishery. About 20 percent of all anglers were out-of-town, and nearly half of them
stayed with friends, camped out or made one day trips. Only 125 striped bass
anglers spent money for lodging in the Coos Bay area. Other members of their
families add to the increased revenues brought to the community by the sport
fishery, however, an item not brought out in this analysis. All anglers checked
were asked to state their point of origin in relation to making the trip for bass
fishing. The mileage reported was 120,933. At an operating cost of $0.06 a mile,
travel money spent primarily for the recreational fishery amounted to $7,256.
Miscellaneous items such as torn clothing, beer, liquor, things left at home and
needed for the trip such as toothbrushes and similar articles added $1,347.54 to
the bill for bass fishing at an average pocket withdrawal of $1.11 per year. Food
was not considered a legitimate charge against the sport fishery since anglers eat
no matter where they may be or what they are doing.
It may be stated that 1,214 anglers spent an average of $54.05 a year in the
pursuit of striped bass in the Coos Bay area. Bass fishermen spent approximately $65,722 in 1950. The cost per fish was $25.64 or $4.42 a pound for the
average 5.8 pound specimen caught. The average angler took 2.1 fish per year.
TABLE 5. The Annual Cost Per Person and Cost for 1,214 Anglers Checked During
the 1949-1950 Striped Bass Sport Fishery
Item
Tackle...
Boat
Motor.
Bait
Lodging.
Travel
Miscellaneous
Total (1214 anglers)
Per Person
Total Spent
$19.05
9.42
11.23
5.89
1.37
5.98
1.11
$23,126.70
11,439.28
13,677.88
7,158.43
1,666.25
7,255.98
1,347.54
$54.05
$65,722.06
Commercial Fishery
The average commercial catch for the past ten years, 1941 to 1950, was
90,530 pounds. At an average weight of ten pounds per fish, about 9,000 fish
have been landed annually by the commercial fishery. At the 1950 retail value
of between 40 and 45 cents per pound the average value of the commercial
fishery is about $38,500. The 1950 catch was less, being only 35,000 pounds or
3,500 fish. The 1950 yield was valued on the retail market at about $15,000.
The two fisheries for striped bass are of considerable value as may be seen
from the above-mentioned figures. It is believed that the value of the resource
will greatly increase as larger and larger segments of the citizenry realize both
the recreational and food value of these fish.
SUMMARY
1. There is no evidence of a decline in the striped bass population of Coos Bay.
2. The striped bass, a species introduced to the West Coast of North America,
has been important as a recreational and commercial fish in Coos Bay since the
late 1920s. The catch has ranged from 18,000 pounds in 1931 to 263,000 pounds
in 1945.
3. A total of 4,979 angler-days and 23,851 hours were fished in 1950 and 2,563
fish were caught. The fish weighed an estimated 14,931 pounds with an average of
29
5.8 pounds per fish. In 1949, more than 7,170 bass were taken in the sport fishery,
weighing over 61,000 pounds.
4. Two-hundred anglers were interviewed to determine their expenditures
during a yearly period. It was found that they spent an average of $54.05 a year.
Using this figure it was determined that the total expenditure for striped bass fishing
in Coos Bay during 1950 amounted to $65,722.
5. The commercial fishery lands approximately 90,500 pounds annually;
the fish average slightly over ten pounds each. In 1950, the catch was 35,400
pounds, or 3,400 fish. At a retail price of 40 to 45 cents per pound, the average
annual value of the commercial catch is $38,000. The 1950 catch was valued
at $15,000.
6. It was calculated that the commercial fishery in 1950 removed a maximum
of 19 percent of the bass population in the fishing area at that time and within the
size range selected by the gear. The total population of available fish in the
bay during the fishing season was estimated to number 18,000 bass of which the
commercial fishery took 3,400; this is not the total population of bass inhabiting
Coos Bay.
7. Fish taken by sport fishermen ranged in size from 6 to 45 inches; fish
taken in commercial gear ranged in size from 12 to 48 inches. Fish in the second, third, fourth, seventh, and eight year classes were abundant in the catches
of the sport and commercial fisheries, Few fish younger than the third year
class were taken by commercial gear while the second year class contributed the
largest number of fish to the sport fishery in 1950.
8. Food studies indicate that fish such as herring, anchovies, viviparous perch,
sand lance, and smelt are the major items in the striped bass diet. Bottom forms
such as sculpins, crabs, and shrimp are found in considerable numbers throughout the year. Salmon and trout form an important part of the diet in April,
May, and June when the sctlools of bass migrate into the Coos River spawning
areas and meet the young salmon and trout migrating downstream to the sea.
9. Sex ratio studies in 1950 indicate that male bass predominate in the commercial catch. Almost three percent of all bass sampled were hermaphroditic.
10. Preliminary work on fecundity of striped bass showed the number of eggs
per female to range from 900,000 in an 8.8 pound individual to 4,775,000 in a
50 pound fish.
RECOMMENDATIONS
1. It is recommended that observations of both the striped bass commercial
and sport fisheries at Coos Bay be continued in order that changes in the conditions of the stocks may be observed as they occur, and that any corrections
may be made in the fishing intensity that might be needed.
2. No restrictive regulations appear necessary now. The striped bass populations at Coos Bay do not show symptoms of being over-fished.
LITERATURE CITED
CRAIG, J. A.
1930 An analysis of the catch statistics of the striped bass (Roccus lineatus)
fishery of California. Division of Fish and Game, Fish Bull. (24):1-41,
Sacramento.
MERRIMAN, DANIEL
1941 Studies on the striped bass (Roccus saxatilis) of the Atlantic coast.
Fish and Wildlife Service, 50 (35) : 1-77, 36 Figs., Washington.
SCOFIELD, EUGENE C.
1931 The striped bass of California. Div. of Fish and Game, Fish Bull. (29):
1-82, Sacramento.
30
TABLE 5. RETURNS OF STRIPED BASS TAGGED IN THE SPRING AND SUMMER
OF 1950
Time
Released
in Days
Length at
Tagging
in Cm.
Date
Tagged
7
10
13
17
27
38
41
44
48
49
51
59
62
70
77
79
80
82
83
62
62
60
50
64
61
53
64
51
51
62
60
53
53
51
41
55
65
55
4/21/50
4/21/50
4/21/50
4/21/50
4/24/50
4/24/50
4/24/50
4/24/50
4/25/50
4/25/50
4/25/50
4/26/50
4/26/50
4/27/50
4/29/50
4/29/50
4/29/50
4/29/50
4/29/50
6/17/50
4/29/50
4/29/50
5/23/50
5/24/50
7/23/50
6/2/50
7/27/50
6/4/50
6/2/50
5/26/50
8/24/50
5/24/50
6/30/50
5/13/50
6/1/50
6/8/50
5/20/50
6/20/50
57
8
8
32
30
90
39
94
41
38
31
120
28
64
14
33
40
21
32
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston l'oint
87
88
91
93
98
99
103
104
109
118
123
125
132
135
139
140
143
154
163
164
166
170
191
192
248
249
265
280
327
337
353
363
51
53
62
69
74
53
51
52
59
43
53
50
64
53
54
53
62
63
56
42
78
97
80
87
82
76
62
67
24
22
23
25
4/29/50
4/25/50
4/29/50
4/29/50
5/2/50
5/2/50
5/2/50
5/2/50
5/3/50
5/8/50
5/8/50
5/8/50
5/9/50
5/10/50
5/10/50
5/10/50
5/10/50
5/10/50
5/10/50
6/1/50
6/2/50
6/5/50
6/6/50
6/6/50
7/12/50
7/12/50
7/13/50
7/14/50
8/18/50
9/1/50
9/2/50
9/2/50
5/4/50
5/25/50
5/20/50
9/4/50
5/25/50
5/24/50
6/1/50
5/23/50
5/23/50
5/20/50
6/28/50
6/30/50
6/4/50
6/23/50
5/25/50
6/21/50
5/20/50
5/23/50
8/7/50
6/13/50
6/2/50
6/7/50
7/3/50
6/7/50
10/13/50
7/14/50
10/18/50
9/11/50
9/3/50
9/3/50
9/15/50
9/7/50
5
30
21
128
23
22
30
21
20
12
32
52
26
44
15
41
10
13
89
12
0
2
27
1
82
2
97
58
16
2
13
5
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Cooston Point
Millicoma River
Millicoma River
Millicoma River
Millicoma River
Millicoma River
Kentuck Sough
Kentuck Slough
Kentuek Slough
Kentuck Slough
Coos River Forks
Coos River Forks
Coos River Forks
Coos River Forks
Tag
No.
Date
Recovered
Area Tagged
31
Area Recovered
Distance
Traveled
in Miles
Kentuck Inlet
Kentuck Inlet
Kentuck Inlet
Lower Coos River
Coos River Forks
Lower Coos River
Coos River Forks
Cooston Point
Lower Coos River
Lower Coos River
Coos River Forks
Railroad Bridge
Lower Coos River
Kentuck Inlet
Lower Coos River
Lower Coos River
Coos River Forks
Mouth Coos River
Deadline-So. Fk.
Coos River
Willanch Slough
Coos River Forks
Coos River Forks
Railroad Bridge
Coos River Forks
Lower Coos River
Coos River Forks
Lower Coos River
Lower Coos River
Lower Coos River
Kentuck Slough
Willanch Slough
Coos River Forks
Lower Coos River
Lower Coos River
Kentuck Slough
Mouth Coos River
Coos River Forks
Cooston Point
Coos River Forks
Coos River Forks
Lower Coos River
Below Allegany
Coos River Forks
Isthmus Slough
Kentuck Slough
Isthmus Slough
Railroad Bridge
Coos River Forks
Coos River Forks
CoosRiver Forks
Coos River Forks
Direction
1.75 Downstream
1.75 Downstream
1 75 Downstream
4.0
Upstream
6.0
Upstream
40
Upstream
6.0
Upstream
...... .
0 .0
4.0
Upstream
4.0
Upstream
6.0
Upstream
40
Downstream
40
Upstream
1 75 Downstream
40
Upstream
4.0
Upstream
Upstream
60
1.25 Upstream
9.0
Upstream
0.5
6.0
6.0
4.0
6.0
4.0
60
4.0
4.0
4.0
1,75
1.5
6.0
4.0
40
1.75
1.25
6.0
00
4.0
40
40
0.25
4.0
6.0
00
6.0
2.0
0,0
0.0
00
00
Upstream
Upstream
Upstream
Downstream
Upstream
Upstream
Upstream
Upstream
Upstream
Upstream
Downstream
Upstream
Upstream
Upstream
Upstream
Downstream
Upstream
Upstream
Downstream
Downstream
Downstream
Upstream
Downstream
Up-bay
Up-bay
Downstream
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF

advertising