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Like most hybrids, this fish has features of both parent species. It has the deep flat body, small head and the distinct back arch of white bass; yet it has the dark gray or blue silvery body coloration and thick dark longitudinal body stripes of the ocean striped bass. Although the hybrid closely looks like white bass and striped bass, it differs slightly in several features. Two distinctive tooth patches are near the middle of the tongue. The first stripe below the lateral line is distinct and complete to the tail. Positive identification of hybrid striped bass is easier when viewed alongside purebred parent fish. There are obvious external differences, but these are not so apparent when viewed alone. From observations in other localities, this fish seldom exceeds 10 pounds when fully grown.
Pool 14 of Mississippi River, Saylorville Reservoir and Des Moines River
Gizzard shad, silversides, sunfish, insects, and crustaceans
18 pounds, 15 ounces - Des Moines River, Polk County, September 1997- Don Ostergaard, Des Moines, Iowa
Hybrid striped bass have been released at two locations in Iowa. The original stocking in 1981 was into Saylorville Reservoir, which was followed each year with stockings of additional sac-fry. Fingerling sized hybrid striped bass were released into Pool 14 of the Mississippi River in 1984, and stocking has continued each autumn.
Since the initial introduction, the Morone hybrids have dispersed widely from Saylorville and presently live in a large segment of the Des Moines River system. Fish have been seen upstream near Ft. Dodge and as far downstream as Ottumwa. Based on these observations, this species will extend its range in the Mississippi River. Abundance of the hybrid depends on the release of hatchery propagated fish.
Knowledge about hybrid striped bass in Iowa is limited since this is a new fish to the region and its life parameters remain under investigation. Hybridization of the parent stock is successful only in the most controlled hatchery conditions. Natural hybridization of the female ocean striped bass and the male white bass or the reciprocal cross is almost impossible since the two species rarely are in the same water. In Iowa, striped bass are absent from our waters. Hybrid bass are nearly always monogenetic, which makes secondary hybridization with either parent species almost impossible. Some mature female hybrids have been collected in the southern United States. Like the white bass, eggs of the hybrid are small compared with striped bass. Spawning activity of hybrids has been seen with white bass in one southern location, but no natural reproduction was found.
Hybrid striped bass grow fast in Iowa, but like white bass, they are fairly short lived. Three years after the first stocking of sac-fry in Saylorville Reservoir, fish 20-inches long and 5 pounds were reported by anglers.