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Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? #13714268 09/28/20 06:45 PM
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Years ago there were a handful of striper guides on Lake Whitney. Now there may be well over 30 guides regularly fishing the lake. The stripers are getting pounded everyday. Decades ago I used to catch 20 pound stripers on Whitney. The drop was not because of fishing pressure, but was instead because of a massive golden algae die off. But now a fish over 10 pounds is a big one and if the 7 to 8 pound fish keep getting removed there is not much of a chance of getting big fish. I do not know the answer, but I an interested in what other anglers think about the pressure on the fish.

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Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13714319 09/28/20 07:22 PM
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Well, I don't think you could ban guides (not that I want to), so that's out. A movement to promote catch and release would possibly work, but would likely take years to see real results. The quickest way to grow larger fish would be either a slot limit or a larger minimum length limit.

I'm a green fish guy, so my input is purely generic based on what I've seen happen with that species. The striper guys might have better and more specific ideas.


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Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13714370 09/28/20 07:58 PM
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There were tons of guides regularly fishing the lake before the last GA bloom and there were 15-20 pound fish.

Unfortunately there will be another GA bloom at some point and the cycle will repeat itself (both average fish size and number of guides).

I only get to fish Whitney a few times a year. This year we target big fish and caught 7 over 10 pounds in two days. The largest went 12.5

There will be plenty trophy survivors (15-20#'s) to be caught. Just give it a few more years. Most guides are focused on limits, and that usually means smaller fish. Targeting big fish requires a different game plan if you want to be consistent.

Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13714441 09/28/20 09:00 PM
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This is something I’ve been thinking quite a bit about, I would love to see more fish in the 15+ range and maybe over 25 In years to come.
This year I ran mainly Striper trips instead of crappie, my customers caught a 17, a few 15’s and Probally 15 fish in between 10-14lbs.
I know of maybe 3 caught bigger than 17lbs this year.

I’ve personally thought of releasing anything over 10lbs just not sure how it would affect my business. But it would be pointless if I was the only guide out of 25 that we’re doing it.

I personally wouldn’t mind a slot of 30” or bigger being released.or something similar.

Looking forward to hearing more opinions.


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Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13714463 09/28/20 09:27 PM
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We, (brother, and our wifes) just started striper fishing a couple years ago. Still learning. We keep 15-20 fish a year, what we eat. I would hate to see length limit go up to drastically. Maybe 20" to start, then maybe 24" in couple more years. I am 68, so unknown how long we will be fishing. Maybe a staggering system, 2 fish over 18", 2 over 20" and 1 over 25". Just a thought.

Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13714534 09/28/20 10:35 PM
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I think it's all lack of respect for the resources, and yes the blooms don't help.
I have fished several areas around the country that are cpr only, and hope we don't have to go that far.
Maybe we can find a balance. With more and more new anglers it may be challenging.
I agree with Davis, personally 10# is my limit also no matter which species, anything larger is returned only a few eater size kept if wanted.


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Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13714877 09/29/20 07:55 AM
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I would be shocked if I ever caught one over 18 inches. I mainly go for Largemouth but I nearly always go prepared to catch a few Stripers. Usually out the 15 to 25 Stripers caught, none will be over about 15 inches. There seems to be a lot of those.


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Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13714950 09/29/20 11:55 AM
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Possibly reduce the number per day per person and no catch and release . One of our surrounding states , Arkansas, has this law in place and is doing fine as far as 30 pound stripes consistently. If this is the law, guides will adjust and the public will as well.The sand bass population will suffer !

Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13714972 09/29/20 12:25 PM
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Great point. I wondered the same thing at Lake Texoma. I have question the fishing pressure that numerous guides can place on the striper population. I have been saying this for years.....Maybe we need to seriously look at limiting the number of guides per Lake. I am just a weekend warrior and most guides are great individual who work very hard. However, they are fishing for a paycheck which will add stress and pressure when other boaters arrive in the same area.

Last edited by Top_Water_Man; 09/29/20 12:29 PM.

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Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13714980 09/29/20 12:38 PM
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What fish are produced is a bigger factor than guides . Numbers of non guide fisherman have a larger effect. It is a numbers game. The average fisherman don't catch as many as a guide . On Texoma 250 guides as opposed to say 10,000 fisherman or more.


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Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13715370 09/29/20 06:50 PM
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i personally think whitney could be over populated right now

Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13715463 09/29/20 08:09 PM
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They have been only stocking Whitney for the last 7 years since the big GA kill. On average those first fish stocked would be close to 14lbs. Some people aslo wanna believe that a good many went down stream during the floods, maybe maybe not. Just a little patience and luck that we don't get another massive GA bloom it will return to the 80's and 90's level once again.

A projected size chart for age of stripers

https://stripers247.com/striped-bass-length-to-weight-chart.php

Last edited by 44 Diesel; 09/29/20 08:11 PM.
Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13716191 09/30/20 01:58 PM
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I believe Whitney has more fish than we think in the 17# - 20# range. A good point was mentioned that the larger fish normally require different techniques. That's primarily much larger baits. The Striper population on Whitney is extremely healthy. Targeting fish 15 plus pounds that are lying beneath 1000 smaller fish is pretty hard to do. We caught many fish over 10 lbs this year with the largest being 13#. We had lots of bigger fish come unpinned near the boat. Several, I believe, would have topped 15#. When you consider that it takes roughly 10 plus years for a Striper to reach 20#, and the time since the last GA Bloom, the lake is pretty much in line where it should be. The lack of larger fish has more to do with the die off, and the time time since, than anything else. For the really big fish to show up in large numbers the lake would need to go at least another 5 years without any GA Bloom or other devastating kills. Striped bass replenish very well under good conditions. Whitney has seen great conditions for many years. I'm extremely happy with its current condition. It has gotten noticeably better each year over the last 5. Most guides are fishing live bait and no treble hooks. I said most, not all. They arent causing major damage to smaller fish.They keep what they catch and don't over fish the resource once they limit. Guides don't hurt the lakes. I travel all over Texas chasing Striped fish. Whitney locked me down this year. I fished Texoma, Tawakoni, Richland Chambers, Cedar Creek, Belton, and Canyon. Caught many fish on all of those lakes. I'll take Whitney right now...hands down..no questions asked.

Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13716951 10/01/20 12:00 PM
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I figure TPWD is monitoring Whitney and will impose limits if needed to manage the lake.

Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13717052 10/01/20 01:54 PM
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I just don't understand why a lot of folks reaction to good fishing is "we need more regulation"!

Historical stocking numbers are more than enough to sustain Texas hybrid/striper fisheries. My concern is lack of funding and reduced or eliminated stocking. The effort seems to be underfunded and disorganized as compared to historical data (lake stocking history).

After spending a great part of my life chasing these fish all over state of Texas I can assure you that natural phenomenon have a greater impact on white bass, hybrid, and striper populations than fishing pressure. Assuming the stocking rate is consistent.

Drought- Has a great impact on white bass recruitment. Especially on lakes without a major river feeding it. Even an exceptional lake like Richland Chambers saw extremely reduced numbers in 2014 after years of drought.

Golden Algae- It takes 10 years in my estimation to establish a healthy population of 15# fish

Flooding- Not sure just how many fish get washed downstream, but I know it happens. Lake Livingston and below the Livingston dam has a decent population of hybrids because of the heavy spring rains 2017 and 2018. I think most people assume more wash down stream than what actually do. Reality is that the fishing pattern typically changes for 3 months to a year. Folks think the fish are gone and then they magically re-appear.

Mysterious Kills- The white bass kill on Lake Palestine a couple years ago is a good example.

Last edited by Chris Richardson; 10/07/20 07:19 PM.
Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13717958 10/02/20 02:25 PM
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I don't think anyone sees a need for more regulation on Whitney for species health. However, there is no doubt that catching big girls in the 20 pound and 20+ pound is virtually non-existent. That wasn't always the case at Whitney. I personally don't keep stripers below 20 inches because I don't think the 18-20 inch guys make a good filet, it has nothing to do with fish management. But, I rarely catch anything over 25 inches in length and because of that, I would change the keep limits to 5 fish with only one over 24 inches.

Last edited by Anejo; 10/02/20 02:25 PM.

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Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Anejo] #13717972 10/02/20 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Anejo
I don't think anyone sees a need for more regulation on Whitney for species health. However, there is no doubt that catching big girls in the 20 pound and 20+ pound is virtually non-existent. That wasn't always the case at Whitney. I personally don't keep stripers below 20 inches because I don't think the 18-20 inch guys make a good filet, it has nothing to do with fish management. But, I rarely catch anything over 25 inches in length and because of that, I would change the keep limits to 5 fish with only one over 24 inches.



You can blame the lack of big fish on the GA. I remember going up river in late January during the algae bloom looking for sand bass and seeing hundreds of large stripers (10 -15lbs + ) floating dead all the way from Hamm cr. to the island above spring creek. It was a sad sight seeing very large stripers bloated and floating near the bank. Some of the largest ones were all near the island.

Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: 44 Diesel] #13719427 10/04/20 02:45 AM
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Was that this year?


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Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Chris Richardson] #13721007 10/05/20 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Richardson
I just don't understand why a lot of folks reaction to good fishing is "we need more regulation"!

Historical stocking numbers are more than enough to sustain Texas hybrid/striper fisheries. My concern is lack of funding and reduced or eliminated stocking. The effort seems to be underfunded and disorganized as compared to historical data (lake stocking history).

After spending a great part of my life chasing these fish all over state of Texas I can assure you that natural phenomenon have a greater impact on white bass, hybrid, and striper populations than fishing pressure. Assuming the stocking rate is consistent.

Drought- Has a great impact on white bass recruitment. Especially on lakes without a major river it. Even an exceptional lake like Richland Chambers saw extremely reduced numbers in 2014 after years of drought.

Golden Algae- It takes 10 years in my estimation to establish a healthy population of 15# fish

Flooding- Not sure just how many fish get washed downstream, but I know it happens. Lake Livingston and below the Livingston dam has a decent population of hybrids because of the heavy spring rains 2017 and 2018. I think most people assume more washed down stream than what actually do. Reality is that the fishing pattern typically changes for 3 months to a year. Folks think the fish are gone and then they magically re-appear.

Mysterious Kills- The white bass kill on Lake Palestine a couple years ago is a good example.


YEs Sir!! Whitney has gotten better year after year without any regulation changes. Its going to get even better. Patience is the key. That and adapting to fishing conditions that constantly change. I was out for only 4 hours this past Sunday and scanned many areas. Went North and scanned alot. Scanned all over in front of McCown for an hour alone. Towards the end I went just North of the Islands where I caught most of my fish in the Summer and right there in 55' fow was the largest school I scanned all year. Fish were on the bottom all the way up to 5' under the boat. Caught for an hour consistently without moving. Could not even get a bait to fall straight down without being hit immediately by 12" fish. Even the small ones are all over a 4 oz bait. The fish are HUNGRY right now. Those big spoons will shine for awhile. Had to cast as far as possible to deep water and pull the bait slowly to the school to get in the big fish. Similar to what I did in the Summer. The Lake is great. Fish are abundant. Plenty of Good Guides for those without boats. Restricting Guides on a lake is kinda like saying that only those who own a boat are worthy of enjoying the Lake without limits. I dont see that happening. Just go fish and enjoy the great blessing and recreation this Lake provides.

Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: CenTexan] #13721574 10/06/20 08:40 AM
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Very well said


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Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: CenTexan] #13722113 10/06/20 07:11 PM
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CenTexan,
You said you 'went North of the islands'....
Did you mean the BIG island or is there a Group of 'Islands' in front of McCown somewhere?

Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13722145 10/06/20 07:43 PM
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This whole conversation has been had several times about Texoma. To many guides, to large big bag limits etc. So they made the limit it is now. I don't see how its help with the big fish and its been in place over 10 years at least. But its still more liberal than any other lake in Texas.
I do applaud any guide that asks his customer's to release larger fish. But I am not sure how his business would survive. I can see how a slot may help, but only time would tell.

Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13723134 10/07/20 05:15 PM
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Good discussion in this thread. IMO, no need to limit the guides, or change regs. I don't fish near as much as I used to, but keep thinking I might get back on the water more often. There are plenty of guys that enjoy catching fish and tossing them back, I think that balances out those that keep every fish they can.


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Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: WTBirddog] #13724358 10/08/20 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by WTBirddog
CenTexan,
You said you 'went North of the islands'....
Did you mean the BIG island or is there a Group of 'Islands' in front of McCown somewhere?



Yes sir. Just North of the Big Island on the opposite side of the channel. The fish were very deep and all the way up to nearly the boat. Fishing is great right now and you can find them in very large schools.

Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Chris Richardson] #13734109 10/17/20 03:08 PM
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I agree with you. I have fished lake Whitney since I was a child, and it is returning from the GA bloom perfectly. We are catching bigger fish each year. Those 15+ pound fish didn't get that size overnight before the bloom, and it will take time for them to get that size again. There may be 20+ guides on the lake right now, but those numbers will rise and fall according to those who can make a living doing this. Chris, Davis and myself have been in the business for a long time and have watched the ebb and flow of guides on all lakes. It has become much easier to say "hey I'm a guide" with social media. But more fish are pulled from the lake by recreational fisherman, especially this year with COVID. The number of boats on the lake has increased dramatically. That being said, the TPWD stocks these lakes for a reason, and they monitor the lakes also. They were out on Whitney just a couple of weeks ago. Also a new youth angler state record was caught in 2019. So in my opinion we have a great fishery which is only going to get better as long as there are no blooms.


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Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Anejo] #13741626 10/23/20 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Anejo
I don't think anyone sees a need for more regulation on Whitney for species health. However, there is no doubt that catching big girls in the 20 pound and 20+ pound is virtually non-existent. That wasn't always the case at Whitney. I personally don't keep stripers below 20 inches because I don't think the 18-20 inch guys make a good filet, it has nothing to do with fish management. But, I rarely catch anything over 25 inches in length and because of that, I would change the keep limits to 5 fish with only one over 24 inches.



I'm the same way, with stripers and catfish. Anything over 3-5 lbs in a striper, and 7-8 lbs in a blue, just isn't as good to eat as their smaller kin....imo, of course. So, they get turned back. Plus, the lateral line, and portions of red meat (both of which I cut out), are a lot bigger on the bigger fish.

Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13741914 10/24/20 04:29 AM
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Ya, I’m sorry, but I just disagree. Fishing pressure and more guides is definitely making a difference out there. 3-4 years ago, i could go out with my friends on A rigs and easily catch half a limit of fish. Now I might catch 1-2 a year. I do slab some and catch a bunch of small fish and whites, but really never regularly keepers.

While I am as libertarian and not wanting the government involved as much as anyone, I would say that on these lakes, especially such as whitney that have a non reproducing resource unlike texoma, need better regulation of guides by the state bc 90% are keeping full limits. Sure, the times are good right now, but as soon as the GA reappears with any kind of sustained drought, Whitney will be right back to where it was 10 years ago.

Not trying to be a downer hear, but I want to make sure we can preserve a great fishing lake for a long time and not be ruined whenever the GA returns because it’s not a question of if but when. Hope the TPWD will learn from previous mistakes.

Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: Osbornfishing] #13742667 10/25/20 12:36 AM
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It’s simple really...theirs always been GA outbreaks in the lake, at different points in time. Yet big fish were still abundant. So look at what’s changed about the lake in the last 30 years....the number of Guides.
I spoke with an 75 yr old man the other day at Fun n Sun in Cleburne. He’s fished Whitney only his entire life, and he said and I quote” These damn guides are absolutely taking the joy out of fishing in Whitney.” I myself agree with him. You can spit the GA bs all day long and how it’s killed all the big fish. However the last GA bloom wasn’t the first one ever in the lake... yet 30 years ago their were double digit fish caught consistently. A 15lb fish was a good fish, but 20-40lbs were in there as well...when I was a boy I would sit on a pontoon boat with my grandpa and uncles, they fished and played dominoes under the Katy bridge. Seen some 20+ stripers pulled in on many nights. But that don’t happen any
more. When there’s 15-25 guides who limit twice a day with 3-5 customers, do the math. That’s over 600 fish w/ only 3 people keeping per trip, and the problem with this also is that they’ll keep fish that are 15-3/4” length just so they make their limit and get paid. The real evidence is obvious, if you didn’t fish the lake 30yrs ago then you might not understand or see it, but the difference is there.

Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: FlyFX] #13742739 10/25/20 01:45 AM
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Originally Posted by FlyFX
I think it's all lack of respect for the resources, and yes the blooms don't help.
I have fished several areas around the country that are cpr only, and hope we don't have to go that far.
Maybe we can find a balance. With more and more new anglers it may be challenging.
I agree with Davis, personally 10# is my limit also no matter which species, anything larger is returned only a few eater size kept if wanted.



Lack of respect for the resource ! I see these post/ photo nice meat haul" makes me want to puke. Its totally out of control, turned into a live video game and the fish have no chance. Its all about the $$$$, screw the resource!

Re: Whitney Pressure on Stripers - Is it an Issue? [Re: stroker46] #13748660 10/29/20 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by stroker46
Originally Posted by FlyFX
I think it's all lack of respect for the resources, and yes the blooms don't help.
I have fished several areas around the country that are cpr only, and hope we don't have to go that far.
Maybe we can find a balance. With more and more new anglers it may be challenging.
I agree with Davis, personally 10# is my limit also no matter which species, anything larger is returned only a few eater size kept if wanted.



Lack of respect for the resource ! I see these post/ photo nice meat haul" makes me want to puke. Its totally out of control, turned into a live video game and the fish have no chance. Its all about the $$$$, screw the resource!


I watched three quides fill the boat, twice a day for 3 days straight. And then one was kind enough to throw his leftovers where my kids were swimming.

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