In 1983 the Indiana DNR began stocking hybrid striped bass or wipers in many of our freshwater lakes. Five years later my son Greg and I were catching them at Monroe Reservoir. We were vertical fishing about 23 feet deep with solid tubes on wire hooks tied to 6-pound test mono. The six fish we landed weighed from 4 to over 7 pounds. These are great fighters with the instant surge to break lines and or straighten hooks.
Shadyside Lake has received a semiannual stocking of wipers since 1990. The lake record weighed over 16 pounds, if my memory is correct. Steve Calloway caught the fish in March while testing his boat for the upcoming season. He had one rod with a tube jug left tied from the previous season. He made three casts to the middle of the north pit. Steve’s photo made the front page of the DNR fishing regulations magazine.
Identifying the wiper is difficult for the novice and can be costly if one gets it wrong. Shadyside has three species looking similar. Yellow bass are rough fish that seldom reach a pound. They have lateral stripes similar to a striped or hybrid striped bass and have a yellow tinge. The record yellow bass, 2.7 pounds, came from Morse Reservoir.
Hybrids mix the patterns of striped and white bass. Hybrids have a streamlined body with a bluish/black back, silver sides and a white belly. The kicker is their horizontal lines are most often broken forming a “W” pattern above the lateral line. As with striped bass, hybrids have two parallel tooth patches on the center of their tongue. White bass have but one. The horizontal lines on a striped bass are usually straight and connected.
Only a few bodies of Hoosier water have stripers. Brookville and Raccoon (Hardin) reservoirs, as well as the Ohio River, come to mind. The state record striper weighed 39.8 pounds. Shadyside’s water quality is not good for this species.
Hybrids often weigh 5 to 20 pounds and do not successfully spawn. White bass seldom push 3 pounds and reproduce well.
Hybrids and whites are included under a combined daily catch limit of 12 fish, single or in aggregate. No more than two of these fish may exceed 17 inches in length. This rule does a good job of separating the species.
A DNR biologist once told me he shocked some large wipers from deep water just before you get to the canal linking the lower pits. These fish suspend in open water while feeding on shad. Try a big swimbait and get ready for a fight.
I believe Bobber’s Restaurant has wiper photos posted.
For as long as I can remember Shadyside Lake has received 1,000 wiper fingerlings every other year and will remain that for this stocking. The state record is 22 pounds, 2 ounces.
Other lakes being supplemented with hybrid striped bass include Monroe (53,700), Patoka, (44,,000) Freeman, Hardy, Nyona, Worster, Clare, Freeman and Shafer.
A hot spot for wipers and walleye, during any season, is below the dam at Monroe. Expect a lot of hang-ups.
Rick Bramwell’s outdoors column runs on Thursdays.