On a tangental note, I spoke with Joe Bergen, Trout Biologist for Mass, yesterday about their ongoing fish census. He told me that he frequently finds tagged lake trout (they haven't tagged them for at least 4 years) that have grown less than an inch. His theory is that the fish limited by their genetics to reaching a certain size at maturity. From that point on, they may put on a few pounds, but growth in length isn't a given.
But that doesn't mean they limit out at a certain size. A couple of years ago they netted a 35 lake trout out of Wachusett Res. (yes, the fish went back, and is porbably still out there).
Of course, stripers in NE waters don't come from the same spawning areas, neccessarily. Joe Bergen pointed out that while Chesepeake stripers may grow to epic proportions, Hudson River stripers are not known to grow very large.
As far as the statement that larger stripers can't assume their traditional ambush positions, due to so much competition from smaller fish, I disagree. Personally I saw more bait in the water this season than I can ever recall seeing, excluding pogies. Often the problem I felt I experienced was that there was too much bait in the water!
The "scarcity" of bluefish, I believe, is more reflective of a change in patterns among the fish. There are still huge schools to be found, if one looks hard enough. Remember, in the early '40's, no one even knew what a bluefish was (in Mass.)
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