16 posts in this topic

IS there any way to tell the male rockfish from the female rockfish? My reason is why not throw back all the big breading females and just keep the males if there is a way to tell the 2 apart.

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There are some indicators such as tail width and body shape etc but there is no real way to tell unless they are over 40", then odds are they are female as the males are generally smaller. That's the number I use anyway, anything over 40" goes back.

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I thought I read somewhere that once a striper reaches a certain size (age) that they don't breed anymore. So throwing back larger ones won't help the breeding stock.

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I would LOVE to see that data, while it is possibly true it's probably a 30+ year old fish and in excess of 60 lbs at that point.

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I'll see if I can find where I read that before and if its a legitimate source.

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I thought they could lay eggs till their ticker stopped...I felt bad last year when I opened up a Rocky and there was a huge sack of roe in her (can you eat rock fish roe?) So there's no real definite way of telling male from female?

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From my understanding, bigguns do lay eggs and a lot more of them.

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Don't know about stripers but largemouth bass keep spawning when old. They just are not producing as many eggs in older age. But there are two very important reasons to releast the bigguns!!!!!

1) They don't taste very good anyway.

2) Even though they may not produce as many eggs (not sure I am right about this) WHATEVER they produce should be protected!!!!! We want the big fish genes passed on! Some fish just don't get big for whatever reason. The biggest fish of the species are the ones we need to protect the most IF you want to keep seeing the big fish.

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From everything I have read, there is a direct coorelation between size and egg production....couple qoutes from a couple different fisherie organizations.

"The number of eggs produced by a female striped bass is directly related to the size of its body; a 12-pound female may produce about 850,000 eggs, and a 55-pound female about 4,200,000 eggs. Although males reach sexual maturity at two or three years of age, no females mature before the age of four, and some not until the age of six. The size of the females at sexual maturity has been used as a criterion for establishing minimum legal size limit regulations in recent years."

"Females produce an average of 160,000 eggs per pound of body weight and spawn once a year."

Just more of a reason to release the bigguns...With that being said, If I havent caught a striper for a while and end up with a biggun on the end of my line, it's probably going to see the dinner table. I personally can't tell the difference between a large and small one, but sometimes I swear I get a few that just taste different, whether large or small. Not sure whether it was what they have been feeding on for a while or how much time they have spent in fresh/brackish waters vs salt or their origin.

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I thought they could lay eggs till their ticker stopped...I felt bad last year when I opened up a Rocky and there was a huge sack of roe in her (can you eat rock fish roe?) So there's no real definite way of telling male from female?

Again, generally speaking fish over 40" will be female. 90% of the time.

On the flats we can tell because the males will be squirting all over the boat but that's C&R anyway.

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ya know I bet there are some pics out there of both M/F rockies and compare them both I bet again that dnr somewhere up and down the coast has a cache of studies on them with charts or pics.......WHen we went fishing when we brought them back home the females retained their color longer the male rockies got pail white.

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IS there any way to tell the male rockfish from the female rockfish? My reason is why not throw back all the big breading females and just keep the males if there is a way to tell the 2 apart.

as of recent statistics, greater than 80% of rockfish that are caught by recreational anglers are female. 95+% of fish over 40" will be female when caught in the main part of the bay. there are several reasons for this

females grow faster than males, so in the summer season, non-migratory fish over 18" are more likely to be female by a small margin. factor in that many people will throw back the 18"er and wait for the 25" fish, more females are caught than males.

the spring season is even worse. females stage in the bay mainstem for several weeks, while males swim upstream to spawn immediately when entering the bay. in the spawning rivers during the spawning season 3/4 or more of the fish are males since they will wait there all spawning season, trying to get lucky. the females however will wait in the bay mainstem, so in this portion of the bay there will be 80% of more females. so if you take the average for 30" fish in the bay mainstem in may, factoring in most males are under 28", your chances are very high that the fish is female.

this is a flaw in the laws in my opinion. i like the double slot for this year, but the NMFS will not allow DNR to set laws taking 18-28" migratory fish, which would have less impact on spawning success. I would support a spring season slot of 18-28" or over 36-40". the 28-36" females are the most fecund, and spawn almost every year.

the commercial catch is about 50% female i believe, but i might be working with dated information on this. the reason for this is that the commercial fishery has a 18-36" slot no matter what the season, and do not target fish when they are staging to spawn. also most of the commercially caught rockfish are 18-24", and they do not cull smaller fish for larger ones as is done in recreational fishing.

there is no way to determine whether a fish is male or female except if it is fecund (full of eggs). it is safe to say that 80% percent of the fish you are allowed to catch in the spring trophy season will be female.

however, having said all of this, the rockfish population can certainly sustain the harvest that is allowed, so you shouldnt beat yourself up about keeping a female fish. if anything, given the deterioration of the bay due to ongoing pollution, the rockfish population is higher that I would have predicted as even possible. the object of NMFS now is to be conservative in case a mistakeis made we wont be back in the 1980's again. if anything, the rockfish might be overpopulated in the 14-18" size range as evident by high mycobacterium levels. mycobacteriosis is the fish equivalent to TB in humans, which spreads in humans during times of very close contact with other people and is likely to be the same for fish in contact with other fish.

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Welcome aboard, Procrabber! Thanks for the info :icon_thumright:

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yes, welcome aboard & very nice write-up. thanks and I agree about the poor condition of the bay, so sad:angry7:

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