Habitat Type: Freshwater
Comments: This is a marine and estuarine coastal species that moves far upstream in channels of medium to large rivers during spawning migrations. In coastal areas, it occurs typically within 6 km of shore. Adults in inshore areas occur over a wide range of substrates. The species has been widely introduced in lakes and impoundments. Some populations complete the life cycle in freshwater. In colder months, striped bass tend to seek the warmest water available at depths greater than 1.5 meters.
Striped bass use rivers, tidally influenced fresh waters, and estuaries for spawning and nursery areas. Preferred spawning areas often are shallow (1-20 feet, 0.3-6.1 meters) and turbid and range from the tidal zone to a few hundred kilometers upstream (usually within 38 miles or 60 km of coast). Spawners often seek areas with strong turbulent flow and substrates of rock and/or fine gravel. At Powell Reservoir, Utah, spawning occurred over a rocky shoal in or near the mixing zone of river water and reservoir water.
Eggs are semibuoyant, drift and sink slowly; in riverine populations, current of about 30 cm/sec reportedly is required to keep eggs afloat and prevent death due to settling on bottom (though this may vary with differences in egg buoyancy in different regions). Juveniles apparently prefer clean sandy bottom but have been found over gravel, rock, and (rarely) soft mud; may or may not move to areas of higher salinity in first summer/fall (varies with locality).
See Hill et al. (1989) and Crance (1984) for habitat suitability index model and details on various environmental requirements and tolerances (e.g., temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, toxicants).