Morone saxadilis, otherwise known as rockfish, striped bass, or stripers, are a prized fish of North America’s Atlantic waters and tributaries.  Anadromous by nature, these ocean dwelling fish spend their summers feeding in the  northern coastal waters.  Following the late summer temperatures, they gently migrate south, spending the winters in  cool coastal waters.  Spring temperatures urge these ocean dwelling fish to seek freshwater habitats for spawning and mass migrations infiltrate the coastal estuaries.  Driven by instinct, males and females alike navigate freshwater rivers, seeking rocky turbulent areas well above the tidal influence for spawning.  Unlike freshwater bass, spawning is quick and often involves several males and a single female who broadcasts her eggs  in the free flowing water. 

The adult fish return to the ocean, leaving their offspring behind.  Eggs, being non-guarded, depend on the turbulent flowing  water to suspended them in the oxygenated portion of the river.  Eggs hatch within a few days and the 1/4 inch long juveniles begin feeding immediately on surrounding zooplankton and tiny water organisms.  Young rockfish spend several years in the tidal tributaries before venturing out into deeper bay and ocean waters.  Maturity is reached within 4 to 8 years.   Healthy rockfish feed vigorously and have a lifespan of several decades during which time they continue to grow, often attaining weights just shy of 100 pounds and measuring close to 5 feet in length.