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Blueback herring: Boondoggle or bonanza?

Herring roam open water in schools, attracting wolfpacks of spotted bass and stripers. The baitfish are chaning fishing patterns where they have become established. Photo by Kyle Jessie

Blueback Herring are an anadromous species of the Atlantic Coast, meaning they spend most of their lives in the ocean but move into coastal rivers and freshwater to spawn. The ability to stay alive long term in freshwater has made them of interest to freshwater fisheries managers looking to boost baitfish populations. Herring improve gamefish growth, and they have been stocked successfully for that purpose in several Atlantic Coast states. They seem particularly beneficial in lakes where spotted bass and stripers are found, inspiring rapid growth and a booming fishery.