Freshwater striped bass mainly feed on shad. In the spring, when water temperatures are between 60° and 70° F, the shad are near the surface and the stripers can be caught on top water lures. Lures that imitate a shad are best. Two good ones are Red Fins and Rebels. White bucktails with curlytails are also very effective.
Once the water temperature exceeds 70° F, the shad and stripers seek deeper, cooler water. Then fisherman switch to fishing live bait, deep. Shad, suckers, and shiners are used, but shad are preferred. A key to success is keeping the bait fresh and changing it often. Another key is to remember that stripers are not always in the same place. They follow the shad, and the shad move around. Find the shad and you find the stripers.
In summer when water temperatures approach 80° F, the lake water stratifies with the deeper, cooler water, becoming low in oxygen. The stripers then migrate up feeder rivers seeking the higher oxygen levels of moving water.
A common fishing technique in the rivers, is to slowly troll while casting plugs. In this way the fisherman can cover a lot of water.
In the fall, as water temperatures start to plummet, another window opens up when stripers can again be caught on top-water lures in the lakes.
As with saltwater striper fishing, early mornings and evenings are the best time to fish.