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Striped Bass Spring Migration
May 20, 2009
by Bob Creeden
Article # 3


The Hudson River Striped Bass spawning run is peaking and alewife herring are almost done spawning throughout the river now. Blueback herring are just beginning to spawn.

A small striped bass spawning event near Troy, NY, was reported to Mike Conroy at Conroy’s Bait Supply in Watervliet, NY, last Friday. Mike said this years run has been better than last years. His shop has been very busy and the customers are all happy with the numbers of striped bass available this year.

Sharon Jones of Certified Marine Services, Connelly, NY, said bass have been observed rolling and jumping out of the water in the Kingston, NY. She judged such activity as “heavy spawning!”

Photo by Sharon Jones, Certified Marine Services, Connelly, NY

Army Ranger Vincent Montoya shows off his 46-pound, 6-ounce striped bass at Certified Marine Services in Connelly, NY. He caught this good looking fish while live lining herring from a boat drifting with the tide below Rondout Creek on Friday, May 15, 2009. Vince is originally from Montana. He recently returned from Afghanistan and lives in Highland, NY. Sharon said that Saturday was busy, but Sunday was crushed by the heavy rains that came in Saturday night. Because of this, fishing will slow down for at least the next two days. Turbid, muddy water and cooler water temperatures could stall spawning activity for a bit and extend fishing into June this year.

Pete Longo of Saugerties, NY, is the new leader in the tournament sponsored by River Basin Sports. He caught his 46.75-inch striped bass at 8:00 am, Friday, May 15, 2009, fishing herring near the channel between Malden and Catskill, NY.

1. $5,730.00 - 46.75-inch - Pete Longo - May 15, 2009
2. $1,948.20 - 46.50-inch - Kim Doyle - May 8, 2009

Photo by Tom Gentalen, River Basin Sports, Catskill, NY

The contest will end at noon on Saturday, May 30, 2009. There are bigger fish still swimming in the Hudson. Whoever is in first place will sweat the size of the leading fish until the last day, hour and minute until noon on May 30, 2009. Pete’s brother Vinny is bound and determined to catch a bigger fish. Tom Gentalen reports that the striped bass spawning has started in earnest. Walt Weglinski of Budd Lake, NJ, caught a spawned out 46-inch fish on Tuesday, May 12, 2009. During the middle of last week, River Basin was getting numerous reports of striped bass between 34 and 40-inches from anglers catching and releasing fish between Cheviot and Coxsackie, NY. A 39-inch fish won the Saugerties Rip Van Winkle Tournament last week. The eastern shore between Catskill and N. Germantown was hot last week as well. Shorebound fishermen along the east shore railroad tracks have been getting a good share of the action. Many of those guys are fishing live or chunk herring relatively close to shore, only about 40 feet out. There was a good bite for a couple of days at the Rip Van Winkle Bridge last week. First light conditions are still the best time to be on the water if you want to catch fish. This year the City of Hudson seems to have really been discovered by the striper guys. We’ve been getting good reports about the eastern channel edge all the way from the power lines (south of Hudson) north to lighthouse #140. On the west shore, starting at Four Mile Point and running north to Coxsackie, early morning action has been excellent.

In the Castleton - Bethlehem section above Ravena, NY, a 135 boat fishing derby was won with a 24-pound bass. The Troy Derby, which had about 300 fishermen enrolled, was won with a 21.25-pound fish that was about 36-inches long.

There is an abundance of herring available in the upper sections of the river between the I-90, Berkshire Spur Bridge and the Troy Dam. There has been an excellent run of herring throughout the Hudson Valley this year. The largest striped bass measured at Conroy’s this season was just over 42-inches. The northern end has not seen many fish over 40-inches.

Everyone must remember that the majority of bass caught in these weeks of striped bass spawning are on the move. Waves of bass following and feeding on schools of herring moving northward is a main part of the entire spawning effort. As their bodies acclimate to the pure freshwater environment above the salty estuary, they begin to change and ready themselves for the physical stress of producing another year class of bass. It is in every respect a movable feast for both the striped bass and the anglers who pursue them. There are many spots to catch striped bass in the Hudson River, but there are no consistent spots, because of the migratory nature of the bass. Here today and gone tomorrow is the rule, above all rules, for anglers, during this chance to catch behemoth bass in a constricted environment. The constant movement of fish from place to place is one of the reasons targeting bass at this time is difficult and frustrating. For every successful angler, there are several who have yet to catch a large bass during the spring run in the Hudson River. I head east to Rhode Island and Barnstable on Cape Cod to catch striped bass daily in June to shake off the long fishless hours on the Hudson River in April and May. I catch bass in the Hudson, but it is a waiting game.

Alewife herring enter the river first, followed by the first waves of Hudson River spawning striped bass. American shad slide into the picture and move up the river inline with the wave’s bass and herring schools. Striped bass, especially striped bass over 40 pounds will occasionally target the youngest of the shad as an opportunistically presented meal. In mid-April, blueback herring, the slightly smaller cousin of the alewife herring clan, begin their march up the river. They continue to lead schools of striped bass up the river as they filter into it from various points on the coast. We are at the end of the alewife herring spawn and the second week of blueback herring spawning. There are striped bass entering the river this week and they will provide spawning bass for the next couple of weeks.

Migrating striped bass are filling in the bays and water around Cape Cod, Cape Ann and moving past Plum Island and the Merrimack River. Fishing along the southern beaches of the Cape and the Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket is gathering strength.

Steve Percell, owner of Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown told me that they had a very short small school size bass run this year. It only lasted a few days. Fishing slowed until this past Thursday. A 22-pound blue fish was caught on a Sluggo. After that, anglers fishing the flats from Lobsterville Beach, along the Menemsha Bight and up to Lake Tashmoo began to report pods of striped bass and schools of bluefish hitting silversides and small sand eels. Steve also spoke about the abundance of herring in the runs on the Island. I’ll be speaking to him again next week from the South Counties of Rhode Island where. I’m going to try fishing a cinder worm hatch one more time! Till we meet again! Be safe, be sane, and go fishing as often as you can!
All Stripers All The Time!!

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