Fishing forecast: Hudson River sightings indicate striper season is around corner
Capt. Joe DeMarco of Upstate Charters reported a few stripers have been caught in the Troy area of the Hudson River. With the weather “supposed” to be warming, the run should be improving daily.
Tom Gentalen of River Basin Sports in Catskill (www.riverbasinsports.com), reported last Saturday that, “It seems the action is starting to happen here in the tidal mid-Hudson River section of the valley. Herring have now been reported up north as far as 4-Mile Point [Athens] on the west shore of the Hudson, and up Stockport Creek on the east side. Some of the fellows at 4-Mile have been ‘stoolie-ing’ and ‘scapping’ the herring, while the Sabiki’s have been the key up in Stockport.”
That means the anglers are using a nine-inch rubber swim bait to attract the herring into a four-foot square bait net. The Sabiki rig is series of fly-like baits also popular for catching herring.
Tom’s River Basin Sports will host its 26th annual Striper Contest. Last year, 750 entered. The payback was over $11,000 to the top five anglers, and the winner took home $6,221. The deadline for entering this year’s tournament is 5 p.m. Sunday, so don’t wait. Entry fee is $15. Application forms can only be picked up at the shop, 66 West Bridge St., Catskill.
There are some new regulations for the Hudson, its tributaries and embayments that anglers should be familiar with before fishing. The season for stripers is March 15 to June 15, and harvest of river herring is allowed all days in the week and at night. No fishing for river herring is allowed outside of these dates. The limit is 10 river herring per angler per day. Fishing can continue, but any caught must be released. All river herring caught and used for bait count toward a daily limit. For full explanation of all the regulations, click here.
I spoke with my friend, Dan Stadler of Schenectady, an avid local angler who spends quite a bit of time fishing for stripers on the river and is usually successful during the early season. Here are a few tips he shared with me.
One of his favorites is a one-ounce hair jig tipped with pieces of herring. If the herring aren’t running, substitute shad or big sucker strips. Dan has had the most success with yellow, red and white or plain white.
Bounce, jig, or drag the bait along the river flats in 15-20 feet of water on or as close to the bottom as possible. The key is to keep a tight line to feel the bite and to be a “line watcher.” That little twitch in the line felt or seen where it enters the water is probably a striper.
When the herring are running, they can be caught for bait. The best way is to buy a few herring rigs like the Sabiki, a long length of monofilament with several branches with a series of small hooks on the end of each and a loop on the end for a sinker. When the bait is located on a depth/fish finder or seen breaking on the surface, drop the Sabiki to them. It doesn’t hurt to do a little jiggling once on the bottom, and when felt, reel it in.
When fishing live bait, Dan uses a specially designed slip rig consisting of a plastic sleeve on the main line, and a bell sinker (one to two ounces) tied to a 40-pound-test swivel. Attach a 2-3 1⁄2-foot, 50-pound-test shock line to the swivel and a 1/0 or 2/0 heavy-gauge bait hook to the tag end. The bait should be hooked through the mouth first and out through the nose.
To fish live bait effectively, anchor in 15-20 feet of water. Because of the tidal water conditions on the Hudson, two good-sized anchors may be required to maintain position in the strong current. Two fluke anchors should do the job. The scope (length) of the line when anchoring your boat should be five to seven times the depth of the water in which he boat is being anchored.
When fishing live bait, be sure to let it sink to the bottom, reel up the slack line and wait. Dan, like many other striper anglers, uses seven- to 10-foot rods and quality baitcasting reels with a built-in bait clicker. The reel will keep the line tight, and when it starts to go out, the clicker will alert the strike.
This is a perfect outfit for fishing from shore. Shore fishers may have to add a little more weight to keep bait on the bottom.
It’s surprising how many anglers follow stripers once they enter the Hudson. There are a number of factors that affect their movement, but the best way to track them is through other striper fishermen.
Throughout the remainder of this month and on into May. I’ll try to include striper location notes in my fishing report.
For daily information, go to the River Basin’s website, and while you’re there, check out the photos of what they’re catching and pay attention to where they “say” they’re being caught.