HUDSON RIVER FISHING WITH RIVER BASIN SPORTS

Fishing Tackle for Hudson River Stripers and Black Bass Tournaments
- HUDSON RIVER FISHING REPORTS - 

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SHOP CLOSED WEEK OF AUG. 2 thru 8

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The above are our new hours of business

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THE "MUDPUPPY" HAD A GOOD YEAR IN 2015. THE CATCH INCLUDED THIS
45 INCHER TAKEN SOUTH OF CATSKILL
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 HUDSON RIVER STRIPER UPDATE, SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2015
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Presently the annual striped bass run up the Hudson River is at its peak here in the Catskill area. With 6 days this past week that were over 80 degrees the river’s temperature shot up to 64 degrees and triggered the spawn. Although we haven’t had any reports of a mass spawn (acres of water filled with surface splashing fish) we’ve had multiple reports of smaller spawns taking place. Additionally, numerous accounts of smaller fish following a larger hooked one to the boat have come in – another sign of spawning activity.The best action could continue for up to a week or two yet but from this point on most of the fish that have completed their spawn will start the journey back to salt water. The same can be said for the river’s herrings, they too will lessen in number from this point on.
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But… not all action will come to an end in a couple of weeks. About a week or two after the main spawn ends, just about the time most anglers have hung up their striper gear for another year, some larger stripers that have remained in the river will start making runs up the Catskill Creek on rising tides during times of lesser daylight (night).  They are obviously looking for food and are very catchable on artificials such as large Bombers, Rebels, Rapalas and Rat-L-Traps.
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The trick to catching them is to be out there in the middle of the night as the tide rolls up the creek and cast large, shallow running slim-minnow plugs at transition zones (deep to shallow water). Additionally, some of the stripers will get stuck in the deeper holes as the tide goes out and daylight brightens. In such situations you will find them hanging out at the 15 foot or deeper levels in those holes. Past experiences tell us that there will still be a few herring around right into late June. If you can “sabiki” one of them, cast it out on a slip-float at the 10 – 15 foot level and just let it swim around there is a darn good chance that you’ll nail one of these big late-run beauties (full size shiners, 6-7 inchers, will also work).
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Just as a word of warning – the shoals going up-creek are very hazardous. A tin boat or bass boat equipped with an electric motor can get you there on a half-up tide or better, but if you have a cruiser type boat just forget it. If you stop through the River Basin before you give this a try we’ll be glad to detail the places where you must take most care.
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With the end of this month we at the River Basin will embark on the next phase of our semi-retirement plan and shorten our hours of operation by yet another day. Starting this June we will only be open 3 days a week – Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. We hope to get out on the water more often and make up for all those times we missed out on since we opened the shop back in 1979. Striper season’s just about over – but black bass season is just about to start and we can hardly wait.    Tom G 
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 HUDSON RIVER STRIPER UPDATE, SATURDAY, MAY 09, 2015
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The large concentration of stripers that had been hanging around the Catskill area this past week appears to have thinned out. The drift area locally known as the “bridge run,” which extends north from the Catskill launch ramp to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, and then about the same distance again further upriver, was producing good stripers (some going up over 40 inches) right through Thursday. Reports from some shore bound anglers there, as well as boaters, were of landings of multiple fish. However by Friday it became obvious that the main bulk of stripers had moved on and the catch ratio dropped considerably.
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Reports from Kingston and Tivoli have been of good action while from Saugerties and Malden the action was somewhat soft for many anglers. The same can be said for Germantown.  At Catskill it seems that one or two fish a day has still been possible yesterday and today, but only by getting lucky and putting in a full day’s worth of effort. The power lines to the north, about 2/3 of the way to Hudson, have been tough. Four Mile Point and the Coxsackie area were reported to be a little bit disappointing but then we heard about anglers at the launch ramp dock doing quite well. Further upriver we haven’t heard too much from the Ravena section, but the Henry Hudson Park at Bethlehem was said to be tough but had plenty of herring. Herring are said to be really stacked up at the head of tidewater in Troy.
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The water temperature here in the Catskill area yesterday (Friday) was 60 degrees but the shallow back bays were even warmer. The present situation is a classic immediate pre-spawn scenario for the striped bass in the river. Most knowledgeable river anglers have their fingers crossed hoping for some cooler weather or rain - anything to prolong the time prior to spawn. Once spawned, the stripers will start to their exodus from the river.
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Even so, all the stripers won’t spawn at once – the process could be stretched out for 2 to 3 weeks throughout the length of the waterway, and even then there will be straggler stripers around right into the beginning of June.
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The main thing to remember is that the number of fish in the river will be peaking this coming week or two, right along with their activity level. This period should provide the best time of the year for you to get in some good fishing.    Tom G
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 HUDSON RIVER STRIPER UPDATE, MAY 06, 2015

Latest reports from the water indicate that the number of stripers in the mid-Hudson River area may just be starting to reach peak. Several anglers today reported the river’s temperature in the Catskill area to be in the 58 to 59 degree range and that the striper action was very good. Reports of multiple boatings of 4 to 8 fish were related to us. Catches of 20 to 28 inch keepers have been reported as commonplace as have reports of plenty of 29 to 40 inchers. Additionally, it seems that we have been getting more reports of 40+ inchers than in any other recent year – could it be that we haven’t had the opportunity to measure them on our own measuring board?

 One anomalous report was of a 45 incher that only weighed 36 pounds – extremely light for that size. A kayaker paddling from Coxsackie to Catskill reported seeing at least 4 fish being caught by boaters along the course of his journey. Another boater reported seeing an anchored boat about 3 miles south of Catskill catch 2 fish while he had eyes on it… later on those same anglers reported having actually caught 7 stripers while anchored there. The vicinity of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge was also producing stripers with several purportedly going over 40 inches. Although both chunk and live baits are working it seems that chunk is the preferred one amongst the majority of the fishermen.

A couple of days ago herring in the river were a little bit spotty but today it seemed like they were everywhere in the main river, however a little bit spotty in the Catskill Creek. Reports from the Rondout Creek down in Kingston were of just loads of herring having arrived – almost shore to shore. Of course these are just schools of herring moving through, sometimes remaining in an area for a few days and at other times being gone in hours. You can’t really be absolutely certain that they’ll be waiting for you when you arrive. Those Kingston herring could be in Catskill tomorrow.

With the latest weather forecasts calling for temperatures exceeding 80 degrees for just about the next week straight the waters are going to warm up fast, much faster than we anticipated, or wanted. Now it seems that it’s possible for some striper spawns to start about a week earlier than had anticipated –perhaps sometime next week. If we get a 4 to 5 degree rise in the river’s temperature this earlier spawn is an almost certainty.

The annual run appears to be quickly heading towards a peak – if your fishing time is limited to weekends then this one coming up should be on your priority list.

By the way, we've still got plenty of the internet special deal OKUMA 65b baitrunner deals left for anyone who could use an extra reel (see previous report). The deal ends this Saturday so be sure not to miss out - remember you have to ask for it, it's not advertised at the shop.    Tom G
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HUDSON RIVER STRIPER REPORT, SATURDAY MAY 2, 2015

At last, and just in time, we’ve got a gorgeous weekend for our anglers! And today saw lots of them heading out onto the Hudson’s waters in pursuit of striped bass as the annual run progresses up the river. Although most reports this past week were of spotty action there is no denying that some anglers fared much better than others.

In the Kingston area the beginning of the week saw good striper fishing for anglers… unfortunately most of those fish were “in the slot” (28 to 40”) and had to be returned to the water. Although that action seemed to diminish somewhat as the week moved on there were still fish to be caught. We had one lady standing here at the shop’s check-out counter who received a cell phone picture of a nice striper just caught by her son while she was waiting to pay – only to receive another call just a minute later of yet another fish hooked and on the line.

The Saugerties / Malden area has been receiving decent action, not only from shoreline anglers but also from boats hitting the mid-river Green Flats. The Malden shoreline area actually is the location where two of the largest stripers the River Basin has ever measured were caught – Jeremy Phillips’ 48 ½ incher back in 2007, and John Repko’s 48 ¼” in 2004. The channel swings in real close to shore there, providing reachable casting distance for the anglers.

Proceeding upriver we’re still getting good reports from shore bound anglers in the Tivoli and Germantown areas. There have been several linesiders exceeding 40 inches taken from that section of the waterway. The Catskill section and water around the Rip Van Winkle Bridge has been a little bit spotty but still some nice fish up to 39 inches have been taken but keeper (sub 28”) fish are the main catch. Both sides of the channel above the bridge have been producing.

North of Athens the 4 Mile Point area is good, as is the Stockport Creek (lots of herring) across the river. The Coxsackie cliffs a few miles further north have their usual following of boats and fish up to 38 inches are being caught. We’ve had a report of a 40+ taken at Coxsackie. The Ravena / Castelton waters have been providing action, but with smaller size fish.  We’ve had reports of stripers from Bethlehem and further north but in limited numbers and of smaller sizes.

Herring are spread throughout the waterway, still - you have to be there when the school is passing through or else it’s a long time jigging up some bait. Best bet to do that is in a creek with a sabiki – remember that nets are prohibited in creeks and there have been numerous citations passed out by ENCON officers to herring “poachers” who THOUGHT they could safely make a quick net run.

Here at the shop we are offering another “striper super special” deal, but only to the readers of our web site reports. This time it’s a baitrunner spinning reel – the brand new 2015 Okuma Avenger ABF-65b. This is the larger version of the ABF-55b which we specialed off on a combo a couple of weeks ago. The Okuma company says that it has a 20 pound test line capacity of 300 yards… but it’s actually not that much. Probably 200 to 225 yards is a better estimate, depending on the diameter and brand of line. This series and size has been our #1 best seller for the past 10 years and is a well-built reel.

Our regular price for the ABF 65b this year is $69.99 but, through May 9th only, if you make an accompanying purchase of $30 on anything else you can pick one of these babies up for just $49.98. Not a bad deal at all when you figure that you could probably use another $30 worth of striper tackle without batting an eye, even if it’s just to have for next year. This deal is not advertised at the store, you must ask for it and you must make an additional purchase of $30 to get it. Supplies are limited.

Back to the stripers – we are figuring that this year’s main river spawn here in the Catskill area will probably be taking place either at the very end of the third week of May or at the beginning of the fourth. This is just based on what we are seeing at the present time. We sure as heck wouldn’t bet any money that this is when it will happen – Mother Nature can turn things around far too quickly.    Tom G

 

We've still got plenty of our "internet special reel deal" specials on the Okuma 65b baitrunners left but just remember that this deal ends on this coming Saturday (see previous fishing report).     Tom G

 

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 HUDSON RIVER STRIPER UPDATE, APRIL 25, 2015

The number of striper fishermen on the river this past week was far below what we had seen during comparable periods during the past two years. This has been, undoubtedly, not only due to the miserable weather we’ve been having but probably due just as well to the draconian slot limit imposed on them by the powers that be. The intent of the 28 to 40 inch “throw back” regulation was to reduce our striped bass harvest by 25 percent, dropping it down to the 2013 year level. In actuality it will probably reduce it by 80 to 85 percent when one takes into consideration that the “slot-returnable” fish probably constitute just about that same 80 to 85 percent of total catch.

It’s certainly a deterrent to the river’s sport fishermen but definitely a plus for salt water anglers and commercial fishermen who are just about mandated to keep the very same fish that the river anglers must throw back. Better solutions could have been found, ones which would have been more in keeping with Governor Cuomo’s “New York Open for Fishing and Hunting” program.

Anyhow… we have had no reports of any stripers over 40” being caught anywhere along the river way. Herring are all the way up to Albany now and the Postenkill has been supplying the needs of the Capitol’s anglers. The striper reports we’ve been getting these past few days have been of decent fishing, mainly from the area between Saugerties and Coxsackie.

Germantown and Cheviot have been giving shore bound anglers decent action using chunk bait. Similarly, the Catskill area, as well as the creek, has been producing, although seemingly mostly during the early morning or late, late afternoon. The stretch above the Rip Van Winkle Bridge has also been starting to show action. A little further upriver in the Four Mile Point area fish between 20 and 38 inches have been taken during the past week, again in the early mornings. Jumping all the way up to Bethlehem’s Henry Hudson Park we find that those fishermen have also been getting in on the action during the early morning hours.

Still, don’t go thinking that there has been any fast and furious action out there – the reports up to now have been from just a couple of handfuls of anglers and are, therefore spotty. This coming week should give us a truer picture of what’s happening.      Tom G

 

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HUDSON RIVER STRIPER UPDATE, APRIL 18, 2015

Friday, April 17, finally saw some larger schools of herring moving into our section of the Hudson River. Anglers in the Esopus, Roe-Jan, Catskill and Stockport Creeks finally started seeing more than just one or two scattered fish to throw their Sabikis at. Then on Saturday, April 18 it became obvious that the first schools of stripers were right on the heels of the herring – we saw several phone pictures taken of stripers ranging in size up to 38.5 inches, all of which were illegal to keep this year, but there was a 24.5 incher from the Catskill Creek that was legal. We have not heard of any action north of Coxsackie as of yet but we’re sure that the herring are probably up to or past Bethlehem by this time (perhaps the stripers also).

Still in all, keep in mind that this is just the start of the run – the numbers of both herring and stripers will continue to build during the next three weeks or more and the fishing will get better and better until we hit the spawn. It is time, ladies and gentlemen, to get out there.    Tom G

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HUDSON RIVER STRIPER REPORT, APRIL 16, 2015

 

CONDITIONS IMPROVING

Although we have heard rumbles of a striper or two being caught there still has been a definite lack of action here in the mid-Hudson River Valley for either herring or the stripers. Even so, conditions are improving each day and this past weekend found the docks at Catskill’s launch ramp to be in place, just waiting for the first stalwart striper anglers of the season. I actually saw two striper boats troll up the Catskill Creek this past Sunday, only to return from that short cruise empty-handed.

Presently the water color of the creek is just about a perfect fishable hue but the main Hudson River here is still at least 4 to 5 days away from a reasonable clarity level. We took the river’s temperature at the Catskill launch this morning and found it to have risen to 43 degrees. Wow! – a full 1 degree increase from what we found on Tuesday but 7 degrees better than a week ago… altogether a welcome improvement since 43 seems to be a sort of a magic number after which we usually start to see herring and striper movement into our area.

 Most certainly there have been a few stray fish around here for a while now, verifiable by the arrival of the ospreys two weeks ago and then, just 4 days after that, having the cormorants show up. So any day now, from this point on we could see a big push of fish upriver.

To help welcome in the start of the 2015 striped bass season here at the River Basin Sport Shop we have one super special striped bass rod and reel combo deal to offer – but for the next week only. It’s the brand new Okuma model ABF 55b bait feeder reel matched up with our most popular striper stick, the Shimano 7 foot Avenger 40 lb. test rated rod.

Our regular combo price on this setup is $124.98, which usually can be further reduced to $109.98 by making it a CASH (no credit card) purchase. However, during this next week, through April 25th only, we’ll knock another $20 off so you can get it for an $89.98 cash only purchase. This deal will NOT be advertised at the store, the only way to get it is to ask for the web-site special when you come to the shop. It’s a good time to pick up a spare outfit, either for yourself (you ARE allowed to use 3 rods now-a-days) or just to have on hand for the friend who shows up with no gear at all.

In the meantime we’re just going to sit back and relax. As soon as we hear of any breaking news on the striper front we’ll post it here, so be sure to check back every so often to see what’s happening.      Tom G

 

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IT WON’T BE LONG NOW – HUDSON RIVER STRIPER  REPORT -   April 9, 2015

A spring time sight to make the pulse of any long-time Hudson River striper fisherman beat a little harder has been the arrival of the ospreys back to local waters. It’s knowing that these birds don’t arrive until the first herring, the primary forage for the soon-to-arrive striped bass, show up that gladdens the angler’s hearts. And, just a few days ago the first of these birds was spotted perched in a tall poplar tree above the 9W highway bridge in Catskill. Now, even though no herring have been reported caught by our stalwart local anglers, we know that the first of that silvery hoard must have made it to our waters. It’s simply a matter of waiting for their numbers to grow sufficiently until they can be caught.

BRING ON THE HERRING – HOW TO CATCH THEM

As more herring do arrive here the year’s main run of stripers won’t be too far behind, looking to ravenously feed on these delicious little snacks. And just as avidly our striper fishermen will be out on the water trying to catch herring to use as bait for the stripers. Basically there are two non-commercial methods that are used to catch herring, jigging and “stooling”.

At the start of the run, when the waters are still in the low 40 degree range, the herring in the main river will tend to stay deeper and thus are harder to catch. But in the creeks they will be much more accessible. Since the use of any nets to catch herring in the Hudson’s tributaries has been banned by the state the method to use is jigging.

SABIKIS

After the striper population first started to explode about 30 years ago the main method used to catch herring was to cast small “darts,” slowly jigging them back to the angler. That fell by the wayside a few years later when herring bait rigs, commonly referred to as “sabikis,” were discovered. These multi-hooked rigs with their small hooks were far more effective at catching the baits, and not just singly but sometimes with two, three or more herring being caught at the same time.

Sabikis come in many different colors and styles. Some are fairly gaudy with bright feathers, some with just tiny flecks of fish skin or tinsel attached, and yet others are just plain hooks with small beads immediately above. Generally the hooks will be gold in color and all the styles of rigs will have a bead of some color above the hook. State law prohibits the use of more than 5 lures on a line and some sabikis have more than that number – cutting of any excess hooks won’t impair the action or effectiveness of the rigs so do that if you find it necessary.

Since we here at the River Basin stock dozens of different herring rigs from which to choose it may take some trial and error to find out which ones work the best in your situation. Ask any five anglers which one is best and you’ll probably get five different answers, all depending on hook size, bead color and dressing. Our personal favorite in clear water is the “Wally Whale” which is just a plain hook and bead combo. However, when water gets a little bit cloudier we’ll switch to something with a bit of fish skin or tinsel attached. Experimentation quite often will be the key to success.

However, there is one thing that can considerably increase the effectiveness of any sabiki and that’s by using an attractor tied to the bottom of the rig. This was a closely guarded secret here at the shop just a few years ago but now has become far better known. The attractors we stock are “dodgers” that are silver, silver and gold, or prism sided and are about 5 inches long. They seem to increase the odds of success several fold. If you don’t have one of these, try tying a silver spoon or spinner blade to your jigging rig. Perhaps these won’t be as effective as the dodgers but they definitely will boost your catch.

STOOLIES

The other method to catch herring is through the use of a “stoolie.” This moniker was attached to the 9 inch rubber swim-baits used to attract herring by some Saugerties anglers back about 15 years ago. That’s when one of them entered the River Basin and asked where the stoolies were. We had no idea since we didn’t even know what he was referring to until he explained that Stoolie was short for “stool pigeon”, fairly aptly named for something that will get others (i.e. herring) into serious trouble.

A stoolie is simply cast out and retrieved. If the stoolie is of a shape and color attractive to herring they tend to follow it on the retrieve. The idea is to lure the live fish back close enough to the angler and capture it with a net. It’s amazing how well this method works. Favorite colors for stoolies are white or white with black back, as well as many other hues, some with silver metal flake embedded. We have about a dozen different colors, rigged and unrigged, available here at the shop to choose from. Although a four foot scap net is most effectively used with this method we see all sorts of nets utilized up and down the river. Here again there are some restrictions as to the size of nets that can be used.

SCAP NETS

The four by four foot specialty scap nets such as which we sell at the shop, even though they are commercial grade, do not require any special license for their use - but anything larger requires a permit. “Scoop” or landing nets have a listed regulation of having to be no more than 14” across or 13x13” if square in shape. Kind of ridiculously small, don’t you think? Yeah, but it seems that somehow the net dimensions which were put into effect decades ago for catching smelt have now been transferred to apply to herring in our area - and I’m sure they won’t ever be rescinded. Don’t forget that present day herring rules only allow you 10 herring per angler per day for personal use, however, charter boats have different regs. There also are additional rules for the use of seine and cast nets.

COLD WATER

Presently the Catskill Creek is flowing quite muddy from yesterday’s rain and from the resulting snow-melt runoff. There’s still more snow up in the mountains that has to melt but the warmer weather predicted for this coming week should pretty much put an end to that. Last week ENCON shocked our creek and put radio transmitters on a bunch of walleyes. The creek’s water temperature at that time was 39 degrees. But if you think that’s cold how about the 36 degree temperature I found when I measured the main Hudson River down at the Catskill launch ramp this morning. Certainly the conditions aren’t optimal at the present time but… no matter what, you can be sure that the herring and stripers are downriver somewhere, on their way here to us.        Tom G

 

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ICE - GOING… GOING… NOW GONE!             RIVER REPORT March 28, 2015

Daylight on the lower tidewater Catskill Creek Thursday morning at 6:30 revealed a welcome sight – a flock of about 25 merganser ducks were swimming and diving all along the bank to bank ice-line about 100 yards downstream from where I stood. These birds were a sure sign of impending ice out occurring and sure enough, by noon the remainder of the ice sheet that had been covering that section of the lower creek had washed out. So we have now logged our official ice out of 2015 on March 27.

Actually I had been kind of hoping to see the ice-out occur even a couple of days later. That way it would have given us a new record for the latest we had seen this event happen on the lower creek. That mark was previously set back in 1993 when it took place on March 28. From now on it’s just a matter of sitting back and waiting for this year’s river herring and striped bass migrations to arrive. But, this is a very serious annual topic of discussion for all the avid striped bass fishermen who have endured a long, bitter cold winter to arrive at this point.

Generally speaking, and after checking through River Basin’s past records, during an “average” year we find that the earliest of these fish (we call them “scouts”) have tended to show up in our section of the mid-Hudson Valley around the start of April. Then the main body of fish tends to start arriving sometime in the third week of April. And even though the past two years have seen the migrations arrive earlier than normal – it ain’t gonna happen this year!

We find that back in 1993 (ice out March 28) our first reports of herring here in the Catskill Creek came in on April 9. That certainly was a rather quick arrival - it seems as though a real warm spell must have occurred then since the creek’s water temperature had already risen up to 43 degrees.

The stripers lagged somewhat behind then and none were reported caught until April 20th at which time the water had warmed up to 47. Using experience gained from the past 20 years of tracking their movements we suspect that the stripers might have been here somewhat earlier than that but simply none had been caught.

And here is where we stand right now on March 28. We expect (and hope) the herring to start to showing up here in the Catskill area in a little over a week, with the stripers arriving during the third week of April. Any earlier reports would be just of “scout” fish showing up. It’s time now to start digging out the striper gear and figuring out what needs replenishing. Just remember – that’s what the River Basin is here for and we’ve got the best selection of striper tackle with which to do it.                Tom G

 

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 HERE WE GO – STRIPERS 2015 – NEW REGULATIONS.

March 18, supposedly the third day of our 2015 striped bass season arrived cold and windy at Catskill today. Even so I saw my first flock of red-winged blackbirds arrive to mob my bird feeders – the weather wasn’t about to keep them away. A mere 50 feet past the birds lay the Catskill Creek and a quarter of a mile further the mighty Hudson River, both shimmering in the morning sunlight and both waters still thickly ensconced in ice. It was hard to believe that just two years previous the first striped bass were not only already here, but all the way to Coxsackie!

Obviously that is not happening this year. What else is NOT happening this year is the official start of our striped bass season on March 16th. It seems that the revised striped bass regulations which were supposed to be implemented prior to that date didn't make it... when I checked on the 15th, 16th and 17th I could find no mention of changes for the Hudson River north of the George Washington Bridge – our waters. It wasn't until this morning when they were finally disseminated, but since this was NOT done in a timely manner the way around that sticking point was to simply change the opening date for stripers - it NOW has become April 1st.

Of course the main run of stripers will not have reached our mid-Hudson Valley by April 1 anyway, although perhaps just a few “scout” fish may be poking around. But when they do arrive the ones that you may catch and keep will be different from what you were allowed in years past. We now have in effect what is known as a “slot limit” which allows you to keep but one 18 to 28 inch fish per day. As a sort of appeasement to the fishermen there is an exception for a “trophy” fish – you may keep one striper greater than 40 inches in length. One or the other on the sizes, you may only harvest ONE striper per day!

The funny part about this is that these smaller size limits only apply to anglers fishing in the mid-Hudson River. Stripers greater than 28 inches are exclusively reserved for salt water anglers south of the George Washington Bridge. Oh, and commercial fishermen also are allowed to catch the bigger fish – their slot limit is 28 to 38 inches. Even the Delaware River anglers can keep larger fish, their regulation being 1 fish over 28 inches daily with no closed season.

The one thing that did surprise me about the new regulations is that there was NO change to our herring laws. Basically they remain at 10 herring per angler per day with no netting of any kind allowed in tributaries. The exceptions to this are in the Delaware River and in the Marine District where the use of herring is prohibited.

At least we finally know what we have to prepare for this year, and now we can refine what we’ve been doing for the past several months here at the River Basin Sport Shop. Heavy duty striper equipment for those “over 40 inch trophy fish” is now readily available here. At the present time we have over 30 different baitrunner reels in stock for you striper guys. Additionally, we’ve put together rod and reel combos so you can get even greater savings on outfits. Bulk spooling of reels with 20, 25, 30 or 40 pound TRILENE BIG GAME LINE is available. Huge striper landing nets (you won’t really need one of these unless you hook a 40 inch or greater fish) are here, as are all kinds of sinkers of a size to be used in the river.

Stoolies to attract herring are now crowding our displays and so are rigs and terminal tackle of all kinds. Presently we have some scap nets in stock but this year the supply will be very limited – you might want to place an advance order if you need one. Sabikis and herring rigs of all sorts and sizes are also in stock and we’re still unpacking and stocking all sorts of additional tackle including herring cages and artificial lures. I think you’ll find your best selection of striper gear nowhere else but here.

The river ice will be breaking up during the next couple of weeks and you can be sure that the arrival of the stripers won’t be far behind. This is the time of the year to find the greatest selection of striper tackle but do remember that our store will only be open 4 days a week since we are not hosting our striper contest this year. When we hear of other striper contests which we deem to be worthwhile we’ll be glad to give them a plug here on our website so be sure to check back often for the latest news.   Tom G

 

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A NOT SO FAST START TO A NEW SEASON - fishing update March 2, 2015

Sunday morning, as I sat comfortably in my recliner gazing out the window, I saw the Coast Guard ice breaker crashing through the river’s floes as it passed by the mouth of the Catskill Creek, on its way up the frozen Hudson River. That morning there were no barges stuck out there in the narrow path of thick chunk ice - quite a change from the past few weeks when I’d observed as many as four vessels halted at the same time. It’s been cold! But now it’s time to look forward to what will, or will not, be happening during the next month or two.

If the present amount of ice and snow is any indication of how the next few weeks are going to shape up then it certainly appears that this year’s striped bass run up the Hudson River will not arrive early.  Just a few years ago, in 2012, we saw the first stripers nosing around our area around March 15th. Last year it was later - April 6th. I don’t see it happening early again like either of those years… but then again Mother Nature is known to throw us a clinker every once in a while. If it should happen, an extra-late run of stripers would undoubtedly disappoint the hundreds of avid fishermen awaiting their arrival, an event which has always been a portent of a beautiful spring and summer yet to come here in our mid-Hudson River valley. As of right now we’d have to guess it’ll happen sometime in the third week of April for the Catskill area.

THE END OF RIVER BASIN’S STRIPED BASS CONTEST

Now for a bit of bad news to many of you anglers who have participated in our local striped bass contest throughout the years – the River Basin Sport Shop, after 27 years of sponsorship, is discontinuing this annual event. It’s time for my wife Linda and I to take some time to relax a bit more and actually get out there on the water to participate in the great action the Hudson has been affording all of you these many years.

SHOP’S NEW SCHEDULE

Oh, the River Basin Sport Shop will NOT be closing… we’ll still be here but operating on a far-reduced schedule compared to the seven days a week which we’ve held to for the past 27 striper runs. As it appears now, for the 2015 striped bass season the shop will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. This schedule will be in effect from the time of our March opening this Friday the 6th through May 23. Then, starting on Thursday May 28th we will start our summer schedule where we’ll only be open three days a week – Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 to 5 p.m. I guess that I’ll be calling this the “semi-retirement” phase of my life.

The River Basin will be fully functional during our open hours, especially during the striper season. Even now we’re unpacking new tackle and hanging it on display. Lots of heavy-duty striper gear – rods, baitrunner reels, line, hooks (both “J” and circle styles), rigs, stoolies, sabikis, river sinkers and loads of terminal tackle. And, of course, we’ll still be bulk-spooling your striper reels if you wish. Additionally, we’ll keep this web site updated all throughout the striper run so you can find out what’s happening out there.

WHAT’S GOING ON OUT THERE – A MUST READ

Unfortunately I now have to tell you that there is a large change in the air regarding how we are going to be allowed to pursue the passion of our striped bass fishing. It seems that all of you fishermen have been observed having fun out there on the water - without adequate rules and regulations to keep you in line – and that has to come to a halt! Therefore several new proposals have been floated to remedy this situation, all of which consist of restrictions on how you can catch these fish.

It seems that the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), the group governing the striped bass fishery along the east coast of the United States, has decided that a 25% reduction from 2013 harvest levels is necessitated for this fishery. New York, and thereby the Hudson River, is included in the list of coastal states that must comply. Additionally, among these policy makers there also is the thought that the Hudson River should have an even greater reduction than 25% since all of you are out there catching so many fish.

Several options have been developed for the Hudson River in order to bring it into compliance with the ASMFC mandate – yes, all of them restrictive to one degree or another. The final determination of which option we would be saddled with was supposed to be decided this February since it has to be implemented prior to the opening of our striped bass season (March 16). However, as of the present time I have not been able to find out which one it was. Since we are already into the start of March somebody really should let us know soon. But I guess that they don’t really have to be in a hurry since they can by-pass the normal procedures for implementing change by declaring this to be an ”emergency” measure – sort of like the “executive orders” we’ve been seeing from the federal government the past couple of years.

It’s likely that any new regulation to come into effect will narrow down to the following, or a possible combination of the following: a slot limit of 18-28 inches; mandatory circle hooks; one trophy fish of 40 inches or more; one fish trophy limit of 44 inches or greater; split season with a slot limit for the first half and one 28 inch fish for the second half and etc., etc., etc. The different combinations are so various and convoluted that I’m not listing them all here. We’ll find out soon enough what they want from us.

One thing for sure is that it will put a big knife in the back of the Hudson River striper fishery. Striper tournaments might just become a thing of the past. Funny thing, thinking back a few years that’s just about the same thing that was done to the Hudson’s black bass tournaments when the bass size limit in the river was FOOLISHLY raised from 12 to 15 inches, even for tournament fish which were all going to be released. Other than small local club tournaments such events have just about all been driven away. Way to go New York!                         Tom G

 

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 Hudson River fishing report - Saturday, June 28, 2014

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Presently the main Hudson River is flowing quite muddy from the effects of the line of thunderstorms that went through at the start of the past week. The tributary creeks are likely to be mixed in their condition but all should be fishable to some extent - some will probably be clean flowing. These creeks clean up quite rapidly and their condition improves rapidly while that of the Hudson usually takes a couple of weeks to get better. Water temperature will be in the low 70's.

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The water chestnut beds are just about fully developed so they should be holding bass. The carp spawn is ongoing and you can expect to see them causing quite a commotion in the chestnut beds. Smallmouth action should get better during oncoming days as the water conditions continue to improve.     Tom G

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Hudson River Striper Contest Update – Thursday, May 29, 2014

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It certainly feels like an anticlimactic conclusion to our striped bass run this year.  We had started the season out so well with great water conditions – specifically, no early mud! Granted the water was cold, in the 40 – 42 degree range, but it didn’t seem to slow the arrival of the herring and stripers a bit. They showed up at just about their normal expected time here in our area (the previous two years they had been weeks early).

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The striper fishing got off to a great start, at least in the waters from Coxsackie downriver - lots of stripers in the 24 to 36 inch range were caught in the third week of April. Then we got a pleasant early season surprise on April 26 when Roger Pulver, fishing from shore to the north of Athens, landed a 46 ½ inch, 50 pound striper.

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From that time on the run continued to improve, both in the number of fish caught as well as their size, right into the first week of May when the real BIG boys showed up. The second week of May turned into true lunker time, that's when three of the top five contest stripers were taken.

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Even after that the good action continued - lots of stripers ranging in size from 18 to 40 inches were landed. Along with all those stripers we also saw an overabundance of herring and shad.

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The first signs of spawn started during the third week of May but we had no reports of what we considered a “mass spawn” taking place. It seemed that the water temperature just jiggled up and down too much during that critical period and all we got was reports of “spot” spawns.

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The spawn was barely under way when Mother Nature finally caught up to us with some pretty nasty wet weather. The river turned to chocolate mud from days of heavy rain – the Schoharie Creek pumping more mud into the already muddy Mohawk River which, in turn, added to the already almost overflowing Hudson. Down past Troy it became a real mess for the final two weeks of the run and most of the “Average Joe” weekend fishermen abandoned their striper quest for this year.

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But still, even though the river in the Albany area was considered unfishable by some, decent striper fishing was taking place in the muddy waters further downriver, from Coxsackie to the south. And, believe it or not, some of that same fishing is still taking place this week, although now with much improved water conditions. Even today, with hardly anybody out there fishing, we have received good reports of stripers in the 18 to 30 inch range being caught, and even a couple in the 37 – 38 inch sizes. Not too shabby at all.

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Regardless, we now are getting ready for the end of our striped bass contest - it concludes this Saturday, May 31st at noon. Unless someone nails a real “hog” out there before then it seems that the final 5 top finishers will be 1st – Art Robinson, 2nd – Wayne Schuman, 3rd – Roger Pulver Jr., 4th – Nick Kulick, and 5th – Ryan Bielefeldt. These guys should call us for confirmation before noon Saturday if they have a doubt about the results. Since we don’t contact anybody directly - do you think they’ll be checking this web site often between now and then?

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But anyway, whoever the top 5 fishermen will be may stop through the store after 12 noon this Saturday to pick up their prizes. They will be required to present their driver’s licenses and social security numbers, as well as sign a “Certificate of Compliance” at that time. If that’s not opportune then they’ll have to come through after June 10th when we’ll re-open after a brief week’s vacation.

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Many thanks to everyone who participated this year, you helped make our event yet another resounding success – the best in the Hudson River Valley!     Tom G

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Hudson River Striped Bass Update – Thursday, May 22, 2014.
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Our STRIPED BASS TOURNAMENT conditions and observations:
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Less than a week and a half to go… the river’s muddy; lots of floating debris; most of the creeks are very fishable; still lots of herring around but fewer each day; smaller spot spawns of stripers are being reported but no mass spawns as of yet; some anglers netting their stripers and discovering one or two extra stripers in their landing net – a sure sign of ongoing spawn; due to river conditions the Albany area is being described as unfishable at present; striper season boaters pulling their boats from their rental docks; some upriver charter boats are moving further downriver or going to other waters; multiple reports of 50 – 60 striper catches this year by some lucky anglers; for most striper fishermen a great year; state record 60 pounder caught but not in our contest.
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It now appears that the odds are in favor of the present striper contest standings remaining in place until the conclusion of the event at 12 noon on May 31… but since the spawn is still ongoing a change is possible… even though the river has turned to crud.
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In actuality though, there is a certain group of anglers that can always throw the present standings for a loop - they have all placed high in our contest in years past with multiple high listings. To name a few, there are Chudkosky, Green, Borchert, Walsh and Doyle, all of whom have not brought in anything yet this year.
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These guys mostly feel that in the section which they all fish the largest fish of the year tend to show up late in the run. The bigger fish we at the River Basin Sports Shop have seen so far have all come from waters to the north of their favorite locations. I’m sure that anglers such as those mentioned above, due to their late season philosophy, will be on the water right till the very end of the contest.
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In any case, as we head into the final week of our event I’m repeating a paragraph from last week’s report here, as a reminder to whoever will be our contest winners:
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“May 31 is also the final day of our “OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK PUNISHMENT FOR EVER OPENING A TACKLE SHOP” sentence. We have been running a full 7 day-a-week schedule since the start of March but this, along with the conclusion of our striper contest, will now come to an abrupt halt. Starting on Sunday June 1st we will take a little time off to recuperate and when we re-open on June 11 we will be operating on our regular summer time, semi-retiree schedule – closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and open Wednesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. All contest winners should stop through on Saturday afternoon (May 31) to collect their prizes or else they will have to wait until after June 10th to do so.”
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Other than the listing which we will post HERE on our web site there will be NO OTHER OFFICIAL LISTING of the tournament’s winning results. Winners should be aware that it is MANDATORY that they bring in their driver’s license, supply us with their social security number AND fill out a “certification” form before any monetary distribution will be made.
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Thanks to each and every one of our record 809 entries for participating in what has become the largest, not only in percentage of cash payback but also in the number of participants, striped bass contest here in the upper Hudson Valley region. We here have not taken any of your registration money for profit or gain but rather have paid it all back in prizes to you. There actually was $2.00 left over after we rounded out the cash award amounts - we threw that into the 5th place pot which unofficially brought it up to $730.
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We’ll be seeing our winners on May 31 (or sometime thereafter) and hope everyone else has a great upcoming fishing season.             Tom G.
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STRIPER UPDATE NOTE - Friday, May 16, 2014, A.M.

Just a quick note - from this morning's reports the bite has really turned on all the way from Kingston to Coxsackie. Multiple landings are being reported from boat and shoreline anglers who are using both chunk and live bait. We had a report of a spawn starting down in the Kingston area but can not really confirm that as a fact as of yet.

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Hudson River Striped Bass Update – Thursday, May 15, 2014

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“I saw that Wayne’s fish was huge, maybe even the contest winner and realized that it would probably push me down in the standings – but I still had to go over and help him boat it” said Nick Kulick, our contest’s now 4th place holder with his 45 ¾ inch striper, as we laid Wayne’s fish out on the River Basin’s Striper Tournament measuring board. And he was right… at least partially so since the result WAS a downgrade in his rank.

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The tail of Wayne Schuman’s fish slapped our board at the 47 inch mark, an inch shy of 1st place but it still placed him into 2nd in our standings, behind Art Robinson’s 48 incher. Wayne’s fish dropped Nick’s into the 4th spot - at a loss of almost $500 in payback if the contest were to finish today.

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Of course Wayne Schuman certainly is a happy camper – he’s now holding down second place and has a good shot at that $2,062.00 prize. The angler had been fishing an incoming tide to the south of Saugerties, in the same general area as Kulick, when the large fish hit his live herring down deep, at about 30 - 35 feet of depth. Schuman lives in Kingston.

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We had been anticipating seeing at least one more big fish from the same grouping of stripers that Robinson and Kulick encountered and Schuman’s probably was that one. Whether that 60 pounder that was just caught down in the Newburgh area might have belonged to the same grouping appears doubtful but doesn’t really concern us since that angler is not in our contest. Our event still has about 2 weeks to run, ending at 12 noon on Saturday May 31.

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May 31 is also the final day of our “OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK PUNISHMENT FOR EVER OPENING A TACKLE SHOP” sentence. We have been running a full 7 day-a-week schedule since the start of March but this, along with the conclusion of our striper contest, will now come to an abrupt halt. Starting on Sunday June 1st we will take a little time off to recuperate and when we re-open on June 11 we will be operating on our regular summer time, semi-retiree schedule – closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and open Wednesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. All contest winners should stop through on Saturday afternoon (May 31) to collect their prizes or else they will have to wait until after June 10th to do so.

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But… our contest is still going on and the peak of the run is still to come! This morning when I took the river temperature at the Catskill launch ramp my thermometer registered 59 degrees, several degrees below the temperature we usually see for the start of spawn. However, with the forecast for the next 7 days predicting daily highs in the upper 60’s and  low 70’s it is pretty much of a sure bet that the spawn WILL BE STARTING during this period.

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This next week will be a time of greatest activity for the stripers. We have already witnessed frenzied behavior in the river herring which have been “beating the banks” during their spawn for almost a week and a half now. The stripers are due up next. By the way, the reports from up at the head of tidewater in Troy have been of stripers a little bit difficult to catch but… the herring there are just about wall to wall - so thick you can almost walk on them (that’s probably why it’s been harder to catch stripers there – they don’t need to catch your bait, all they have to do is open their mouths and some herring will swim into them).

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The report from last weekend’s Bethlehem’s tournament was that the fish were hungry for a while before slacking off. Still, the results were good with a 39 inch 24 pounder being the best catch of the 110 registrants.

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By the way – it seems that the herring fishermen who are using Sabikis to catch their bait are having a heck of a time with shad nailing and ripping up their Sabiki rigs. Not only is the river packed with herring but the shad are also overrunning the water.

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If you witness any surface spawning activity of stripers during the next few days drop me a line at “tomgweb at yahoo.com” and let me know when and where it took place. It usually is first observed in the lower reaches of the river and then it advances upriver during the next few days. The spawn usually appears as lots of splashing and surface commotion taking place over 15 feet or less of depth although I have observed individual spawns take place over 50 feet of water in mid-channel. It can encompass acres of water with up to dozens and dozens of stripers active at the same time – quite sight to see. Be careful not to motor into any such activity since the fish are easily chopped up by a spinning prop. Enjoy the weekend.             Tom G

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Hudson River Striped Bass Update – Friday, May 9, 2014

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Judging from what I’ve seen this past week I can’t help but come to the conclusion that the BIG striper time is here. It seems quite likely that the 45 ¾ inch striper caught by Nick Kulick  on May 6 and the 48 incher caught by Art Robinson the following day, May 7, were part of the same contingent of fish that must have arrived  here in the mid-Hudson Valley at the beginning of this past week. Both fish were caught in roughly the same area, to the south of Catskill, but do not appear to be part of the grouping of 42 – 43 inch fish which we saw last week.

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Although those two fish were caught in the river to the south of Catskill there is a high likelihood that if they were part of a school of larger fish, and when we consider that the river temperature is still running a cool 53 – 54 degrees,  they should proceed even further upstream, perhaps as far as (or even further than) Coxsackie. I’ll sure want to hear about what comes out of the Stockport area this weekend. We’ll know for sure in the next few days.

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Meanwhile: most of herring in the Catskill area seem to have moved further upriver - the pickings here have definitely been sparser the past couple of days but today’s reports from the Catskill Creek were of real good striper action, maybe due to the overcast conditions today. We’re just waiting for the next wave of herring to arrive… at any time now.

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Up in the Albany area the striper action picked up this past week and has remained good. Coxsackie appears to have slowed down. Although Four Mile Point also saw a lessening in the number of herring being caught the striper action has remained fair. The only problem there has been with the number of anglers vying for the better fishing spots.

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Reports from Greendale have been of fair action and Germantown, just a bit further south, reports good fishing. Malden, Saugerties, Glasco and Tivoli all report decent action. A little further south, by the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge, the action has been good to excellent. From even further south… we can’t comment since there have been no reports from there this week.

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That’s it for now – should be a great fishing weekend on the river as we continue to head toward our annual peak of the run. This could be occurring in about 1 ½ to 2 weeks. Overall, right now the fishing is about the best we’ve seen in the last six to 8 years… or even more. Give it a try this weekend.        Tom G

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Hudson River Striped Bass Update – Friday May 2, 2014.
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We’ve been real busy here at the River Basin and so haven’t really had much time to update the reports this week. That being the case we’re just posting a brief amount of data for those of you going out for the weekend. Please continue to send us your striper reports, they are what make up the gist of what you read here.

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The striper action continues to be excellent from Kingston all the way up to Albany. There appear to be more bigger fish being caught in the area between Malden and Coxsackie but make no mistake we’re hearing about lots of stripers in the 28 to 38 inch range being caught all over the area.

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This morning we had a water temperature of 51 - 52 degrees in the river at Catskill which gives us about a 10 degree window of opportunity until we hit what will probably be the peak of the run. Chunk bait still seems to be out producing live but both types are working. Although there appear to be plenty of herring around to “Sabiki” or “stoolie” the dingy water color may put a damper on your efforts. Yes, we have both “fresh” and frozen herring available here at the shop.

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The Catskill Creek had improved tremendously in its water clarity and should be in great shape for this weekend but reports from the creeks further downriver were of significantly poorer conditions. There is plenty of floating debris in the river at the present so be real careful boating out there.

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Several weekend striper tournaments are taking place this weekend - you should expect competition for the better fishing locations. Good Luck and watch out for the barge wakes.   Tom G

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Hudson River Striped Bass Update – Tuesday, April 29, 2014.

There seems to be no question that the larger striped bass have now entered our mid-Hudson Valley waters. Wes Dimmick’s 41 ½ inch fish, caught last Tuesday, although not what we consider to be one of the truly giant stripers we all strive to catch, was one of the lead fish in the contingent of larger stripers that now are being caught in our area. Wes was about 18 miles north of Catskill using cut herring for bait when he caught this fish which now is holding 3rd place in the RIVER BASIN SPORT SHOP’S 2014 contest.

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It was just yesterday morning (Monday) when Ryan Bielefeldt brought in the striper now in second place in the contest. Ryan was one of several anglers fishing from a boat a couple of miles south of Catskill. Several fish were landed by the group before Ryan felt the tug of his 43 ¾ inch fish attacking the live herring on his line. They were fishing a falling tide.

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Our contest leader at present is Roger Pulver Jr. of Kinderhook who on Saturday hooked and landed a 46 ½ inch long “cow” striper, a fish that actually brought the needle on our scale all the way up to the 50 pound mark. Although we’ve seen enough fish that measured over the 46 inch mark throughout the years we’ve only weighed a handful that have hit 50 pounds. This is a real accomplishment. To top it all off, Roger was actually fishing from shore in the section of river between Athens and Coxsackie with chunk bait.

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Additionally, we have David Larkin of Stottville in fourth place now with a 41 incher caught in the vicinity of Hudson on a live herring and Garry Palmer of Catskill bringing up the rear with a good looking 38 ¾ fish, also caught on a live herring. And all this is not even counting two nice stripers which the father and son team of Gerard and Marc Uhrik of Tannersville brought in and numerous reports of other 38 to 39 inch fish.

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And so the 2014 run of striped bass has begun. The cooler spring we experienced actually brought the annual fish migration back to a more normal schedule than what we experienced the last two years, which usually sees a few “scout” stripers arriving sometime at the start of April. More fish arrive here by mid-April but the larger fish tend to start showing up during the final week of the month.

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What we are seeing on the river this year is probably hundreds of thousands of stripers – seemingly even more than in last year’s fantastic spring run. It seems that the just about everybody is catching striped bass, and not just one or two – multiple daily landings are occurring all over, from Albany to Kingston. The hottest area right now appears to be between Malden and Coxsackie but this will be shifting both north and south.

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It was just pointed out to us that Google has the incorrect shop hours listed for us – as can be seen at the top of this page we are open 7 days a week until the end of May.                        Tom G

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Hudson River Striped Bass Update – FRIDAY, April 25, 2014
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The action up and down the Hudson continued to be good today with Albany now reportedly having joined in the fray. However the vast majority of reported catches consisted of fish in the 36 inch or less size range. Even though we received catch reports of fish large enough to be contenders in our striped bass contest none such were brought in for official measurement. Shop sales of striper baits consisted  of chunk herring, bloodworms (we received a supply today), and Bomber lures. Our present conclusion is that no major movement of larger stripers has as of yet moved into our mid-Hudson area region although catching a large loner fish is always a possibility. We are definitely anticipating the arrival of larger stripers here during this next week. Successful use of Sabikis to catch bait herring seems to improving as the river continues to warm but "stooling" the herring over scap nets still seems to be the best method.   TOM G
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Hudson River Striped Bass Update – Thursday, April 24, 2014

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It seems that the past two days have probably provided the best striper fishing of the year so far – we have received numerous reports of successful catches, not only from our vicinity but all the way from Kingston to Coxsackie. Additionally, during the past two days the Catskill Creek fishing has been red hot which leads us to believe that the Rondout, Esopus and Stockport Creeks experienced the same.

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Reports of multiple catches have been commonplace this week as have reports of stripers ranging in length from 44 to 48 inches. Unfortunately for any of the anglers catching those huge fish it seems that none of them were in our contest - none were brought in for a measurement! Most fish that we are aware of being caught ranged between 28 and 38 inches.

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The river fishing was good right through Wednesday, particularly the early morning bite. Both chunk and live herring were producing well and the fish appeared to be running in small packs so if you caught one there was a good chance there were others available right in the immediate area.

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Night fishermen also reported some action although most of those reports were of the “sounds” of stripers chasing herring rather than of stripers being hauled into the boat.

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Today’s winds, which were really bad, kept most anglers off the main river but seemed to have brought plenty of action into the creeks. The wind is supposed to die down for tomorrow (Friday) so the river action should once more pick up. Since the weekend is coming up we’ll let you know what happens tomorrow – looks like it should be a “GREAT” weekend.    Tom G

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Hudson River Striper Bass Update – Tuesday, April 22, 2014.

As can be seen in the chart above, the paybacks for the River Basin Sports Shop 27th Annual Striped Bass Tournament have once more scaled new heights. Although this year’s registrations got off to a slow start due to extremely nasty weather, once the situation moderated the striped bass anglers arrived in record numbers. From a total of 753 participants in 2013 we saw an additional 56 new anglers (total 809) decide to cast their nets in the water for a shot at some of the $12,135 in prize money.

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As of this time we have yet to have any fish entered in the contest - there appear to be only smaller stripers around. This situation is due to change at any time now as we have started to receive reports from the lower environs of the river that schools of larger fish are starting to move up. Traditionally this next 10 day period sees some huge fish move into our area.

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Here at the River Basin we are now receiving a steady supply of fresh state-approved herring for use as striped bass bait. Since the shop also stocks live “certified” bait shiners for sale we are not allowed to bring live “uncertified” baits, such as herring, alewives or eels into the shop.

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To obtain live herring you must try to catch your own, either by luring them in for the capture by using “stoolies” or using fish catcher rigs, commonly referred to as “sabikis. Capturing your own bait opens up an entirely new aspect of the fishing for striped bass sport, one that can be not only fun but also quite frustrating.

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Here at the shop we have a large selection of stoolies, and an even greater selection of the popular sabikis for you to choose from. So here’s a special sabiki offer to the readers of this report – from now through the end of April only, buy any 3 sabikis and receive a fourth one of equal or lower value (the least expensive) for FREE. The only catch to this deal is that you won’t see it posted anywhere in the shop… you will have to ask for the special sabiki deal. Remember, only through April 30th.

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Not much else to report for right now, but when something breaks we’ll be sure to let you know.               Tom G

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STRIPER UPDATE, SATURDAY APRIL19, 2014, 10 P.M. 

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 Today's reports were of moderate striper action all up and down the river (Albany was seemingly dead) but, surprisingly, we have not heard of any bigger fish (over 30 inches) as of yet. We did receive a report of numerous pods of fish advancing upriver from the Kingston region.
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Chunk and live herring were producing well. Strong winds have been a problem for anglers in smaller boats but Sunday's forcast calls for this situation to improve. Sunday (April 20) is the final day to get into our striper contest. Shop hours will be from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. We are anticipating a record payback this year. Catskill now does have a set of launch floats in. 
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Hudson River Striped Bass Update – Friday, April 18, 2014
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.That first wave of 2014 herring and stripers that came upriver last weekend did make it all the way to the head of tidewater at the Troy dam. The Postenkill stream was reported to be producing limits of herring to striper fishermen who had been anticipating their arrival for weeks. The furthest north striper report we had came from the Bethlehem section – a small two footer taken on a herring chunk. 
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From further south we’ve had reports of stripers being caught at Coxsackie, Four Mile Point, Stockport, Catskill, Germantown, Saugerties and Kingston. Most of these stripers, up to about 30 inches in length, were caught by fishing either live or chunk herring. There was some action on bloodworms but this catch was considerably smaller than that caught on herring, often less than 20 inches in length. We are anticipating the arrival of some larger stripers sometime during this coming week.

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From what we’ve heard the majority of launch sites up and down the river now have their float facilities installed. A major exception to this is in Catskill where nothing had been done as of this morning. We anticipate the float installations will take place this coming week but you might want to call and check before coming down. (We were pleasantly surprised to find one long line of floats had been installed when we looked on Saturday. Unfortunately a giant tree had decided to take up residence on the north side of the floats thereby rendering that side unusable).

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We did take the river’s temperature at the Catskill launch this morning and were kind of disappointed to see that it had dropped a couple of degrees in the past three days – our thermometer read 42 degrees. Although the “see-thru” water clarity at the ramp was only about 4 inches the Catskill Creek’s visibility has improved greatly in the past 3 days and yesterday evening I could see down about a foot. Along with this improvement in visibility we also saw a great improvement in fishing for herring with sabiki rigs. In the main river the best way to get your 10-a-day herring allotment is by using a stoolie and a scap net. Remember that you still are NOT allowed to use a net to catch herring anywhere but in the main river.

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Also, keep in mind that even though our striper season is just beginning the registration period to enter our striped bass contest is almost over. You have until close of business this Sunday to complete the registration form here at the shop and pay the $15 entry fee. This is a complete 100% payback event with awards going to the 5 longest fish entered. If you’re going to be sitting out there soaking a bait you might just as well have a shot at winning something.    Tom G

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Hudson River Striped Bass Update – Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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We have been receiving reports of stripers all the way past the Coxsackie area already but these fish are all smaller, nothing above 30 inches in length has so far been reported. But - herring have been reported up past the Bethlehem launch site. Here at the River Basin our shipment of bloodworms was very limited and now they are all gone. However we did just receive our first load of fresh river herring baits this morning and they should be available from this time on. ( hope they were just kidding around when they were predicting snow for tonight )     Tom G
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Hudson River Striped Bass Update – Monday, April 14, 2014.
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That large school of herring that arrived at Germantown on Saturday has now advanced much further upriver. Some were caught in the Stockport creek yesterday evening and this morning their numbers were reported to be even better.  And, at this time, there is a good chance that some of them may have already made it to the Albany area. This warm spell we are in has caused lots of snowmelt from the upstate Adirondack region and this will probably slow the upstream progress of the fish due to higher dirtier coming down. Of course the mid-week rains being predicted starting tomorrow might only serve to screw things up even further. We’ll see.

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We are also aware of several striped bass being caught a little bit to the south of Catskill on Saturday – the largest about 30”. Those fish seemed to be trailing that school of herring moving upriver. Yet others of that grouping of fish should be up past Catskill by now.

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Even though the annual run has started don’t go thinking that you’ll miss out on the action if you don’t get out on the water today. These first-to-arrive fish tend to scatter throughout the river system and will become fairly difficult to locate. You must wait for their “reinforcements” to arrive throughout the next few weeks so as to build up their numbers - that’s when the good fishing starts.

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I’ve just been in contact with my bloodworm (dynamite early season striper bait) supplier and he guarantees that we’ll have them here at the River Basin by noon tomorrow. The “bloods” can either be fished on the bottom or they can be drift fished straight down under the boat, and even on a float rig. If you drift them you’ll want to check your sonar screen to see at what level the fish are located and then drift your baits around that level. Usually the bloods will be drift-fished anywhere from 14 to 20 feet deep, over open water.

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Don’t forget that you only have until this coming Sunday (April 20) to register for our striped bass tournament. The registration will end at the close of business then. With a week of registrations left to go the paybacks presently stand as follows: 1) $4,166; 2) $1,287; 3) $984; 4) $681; 5 $454. You can be sure these amounts will be considerably higher once the contest starts on April 21.              Tom G

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HUDSON RIVER STRIPER RUN REPORT, SATURDAY, APRIL 12, 2014, 1:30 P.M.

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We have just received reports of the first large wave of herring having moved up into our mid-Hudson area of the river. The anglers located in the Gerrmantown / Cheviot section of the river reported lots of these fish being stoolied and netted early this afternoon in their area. This action should continue to move upriver from now on. No reports of stripers along with these baitfish as of yet but you can bet that they are right behind this pack.      TOM G

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Hudson River Striped Bass Run Update – Friday, April 11, 2014

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Continuing reports of sporadic herring catches have continued to come in to the shop, including one from as far upriver as New Baltimore. Even so you must remember that such reports are just of occasional fish that have arrived before the start of the main run - do not go out expecting to catch your 10 herring limit yet. Additionally, there are rumors of “scout” stripers being around, even as far north as “4 Mile Point.”

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In our Catskill area the river is running quite dirty with a see-thru visibility of about 7-8 inches. On the bright side of things the water temperature has come up two degrees in the last 3 days – from 39 degrees on Wednesday morning to 41 today (Friday, Ap. 11). With the warmer weather predicted for this coming week it seems a given that the Hudson’s temperature will hit the mid-40 degree range and we’ll see schools of herring arriving, followed quickly by this year’s striped bass run.

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As of yet we still do not have any fresh (not alive) herring for sale at the shop. As soon as enough of these fish arrive our suppliers will be bringing them to us - you can be sure we’ll let you know. What we are expecting to arrive this morning is a fresh supply of “bloodworms” These squirmy creations are a salt-water worm that is relished by striped bass. They are truly an excellent bait, especially during the early season. Unfortunately they are rather expensive (we don’t even yet know what their price will be) and are also relished by lots of other fish like white perch, eels and catfish. We were expecting them this morning but as it is now noon and we still don’t have them – there’s always the possibility that they won’t arrive at all. Give a call before coming here to get them.

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Keep in mind that this is the final week to get into this year’s striped bass contest. You must have your $15 registration in no later than close of business on April 20 (Sunday). The only place to get that entry form is here at the shop – there is no downloading it off the internet or any other sensible thing like that. Remember that we do not keep any of the registration money – the total amount is paid back to the winners.

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Here at the shop all our striper tackle is set to go. We have the sinkers, hooks, rigs , baitrunner reels (36 different), heavy duty rods, striper rod & reel combos (over a dozen  on display), line, Sabiki herring rigs (more than you’ll see anywhere else), stoolies (8 different, rigged and unrigged), maps, herring pens, scap nets, gill nets, landing nets and lots of other good stuff.  Additionally, there is helpful advice, if needed.

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A note about the E-mail address given at the top of this site for submitting striper reports – it is JUST for submitting fishing reports and not for any general discussion. If you have questions regarding fishing in the river, or anything else related – please come through the shop and we’ll be more than glad to try and provide answers / solutions to any of your queries.

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So it’s time to get off your duff, wipe the cobwebs off the striper gear and chase the mice out of the boat (if such should apply to your situation). The annual run is just about to crank up. This weekend we expect to be real busy here at the River Basin Sports Shop so if you come in please have patience with the service – we’ll be pedaling as fast as we can.   Tom G

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Hudson River Update – Friday, April 6, 2014

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IT’S STARTING

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Just a scant few days ago we had a report of a herring being taken from the river in Coxsackie. Admittedly - we looked at that with a certain amount of skepticism. After all, just that morning we had taken the river’s temperature at the Catskill launch ramp and found it to be at a solid 35 degrees. No herring in its right mind would venture all the way up the Hudson to our vicinity when the water was only 35 degrees – right? Wrong!

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Now, all of a sudden we’re inundated with reports, all the way from Coxsackie to Kingston, of herring being scapped from the river. Most certainly not in any great quantities as of yet, just one or two, but… THE HERRING HAVE ARRIVED! In actuality, the herring appear to be more or less on schedule, having arrived in the beginning of April even though we really didn’t expect to see any of them until next week. Goes to show that you can’t always predict what Mother Nature is up to.

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Now that the herring have started to arrive you can be sure that the stripers aren’t far behind, usually no more than a week or so dependent on the water temperature. Since herring are the baits of choice for the majority of striper fishermen, obtaining a supply of these baits has always been a concern.

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Most anglers will probably wind up buying their baits. Here at the River Basin we will be selling state-qualified dead herring for this purpose as soon as there is sufficient supply available (probably in a week or so). However, there are other ways for you to obtain this bait – using “Sabiki” rigs, “scap” nets, "cast" nets or “gill” nets, all of which are available for purchase at our shop.

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Gill nets are very specialized gear and their use requires a special license from New York State. Our RIVER BASIN SCAP NETS (here we’re referring to 4x4 lift-type nets) are of a size that do not require any special licensing and are commonly used in conjunction with a “Striper Stoolie” to lure the herring into the net itself (we always sell out of these scap nets way before the striper run ends). Cast nets are circular nets which are manualy thrown over herring when the fish are visible. Sabiki rigs are a series of small hooks tied to a main line which then are jiggled in the water to entice herring to bite. All of these methods work to one degree or another, dependent on conditions.

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Last year new regulations restricting the catch and possession of herring were implemented by the “powers-that-be” even though the herring run itself was absolutely stupendous in number. Per these regulations an angler may now have no more than 10 herring in possession on any day (slightly different regulations pertain to charter boats with multiple clients on board), and the use of nets to catch herring in any creek or water off the main river is prohibited.

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Now, if you thought that catching your own live herring might be a problem just wait until you try to keep them alive – these suckers just about die if you even look at them cross-eyed. To keep them alive most anglers with access to tidal water will utilize “herring pens.” These are cloth mesh cages that are submerged off a dock or bulkhead, the mesh allowing fresh water to flow through and keep the herring alive.

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Here at the shop we presently have several different sizes in stock ranging in price from $15.99 (a totally impractical item if you plan to keep the herring alive for more than 15 minutes) to $119.98 (this is really ideal if you have a location for a 3 foot pen). Right now there are 6 different ones in our stock. The ideal setup would be to have the larger one of these pens, along with a scap net and stoolie with which to catch your bait. If you’re a fanatical striper fisherman you might want to think about doing this.

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MORE ON HERRING PENS AND ASSOCIATED PROBLEMS

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Ever since the practice of using live herring for striped bass bait here on the upper tidal Hudson River caught on in the mid 1980’s one perplexing problem has remained for our anglers – how to keep such an extremely fragile bait not only alive and spunky but readily available for use. Oh sure, just before going out fishing you can try to “hook and line” some with a sabiki, maybe even net them, and even easier yet … just buy a few from some guy that’s hawking them down on the dock. But all these methods are very iffy and you can’t ever be sure that the herring will be available for you when YOU’RE ready to go out fishing.

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Enter the era of “herring pens,” basically large floating net-covered boxes (cages) in which to keep herring alive – maybe even for days after you’ve obtained them! These bait pens are usually the property of  those boaters who keep their vessels docked at marinas during the striped bass run, but they can be utilized by anyone who has access to a location with deeper water wherein to sink the pen. At the marinas these pens are usually relegated to the back side of floats, into spaces which are not suitable for mooring, or else are tied off in the same slip as the fisherman’s boat (space allowing).

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So, the fisherman obtains his bait in advance, keeping it alive and spunky in his holding pen until he’s ready to wet a line. Sounds perfect but certain problems can and do arise.

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The primary bugaboo is… would you believe it - theft! Yup! You’ve got a cage of live herring and the guy further down the dock has none, can’t catch any, and is determined to go fishing. Unless there are other anglers around to act as deterrent witnesses there’s a chance that YOUR herring will mysteriously disappear. This is the reason you see locked covers on some of the herring pens that are left at marina docks.

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Another problem with the pens is the practice of two or more anglers sharing a pen. All too often the later-arriving angler finds the cage to be empty or just containing one or 2 bait. That kind of shoots the thought of an all-day fishing trip.

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Pens also make enemies very easily – your sometime fishing buddy asks to “borrow” a few herring. Bad move on his part - probably ain’t gonna happen and bam! instant enemy.

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Even cages with locked covers are known to lose herring – snapping turtles have been known to chew through the mesh while attempting to reach a dead herring lying on the bottom of the pen, and at other times holes of unknown origin appear, seemingly as mysteriously as crop circles in some farmer’s field.

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Another problem with these enclosures is the after effect of a heavy rainstorm. If the water becomes silted up for any kind of prolonged period the herring will usually die.

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The best story we’ve heard regarding missing bait came in a few years ago from one of the Catskill marinas. It seems that bait had been disappearing on a fairly regular basis from a grouping of bait pens in one section of the docks. Those striper fishermen were rather perplexed and couldn’t figure out what was going on, so they laid a trap – they posted an all-night watch to see who was “borrowing” their baits. So, one Friday night three shifts of watch were laid out – the thought being that Saturday was the most likely day for the bait to be missing. Then three stalwart anglers each took turns waiting inside a cabin cruiser moored just a few slips away.

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No action was to be seen by the first two watchers, and with the first trace of dawn on the horizon the third one’s shift was also drawing to an end with no sign of anybody prowling the dock. It seemed that the night had been wasted. And just then… a subdued splash was heard from the direction of the pens. Yet there was nobody on the dock at all… just a splashing fish perhaps? A few seconds later another splash was to be heard and movement was seen at one of the pens… and then with the dawning of the day the mystery of the disappearing herring was solved - a full-sized river otter emerged from one of the pens, clutching a still wiggling herring in its jaws. Yup – this is the kind of stuff that makes fishing interesting.

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LET US KNOW

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At this time we’ll also start regularly checking for your submitted striped bass reports to our E-Mail address, TOMGWEB@ YAHOO.COM. A great many of you like to come to this web site to check the river reports and it would be great if you could also contribute to the store of information available. The only stipulation to having you send us reports is that you should not expect any lengthy reply from us even though we do usually manage to acknowledge receipt of your input.

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What we’d like to get from you is any kind of  pertinent up-to-date data – size and number of fish caught, location, bait, amount of time fishing, time of day and tide, number of other boats fishing and how they appeared to be doing, etc. We’ll consolidate all this input and post it here. What we’ve found is that individual piece-meal reports just don’t tell the true story of what’s going on, but when one sees the input from many different sources an entirely different truer picture emerges and that’s what we’d like to give back here.

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By the way, we have decided to extend our special 5% off a "striped bass combo deal" until the start of our striper contest on April 21. So, from now until the 21st of April, we’ll give you an additional 5% off any of the striper combos we’ve got set up here at the store. The only catch is that you will have to ask us for the “combo discount” when you come in, it's not posted anywhere. That’s a real easy additional 5% off . Take advantage of it as quite a few of you already did.

Gad! I feel as if I’ve just written yet another whole magazine article here. That’s all for now, we’ll keep you posted as data comes in.    Tom G

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Hudson River Update – Friday, March 28, 2014

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A few days after the river ice broke up last week the Catskill Creek also became free flowing. Our previous record of an “ice out” on the Catskill Creek occurred back in 1993 when the water at 117 Main Street was “ice free” from shore to shore. That location was arbitrarily chosen by us back in 1980 when we first started tracking this annual event – picking a specific location was a necessity since the lower creek rarely loses its entire ice cover on the same day and 117 Main seemed to be the final place to keep a grip on the ice sheet.

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Of course, there have been years when the creek has failed to freeze over at all, 1998 and 2008 for instance. Other years we’ve had ice-outs even later than this year’s March 25 event. Our record for lateness was back in 1993 when we had an ice “melt-out” (just like this year’s) that occurred on March 28. This year we logged our official ice-out date as March 25th.

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From now on it’s just a waiting and counting-of-days game, anticipating the arrival of the first herring of the 2014 run, knowing that the striped bass won’t be far behind.

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We’ve already had shoreline anglers fishing here in the Catskill Creek, but with scant success. Most certainly the small worm tidbits offered to our tidewater denizens did elicit some nibbles… but resulted in no landings of which we are aware. These barely discernable “real-early-season” bites generally come from river chubs or suckers. However in just a few days we expect the yellow perch to join the fray, followed by bullheads, catfish and white perch. The stripers are just about the last of the lot to get here and join the fun.

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So when will the linesiders arrive, you ask. The answer is really a guess influenced by water temperature, water discoloration and the amount of daylight. At present the water temp is in the low to mid thirties, and the water is somewhat discolored (but it will get worse as the snow melt runoff increases and the heavy spring rains predicted for this weekend get cranked up). We here at the River Basin have observed that the migratory fish will generally arrive at our location when the water temp gets into the low to mid 40’s… but have seen it delayed until the high 40’s. By observation we find that the two factors above will delay their arrival for just so long and then it seems that the amount of daylight triggers upriver movement.

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Our past two years have been anomalies with earlier than usual arrivals. Good for us! But this year that just is not happening. Looking back at our records we find that the majority of times the stripers will start to make their appearance here in the Catskill area is between April 7 and 20. Most certainly there may be a few “scout” fish around earlier than the arrival of the main schools of striped bass but these individuals are very, very few in number.

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So it appears that this year we will be back to a more normal start as far as herring and stripers are concerned. The herring will probably show up toward the end of the first week in April and the stripers should arrive the following week… maybe. The anticipation of this event is just about better than the happening itself.

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775 – That’s the number of anglers who signed up for our striper contest last year. $11,310 – that’s the mount of prize money that was paid back to the 5 anglers who brought in the largest (length) striped bass. $6,621 – that’s the amount that went to first prize winner Bill Walsh for his 47 ½ inch fish. April 20 – that’s the final day for you to throw $15 (cash only) into the event’s registration pool for a chance at the pot.

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The odds of catching a winning fish here are far, far better than hitting the mega-million contest jackpots that so many people vie for, and the % payback of the entry money is also far better – 100%, all of it is paid back. The event lasts for just about a month and a half so there is plenty of time to get in on that action. Come on in and sign up, check out our selection of striper tackle - the largest in the whole area - or merely pop in to say hello and ask any questions you might have. We’re just a small tackle shop operation and are always glad to see you and try to help.   Tom G

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Hudson River Striper Update – Friday, March 21, 2014

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Since our previous report the river conditions here in the Catskill area have definitely started to change. Yesterday morning the river ice at the Dutchman’s Landing Park launch ramp was chunked up and broken but still locked in solid. This morning the same ice was moving with the tide and there were large swaths of open water to be seen. Reports from further upriver were that the water in the Coxsackie area, all the way up past Stuyvesant to New Baltimore, was open - quite a change from last Sunday when the Coast Guard was still out there trying to keep the shipping channel free for commercial traffics.

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WHAT’S HOT AT THE SHOP

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Other than all the guys coming in to sign up for our striper contest the main interest here at the River Basin Sports Shop has been generated by “baitrunner” striper reels, particularly with OKUMA’s “TRIO” series (real smooth) and SHIMANO’S new “BAITRUNNER OC” lineup (reduced price from their standard BTR series but seemingly just as nice as the originals - our favorites). Sales wise we have been selling a lot of the OKUMA combos, particularly those paired up with Shakespeare Ugly Sticks or with Shimano’s Saguaro rods.

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Also of note are the sales of “Striper Stoolies,” particularly the pearl white ones (there will be a shortage of these in a few weeks) and the “Wally Whale” sabiki rigs. We had almost sold out of the Wallys but just this week managed to get a fresh shipment in. Overall, this herring rig has been our best seller during the past two decades.

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There has also been considerable interest in our herring scap nets, items which we sell out of every year. These nets are specially tied for us but arrive requiring considerable additional touches (dying as well as reinforcing and gluing the mesh and knots). Then the arms have to be cut, sanded, painted, drilled and S hooked. These in turn then have to be inserted into the center net hubs which have been cut, drilled and eye bolted.

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Lots of steps go into each one of these completed items but, on a whole, they seem to be the best thing to use for catching herring (combined with the use of a “stoolie”). The ones we have are legal for anglers to use WITHOUT the need for any additional special permit or  license. Years ago we built our scap net frames out of PVC pipe but those were such crude creations that we shutter to even think of them. When WE run out of them, they will be gone for the year since we are the ones who make them.

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We already had out first striper rumor of the year come in, two days ago. Most certainly we do disregard that tale but… rest assured the stripers are on their way and will be here sooner than you think. Prepare now.   Tom G

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HUDSON RIVER – SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014, OPENING DAY STRIPED BASS SEASON

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I distinctly remember this very day back a few years ago, in 2012. I was taking the Hudson’s water temperature at Catskill’s free launch ramp and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was all the way up to 43 degrees. Many past years of river experience indicated that at 43 degrees the arrival of our annual striped bass run was imminent… and sure enough, after a few phone calls both up and down river I found out that the first of the herring had arrived in our area the previous day. This left me wondering if the stripers might not possibly be here also. The very next day the stripers were here.

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Last year, 2013, was different - the water temperature at Catskill on that same day, March 16th, was 34 degrees. Water this cold was definitely not conducive to either the arrival of  herring or stripers. Even so, scarcely a week later, on the 29th of March we received reports of both herring and stripers as far upriver as the Rondout Creek. But definitely not at Catskill where the water was holding at the 37 degree level. Still - not too far away.

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Then on April 1st we started receiving tales of stripers being caught as far upriver as Tivoli, just a 10 minute cruise south of Catskill. Since herring were still extremely scarce at that time the bait being used was bloodworms and, believe it or not, with such a limited choice of fare even nightcrawlers were catching some stripers! By April 6th the stripers had already passed by the Catskill area and were all the way up into the Stockport Creek cove and... our annual run had started!

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Presently here in 2014 the Hudson River is still solidly locked up in ice – even the commercial barges and ships are having problems, relying on the Coast Guard the keep the shipping channel open. But this should all be changing within the next couple of weeks  since I finally see some springtime weather being forecast for later on this week.

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From the way it seems we will probably be reverting back to a much more normal spring run schedule than we’ve had the past few years. The “normal” for our Catskill area generally sees a few herring arriving here during the first week of April with stripers more likely to start showing up during the second week. From that point on their numbers grow as more and more fish come up the estuary for their springtime procreation activities. Generally the 3rd week in April will see enough stripers in our area to make it worthwhile to fish for them.

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It is that springtime striped bass run which has hundreds of fishermen chomping at the bit each year. Tens of thousands of these fish in sizes up to lengths of 50+ inches and weights of 50+ pounds enter our river then and are fair game for the angler’s pursuit. To this end the River Basin Sports Shop has been running an annual striped bass contest for 27 years (counting 2014), one which has grown to be the largest on the freshwater Hudson – last year we had a total of 775 enthusiastic entrants.

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The main thing that makes our event unique is that it is a 100% payback affair. While the entry fees for most other contests (actually, all of them as far as we are aware) are money makers for whomever runs them - the RIVER BASIN does not take a single penny of the entry money. We always hope that we’ll have enough anglers come through the shop and that tackle sales to them will make it worthwhile to run the event. Our belief that this will again be the case shows in our guarantee of a minimum payback of $4,000 for the winning fish. After the first $4,000 of entry monies is taken in we pay back the remainder of all monies to the next 4 largest stripers, on a percentage basis.

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We are presently accepting registrations for this event and will continue to do so for the next month – the FINAL day to pay the $15 (cash only) registration fee is Sunday, April 20th. The contest starts at 12:01 a.m. on April 21st and ends at noon on Saturday May 31.

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STRIPER "BAITRUNNER" ROD - REEL COMBOS

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Every year we offer a selection of baitrunner rod and reel combos for our striper fishermen. These usually range in quality from a “first striper outfit” through “just a second (or third) spare one for friends to use” and all the way up to “I’m really serious this year” combo. Although the offerings might change from day to day there always are at least a dozen to choose from, priced between 100 and 200 dollars.

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These sets are put together by us here at the River Basin with fishing for striped bass in mind, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. The rods are tough enough to take the fight that a good size striper will mete out and the reels, all baitrunners, are just what are needed to set the hook and land that 40 pound fish. This year we have priced them a little differently, giving a price for a “charge card” sale and then, if you want to save even a few more shekels, an even further discounted “cash price.”

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Of course if you want to buy just a rod or a reel we also have plenty of individual items. As of a matter of fact we presently have in stock 36 DIFFERENT  BAITRUNNER style reels and lots of rods to go with them – plenty for you to choose from.

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And now, for those of you who have read all the way to the end of this report, here’s a little bit of a special deal. From now until the END OF MARCH ONLY, we’ll give you an additional 5% off any of the striper combos we’ve got set up here at the store. The only catch is that you will have to ask us for the “combo discount” when you come in, it's not posted anywhere. That’s a real easy additional 5% off . Take advantage of it.

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Also, don’t forget to bring in the spool from your striper reel(s) to have us spool it with fresh line for the upcoming season. The charge is $8.00 for a spinning reel (up to 200 yards) to be filled with premium green Trilene Big Game in 20, 25, 30 or 40 pound test. It’s much easier and quicker than doing it on your own, and its great line.

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Oh, we do have yet another special at present - a Penn SPINFISHER V, SSV6500 saltwater striped bass sized spinning reel. We only have a few of these NON-BAITRUNNER reels available so if you are interested - don’t delay.

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So, start getting ready boys and girls. Soon the ice will be gone and the stripers will be here – and you won’t want to be left alone at home sitting on the couch watching some soap opera.  Tom G.

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Hudson River Striper Fishing Report – Wednesday, May 29, 2013

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As the month of May winds down so does the River Basin’s 26th Annual Striped Bass Contest. The event’s popularity saw another boost this year as the total number of entrants in this 100% payback event surged to a record 775. And this year even the fish seemed more willing to cooperate with our anglers. We saw 2013 experience great migration runs of both river herring and striped bass – perhaps the best we’ve seen in the past 15 years.

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2013 actually got off to what seemed to be an average start. The herring showed up in our section of the tidewater Hudson in the first week of April and our first stripers were caught during the second week. This was all normal. But then during the third week it became obvious that this was not to be a normal year – it seemed that everybody was catching stripers, even the catfish and perch anglers bottom fishing with nightcrawlers were getting their share of linesiders.

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When the main influx of herring arrived here in mid-April that too turned out to be a real bonanza – plentiful schools of those fish seemed to be beating the shorelines right from day one to mid-May and were easy to catch. But… now it’s over.

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The past two weeks have seen the striper spawn completed and probably 95% of the female stripers have now migrated back to their salt water haunts. And, all of a sudden, there seem to be just about no herring left. They too have followed the stripers back downriver. Even so there still appear to be quite a few smaller male stripers around – coming out of this past weekend there were reports of some anglers boating up to a dozen of these fish ranging in size from 22 to 30 inches. Even now, though the majority of these 5 to 10 pound fish are leaving, present reports indicate that you still have a chance of catching a few of these fish this weekend.

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STRIPER CONTEST ENDS SATURDAY, JUNE 1, AT NOON

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 What with a record number of 775 entries it was quite a spectacular year for our striped bass contest here at the RIVER BASIN SPORT SHOP, but that contest will draw to a conclusion this Saturday, June 1 at 12 o’clock. At this point it seems that the present event leaders will likely, although with no guarantee, finish up in the positions as shown in the listing above. So, if the standings remain as they are now until Saturday at noon the top five finishers can stop through the shop at any time after 12 o’clock to pick up their winnings. It’s really no big deal at this point – walk in and present your driver’s license, give us your SS# (Uncle Sam has to get his share), sign a statement verifying that you caught the fish legitimately, count your money, shake our hand and accept our congratulations. Bada-bing – and it’s all over until next year!

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If you can’t make it to the shop on Saturday afternoon then you will have to wait at least until Wednesday, June 12. Since the start of March the RIVER BASIN has been open 7 days a week but that will be changing after Saturday as we revert to an entirely new “semi-retirement” opening schedule.

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First, we will be taking a week and a half off starting the very next day, Sunday, and won’t re-open until Wednesday, June 12. From that time on we will be CLOSED on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays – that’s right, closed 3 days each week believe it or not. From then until the end of November we’ll be open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 to 5. Both turkey and striped bass winners should remember this.

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WANNA BASS FISH?

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The TIDERUNNERS BASS CLUB of Catskill, of which I am a member, is a small group of avid local black bass anglers that was formed back in 1999. The main idea behind organizing this group was to have a local venue, the Hudson River, as its primary fishing location so that expensive and time consuming pre-contest fishing trips could be avoided. With this in mind the group has always scheduled a 9 tournament club schedule, all events being held on the Hudson on Sundays.

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Presently the club is accepting new anglers for membership however at this time only qualified boaters are being considered. In order to qualify the angler’s boat has to meet certain tournament styled criteria such as live-well systems, kill switches, trolling motor, length, etc. 

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And, it’s not a cheap proposition either since joining the group mandates becoming a member of 4 different organizations and paying annual dues to each. The dues are paid to the national “FLW”, the national “THE BASS FEDERATION”, the N.Y. state “TBF” and the local “TIDERUNNERS.” This year the total dues payments are $105. Then on top of that there are, of course, entry fees for each individual event. These add another $40 per to the annual expense… and that’s not even starting to take into consideration actual expenditures for boating and fishing, so you can see that club membership is not a cheap proposition.

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However, if it’s something you want to try, and have a qualifying boat, this is the time to do it. New York’s black bass season starts on the third Saturday of June (15th) and the TIDERUNNERS first contest of the year is on Sunday, June 16th. To get in on the action for the first contest you must become a member of the group prior to that time. Their next scheduled meeting, which would have to be attended, is on Thursday June 13. 

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If you have further questions about joining our group you can call TIDERUNNERS president Russ Burton at 518-966-8906 or stop by the River Basin to pick up a membership application and pose any other questions you might have.   Tom G

  

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Hudson River Striper Fishing Report – Thursday, May 23, 2013.

This week has seen a rather rapid decline in the success ratio of anglers fishing for striped bass. Even though some locations along the river might still be holding a decent number of stripers most of those fish will be less than 28 inches in length. Still, there is always a chance that you might tie into a larger fish – we are aware of a couple of 39 inchers caught here in the Catskill area during the past few days. But above all - don’t go thinking there’s nothing left out there to catch.

.Along with the diminishing number of striped bass you will also find fewer river herring since they too are finishing their procreation chores. Even so, occasionally we’ll see a few herring swimming around in our local tributary creeks until almost the end of June. But – basically the spring run is coming to an end.

For any die-hard striped bass fishermen though, there still remains a way to prolong the action for perhaps a month or more. One of the little known secrets of striper fishing here in the Catskill area is that right through the entire month of June some remaining larger stripers, those over 3 feet in length, will make night time forays from the main Hudson River all the way up the Catskill Creek to the head of tidewater.

A late season strategy is to fish the upper tidewater reaches of the creek during the dark of night, on either a high-rising or high-falling tide. The best fishing locations are usually where the water is only 6 feet deep or less. This is where shallower running plugs such as the Bomber 17A, Rapala F18 or larger top water pencil poppers will afford the best action. I also know a fly fisherman who has a blast fishing the stripers at night - he throws large home-made “bunny” streamers at them and scores quite well.

The best chance to score big in the main river right now just might be to head down to the Newburgh area and hope to intercept one of those larger post-spawn stripers which are heading back to the ocean. Even so, I am aware of some great striper fishermen who consider the area around Kingston to be the best chance at producing a contest winning fish – and that’s anytime right into the start of June!

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A little over a week left in our striper contest – let’s see what happens.  Tom G.

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Hudson River Striper Fishing Report 1 – Friday, May 17, 2013

NEW CONTEST ENTRY 

For those striper fishermen who thought their shot at cashing in on our tournament this year was over, Dave Smith of Catskill has breathed new life into their original dreams. Fishing chunk bait on Thursday, May 16th Dave  hooked and landed one of this year’s largest striped bass, a 45 ¼ incher. He was fishing from shore at Tivoli when the big fish hit and proved that the tournament still has plenty of time to run.

This striper shakes up the River Basin striped bass contest standings by now taking over third place. John Neidhardt drops to fourth and there is a tie for fifth between Justin Brown and Frank Tamburro Jr. The contest ends at noon on June 1st.

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Hudson River Fishing Report 2 – Friday, May 17, 2013

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CALICO CAT?

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Last year as I was fishing the Hudson for smallmouth bass I caught a strange looking catfish. It hit on one of Berkley’s scented rubber baits. This happening in itself is not unusual, after all in our fishing club, the TIDERUNNERS BASS ANGLERS, we even take side bets on which angler will bring in the largest catfish. However, this catfish was different from the three catfish species ordinarily found out there – the channel catfish, the white catfish and the brown bullhead. As you can see from the photo above this fish was entirely mottled in a black and white pattern.

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I sent a picture of the fish to a friend, a well-known Hudson River naturalist and fishing expert, and his determination as to what the fish was concurred with my thoughts – somebody probably released a non-native aquarium species into the river. Still, then I went on line trying to get a more specific ID for it… but failed to come up with anything positive – mottled catfish, striped catfish, black and white catfish, spotted catfish, etc. , all such names were investigated.

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I did see a very poor picture of a similar looking catfish caught by a fisherman, I believe it was in the Chicago area. But then I got sidetracked with other leads and couldn’t find my way back to that site. Actually it didn’t really matter since they also were looking for a positive ID there.

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So I just filed the picture away on the computer in my “Misc Creatures Pictures” file until a couple of days ago when I was discussing the River Basin’s new 36 ½” shop record channel cat with a local angler. He mentioned having caught a strange looking black and white “calico” looking catfish a couple of days earlier while fishing for stripers with herring chunks. When I showed him the picture of my last year’s catch he said “Yep, that’s it. Exactly!”

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So now I’m curious to see if anybody else out there has caught a similar creature. We’ve got well over a thousand people logging onto this website each day, all of them fishermen interested in fishing the Hudson and the odds are that someone else will have seen such a catfish -  if there are more of them. If you have caught one that looks like the picture please drop me an E-mail at “tomgweb” at yahoo. I’d like to know its approximate size and where, when, and on what bait it was caught. Thanks.    Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, May 16, 2013

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NEW SHOP HOURS… AND DAYS!

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The staff here at the River Basin Sport Shop (my wife Linda and I) has been keeping long hours during this 2013 striped bass season. In actuality we’ve been open 7 days a week right from the beginning of March and will remain so right into the first day of June, the day our 26th Annual Striped Bass Contest ends. But after the June 1st noontime contest conclusion our entire shop schedule will change. I guess you could say we’re going into some sort of “second” semi-retirement since the shop open-hours will be considerably lessened. This is just so as to afford me additional time for other productive things… such as going fishing!

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But before we do anything else we’re going to take a week and a half off to recuperate from the previous 3 months - therefore the River Basin Sports Shop will be closed from Sunday, June 2nd through Tuesday, June 11th. After that we’re going to try and recover from 35 years of running our shop by switching to a new summer / fall schedule that will find us closed Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. After June 12 our only open hours will be 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday .

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CONTEST WINNERS TAKE NOTE

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The winners-to-be of our presently ongoing striped bass and turkey contests should take note of the above mentioned schedule. Contest prize awards may be claimed at each event’s conclusion anytime through the end of business on Saturday, June 1st (5 p.m.). After that, since we will be closed for over a week, awards may be received during our new regular hours (posted above) starting on June 12th.

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 GOOD STRIPER ACTION STILL CONTINUES

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Even though the peak of the striped bass spawn is now behind us excellent fishing for linesiders still continues all the way from Poughkeepsie to Troy. Although we’ve had reports of fish over 40 inches in length from both Albany and Kingston the predominant size range appears to be between 22 and 36 inches. The majority of larger stripers are being taken by anglers bottom fishing chunk bait or live herring while trollers seem to account for many of the 22 to 30 inch fish. Action can be had from as shallow as five feet all the way down to past thirty.

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A report from Newburgh tells of lots of schools of smaller stripers all over the bay down there. They are mostly smaller fish but a three footer will come over the gunwale once in a while. Some of the anglers there are just waiting for the larger post-spawn upriver fish to drop back down into their area for some great late run action.

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An interesting contrast in fishing success was illustrated to us during the past few days by reports from the Bethlehem – Albany area. We had three different anglers tell us of great striper fishing up there, and then another who reported so-so action (he only boated 3 small fish) … and then we had yet one more guy who had fished the same water during the same days – but caught zilch!

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After a little bit of checking we discovered the one likely reason for the contrast. The 3 who experienced the best fishing were on the water during either high tide or a high dropping tide while the fellow who got skunked appears to have fished a low rising tide. Tide time can make a big difference in your catch and it seems that’s what happened there.

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Presently it appears that the good striper action should continue right into this upcoming weekend. Herring, which are also in spawn mode, still appear to be plentiful at most locations and fairly easy to catch either by using stoolies or jigging with Sabikis.

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A quick note to DocZ – for some reason your E-mail bounces. Thanks anyway.      Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Tuesday, May 14, 2013

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Judging from most of the reports we received here at the River Basin the past weekend’s action was just what we expected – the 2013 striped bass run was right at its peak. Stories of anglers landing from seven to as many as a dozen stripers in just one outing were being retold here as fishermen checked in after a day on the river. River temperature was found to be ranging between 63 and 67 degrees and this factor brought about a multitude of observations of surface spawns taking place throughout the waterway.

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The cooling trend at the start of this week will help slow down and extend the spawning period in the river but as we know from past experience - this will not stop it. As any female stripers finish their spawn they will start their journey back downriver to saltwater… but there still will remain thousands of others which have yet to accomplish this chore. Additionally, there still always appear to be newer arrivals on the scene with eggs that appear to be very green, and these will be hanging around for some time yet. 

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As of late this morning reports from the river at Catskill were of very good action. Most assuredly not all anglers scored well, but that is normal even during the best of times. However, stripers ranging in size from 22 to 36 inches still appeared to be plentiful and reports of several fish in the 38 to 39 inch size came in. Reports of an overabundance of river herring have been the norm throughout this year.

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Our reports from farther upriver in the Bethlehem to Albany area seem to have dried up so we don’t really know what’s happening up there. In the Ravena – New Baltimore area medium size fish are still being caught. Four Mile Point, just north of Athens, still is reporting good action but with lots of smaller stripers.

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The Catskill area by the Rip VanWinkle Bridge is still producing good fishing with stripers ranging up to about 38 inches. In the Saugerties area Jon Sullivan reports that the fishing for stripers still remains very good with some fish ranging up to about 39 inches being taken. Reports from further down river are scanty – we can’t let you know what’s happening there unless you tell us.

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It now appears that you’ve probably still got a good shot at some great striper fishing, perhaps right through this coming weekend – but the striper population will be on the decline from this point on. In actuality this is a time that some of the great striper fishermen on the river look forward to. They feel that there is less competition for their bait from the smaller fish and therefore the true lunkers have a better shot at getting to it. But - the only way to see if this is true is to get out there and find out for yourself. Good luck!  Tom G

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River Basin's Turkey Contest Update - Sunday, May 5, 2013, 12 noon 

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The new leader in the River Basin's turkey contest is Nathan Shearer with a 23 pound bird.

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Wednesday, May 8, 2013

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Time’s Up! If you haven’t yet been out to enjoy this great striper run you had better do so within the next 4 to 5 days… at least if you want to be in for the peak of the striper action – the 2013 striped bass spawn has started. We’ve been monitoring reports from both up and down river for the past few days (and hoping for a cooling trend to set in – it didn’t) and as we saw the river’s temperature rising we knew it would only be a matter of days until the fish went into their spawning mode. It started last night, at least in the area between Norrie Point and Coxsackie.

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The spawn does not occur all at once but rather is staggered in duration throughout the length of the tidal river, sometimes taking place over several days or, as in one weird year I can recall, over several weeks. During the spawn the fish will be seen splashing at the surface of the water, sometimes in a small group and at others hundreds of fish will be beating acres of surface to a froth at the same time.

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And, coinciding with the spawn we now have a new striped bass contest leader. Our winner from last year, William Walsh of Rock Tavern, New York was out early this morning and witnessed all sorts of spawning activity, catching multiple smaller 20 to 30 pound fish, when he sensed that whatever had just grabbed his line wasn’t just an ordinary runt striper. His line zinged out, and judging from the tenacity of the fight he thought he was hooked onto what could have been the heaviest striper he had ever had a chance to play. As a bystander boat watched the fight and the battle’s conclusion they heard him exclaim – “That’s a six thousand dollar fish!”

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And there’s a good chance that just might be true. We measured the monster in at 47 ½ inches (1/4 inch shorter than his 2012 winner) and had it hit the scales at 47 pounds on the nose (1.8 pounds heavier than his 2012 fish). Of course the year before that (2011) he had an even longer fish, a 48 ¼ incher… but was beat out in our contest standings by Tom Borchert’s contest record fish, a 49 ¼ incher. So, we’re sure that Borchert, as well as other top striper anglers up and down the river will be doing their best to top Bill’s fish – and we know that many of them feel that the peak time for the really big fish is still yet to come.

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So do yourself a favor and get out there this weekend, there probably won’t be a better time for maximum action this year.       Tom G. 

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River Basin's Turkey Contest Update - Sunday, May 5, 2013, 12 noon  

  

Presently the leader in the River Basin's annual spring turkey contest is Sean Brady with a 21 lb 8 oz. bird. The event runs through the entire month of May. 

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Striper Contest Update - Saturday, May 4, 4 p.m.

Just a quick note regarding Tyler Kritzman's new contest leading fish. Kritzman, a native of Hudson, N.Y. was fishing a live herring in the vicinity of Athens' 4 Mile Point yesterday afternoon when the giant 45 3/4 inch fish struck. We threw it on our scale and found it to weigh in at 41 pounds.

The great striper run of 2013 continued through Saturday with excellent reports coming in from both up and down the river.  Yes, there were a few locations where  luck could have been better but... that's fishing - just remember that you can't catch anything unless your line is in the water.    Tom G  

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Striper Contest Update - Thursday, May 2, 2013, 12 noon

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The great striped bass fishing continues... gotta be the best we've seen in the last 15 years. For the first time since the 1990's  we're seeing anglers catching multiple 40+ inchers in one day and catches of 6 to 9 fish in one outing are not unusual. Chunk bait seems to be the trick, but don't go thinking that live herring or bloodworms don't work.

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Catching bait herring is either a snap or it isn't. If there's a school of them in your vicinity and the Sabiki's aren't working - throw out a stoolie. Of course, the use of a stoolie predicates the use of a net so this can only be done in the main river, not in any creek or tributary.

Just this morning we saw our first 45 inch fish of this year's run as John Neidhardt of Accord took over our contest's lead. John was fishing chunk bait to catch the lunker.

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It this stage the contest's lead is capable of changing multiple times each day, particularly when a new school of fish moves into the area. If Neidhardt's new contest leader was part of a new grouping of stripers moving upriver we might just see a quick jump up coming in the catch sizes. If it was just a larger than average size from one of the previous groupings then we're still in a status-quo for the time being.

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We haven't been posting any new pictures on this website because we've been so far behind on our work this year, thanks to all your business - much appreciated though! We'll be trying to get the pics up as quickly as possible. Scap nets? Sorry, we just have not had the time to get more of them ready and had to turn down dozens of requests for them this week.

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Gotta go, UPS just dropped of a new shipment of tackle.                       Tom G  

  

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RIVER BASIN'S 26TH ANNUAL STRIPER CONTEST STANDINGS - APRIL 27, 2013

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1)    Pat Abate          42 1/4"

       Robert Burns   tie

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3)    Chris Geroux     42"

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4)    Frank Tamburro Jr 41 1/2"

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5)    Marc Uhrik         40 1/2"

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Striper Contest Update - Friday, April 26, 2013 - 5:30 p.m.

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It was an extremely busy day here at the River Basin. Lots of people to talk to and lots of fish to check in. There just wasn't enough time to get the pictures of today's stripers onto this website, but we'll be working to try and get them on tonight. In the meantime we do want to post the new standings for the striped bass contest - they are as follows:

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1)    Pat Abate          42 1/4"

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2)    Chris Geroux     42"

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3)    Frank Tamburro Jr 41 1/2"

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4)    Marc Uhrik         40 1/2"

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5)    Mike Fastert      40"

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Tomorrow looks like a dynamite day coming up. If you get out - good luck!     Tom G

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Striper Contest Update - Friday, April 26, 2013 - 10:30 a.m.

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There's no question that a huge school of larger stripers has moved into our section of the river. We just had our third contest lead change of the morning - Patsy Abate of Medusa measured in a 42 1/4 striper that he caught using chunk herring.

We're running way behind on the pictures but will be posting them as soon as we get the chance. There are big fish around - try to get out on the water.    Tom G

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Striper Contest Update - Friday, April 26, 2013 - 9a.m.

Just measured in a new leader for the contest, Chris Geroux of Hillsdale  is now in the lead with a 42 incher. Marc Uhrik's lead lasted just about half an hour. Pics later.

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Striper Contest Update - Friday, April 26, 2013 - 8:30 a.m.

We have a new contest leader this morning, Marc Uhrik of Hunter boated a 40 1/2 incher from the "bridge run" at Catskill. Picture later.  Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, April 25, 2013

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We continue to rate the striper action all along the mid-Hudson tidal river as good to very good - not surprisingly since some huge schools of herring made their way upriver this past week. A lot of the stripers that were just hanging around down in the lower New York harbor will have followed that bait all the way up here to us. Present water temps range in the low 50’s, perhaps a hair cooler in the Albany area.

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The week previous to this one saw the stripers max out at about 35 inches. This week we are hearing about (and have seen) fish up to the 40 inch mark. Our first River Basin Contest leader this year, John Munno of Leeds, had a 38 ¾ incher which he caught last Monday on a live herring just north of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge at Catskill. Although his big fish came on live bait he caught several other smaller stripers that morning using chunk. John always fishes during the first 2 or 3 hours of daylight… and quite successfully at that.

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But then, this morning (Thursday) we did measure in a new leader for our contest. This striper measured in at a good 40 inches in length. Mike Fastert of Ravena, who has caught a bunch of other stripers this spring, said he caught the beaut in the New Baltimore area using chunk herring for bait. The measuring of Mike’s fish opens up a new stage of the striper run in the river – it signifies that larger fish, those over 40 inches, have started to move up.

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Fish in the 3 foot class (20 to 22 lbs. normally) are being reported from the stretch from Poughkeepsie through Norrie and all the way to Kingston, as well as up the Rondout Creek. From there to the north the mid-river flats around the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge have started to produce and the Glasco flats to the south of Saugerties are continuing to yield decent fish.

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We haven’t received any reports yet from the Malden area although that action should mimic what’s being found at the surrounding locations. The Cheviot to Germantown stretch is still producing well, as it has for just about the past 3 weeks. Those shore bound anglers along the railroad tracks are getting fish from 24 to 36 inches using bloodworms, chunk bait and live herring. Bloodworms are still producing well… as one of our customers put it – “It feels like cheating!”

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Catskill Creek has been steadily producing fish ranging from30 to 35 inches but seemingly mostly during the early morning hours. Greendale, across the river from Catskill, is producing as is the Rip Van Winkle Bridge area and Hamburg on the west shore.

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We haven’t heard much from the Hudson power lines but further upriver the Four Mile Point to the north of Athens has been good to those anglers. Coxsackie, although it was the first location we were aware of to produce a striper this year, seemingly has quieted down this past week.

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New Baltimore is seeing action, as witnessed by our new contest leading fish. Those anglers there fish not only in mid-channel but also on the shallower 4 to 6 foot deep shoreward flats. Our last reports from Bethlehem and waters to the north were of sparse action although the feeder creeks up that way were reportedly filled with river herring.

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One of our River Basin Fishing Team members fished in the Troy dam area today (Thursday) and just slammed the fish. He reported herring to be abundant and the stripers to be very co-operative… even though he noticed other anglers not having such good luck. His biggest fish measured in at about 38 inches. The stripers were lying on the deep side of the drop off below the dam. Prior to this most other recent reports we’d had from there had been of sparse action.

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The bait supply at the River Basin has improved considerably from last week’s slow point and presently we have a good supply of both fresh dead and frozen herring available. Additionally we just received a new shipment of “herring dodgers” which guys are using in conjunction with their Sabikis to catch herring (we had sold out of our first 3 shipments in real quick order). Also, bloodworms are once again in stock. Looks like a great fishing weekend coming up with bigger fish starting to arrive – so grab your rod, a stoolie and a Sabiki and be sure to get out and to enjoy it.      Tom G

 

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, April 19, 2013

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As the first week of our River Basin Sports Striped Bass Contest draws to an end we still haven’t seen any entries brought in. But this is entirely understandable since the minimum length for entry is 38 inches and obviously no larger fish have made the journey up the Hudson yet. We know from years of experience that with the 775 registered anglers out there trying to catch qualifying fish we would have seen, or heard of, any larger fish that were caught.

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The reports all the way from Norrie Point (south of Kingston) up to Albany seem to be of cloned stripers, those between 18 and 36 inches in length. These fish seem to be in goodly abundance for so early in the run. Esopus Meadows has been producing some fish up to about the three foot mark as have Kingston, Saugerties, Catskill and Coxsackie. New Baltimore and Bethlehem have checked in with very limited action so far but we just had a report that the evening bite up at the Troy Dam seems to be turning on.

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Although herring appear to be plentiful in the creeks this year’s “no nets for herring” rule has really put the kybosh on the success ratio for local anglers trying to get bait for a day’s worth of fishing. It’s easy to talk about how easy it is to use a Sabiki rig to catch herring… but it’s quite something else when one actually has to put up or shut up. Gathering up 10 bait (the new possession limit) may have been easy enough using a stoolie and scap net last year but now, unless you get real lucky with the Sabiki, it can become a multi-hour chore.

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Additionally, the no-creek-net rule has become a problem for retail shops such as the River Basin. Our main source of supply has been the commercial guys netting the creeks but now - that’s done. The netters are doing the best they can out in the main river but it’s a much tougher proposition out there. It seems that there really won’t be any way for them to keep up with the demand. Therefore the supply this year is down and the prices are up… that’s if you can find any for sale. We just sold the last of the herring we had here in the shop and don’t anticipate being able to get any more for this weekend.

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This weekend’s weather certainly doesn’t appear to be the best and judging from the forecast it appears there is a good chance our creeks might turn to mud due to the passage of a strong frontal system. Still, if you do go out make sure you have your herring gear with you (stoolies, sabikis and a scap/scoop net) since there is a good chance you will have to use them to get your bait. (We do have a limited supply of bloodworms left at the shop)  Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Monday, April 15, 2013

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Our 2013 Striped Bass Contest registration sign-ups came to an end this past weekend and we have once more surpassed the number that we’ve had any time during the prior 26 years – our new record is a whopping 775 anglers. The chart above shows the schedule of paybacks for the top 5 anglers this year.

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So far this year’s striper run has been kind of unique, especially when we consider the runs of the past twenty years when BOOM – the bigger fish were here almost at the start. 2013 kind of reminds us of even further back, as long as 30 years ago, when it was the norm for smaller fish (16 to 24 inches) to be the first to arrive in our area. Back then we didn’t really expect to see any larger fish (those 26 to 38 inches) until almost the end of May. Additionally, back then June was the prime time for stripers of 36 inches or larger to enter the Catskill Creek. Why? We didn’t know but always assumed that since the main river spawn of herring had concluded they were in the creek looking for those tasty little morsels.

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The first week of this year’s run only saw stripers ranging in size from 18 to 24 inches being caught. The funny thing was that the very first ones were being caught by anglers just general bottom fishing with nightcrawlers, although bloodworms quickly became the “go-to” bait. With the scarcity of early run herring to be used as bait the second week of the run saw bloodworms producing far more fish than we expected… but they were definitely the smaller ones.

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Sometime toward the end of the second week of the run stripers somewhat larger in size started to show up. Rather than maxing out at about 24 inches these fish were up to about 35 inches in length and were being taken on bloodworms and herring (whole and chunk). This is approximately the stage we are at right now.

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The numbers of herring and striped bass seem to be quite evenly distributed throughout our mid-Hudson section of the tidal river. Last week’s rain and accompanying mountain snow-melt muddied our waters quite a bit but they are now quickly improving. Herring have become catchable in the creeks using Sabikis, and in the main river the guys using stoolies and scap nets seem to be doing quite well. This fishing for bait should get even better as the water warms and fish concentrations increase.

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Finding herring for sale is somewhat a problem right now since the commercial fishermen have yet to perfect their methods of fishing the main river for them. Creeks are off limits to their nets this year. Just naturally this is creating a shortage of available bait for purchase, even at the higher prices that have come into effect. We recommend that anyone going for stripers bring along their own gear to try and catch herring just in case there are none locally available. The new regulations on herring have certainly brought about greater hardships for our former “happy” fishermen.  Hang in there though – it'll be worth it when the BIG BOYS arrive.     Tom G

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Hudson River Striper Report – Friday, April 12, 2013

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With the Hudson’s water temperature here in Catskill ranging between 45 and 46 degrees (47 down around the Kingston area and a couple of degrees cooler up around Bethlehem, but dropping a few degrees in the Catskill Creek to 41) we’re finding that the herring have already made their way all the way north to the Troy dam. Additionally, although we’ve only heard of stripers as far north as Bethlehem (where the docks are in), some will probably have made it all the way to the Troy dam.

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Unfortunately, the water over the Troy dam this morning was said to be running extremely muddy. Still – any fish that made it that far should remain there for the next few weeks so the potential to catch a striper there still remains. The Catskill Creek, as well as other tributaries entering the river from the west, have all picked up mud and the latest word from Stockport was that it was also picking up color.

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The stripers caught this past week mostly all ranged in size from 18 to 26 inches, The very first ones that were reported to have been caught from Catskill to the north were actually taken by anglers bottom fishing with nightcrawlers. However, now the bloodworms seem to have taken over as the easiest striper bait to obtain and they ARE producing real well.

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The fishermen going for herring in creeks that have clean water seem to be doing O.K. in obtaining their 10 fish allocation of bait by using Sabikis. One trick to make these rigs even more effective is by utilizing a “herring dodger” along with the rig. Give this a try – you will be very pleased with the results.

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Yet other anglers are still taking chances by using nets in the creeks to capture their herring – that’s a no-no this year and could result in a fine if the “man in green” happens to see them doing it.

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Here at the shop we presently do not have any herring available for sale but are looking to obtain a reliable source of supply. Still, the bloodworms seem to be producing well for our customers.

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As we head into the final weekend before the start of our striped bass contest it appears that the sign-ups are coming in at a somewhat slower pace than last year. If the registration were to end right now, at the time of this writing, the paybacks would be as follows: 1st  - $4,743; 2nd - $1,466; 3rd – $1,121; 4th – $776; 5th – $517. But of course we still have about a day and a half of registration time left, and this is when the heaviest influx of registrations usually comes in.

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Remember that this coming Sunday, the 14th, is the final day you will be able to register, and no… you cannot do it by phone or on the internet… nor are checks, credit or debit cards accepted for the sign up. Best of luck to all.           Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Bulletin – Tuesday, April 09, 2013

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Things are starting to pop! On Monday afternoon we took the river’s temperature at the gazebo in New Baltimore and came up with 41 degrees on our thermometer. This was a 2 degree jump from just a few days earlier… and with the milder weather arriving the river seemed to be warming up fast.

 

The very next day, Tuesday, the first striper of the year (of which we are aware) to be caught north of Catskill was taken from shore right at the Coxsackie launch ramp – a bright and shiny linesider that succumbed to the allure of a fat nightcrawler. Since then we have become aware yet another similar sized striper that was caught on a worm – this time at 4-Mile Point at Athens, and yet another one that was caught from the dock at Athens’ riverside park. These fish have all been relatively small, although legal size for our section of the river (18 to 22”). And just now we became aware of another similar sized fish that was hooked in the Catskill Creek this morning, this one on a Sabiki rig.

 

Early this very morning as we pulled into the River Basin parking lot we were greeted by the sight of a 5 gallon bucket propped against our front door. Peering into its depths we discovered a spunky, full-grown live herring (which was immediately named Oscar). It seems that such a gift has become the annual trademark of the “Good Herring Fairy,” the one that drops off the first-caught Catskill herring of each year.

 

So, now it seems we have had a good sized school of herring moving up river. These fish may already be in Albany by this time but the larger fish have still yet to make an appearance here. From this point on it’s merely a matter of time till the first 3 footer is taken.

The sales of Sabikis and Stoolies have been extremely brisk here at the shop. As anglers come through to register for our striped bass contest most of them pick up a Sabiki or Stoolie… just to play it safe so they won’t run out. Our first shipment of bloodworms sold out last weekend but we are expecting a new supply to be arriving this Wednesday afternoon. Our supply of local herring bait still is not available and we are working hard to try to get it in as soon as possible.

 

Remember that the final day of sign-ups for the striped bass contest is this coming Sunday. The contest officially begins on Monday and no more applications will be accepted starting that day.

 

Now it’s time to get off the couch, or perhaps it’s time to put away that lawn rake… whatever, get out the fishing gear – spring has sprung. .    Tom G

 

 

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Hudson River Fishing Bulletin – Saturday, April 06, 2013

 

 

It seems that 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 also up the Stockport Creek on the east side. Some of the fellas at 4-Mile have been “stoolie-ing” and “scapping” the herring while the Sabiki’s have been the key up in Stockport.      Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Wednesday, April 03, 2013

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Although we did receive an Easter Sunday report of some smaller stripers being caught as far upriver as Tivoli that seems to have been the extent of the northward surge of stripers and herring so far.  Even though we had a couple of days when our daytime temperature managed to creep into the 50’s that warming trend was counteracted by three straight nights of low 20’s readings. 

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When we took the river’s temp this morning we found it to have increased just a smidgen over last week’s reading – to just about the 38 degree mark (+ one degree). An improvement most assuredly… but one counteracted by finding that the Catskill Creek’s temperature dropped from that which we had last week by 2 degrees to 37. We certainly got nowhere fast this past week. 

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Still, we did take the plunge here at the River Basin and got in a small early shipment of bloodworms for those of you who just have to get out there and wet a line. Actually this was caused by having the Tivoli guys tell us that those early stripers were hitting the bloods quite well. Local herring bait is not available as of yet… and it’s rather hard to predict how much availability there will be for this bait due to the restrictions that have been placed on its capture and use.

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All in all it seems that our spring run will have reverted back to its more normal schedule this year rather than what we had in 2012. At present we’re expecting the first of the stripers to show up here perhaps toward the end of next week, or else the week after. It’s all dependent on the weather from this point on – just hope that we don’t get any flooding rain.    Tom G  

  

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, March 29, 2013

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Traditionally, from our observations here at the River Basin, the first tendrils of the annual herring run will have arrived in the Kingston area right around April 1st, and right along with them perhaps will be a few smaller stripers. The following week the Esopus Creek at Saugerties will see those same fish passing through heading on upriver. Then, if the weather stays mild, Catskill Creek should be their next stop but should we get any heavy, cold rain that muddies the Hudson’s water anyplace between Kingston and Catskill… those traveling fish come to a screeching halt wherever they happen to be. This pause can last a week or more depending on the conditions.

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In keeping with tradition it appears that the first herring of this year’s run have made an appearance in Kingston already, and reports were also of a couple of small stripers caught. We’ve heard nothing yet from Saugerties or anyplace further upriver. Keep in mind that this is just the very, very beginning of the run and your odds of catching a fish in the main river right now are mighty slim.

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This morning we took the Hudson’s water temperature at Catskill’s launch ramp (at Dutchmans Landing Park) and found it to have climbed up to 37 degrees – still mighty cold. Then we went around to the lower Catskill Creek where we were pleased to see our thermometer reading shoot up a little bit higher, to 39. With the warmer weather that’s predicted for the upcoming week it is quite possible that some herring and stripers might start to show up here by week’s end. Just remember this would be the very start of the run and decent fishing is still probably about 3 weeks or more away.

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Our striped bass contest sign-ups seem to be going a little bit slow this year but the colder weather is probably responsible for that. We’re expecting to see a huge surge of registrations come in during this upcoming week. Keep in mind that you only have until the end of April 14th to sign up – the contest officially starts at 12:01 a.m. on the 15th. The $15 registration fee is payable by cash only – no checks, no credit or debit cards.

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Our shop just received its first shipment of herring scap nets this past week - they sold out in 2 days. The second shipment is now at hand and for sale. Since these super 4-foot square scap nets are not factory made but are individually built for us by two “little old net-makers” in their spare time they will only dribble in by the ones or twos. Please don’t make a special trip here for these nets without calling first to make sure they are available.

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We’re in excellent shape with in-stock large striper landing nets and with herring holding pens of sizes from 18 inches to 3 feet round. Our stock of gill nets is low, just a few left (you need a special permit for these but they can be obtained fairly quickly from ENCON). Sinkers, cast nets, hooks, rigs and terminal tackle are all stocked up - so are BAITRUNNER reels (over 30 different right now) and a great selection of striper rods. Also, you should check your line and if you haven’t changed it yet this spring bring the spool in for some fresh premium 20, 25, 30 or 40 pound test – just 9 bucks to fill a spinning reel (up to 200 yards).

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Additionally, make sure you have a fishing license for this year as well as your MARINE REGISTRATION which is required if you wish to fish for any saltwater species (stripers AND herring) - both are available here at the River Basin Sports Shop. Make no mistake about it – we have more striped bass equipment here than you’ll find anywhere else in the area. See you soon!    Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Monday, March 25, 2013

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I guess that the best thing I can think of to keep my spirits high this spring is the possibility that when the herring and stripers do arrive they will arrive en-masse and provide us with the best fishing we’ve seen anytime during the past 15 years. However, the reality will probably be considerably shy of that day-dream. The only sure thing this year is that there will be no early arrival of fish here in the Catskill area.

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Even though the state’s monitoring teams last week reported netting stripers and a FEW herring down in the salty Haverstraw area of the river we have yet to receive any confirmed reports of action up here in our mid-Hudson region. Of course it should be kept in mind that last year those same state monitoring crews reported NO early herring catch down there… even though the first run of both stripers and herring had already by-passed them and showed up, in mid-March, at the head of tidewater in Troy.

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A week and a half ago when I took the river’s temperature here at Catskill it registered a chilly 36 degrees on our thermometer – incredibly, four days ago we found it to have DROPPED 2 degrees from that previous mark, down to 34. Most certainly the snow last week didn’t help any to warm up the water.

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Even so our striper fishermen have been coming through on a steady pace today, all in anticipation of the run to come. One fellow purchased 3 different pre-rigged 9 inch stoolies and then went down to the school dock just to take a few casts and get the kinks out of his line. Fifteen minutes later he was back to purchase yet another… to replace the chartreuse colored one that had just been ripped off his line by something big enough to hit that bait. No, I don’t believe it was a striper that nailed his stoolie – probably a big northern (season is closed)… but whatever it was it certainly made his day.

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Of course “stoolies” have become a mainstay for today’s striper fishermen. About 20 years ago it was the Saugerties’ anglers who first discovered a novel use for them - to lure river herring in close enough for capture – and ever since they have been a must-have for our striped bass fishermen. The name STOOLIE itself was derived from the term “STOOL PIGEON” which refers to the way the herring are betrayed into following-the-leader until netted. Herring are the main bait to use for striped bass in the river.

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This year anglers using stoolies to lure herring within netting range are restricted to plying their trade in the main Hudson River itself – the use of nets to capture herring in any tributaries is now prohibited. While to some this permission might seem conciliatory enough, to fishermen it actually imposes severe hardships. Herring in the river are considerably more spread out rather than concentrated as in the narrower creeks, and further, early-run river herring tend to stay in deeper water which is out of reach of most stoolie fishermen. Factors such as these make herring capture real difficult and put a definite crimp into the success rate of most anglers.

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Still, one would think that the stymied anglers should be able to come up with alternatives to the use of nets in the creeks since stoolies are such deadly lures. Perhaps a tactic such as luring the herring in and then dangling a “sabiki” under their nose would work… or maybe even hanging a few “sabiki” hooks off a stoolie for the pursuing herring to nibble on. Whatever - seems like somebody should be able to come up with something new.

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Of course we here at the RIVER BASIN do have the largest selection of both stoolies and Sabikis available anywhere along the Hudson River. Presently there are over a dozen different color herring-sized stoolies available here, both rigged and un-rigged, and Sabikis? There’s like dozens of different ones to choose from.

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Stoolie colors are of great importance to individual anglers since water color and clarity will often determine which patterns will be most effective. The standard black-back white-belly color seems to work in all situations but chartreuse appears to be a favorite for many in off-color water. Still, last year the pearl-white was the one most in demand.

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Striper anglers have learned to stock up on their favorite stoolies and Sabikis since the end of the striper run often finds the best performers to be sold out and unobtainable.

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The River Basin’s inventory of striper gear is just about at peak right now so this is the time to stock up on your tackle. Here’s a small incentive if you’re in the market for a new striped bass baitrunner rod and reel combo – purchase a striper outfit costing over $100 and pay cash rather than any kind of charge card and we’ll knock another 5% off the final combo price (which is already discounted 10% ).

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Additionally, any other tackle you buy at the same time as the striper combo will also receive that 5% discount. The catch? Just that at the time of purchase you’ll have to mention you saw this deal mentioned here on our website. This is a non-advertised special that will last for the duration of our striper contest (ends June 1st) but you will have to ask for it. In the meantime just enjoy the slightly warmer weather coming in.    Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, March 14, 2013

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As strange as it may seem last year, 2012, saw the first herring and striped bass of that year’s run arrive here in the Catskill area on March 15. Oh, there certainly weren’t many of them and most assuredly the big fish were missing… but they WERE here! Generally we at River Basin refer to such early arrivals as “scouts” and figure that they’re running about 2 to 3weeks ahead of the arrival of the main run.

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No! Don’t you even go thinking that’s going to happen here this year.

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When we took the water temperature at Catskill’s free launch ramp last year, on March 14, our thermometer read 43 degrees. We usually expect the first of the herring to arrive in the Catskill area when the river reaches between 43 and 45 degrees and in 2012 those fish were right on schedule. Additionally, in an ordinary year we don’t expect to find the water to be that warm until about the first week of April so, obviously, last year’s end of winter was quite a bit warmer than usual.

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This mid-morning, as I stood out on the 27 degree wind-swept shore of the Hudson River, the best I could say for the river’s temperature was that it was not cold enough to freeze – but my thermometer did barely manage to squeeze out a 36 degree reading – brrrr, definitely no herring around here as of yet!

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Still those fish are definitely on their way, as are the first of the striped bass. We had a report just yesterday from the lower river (Piermont) of lots of fish stacking up down there, preparing for their upstream run. Most of those fish were said to be in the 16 to 30 inch range but you can be assured that those bigger babies are right there behind them.

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 As it now appears, our annual run should be occurring just about on regular schedule this year. We’re expecting the first of the herring to be here about the first week of April, followed rather quickly, perhaps in 2 or 3 days, by the striped bass. Even so, you must remember that this will still be too early to fish for them - their numbers will far be too few to afford you a decent shot. If you want a guess as to a time to try, it appears that the start of our Striped Bass Contest date in mid-April should be just about the time the better fishing starts.

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We’ve been taking entries for our 26th RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS CONTEST for almost two weeks now and so far, despite the snow and rainstorms, the registrants appear to be very excited by the prospects for this year’s run. It’s hard to predict how many participants we’ll actually have in the contest since previous estimates were blown away when over 750 entered last year. Still, we have been seeing increased participation now for the past 26 years and hope to see the number up in that range again this year – and so should you if you are an entrant since the contest pays back 100% of all money taken in. Last year we paid back over $11,000 to the 5 winners. Remember, the $15 entry fee must be paid and the contest sign-up must be accomplished no later than April 14 this year.

Here at the River Basin Sports Shop we’re still busy unpacking all the striped bass tackle we’ve ordered for this year’s season. As I look over at the shelves of fishing reels we have in stock I count 25 different on one shelf, these are all “baitrunner” reels for stripers ranging in price from $49 to $199. It’s probably the largest selection of such reels you are going to find anywhere in the Capital District or even much further afield. If you want to be able to pick out one that specifically suits you this is the best place to do it.

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Of course we also have rods to go with all those reels, not just any rods but rods that we know will handle the punishment that will be meted out when you hook into that 44 inch fish of a lifetime. We also offer many striper rod-reel combos, all at a discount from their individual pricing, and while you’re here you should take advantage of our reel spooling service and get some fresh decent line properly put on those reels. Sure, you probably can get by without it… that is, at least until you hook the giant fish that’ll just wave bye-bye as it breaks itself off.

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Of course we also have all sorts of other tackle you need. Not just the ordinary cheap stuff you can find everywhere (which we also have) but rather, the strong heavy duty gear that you know you should actually be using – lots of it along with striper lures, stoolies, huge striper nets, herring nets and pens, etc. Man, we’ve got just about anything you can think of including fishing and marine specie licenses. If you’re in the area come on through and take a look around. And just remember the NY Lotto motto in regards to our contest – “You can’t win it if you’re not in it.”

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Additionally, if you’re unsure of just how to rig, don’t have the gear, don’t know where to go, or just don’t have a boat - you might want to consider going out with a guide for a day. There are several guides around that work the river for the striper season but there’s just one we are aware of that additionally guides the river out of Catskill for the rest of the year. He’s a nice guy who we know real well and have no problem recommending – give Captain R.E. Booth of “REEL HAPPY FISHING CHARTERS” a call at (518) 622-8670. IF you tell him we told you to call and IF you book a trip with him we’ll give you a free striper reel line-fill-up here at the River Basin.      Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, March 07, 2013 

    

Looks like we’re heading toward a great spring! Due to the mild winter the ice on the Hudson River never really had a chance to lock-up that great waterway. Here in the Catskill area it’s been completely free of ice floes for weeks already. The Catskill Creek has also been ice free for a couple of weeks. Although it did freeze over several times this winter none of those freezes amounted to much since a construction tugboat kept it open all winter (a new bulkhead is being installed on a section of the east shore above the first bridge).

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The walleye season here is still open, at least until the 15th of this month. However, the anglers that we’ve heard from so far, at least with one exception, have yet to report any success. Maybe the pile drivers and other activity at the bulkhead construction site are keeping the fish from making their up-creek journey… or the time just is not right yet. Although water temperature is very important to their spawning cycle (the actual spawn generally occurs with the water between 44 and 48 degrees) the amount of daylight (photoperiod) and amount of water flowage also play an important role. The creek’s temperature this morning was a chilly 36 degrees.

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Of course as tempting as it is for some anglers to try and catch the walleyes during the closed season (March 16th thru May 4th) that’s a strict no-no! Not only will the game wardens be keeping a close eye on our waters but other local anglers will also be on the lookout… and will report any law breakers (the big “walleye bust” of 2012 bears witness to that).

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The unfortunate part of our walleye run is that unless some of the fish arrive here in the creek prior to the closing of the season we actually have NO walleyes to fish for. As soon as the spawn finishes those fish disappear back into the murky depths of the mighty Hudson where they are but only occasionally caught, and then only by anglers fishing for other species. We’re aware of but a single angler that appears to have somewhat of a river fishing pattern figured out for them - but even his seems to be a kind of hit or miss thing.

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Any day now we should start to hear about good catches of yellow perch starting to take place on Catskill Creek. Such action should be good, at least until the schools of pesky smaller white perch arrive. Those in turn will be followed, or accompanied by, the awakening of the river’s catfish population - already we’ve heard of some channel cat activity.

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When we enter the month of April the first of the river’s American shad should already have arrived in our tidal mid-Hudson River area and their numbers will continue to increase right into the start of May when they spawn and head back to the ocean. Due to fear of a declining population the state has closed the fishing season on this species, prohibiting even their “catch and release” on the Hudson River.

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Also by the start of April we should start to see the first schools of river herring arriving here, accompanied by or soon to be followed by our annual striped bass run. Although the first of the herring often enough will be here as early as the last week of March the first of the striped bass usually don’t make much of an appearance until sometime toward the end of the first week of April. But, due to the mild past winter this year, 2013, we just might see a somewhat earlier arrival. Even so the hook and line fishing for the stripers generally won’t be worthwhile until the end of the third week in April, and even that may be pushing it somewhat.

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The river herring are the most popular bait being used to catch stripers in the Hudson. However the state has also placed new restrictions on their use this year (2013). Of most concern, and perhaps most onerous to striped bass anglers, are these two – a daily possession limit of only 10 herring (dead or alive) per angler, and a prohibition on the use of any kind of net to catch them in tidewater tributaries. Bummer!

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O.K., that still leaves the main river as a place where you can catch herring using a net. Unfortunately the early arriving herring in the main river usually stay too deep for shoreline anglers to net. Sure, the gill netters can get them but that requires the purchase of an expensive gill net, special permits… and a boat (seems to complicate matters a bit). We’ll just have to wait and see how all this is going to work out in the coming weeks.

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Of course you can still “hook and line” catch the herring in the creeks. Years ago, when all herring were caught that way, the method was to tie a small shad dart on the line and cast. Then that was replaced, for the main part, with the use of “sabiki” rigs, you know - those multi-hook rigs that would hook your sleeve or pants if you got just the least bit careless. So, even now it seems that this will be the best (if not the only) way to go in the creeks.

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Anticipating this situation we here at the River Basin have stocked an excess of sabikis for the year - greater numbers and more styles than ever, including the ever popular best-selling “Wally Whale.” Still, it’s up to you to determine which rig will work best under whatever conditions you encounter. Whatever you need, we’ll probably have one to fit your needs.

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The new RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS CONTEST entry forms are now available at the shop so come on through and get registered. The entry fee for the best payback event on the river still remains at $15 and all of this money is returned to the winning contestants – last year we paid back over $11,000.00 to the top 5 fishermen.

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Now, it’s time to end this report, it’s gone on far too long already. You can be assured that we’ll be updating this fishing reports page more often now on so be sure to check back. But for right now, start getting your tackle out – the stripers are on the way.      Tom G

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1st Hudson River Rumor of 2013 - Thurs, Jan. 10, 2013.

 A seemingly solid source of information has reported to me that there is a fairly good chance that next year, 2014, the onerous 15 inch size limit that killed the bass tournaments on the Hudson River will be lifted and sanity will prevail once more with the resumption of the regular N.Y. limit of 12 inches. We'll see.     Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, November 2, 2012..

Ah, the start of November! Finally the waters of the Hudson River Valley have dropped below the 55 degree temperature level which we consider magical for turning on the bass in the tributary creeks even though this has occurred several weeks later than usual. Additionally, the after effects of hurricane Sandy are now dissipating and even my cellar, which sucked in more than 5 feet of river water (including one 7” rock bass), is starting to dry out. But the main point to make at this time of year is that the bass are extremely active and hungry!
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.The reports from anglers on the Catskill Creek have finally started to show that the annual migration of smallmouths into this tributary has started. This movement should continue to grow even stronger during the next two weeks. The fishing in the main river is also progressing toward its peak as is seen by the results of last Sunday’s TIDERUNNERS BASS CLUB contest which was won by its president Russ Burton. That event also wrapped up the organization’s year-long competition for the title of “MR. BASS 2012”, an honor awarded to the club’s top point winner - Randy Phelan of Germantown.
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.The TIDERUNNERS tournament results best illustrate the quality of fishing available at this time of year. The first chart below shows the average weight of bass caught in each of their 9 annual tournaments, starting last June, and illustrates that the best time of the year is right now.

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The second of these TIDERUNNERS charts shows the top weights for each of the same 9 contests and kind of makes any fisherman want to get out there right now.

 

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With this post we will be putting our web-site to rest for a while. Oh, if anything interesting should pop up we’ll post a notice here but basically we won’t be updating it again until sometime this coming February. That’s when we’ll once more start to prepare for the annual striped bass run up the Hudson River. We’ve got a lot of planning to do for our 2013 RIVER BASIN SPORTS ANNUAL STRIPED BASS CONTEST, the largest striper contest of its kind on the river. Last year it drew over 750 entrants and paid back over $11,000 to the 5 winners.

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     In the meanwhile we’re just going to relax a little and take some time off. This year, for the first time ever, we will be closing for the entire months of December and January, reopening again in mid-February. We’ve been at this game for just about 35 years now and have decided to become a little more “laid-back.” Thanks for all your support.   Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, October 19, 2012

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As we approach the end of October we find the main Hudson River’s smallmouth fishing to be approaching peak. The smallies are now schooling up real well and will be found along the river’s “suck-holes” and most gravel bars and “sweeps”.  Those 3 to 4 pound fish that were missing all summer long now seem to be a normal catch in many locations.

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Although largemouths can still be found in the main river, especially in this warmer-than-usual year, best bets to put a few fish into the boat are feeder creeks such as the Rondout and Esopus. The reduced tidal currents in these waters are a much more comfortable habitat for the bass as the river cools down. Although the past week saw lots of short fish being caught in these locations you can be assured that a few 4 and 5 pounders are hiding therein too.

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Crankbaits have been working well, particularly fire-tiger patterns. Try some Norman, Bandit or Bagley ones, or perhaps go to Bill Lewis Rat-L-traps which have not only been working on black bass but have been scoring well on the fall run stripers which are in the river now. The stripers can run up to about 3 feet in length and will give you ten times the fight of any of those green or brown bass.

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You can expect to find the river’s temperature in the upper 50’s right now and the creeks to be a tad cooler. The water clarity in the river has mostly been in the 4 to 5 foot range but the frequent rain storms we’ve been having all fall can cloud it up quickly. Needless to say the feeder creeks can go to mud just about overnight if hard enough rain falls.

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Best of luck to the NYTBF members with their contest this Sunday out of Catskill. Last Sunday’s “Hudson River Challenge” USO event was cancelled due to hazardous conditions caused by high winds.             Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, October 12, 2012

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The Hudson continues to provide excellent bass fishing at the present time. Last weekend’s river tournament winning weight was over 19 lbs. and second place topped 18. For any anglers coming to Catskill for this Sunday’s HUDSON RIVER CHALLENGE OPEN PARTNERS BASS TOURNAMENT (a benefit event for the troops through the USO) here’s what you can expect to encounter:

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The weather won’t be as cold as the day before (Saturday) – you can expect the temperature to be around 40 degrees at the ramp but warming fast as the event gets under way. The gloomy side of the story is that rain is expected during Saturday night but it should be stopping at just about take-off time. The rest of the day is predicted to be partly cloudy with the temperature climbing into the 60’s. It will be somewhat breezy.

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The river itself appears in great shape. The water see-thru visibility in most main-river locations will be between 2 and 4 feet but may be even greater in the feeder creeks. The water temperature at mid-week in the Catskill area was at the 62 degree mark but dropped about a degree further upriver. The creeks were at the 60 degree mark. The amount of floating debris is minimal but lots of drifting leaves may hamper crankbaiters in some locations.

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According to Russ Burton of the TIDERUNNERS BASS CLUB on-site registration and boat-check at the Catskill ramp will begin at 5:30 on Saturday morning so if you haven’t entered yet you can do so at that time. The fee per boat is $200 (check made out to HUDSON RIVER CHALLENGE). Don’t forget your boat insurance papers. The 3 o’clock weigh-in is scheduled for the other riverside park at Catskill, the Catskill Point Park. There is supposed to be a golf-cart shuttle for the anglers between the two parks at weigh-in time.

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Our best producing lures throughout this past week were Rat-L-Traps, Senkos, Gulp Minnows, and jigs but we’re sure that just about anything would have worked since the fish were real active. The Rondout and Esopus Creeks were producing both largemouths and smallmouths and at this time the Catskill Creek should also be seeing some fish entering. In the main river the points and suck-holes all seemed to be holding at least a few smallies.

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Full details for the HUDSON RIVER CHALLENGE can be found at the bottom of our HOME page. Best of luck to all participants.       Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, October 4, 2012

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If you’re a member of the New Jersey TBF Bass Federation here at Catskill for this Sunday’s Hudson River tournament you should absolutely SLAM the fish… that is unless a cold front should happen to go through prior to tournament time. Unfortunately that’s precisely what appears to be the fate for Sunday. There is a greater than 20 degree daily high temperature difference between tomorrow (Friday) and Sunday. Additionally, there appears to be the chance of some rain with Sunday night’s temperature forecast to be the coldest we’ve had here all year – down to 33 degrees.
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The only bright spot is that the present wind prediction for that day is not bad, 3 to 6 mph. But this prediction really doesn’t make much sense considering the aforementioned frontal passage. Therefore OUR non-meteorological estimate of wind to prepare for on the river is at least 10 to 15 mph or greater. This might force many boats into the tributary creeks. We hope to be wrong.
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On this Tuesday the river’s temperature was running at 64 to 65 degrees in the section between Coxsackie and Kingston. The clarity was variable with a visibility between 1 and 2 feet, you could definitely consider it stained in most locations but not muddy. If the amount of this upcoming Saturday’s rain doesn’t amount to much there shouldn’t be any change.
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We’ve been hearing about the bass transitioning up into the feeder creeks, particularly the Esopus and the Rondout, but others such as the Catskill have still been somewhat slow. Judging by the two days the River Basin Sports fishing team spent on the river this past week, unless the weather forces you into the creeks for shelter, the main river is the best bet for a good bag of fish.
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On Sunday our team concentrated on fishing the river’s side coves for largemouths and scored big with bass up to 4 ½ pounds. No technique other than the obvious was used considering that most of the chestnuts are now gone. Fishing any visible wood structure was important as was carefully fishing around the edges of any remaining small patches of chestnuts. Although different baits were tried the bass definitely preferred a certain hue of Senko rigged Texas style and dragged slowly on the bottom. More than 17 pounds of largemouths would have been weighed in if that had been a tournament 5 fish bag.
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On Tuesday, fishing in the rain all day, our team just concentrated on smallmouths. They fished and scored well not only on the obvious spots (suckholes, sweeps and points) but had their first true encounter with schools of smallies that had finally moved up onto fall locations. That’s right, there are locations out there in the river that won’t see any fish, other than perhaps a stray, on them from spring through summer until the fall transition occurs – and this has now taken place.
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The best five fish out of that smallie expedition would have gone between 14 and 15 pounds. There were some gorgeous 3 pounders therein but no real pigs, those in the 4 pound plus class. Most of those smallies did come on 3 inch Senkos and 4” Gulp minnows which were dragged over gravel / rock humps or were current-bounced in suckholes or along sweeps utilizing a drop shot rig with about a 16 -18 inch gap. It seemed that they wanted the bait a little further off bottom that day.
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With Sunday’s high tide in the Catskill area due at around 8:30 a.m. and a low at 2 p.m. it’s obvious that here the main river’s best fishing will be for smallmouths. With a cloudy day with a chance of showers predicted it would ordinarily appear to be a perfect day… except for the possible frontal passage and the usually accompanying higher than normal wind. A plus for the anglers is that the weather should keep most other pleasure boaters off the water. Good luck to all the entrants.          Tom G

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QUICKIE REPORT, MONDAY SEP. 24 -

The smallies in the river are definitely starting to school up at the present. Small packs of 3 to 4 fish are to be found in many locations and even larger schools have started to appear. The RIVER BASIN fishing team weighed in a 5 fish total bag of 14.5 pounds of smallies at Sunday's TIDERUNNERS tournament which, believe it or not, included 17 fish from one school. Top producers were Senkos and Gulp Minnows. Water temperatures have dropped into the mid-sixties level and water quality in most locations has greatly diminished due to last weeks cold front passage.    TOM G
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Hudson River Fishing Report – September 19, 2012

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The fall transition period on the Hudson is now in full swing and will continue so right throughout most of the month of October. During this period most of the river’s bass will be meandering back and forth along the waterway, searching for a location in which to overwinter. They might remain in the vicinity of one location for days and days before moving to yet another which might seem preferable to them. Eventually they will find someplace less affected by the harsh effects of the river’s tidal flow and that’s where they’ll overwinter. The end of the transition period usually comes about during the first half of November.

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Taking the transition into account we find that the fishing at present can be really hot for the anglers savvy with the river’s ways but excruciatingly poor for those new to the water. Presently the water temp is running in the low 70’s, in a range when larger fish, particularly the smallmouths, really start to make their appearance along shallower gravel bars and points. The largemouths will be moving out of the rapidly disappearing chestnut beds and holding either along the harder structures in the same vicinity or locating along the entrances to the river’s feeder creeks.

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In three separate fishing trips this past week we found the bass to be extremely responsive to 6-8 foot deep crankbaits, 3” (drop-shot) and 5” (Texas rig) Senko stickbaits, fluke-style swimbaits and top-waters (Zaras). Probably 70% of the bass we caught were shorts (sub 15”) but we did have several in the 3 pound range and yet one that was definitely pushing 4.

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Suckholes and sweeps are attracting fish and there has been some early movement into creeks. We fished the Esopus Creek in the late afternoon on Monday and caught both largemouth and smallmouth bass, both species with bulging bellies. Our fish were shorts but we’ve had several other reliable reports of some decent fish being caught out of that waterway. The Rondout Creek is probably also worth a shot since it seems to mimic the Esopus when it comes to fish arrivals in the fall. Catskill Creek generally does not start to get better until about halfway through October.

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Our best fishing advice right at present is to get a fast moving lure and hit multiple locations quickly, seeking bunching-up fish. Even though this Tuesday’s torrential rains have muddied up the creeks they should be (hopefully) fishable by this weekend. Schools of bass are swimming around out there right now, just looking for your bait. Take advantage of it.   Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, September 6, 2012

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It’s been a real hectic past few weeks for us here at the River Basin and we’ve still not quite caught up with all we have to do. Hopefully we’ll get back onto a normal schedule next week. Speaking of schedules – please note that we are CLOSED on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays from now on and our business hours are presently 9:30 to 5 from Wednesday thru Saturday.

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Out on the Hudson things are starting to pick up. After the late summer doldrums which lasted almost right up to Labor Day we find that all of a sudden the fish are back. Not only are they back but some real pigs have started to show up. I saw a smallie that went over 4 pounds this week and some hefty largemouths in the 3 to 4 pound range are now starting to be caught. Reports are that the crankbait bite has turned on, but – some say the secret out there at the present is to be using Senkos.

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The see-thru water clarity is 3 to 4 feet at most locations and the water temperature is running between 76 and 77 degrees all the way from Albany down to Norrie Point. There are a few pieces of debris floating around on our river but basically it’s all in the normal range.

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A mid-week bass contest  with a 3 bass limit was won with 10+ pounds while second place was over nine. Those are decent fish in any event. We’ll see what the TIDERUNNERS bass club boys bring in at the conclusion of their tournament this coming Sunday.        Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – August 22, 2012.

Be Careful out There

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Sorry about missing last week’s river report – we had a minor crises here at the shop which required a few days to clean up but we’ll try to get back up to speed now.

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This past Sunday we did get out on the river even though it wasn’t until late morning (8 a.m.) and the tide was not what we would have preferred. The plan for the day was to NOT hit our normally predictable  “better” spots but rather  to do some exploring in hopes of coming up with a fishing location or two of which we had not been aware of before.

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A topic often discussed here at the shop, at least by more-serious bass anglers, is that there just have to be additional “secret” bass concentration spots out here on the river than most of us are aware of. But since they are “secret,” anybody in the know certainly is not going to disclose them to us – we’ve just got to go out and do our own homework to find them.

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When too many anglers (defined as more than one) become aware of such honey-holes it’s merely a matter of time before they become “community holes” and get wiped out. As always the problem seems to be that a fisherman brings a good trusted friend to the spot, one who says he’ll keep the secret… but then that friend goes there with yet another buddy, etc., etc.

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And that’s the way spots get wiped out – I can think of two-such just simply dynamite spots, one in Stockport Cove and another on the east shore rip-rap in the Saugerties area, that suffered just such a fate a few years ago. It’s just because of such happenings that we’re always seeking new locations.

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Anyhow, earlier in the morning we found the water temperature in the Cementon / Catskill area to have dropped a couple of degrees, down to 77 – 78 in locations where it was running out of the shallower bays. Unfortunately that drop did nothing to enhance the fishing which turned out to be extremely slow so it was decided to head northward, up to the Castleton area where a new spot had been discovered a few weeks earlier. In a previous tournament it had paid off for me with a couple of keepers.

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And though I stuck to that location for three hours, even through a change of tide, I caught nothing but catfish (over a dozen of them) and one white perch.  A wasted trip? No, not really since I log all such fishing stops in a workbook and now I had another piece of valuable data to add to my files. It definitely wasn’t a successful trip but was, perhaps, another piece of the puzzle which might eventually tell me just at what set of conditions that secret spot should be fished.

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Of course, others are also out there searching for fishing spots and among the best known and longest prevailing of such locations are the “suck holes” at the location shown on maps as Tivoli Bays, better known to bass fishermen just as “South Bay.” .The term “suck hole” refers to the water passages under the east shore railroad tracks, passages which lead to large backwater bays. The river’s up and down 4 to 5 foot high tidal flow causes the water to gush in and out of these openings, leaving lots of room for passage at low tide but only providing a scant one foot of clearance at high – not enough for a boat’s safe passage. Any such gushing water becomes a conveyor belt delivering food to bass awaiting a meal on either side of the opening.

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And then, since the bass tend to gather there, of course we have our bass fishing fraternity hanging around looking for the bass. Experienced river anglers know when passage through these openings can safely be made, and they also know how far away from the rushing water they must stay to avoid being swept through… or trapped under, these bridges. Unfortunately, newbies to the river are often not that well-informed - such was the case this past Sunday.

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A boat carrying three passengers was fishing the center suck-hole there on a ¾ full rising tide and got just a little too close to the opening. A ¾ full rising tide does not allow for a safe passage of a bass boat underneath the overhead railroad bridge and once engulfed in that strong current no trolling motor is going to pull any boat back out to safety. The craft and its passengers were sucked under the bridge.

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By the time another fishermen got there to try and help only the front pedestal seat (which had wedged against a railroad bridge beam) was keeping the boat from being completely swept under. Fortunately, it was a strong pedestal seat and it held – I’m aware of others that have been ripped out from such encounters.

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With aid from the fourth angler and yet another passing bass boat the craft was finally pulled out from under the bridge. The motor cowl was busted up and there probably was additional damage to windshields but everybody came out of the ordeal safely. Still, imagine being wedged under the bridge and then having a passing boat throw a 3 foot wake / wave behind it, a wave that would lift, or smash, the boat up and down a distance equal to its height. Not a very pleasant thought.

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And really this was the main purpose of this week’s report – to make sure that anybody who reads this and ventures into the vicinity of the river’s suck holes are well aware of the potential dangers that wait there along with their dreams of an 18 pound limit. If so then hopefully we’ll have spared somebody the anguish of this very frightening experience.

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In conclusion, - the water temperature should be dropping all week long and will be, hopefully, in the mid 70’s this weekend signaling an end to the mid-summer fishing doldrums out there. Be mindful that we are now entering the fog season on the river – don’t take any foolish risks.    Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, August 10, 2012

.Here we are approaching mid-August and we find the Hudson River’s temperature to be running at about 80 – 81 degrees, not unusual for this time of year. However, we are at a deviation from the norm since the river has been this warm for over a month now, weeks longer than usual. It’s obvious that some of the river’s fish population is starting to show stress from this prolonged warm spell - for instance small schoolie stripers are extremely scarce now except perhaps around locations where highly oxygenated water is available.

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Presently water clarity appears to be at its greatest with see-thru visibility around the 4 foot mark. At least this is true at most off-shoreline locations where wave action doesn’t rile up the mud. Floating debris is minimal except for the broken-loose mats of water chestnuts which are common at this time of year.

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I’ve seen a bunch of bass guys out on the river pre-fishing for the upcoming Massachusetts Federation championship (Aug 21 – 24), some of them probably making a big mistake and wasting precious practice time. What’s happening is that they are looking for and finding the edge of the main river drop-off, fishing along it for black bass. This generally is a completely worthless effort on our river.

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Yes, bass may be found in a very few key spots on that drop-off… but such spots are rare and very small as well as tidal height related… and there may only be one or two such every five or six miles.

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Far better strategies exist for trying to locate bass on the river, or anywhere else for that matter. The easiest one is to get a river map and hit the water at daybreak on the day of a tournament. Wait for that event to start and then leisurely cruise the water for the next hour, marking the map everyplace you see a boat stopped. Then, at some other time at YOUR leisure, go and thoroughly fish all your marked locations. These are all the prime spots those other anglers will have located for you.

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Since we’re talking about a tidal river here you should make note of what phase of the tide produces fish at any particular spot. You’ll find that most spots are better at certain tides even though a few can produce well at any phase of the rise or fall..It certainly isn’t easy for a newcomer to catch bass on our water - most certainly it’s far more difficult than fishing a lake. But by following the above plan, and also by fishing the more obvious structures, you should certainly be able to put a few keepers in the boat.

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For this weekend in the Catskill area your best largemouth fishing times should occur from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and for the smallies we prefer from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Now, if someone would just convince the fish to follow this same schedule this Sunday I’d be very happy. See you out there this weekend - Tom G.

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Hudson River fishing report - Friday, August 3, 2012

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Looks like the past week’s moderation in temperature is again about to become a thing of the past. With the weekend’s forecast of 90 degree days and thunderstorms it all seems very reminiscent of the past month. But the expectation of a strong cold front moving through late on Sunday is a harbinger of change for this coming week – you can expect Monday to be windy but followed by some much nicer days.

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Fishing continued to be good in the Hudson where the water temperature hovered around the 78 degree mark most of this past week. Again of particular interest for fishermen were those areas in the vicinity of back bays and their nearby current sweeps and suckholes. It appears that the disappearance of the river’s eelgrass beds has caused greater than usual numbers of bass to concentrate in such locations. These areas are mostly to be found on the river’s east shore to the south of Saugerties.

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Of course, there are always exceptions. Wishing to avoid the circus atmosphere which was sure to surround last Sunday’s Wacky Raft Race at Catskill (event was cancelled due to storms) I switched my usual Sunday fishing day to Monday and fished the river to the NORTH, in that general area of Ravena.  There I also found the eelgrass to be missing from my favorite locations and the chestnut beds to be unproductive.

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Finding my usual locations to be devoid of fish I went looking for current out-sweeps from those up-river bays and was lucky enough to locate one that had never produced for me before. Undoubtedly the lack of eelgrass in that bay has now forced the smallies to move out into the deeper water for shelter… and there they were, just milling around in 8 to 10 feet of water, waiting for bait to be brought out to them on the current sweep. Using 4 inch Gulp Minnows on a drop shot rig I put 5 keeper size bronzebacks in my boat in the next 20 minutes.

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Granted it took me about three hours to locate those fish but find them I did – using the same train of thought described above: look for current sweeps out of back bays since that’s how and where the food for bass is coming. Oh sure, standard locations can still be holding some bass but it’s always a kick to find a NEW spot out there. Just keep in mind that any location in the river will work best at some certain phase of the tide. That’s my plan for this upcoming Sunday when I’ll give the river my next effort. See you out there.         Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, July 27, 2012.

It’s been a brutal summer as far as the water temperature in the Hudson goes – since the first week of July we were seeing it riding in the 80 to 83 degree range. However, this past week we finally saw some moderation as it dropped back into the high 70’s, at least for a few days..

During high tide times water clarity remains at just about 2 – 3 feet in most locations but can drop down to 1 foot or less during lower tides when wave action beats the shoreline. Floating debris is minimal, with perhaps the exception being loose-floating rafts of water chestnuts. These in themselves are no problem BUT… sometimes they will clump around a chunk of wood or a branch so do try to avoid running through them..

Last weekend’s late morning and afternoon boat traffic was summertime normal – just stupid! And, you can probably expect more of the same this weekend, particularly on Sunday when the annual Athens to Catskill Wacky Raft Race is being held. The launch ramps at Athens and Catskill will definitely be all screwed up and fishermen should try to avoid them at all costs..

Unfortunately, the overflow from these two aforementioned locations will also affect other nearby ramps, such as those at Coxsackie, Hudson and Germantown. If you’re going out to fish the river, particularly on Sunday, do so real early in the morning. If you pull out by 10 a.m. you should be o.k.

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This past week we had several days with fairly strong southerly winds which, during times of falling tides, caused some real rough conditions on the river. I also discovered when that strong south wind blew directly into the chestnut weed edges I was trying to fish  the bass just seemed to disappear. However, the more sheltered weed beds such as in South Bay (Tivoli Bays) reportedly produced some nice catches. Additionally, the rip-rap surrounding “suck-holes” into such back-waters gave up some nice bass in the 3-4 pound category.

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I found last weekend’s smallies to be surprisingly active in skinny water, as shallow as just a couple of feet. But as soon as the sun hits them at this depth they quickly disappear. If they are your goal you must get to them either real early or under cloudy conditions - try flipping Senkos or drop-shotting grubs or tubes.

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Catfish abound. Everywhere. See you out there on Sunday.            Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Saturday, July 21, 2012

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The Hudson River’s water temperature all this past week was riding in the 81 – 83 degree range. This is a level which we have always considered to be just shy of the point where some of the river’s fish population starts to show real stress. There is a real difference in the amount of tolerance fish species have to water temperatures – my brother who lives in central Florida told me last week that the water on the Harris Chain of Lakes was in the low 90’s, a level which would definitely cause the demise of many of our river’s species. Fortunately we are in for a slight moderation of temperature during this upcoming week..

Water clarity in the river has steadily been improving. A few weeks ago seeing down just  a couple of feet would have been nigh unto impossible but now a three foot see-thru clarity is almost the rule. Even the waters below Saugerties (Esopus Creek) are showing signs of recovery from the uncaring NYDEP flushing of mud into our beautiful waterway..

The chestnut bite is on for the largemouths at the present time and the smallies are fairly aggressive in their rocky locations. Baits to use now are those in your standard war chest – crankbaits, frogs, tubes, poppers, worms, etc. Everything out there appears to be in a normal summer pattern… except perhaps for one thing being out of whack. I’m not really sure what kind of ecological effect this unexpected happening will have on our fishery during the next few years..

For decades the majority of water-weed growth in our central part of the river has consisted of three types of weeds. Here I are not counting the emergent species such as arrowroot and yellow flag (wild iris) – these are generally dismissed by our fishermen as far as productivity goes. Rather I’m referring to the water chestnut, the coontail and the eelgrass plants..

All bass fishermen on the river are aware of water chestnut. This floating leaf plant blankets many acres of the river’s shallower, more-protected coves and is generally one of the prime targets for the river’s largemouth bass anglers. An escapee from a water garden up on the Mohawk River many decades ago, this plant has spread downriver all throughout the Hudson’s flowage, and has even made it up north to invade Lake Champlain. Largemouth bass love to lie under the outermost lip of the bed formed by this invasive species, lurking in ambush for any creature of a size small enough to fit in their maw..

What we call coontail (often referred to as hydrilla by visiting fishermen) is a different type of weed. The shape of the plant rather resembles the shape of a raccoon’s tail, hence the name. In the river it tends to grow in clumps, and if there are enough clumps together they form huge mats. These plants are totally submergent weeds but since the river is tidal and varies 4 to 6 feet in depth from high to low tide, on lower tides they can be seen folded over at the surface in most locations. Though not noted for their bass attracting ability these clumps will provide shelter for bass during periods of low tide and, particularly when found in conjunction with chestnuts, can create a real good fishing area. A few years ago we noticed a diminution in their number but this just could be due to their being crowded out by the proliferation of the water chestnuts..

The third type of weed is the eelgrass (called Vallisneria by aquarium hobbyists). This plant grows out of a much firmer bottom than coontail even though both have a preference for low-tide water depths of 1 to 2 feet. It is (was) commonly found on shallower river flats as well as almost-flat extended points. It is tolerant of a somewhat swifter water flow than coontail..

Although usually submerged and not visible on the surface at high tide these plants will grow in beds that can also cover many acres of bottom. At low tides, when the individual stalks (12 to 20 inches in length) lay down sideways on the surface, these weed beds can look like a huge lawns that are way overdue to be cut. The edges of the eelgrass beds do provide shelter for both largemouth and smallmouth bass but are usually more-favored by the smallies. When open pockets are spotted in any eelgrass weed bed it’s always worth an effort to come across the corners with a lure..

It is this plant, the eelgrass that has mysteriously suffered a great setback this year – like, it’s been almost completely wiped out! The huge beds which were to be seen in places such as the Green Flats or the Saddlebags are virtually all gone. Along with their disappearance I find that one of my favorite smallmouth bass locations, located next to where the eelgrass used to be, is no longer productive. The bass seem to have gone the way of the weed – somewhere else..

What would ordinarily pop into the mind of any Hudson River fisherman as the most likely cause for this disappearance is that the beds were scraped away by departing wintertime river ice. This is something we have seen happen before but it seems that there have always been some patches of the grass left, patches which have healthily regenerated after a few years. However, this time many of the eelgrass locations are just completely barren. Besides,  this past winter was the warmest which we can recall here in the Hudson Valley and the river had NO ICE…  ice scraping could not have been the cause..

Some river anglers to the south of Catskill have postulated yet another theory - that of lack of sunlight. As most river fishermen are aware, due to complete disregard for any environmental concerns the “powers that be” allowed and caused the ESOPUS CREEK to turn into a completely dirty mess. This feeder creek dumped mud and silt into the river for almost 2 years straight without let-up. Eelgrass plants demand lots of sunlight in order to thrive - a condition that most certainly was not available anywhere around the Esopus discharge area. But while this might explain the reason for the weed disappearance around the Malden / Glasco / Saddlebags area it most certainly wouldn’t have much effect further north..

Another possible culprit that comes to mind just could be HURRICANE IRENE. This storm, the worse we can ever recall to hit our area, certainly flushed all kinds of noxious materials downriver last fall. Perhaps included in that wash-down was some substance particularly lethal to the eelgrass plant. I don’t know, and I doubt if we will ever find out..

Oh, there are still some flats out there with eelgrass and I’ve been noticing uprooted clumps of vallisneria drifting by the boat just about each time I’m out on the river. Why these clumps with roots showing ARE loose and drifting away I don’t know - perhaps I’m just noticing them now since I’m aware of their general disappearance. Anyway, since the plant is still out there I’m hopeful that it will make a recovery, I’m sure it will but it may take quite some time for this to happen..

By the way, we’re starting to see the beginning of the annual water chestnut break-up occurring now. You’ll see mats of these plants, sometimes 10 – 15 feet across, drifting downriver. This is a normal occurrence at this time of the year and not related to  any missing eelgrass.                    Tom G.

 

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, July 12, 2012.

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As of 5 a.m. this morning the Hudson River in the vicinity of Catskill was still running at just about the 81 degree mark. Water clarity seems to have improved slightly over what we were seeing last week and now at most locations we seem to have a 2 to 3 foot see-thru as the norm. An exception remains in the vicinity of Saugerties where the clarity is only half or even less of what can be found elsewhere.

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Members of Catskill’s TIDERUNNERS BASS CLUB report that the largemouth bass are now well established in the river’s chestnut beds and are providing some decent action. Our observation has been that yes, those fish are there but there definitely appears to be a lack of larger fish. In contrast to the number of 4 and 5 pounders we were finding, say 6 or 7 years ago, now the vast majority appear to be in the two pound range, a size which often enough does not even qualify them as “legal catch” river bass (15 inches). The bass club members have been having most success with Senkos (baby bass color) and any of the plethora of surface frog baits which are now available.

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Smallies are definitely the most plentiful of the river’s black bass population and will generally provide the most action during a day’s fishing excursion. If catching these fish is your goal just remember that any good smallmouth location absolutely MUST HAVE these two following items – current and either a small-rock or gravel bottom. Of course these conditions can alter due to the height and direction of the tide. This means that the fish might be there only at for a short while before moving on to a better preferred place. All manner of baits can produce results – just match your lure to the situation you encounter.

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As an illustration of the wrong and right time to be on a location I’ll describe a couple of spots I fished this morning.

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The first location I went to was one I just knew would produce a few bronzebacks for me. The conditions appeared perfect. The bottom there was gravel on the edge of a drop-off and the tide charts said the water would be moving. But, as often happens with the Hudson River, such was not the case – the water was just sitting there! And basically that’s what I did for the next 20 minutes – just sat there! No action at all.

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Not wanting to waste any more of the little time I had before getting back to the River Basin for the shop’s 8:30 opening I quickly motored a couple of miles north to a spot I had yet to fish this year. This location generally doesn’t start to produce well until we get to the end of August – most certainly not in the middle of July. The bottom composition there was slightly larger chunk rock and at least the tide there was moving, perhaps at a slow but definitely decent pace.

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Unexpectedly this location produced extremely well. Using 3 inch Senkos and Berkley Gulp minnows I put eight smallmouths in the boat in the next 45 minutes. Four of them were definite legal size tournament fish, the largest about 17 inches in length. The other four would have been legal in any of New York’s other waters (12 inch limit) but not in the Hudson. The action didn’t cease until the sun finally came out from behind the clouds and shone directly down on the five foot deep water.

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It still befuddles us as to why the state, by raising the size limit to 15 inches for river bass, would want to chase the bass tournaments, and their accompanying economic benefits, away from the Hudson River Valley. This 15 inch size makes the catching of a tournament limit of river bass about three times as hard here as on other waters.

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Our bass just can’t grow as large as they do on other more placid waters – here there is that unrelenting tidal current to contend with. But I’m sure that some genius sitting behind a desk in an air conditioned office will probably have an entirely plausible explanation for the present state of affairs, whether it holds water or not. Their main accomplishment in imposing the 15 inch limit has been to drive away over 80% of the river’s tournaments for good - way to go, guys and gals!    Tom G.

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 Hudson River Update - Saturday, July 7, 2012

 

The river's temperature from Catskill to the south was running at 81 degrees at 5 a.m. this morning. Water clarity was river normal - 1 to 2 feet at most locations. The smallmouth bite was turned off and it was found that channel cats had moved up into those shallower locations which were normally considered smallie spots. The tide was slack high and starting to ebb.    Tom G 

 

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, July 06, 2012

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Presently the tidewater Hudson’s waters are in a full summertime mode, ranging from 78 to 79 degrees. See-thru water clarity is running between 1 and 2 feet except around the Saugerties / Esopus Creek area where it generally is less than one foot. Of course it seems that the further upriver you go the greater the clarity becomes - up past the Port of Albany you can see down several feet.

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For boaters the amount of hazardous debris is minimal but there are lots of broken-off floating arrowroot leaves which can be mistaken for branches. Boat traffic this weekend will probably be somewhat greater than normal.

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Not much has changed since last week as far as the black bass fishing situation in the river goes. The largemouths are now in their summertime habitat – the chestnut beds or on harder structures in the immediate vicinity of those weeds. The smallies can be found relating to harder structure right on the edge of current breaks. Sometimes a mix of both species can be found in the vicinity of “suckholes” where the water will be flowing either in or out of the main river.

The fishing for channel catfish continues to be excellent – seemingly 24” specimens are no longer unusual. Of course our River Basin shop record presently stands at 28 inches of length. The fish was caught by Dan Dunkle this past April 23rd. Dan was fishing herring bait at 4 Mile Point (north of Athens) when he hooked this beauty. That fish was released into the Catskill Creek after River Basin sport shop certification.

There probably is a limitation insofar as how large a catfish can grow in our river. Ours is a brutal, tidal waterway which experiences harsh winters and provides no real escapement areas for the cats to over-winter. It’s tough to grow to a large size in such an environment. Our shop record has been very slowly increasing during the past 5 years – it’s hard to tell where it will top out but it might not be too much greater.

As strange as it may seem channel cats were practically non-existent in our tidewater Hudson until the late 1990’s. In the 40 years we had fished the river prior to that (both sport and market fishing) the main catfish species had been the brown bullhead and the white catfish - we had never caught a single channel cat.

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By the start of the 2000’s the channel cats had started to make their presence well known and by about 2003 our observations indicated that they had firmly established themselves as approximately 35-40 percent of the catfish population. At that same time the white cats were the dominant species, running at about 60 percent.

Then, after about another 5 years, we found the channels had taken over the top spot in the river’s catfish hierarchy. By about 2008 we estimated that they made up 80 percent of the river’s catfish, the whites at about 20 and the brown bullhead had become almost an afterthought, rarely caught.

Presently there is no question that the channel cats are the dominant species, probably making up about 95% of the river’s catfish population. They are a great fish to angle for, readily hitting natural as well as prepared baits. Bass fishermen sometimes catch them on artificial lures and, as a matter of fact, some members of the local TIDERUNNERS bass club even hold tournament side-bets to see who will catch the largest.

Our personal choice of catfish bait during the summer season is medium size shiner minnows. We’ll throw a dozen of them into a decent size baggie and then dump in about an eight of a cup of salt. In this manner the cares about keeping the bait alive are gone. On the water we’ll cut a minnow in half and use just the halves as bait for them. This eliminates both getting worm dirt all over everything and the stink from herring or prepared baits. Lots of fun and lots of action!    Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, June 28, 2012

The bass fishing in the Hudson continues to be excellent. Water temperature was ranging between 74 and 76 degrees this early a.m. when we went out to sample the fare. See-thru water clarity is running between 1 and 2 feet in most locations, the exception being the river below Saugerties’ Esopus Creek where it is still running off-color. Amount of floating debris in the river is minimal.

Boat traffic starting this weekend and lasting right through the 4th of July week will be heavier than normal but if you hit the waterway early in the morning and get off by 10 or 11 a.m. it should be tolerable.

Last weekend’s reports from the local TIDERUNNERS BASS CLUB indicated that the largemouths were still in a post-spawn state, congregated in numbers in the river’s creeks and backwater bays. Crankbaits and worms, such as Strike King’s KVD series and Yamamoto Senkos have been working well but you shouldn’t ignore the “frog bite” in the chestnut beds.

Smallmouths are extremely active around the river’s gravel and rock beds. The trick in finding such good places is to seek out ISOLATED locations. A whole bank of rip-rap doesn’t mean beans – the whole East side of the river is like that. But if you find a gravel hump mixed in with all that continuous rock you just might have a honey hole that will produce bass for you for years to come. Such locations are generally well-guarded secrets.

The smallies are hitting smaller crankbaits, such as Norman’s Deep Baby N (a local favorite) real well but small 3 inch long drop-shotted Senkos or flukes have also been scoring. The advantage to using the drop-shot technique is that you are less likely to spook a school of smallies when you hook just one. When approaching a likely spot try working the edges with the finesse technique first before splashing a crankbait into the middle of the school.

Channel catfish are feeding extremely well at present and will provide lots of action for families with kids. Nightcrawlers work just fine and can also catch other species such as white perch, yellow perch and sunfish. Try to find a location 5 to 15 feet deep with a somewhat reduced water flow.

This weekend the river’s best largemouth bass tides should occur between 5 and 9 (both a.m. and p.m.) and smallies should be most catchable between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Good luck.    Tom G

 

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, June 21, 2012

Last weekend’s start to New York’s Black Bass season turned out to be quite a success – at least for those anglers fishing on the Hudson River where limits of smallmouths seemed to be the rule of the day and even limits of  largemouth bass up to 18+ pounds showed up for the party.

With the water temperature at just about the 73 degree mark the bass were found to be extremely receptive to the various bait offerings found on the market today. The largemouths in the chestnut beds were hitting frogs, spoons, and tubes as well as Senkos dropped at the weed edge and in the weed openings. On the points crankbaits took a goodly share of the smallies and, at least for my fishing partner and I, drop-shot rubber offerings put 17 bass into our boat despite our having motor troubles.

Most certainly there were some locations which surprisingly disappointed anglers. Who would have expected Stockport Cove to be pretty much turned off and the “5 Bay Bridge” to produce nothing but shorts? But - making up for such poor showings were locations such as the Embough area at Cementon where the largemouths were extremely cooperative.

Since we’ve had this present heat wave around for a few days we expect the river’s temperature to be running somewhere in the high 70’s for the weekend but the largemouths should still be turned on. Since we haven’t been on the water during this week the present smallmouth situation remains unknown to us. There is a possibility that the warming water might have pushed some of the larger smallies into deeper water but it yet seems that there should be enough shoreline action in depths of less than 6 feet.   Tom G

 

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, June 14, 2012

  

As we head into the opening of New York’s black bass season we find the conditions to be found out there on the tidal Hudson River to be a bit puzzling even though the bass fishing should be excellent.

One of the puzzling aspects is the water temperature. Two weeks ago we found the water temperature readings between Coxsackie and Saugerties to consistently range between 72 and 73 degrees. Then, one week ago, we found a mysterious drop down to 68-69 degrees on the same waters – but there really had been no justifiable cold snap to go along with this drop. Yesterday morning we found the water at 69 to 70 degrees – this is in the normal range for this time of year and is ideal for the start of our bass season.

The other puzzling thing we found was the water clarity. In some sections we very definitely classified it as “muddy”, while at the same time, not even a quarter of a mile away, you could classify it as “Hudson River normal” – a see-through visibility of 1 to 1 ½ feet or greater. It seemed strange to have such variance.

As far as hazards go - there definitely are some pockets of floating debris out there. You must remain watchful for logs and timbers even though most of the visible things are just uprooted arrowroot plants.

Weekend boat traffic presently gets a little bit dicey after 11 a.m. and even more-so when you have great weather such as they are predicting for this weekend.

Even though catch-and-release pre-season fishing for black bass on the tidal Hudson is inexplicably prohibited, several members of Catskill’s FLW affiliated  NYTBF TIDERUNNERS bass fishing club have told us what they are expecting to encounter out there for the start of the season.

Largemouth bass should have already transitioned into the river’s chestnut beds even though some of the weed beds probably are not yet completely mature. Should this be the case where you are fishing look for the closest hard structure that relates to your weed bed and concentrate efforts there. If the weeds are still fairly sparse try dunking worms or jigs into the openings therein. Frogs and spoons should be perfect for the surface weeds right now. Try crankbaits around weed-related hard structures and creek mouths. As usual, lower tides appear to work best in the chestnut beds - better known weed beds are those in Coxsackie Cove, Stockport Cove, and Embough Bay. Don’t forget that the creeks still will have some pre-transitioned bass in them.

Smallmouths should be positioning themselves around the flow of “suckholes” and around gravel bars and rock piles. They will often move up onto real shallow structures with a rising tide but - current is an absolute necessity for them! Smaller (1/4 oz.) crankbaits, such as the Norman’s Baby N in the gel colors, are great for them, as are tubes, poppers and fluke-type plastics (i.e.: Berkley’s Gulp minnow), and jigs. Better known smallmouth areas include the suckholes at Tivoli bays and the waters around Cheviot Island.

The first of the season bass tournaments on the river usually produce some of the best limits and weights of the year and this year should be no exception. Russ Burton, president of Catskill’s TIDERUNNERS bass club (an affiliate of the FLW, NYTBF), is anticipating a great start for their club when they hold their first event of 2012 on Sunday. His is a small, but very dedicated, group that fishes a full 9 tournament schedule of the Hudson each year. Best of luck to all of them this Sunday. I’ll see you out there also                   Tom G.

 

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RIVER BASIN HUDSON RIVER REPORT – Tuesday, May 29, 2012  

As our regular followers are already aware our web site for Hudson River fishing and striped bass reports has become extremely popular. During this past striped bass run RIVERBASINSPORTS dot COM was receiving well over 1,000 hits on a daily basis. I guess that shouldn’t really be too surprising considering that we had over 750 people registered for our striper tournament, all of whom had a vested interest in finding out what was going on.

 

Most of the information we disseminated was direct feed-back from Hudson River fishermen themselves. Since we had a large enough information base it was often possible to discern just which of the reports held true for the larger portion of the river. This helped us to separate them from the exploits of perhaps just one lucky angler who might have had the best day of his life.

 

 Other than from face to face conversations and phone calls, much of the information was   e-mailed to us, from downriver as far as Newburgh and upriver as far as the head of tidewater at Troy. Still, not all the e-mails we received were fishing reports – some were questions, others just comments… and a few were just spam. Of course, about halfway through the striper run somebody did hijack our e-mail address which forced us to make a protocol change, but overall everything went quite well.

 

We want to thank all of the following for sending us reports. There were yet other contributors who helped out but since they didn’t use names on the correspondence we can’t list them. Thanks to all these anglers - hopefully we’ll hear from them again next spring.

 

Dave Gooding, Marc Uhrik, William Jaremko, Gregory Lofaro, Dennis Northrup, Bryan Raymond, Russell Zivkovich, Eugen Demeter, Fred Hepfer, Vincent de Paul Nadeau, en Reichel, Thomas Carmody, Matthew Robbins, Gary Sottosanti, Striper Ziffy, Hank Cioccari, Ted Marchionne, Adrian de Visser, Wayne Campbell, Mick McGuiness, Robbie Lopez, Keino Robison, Dan Fitzgerald, Matthew Welk, John Himes Jr., Richard Bush, Andrew Millett, Ricardo Rizzo, Dale Koehrsen, Frank Baker, Peter Cherico, Tim O’neill, Dave Mc Farland, Mike Blenner, Peter Gilbert, Daniel Bornhorst, Gary Leonard.

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 LENGTH TO WEIGHT CORRELATION OF HUDSON RIVER STRIPERS 

I think that most of our striper fishermen have, at one time or another, seen the striped bass “age to length chart” which originally appeared in Nick Karas’ great book “THE STRIPED BASS.” But there is yet another correlation which is often the topic of conversation between our striped bass fishermen and that regards the difference between length and weight of the linesiders.

 

Since the RIVER BASIN SPORT SHOP has accumulated records from over 25 years of striper tournament catches we have a truly large data base to use to display this length to weight correlation. Still, natural deviations such as upward spikes and downward plunges will be seen but can usually be attributed to factors such as pre-spawn or post-spawn times, or even how successful a fish might have been at scoffing up a few herring immediately prior to being caught.

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You’ll notice that the longer (inches) the striped bass is the closer it will be to that “pound per inch” talk that you might have heard about. This usually starts to occur when the stripers reach the mid-40 inch size. Very interesting.

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 STRIPER CONTEST CONCLUDES THIS SATURDAY AT 12 NOON 

It seems a long time since our RIVER BASIN SPORTS 25TH ANNUAL STRIPED BASS CONTEST kicked off in mid-April… but I’ll bet that it seems even longer to the top 5 anglers in the contest standings. They are the ones who will be sharing over $11,000  in prize money, unless some lucky soul manages to catch a last minute break and nail a late-run striper of 44 ¾ inches or greater.

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Although Frank Green did catch his 45 ¾ incher on May 19th and tied Randy Brockett for 3rd place it still was the last week in April this year that was the magic time. First, on April 26th, Marc Palazzo took his 44 ¾ inch fifth place fish… and it was THEN that the real magic started. April 29th  became that one very special day, the day when the three largest fish of the year were caught – Brockett’s 45 ¾, Nick Kulick’s 46 ½, and then Bill Walsh’s 47 ¾ incher.

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It certainly seemed that the good times were here - there no longer was any doubt that the big fish had arrived. But, as quickly and suddenly as they had appeared the big fish once more vanished. What happened is a mystery. Was there a school of larger fish that just visited us briefly, then turned around and headed back out to sea or were there just three huge stripers that, through some quirk of fate, found the baits of our tournament fishermen on that miserable day? We’ll never know for sure but I know that final week of April will remain in my mind for a long time.

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So, if the standings remain as they are now until Saturday at noon the top five finishers can stop through the shop at any time after 12 o’clock to pick up their winnings. It’s really no big deal at this point – walk in and present your driver’s license, give us your SS# (Uncle Sam has to get his share), sign a statement verifying that you caught the fish legitimately, count your money, shake our hand and accept our congratulations. Bada-bing – and it’s all over until next year!

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Now, since the start of March the RIVER BASIN has been open 7 days a week. But, that will be changing this Sunday when we go back to our normal summertime schedule. We will be CLOSED on Sundays and Mondays and open Tuesday through Saturday from 8:30 to 5.  We’ll see you on the river on Sundays -      Tom G

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