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Raritan river stripers

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The 6" or so fish I refer to are generally caught in the spring like right around now and into June. I'm usually in the river fishing for white perch. It's common to find small stripers mixed in the schools of white perch. They're part of the same family if I'm not mistaken. I have caught stripers in the 5 lb. range in the fresh water sections at that same time. It doesn't happen often but it does happen. Other guys have told me of the same thing with some fish being much larger. Later in the summer they seem to be separated from the perch and hang near fast water like smallmouth bass. Now that I think about it I really don't know how big or where they are later in the fall. I'm usually further down river into the tidal sections looking for larger stripers. Obviously I can't dispute the information you've presented here. The sources are far too good and influential. It's just that my opinion is formed from first hand experience and observation and that opinion is just that, only an opinion. That doesn't necessarily make it right or wrong.

 

Dan Tinman,"Young of the Year" come down to the salt line in mid to late September in Schools of 3.0 inches to 4.0 inch perfectly formed as striped bass. At one year old they will a length of 6 to 7 inches in growth. By the 2nd year they will be 11.0 to 12.0 1nches and by their 3rd birthday they will be 18 inches or larger and ready to begin the coastal migration cycle. If you catch them this spring take their measure. The 6 inch fish are a year old. The are the Year Class of the previous spring.

 

 

RJ, I live on the Hackensack river, far up enough to catch freshwater bass in tidal portions and also walk across it at low tide. I start seeing 5" stripers in late summer, are these HR yoy from the previous year?

 

ctd450 - Based on growth rates they should be YOY of the year you are seeing them. If you can catch and measure one, not the exact length and the date you caught it. Held In the hand, it should measure smaller than they seem under water.

 

 

One question for RJ. You're obviously very knowledgeable on the subject under discussion. How and why did you gather such a wealth of knowledge?

 

Dan I appreciate the question. I've always been a striped bass fan. I grew up in NY City and Long Island. When I was 11 my folks bought a relatives home in Ossining, NY. I caught my first striped bass in the spring of 1951, I turned 12 a couple of week later and was exposed to shad fishing with nets thru May and early June of that year. Our neighbor was a school maintenance man who supplemented his income by netting American Shad and selling them and their roe to the Fulton Fish Market. My father thought that I should learn about the Hudson River and asked our neighbor to take me under his wing.. Mr. Rosancranz, was a WWII veteran and his family had settled in the Hudson Valley when New York was called New Amserdam. His people had been fishing the river to over 250 years. After the shad run, he fished with trot lines for channel catfish and for carp. His Mother's home was on a small cove about a mile south of Sing Sing Prison. The cove was protected from wind and waves and had access to the Hudson River thru a high and wide culvert under the NY Central Railroad tracks. The property facing the cove had a wide driveway that passed between the house and the cove. It ended in a wide side yard where their were fishing net drying and mending racks, and a long low wooden shack that held all of the hardware that was necessary to set, mend and hold the fishing gear that he and some other shad fishermen used. 4 boats operated out of that little cove. 10 feet behind the house there was a cliff and a low entrance to an old silver mine. The mine had flooded over 100 years before. The Rosancranz Family had used it for a cold storage area and a holding pen for river fish they caught and put in alive. The water was under 40 degrees and it came from even colder springs. My neighbor used it to flush the carp we caught with fresh water to improve the taste of the carp he caught for the market. He'd get 300 to 500 carp (5 to 10 pounds) and leave them in the cave for about a month. Then pull them out by a net pully system that pulled them to the mouth of the cave area. There was a packing room just inside the mouth of the cave. The fish would be sorted by size and cleaned and packed in wood fish boxes and iced down. Trucks from the fish market vendors would arrive and be loaded and head for NY City about 20 miles south of the cove.

 

I worked for Mr. Rosancranz in the spring on weekends and them full time for a couple of weeks in June until I joined the Marines in 1956. The money I made was about $5.00 a week. I bought an old plank built rowboat from one of the fishermen for $5.00 and my father bought an old Evenrude 5 HP outboard motor and tinkered with it until it ran perfectly.

In the summers I lived on the river in that boat. A true "River Rat". I kept it in the Croton River at a school friends dock. I paid for the space by mowing the lawn and trimming the fruit trees in the yard. Three apple, two pear and a peach tree, My buddy's dad made great Peach Brandy from that tree. And his Pear liquoir was prized by those friends and neighbors he gifted bottles to. The Apple Trees provided fruit for apple pies, butter and apple jack. His son and I went out on the boat almost everyday we had the chance. Sea going adventures on the big River. The longest trip we made was up the river to Iona Island (10 miles) to fish around and under the "Kaiser Fleet" of WWII Cargo Ships that were stored on the Hudson River after WWII. They carried a lot of war goods across the Atlantic to feed the Armies that took Europe back from the Nazi's.

 

Striped bass were our perferred targets, but the occasional foray by bluefish schools on the bait schools around Croton Point were always welcome. Many year later, as a 50 something adult who lived in a house 100 steps from the Hudson River in Athens, NY I was asked by Nor'east Salt Water magazine to write a weekly fishing report about the Hudson River Striped Bass Spawning Run. I was recommended to them by a friend who was a biology professor at SUNY in New Paltz, NY. He was also a striped bass guide out of Roundout Creek just south of Kingston, NY. His boat "Osprey" was a famous striped bass magnet. He wrote the columns, but between the college, guiding and a very ill wife he just didn't have the time to do the work of putting together a column that covered the whole river every week. My going to work for Nor'east came at a time when I had a lot of time to devote to writing. My wife had died a couple of years before, I decided that life was too short to continue to climb the corporate ladder, and I retired early. I was running a hot dod consession trailer at Riverside Park in Coxsackie, NY, and had been elected to be a Village Trustee of Athens, NY. A year later I was appointed Deputy Mayor of that village by His Honor the Mayor, Dave Reilly. I was also the Director of the Hudson River Waterfowl Protective Association and a sitting member of the Hudson River Estuary Management Advisory Committee. The HRWPA position brought me to the attention of the Gov. of NY and he needed a sportsman to sit on the HREMAC

 

The hot dog business was fun and only open from May 1 to the Tuesday after Labor Day. A great business to meet and greet people and generate walking around money. :D The HRMAC Committee met once a month in New Paltz, NY. That was the beginning of my friendship with the Professor and my contact with the Hudson River Fisheries Unit. He made presentation to the committee and the Hudson Fisheries Unit's biologists were the main State connection to the committee. They attended and advised the committee about all sorts of interesting and important facts and figures about the condition of the Hudson River and the creatures who lived in it.

 

Since the weekly fishing column for Nor'east Saltwater, was Striped bass specific I began to research everything I could about the Hudson River Striped Bass and their life cycle.

Them more I learned, the more I understood I was just scratching the surface of the knowledge available. I started asking the biologists to point me in the right direction on Striped Bass and they were very helpful. In the course of that association, we became friends and working partners. There are several significant studies on Striped Bass available. I'll recommend a couple of them at the end of this commentary.

 

I wrote the spawning columns for Nor'east in my first professional attempt to write. I loved the "report format" and the "deadline" aspect of gathering the information and presenting in a readable form to anglers in NJ, PA, NY, CT, RI, and MA to the magazine before midnight every Sunday. No BS, just submit a 1200 to 1800 word column in a readable style became the best part of my week. I expanded the contacts list of bait shops my predecessor provided me with and also contacted the professional representatives of the fishing companies who worked in NY. The Berkley Rep lived in the Hudson Vally and was a great source of connection to fishing guides and information sources beyond the Hudson River. As Berkley expanded by buying other fishing line, bait and lure companies my circle of contacts grew as well. When the fist year's spawning run was done (Mid March to June) I offered to continue to write a weekly column for NESW as a frestwater column for all of NY and the border water states of NJ ,PA, VT, MA and CT. Trout and Salmon fishing, Black Bass (Large and Smalllmouth Bass), pickerel, walleye, etc.) The transition to a full time weekly column was a success. Now I expanded my sources to flyshops in the Catskills, the Adirondacks, the Green Mountains and the Bershire Mountains. Shannon's Fly shop in Califon, NJ was my touchstone in the world of NJ Trout Fishing. Catskill Flies in Roscoe had and still has the best fly fishing reports for all 7 of the major catskill tailwater trout fishing rivers and streams. Every morning by 6am Kevin Sarka posts the daily trout stream report. It covers water temperature, and insect activity and the speed of the flow of each body of moving water.

 

After 5 years, the publisher of NWSW asked me to write a column about the Migration of Chesapeake Bay Striped Bass and Hudson River Striped Bass beginning with their pre=spawning activity to where and why they spend their summers and then follow them back down the coast. It had a huge impact on my learning curve. I had to really dig deep ito the whole aspect of the life cycle of a striped bass. I'm still learning about striped bass. When I started these were the known Striped Bass Races. One in a north eastern river in Canada, The Hudson River Tribe, Chesapeake Bay Tribe, Albamarle Sound-Roanoke River Tribe. Santee-Coopper Tribe and the St. Johns River Tribe. 5 Races. Then the determination that the Delaware River was a separate identifiable Race. The damage being done to the natural breeders in the Cape Fear River in North Carolina, caused research that established that as a separate Race of Striped Bass. That discovery triggered biologists in Canada to look closer at their home grown striped bass. The scientific development of DNA research gave us a quick and easy way to see if a striped bass could be 70% or more different than the closest known races. I learned as the facts were found and learning more about striped bass became a mission. There are two Canadian River Races, not far from each other. and three newly discovered US Races - Delaware, Cape Fear and Savannah. Studies are ongoing to determine how far the Delaware Tribe migrates. the Cape Fear and Savannagh River Tribes are Riverine species that do not migrate much beyond the Carolina and Georgia Coasts. The count of seperate Atlantic Striped bass Races/Tribes now number Nine..

 

If you want to learn a lot about Striped Bass, I recommend you get a copy of Rich Murphy's, " Fly Fishing for Striped Bass.". Rich is a trained engineer and he take us into the physical functioning body of a large cow striped bass that migrates from the Chesapeake to the summer waters sout of NH and North of Boston. How its body provides sensors to find, fix and aquire food, even in the darkest of environments. It is an amazing tour de force. this is not just a book for fly fishers, it is "The BooK" for every striped bass angler who wants to know as much as possible about the quarry her or she loves to catch. It is a $60.00 book retail. Amazon sells over ordered books by small bookstore as "used" for about $37.00, The savings will cover the shipping costs and then some.

 

I will submit this and then edit in a research paper on the life cycle of Striped bass that was publishied a few years ago. It is a interesting but tough read. Well worth reading, It is the research of several dedicate biologists working together to put togther every know fact available to them about the life and times of the American Striped Bass.

 

Bob

 

 

Dan and Company I'm attaching the intro to Striped Bass Chapter 9 to the next post.

RJ

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Atlantic Coast Diadromous Fish Habitat: A Review of Utilization, Threats, Recommendations for Conservation, and Research Needs (January 2009)

Chapter 9 STRIPED BASS

(Morone saxatilis)

 

In Memoriam

James Benton: April 19, 1958 – November 15, 1995

David G. Deuel: July 31, 1939 – February 17, 1995

Dr. Eileen Setzler-Hamilton: April 28, 1943

March 12, 2003

Dr. William W. Hassler: June 16, 1917 – February 16, 2008

This chapter is dedicated to the memory of Jim Benton, David G. Deuel, Dr. Eileen Setzler-Hamilton, and Dr. Willia m W. Hassler, four friends and valued colleagues with whom those of us in the striped bass management community were privileged to work for not nearly enough years. Jim, Dave, Bill, and Eileen all worked tirelessly during their careers for the conservation of the striped bass and its supporting ecosystem s in the Chesapeake Bay, the Roanoke and Neuse river basins, and off the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Virginia, and their efforts bore much fruit. They are very much missed, and remembered.

 

Section I. Striped Bass Description of Habitat

 

Striped Bass General Habitat Description and Introduction

 

The striped bass (Morone saxatilis) was one of the first fish species in North America to be actively used and managed by society (Mann 2005, 2007; Smith and Olsenius 2007).

Historically, striped bass was a highly important subsistence, commercial, and recreational species to Native Americans for millennia, and to European travelers and invaders beginning with the Vikings for centuries. Their importance as a harvested species continues into the present. Aside from their importance to humans, it is likely that striped bass provide several highly important ecosystem functions, including structuring fish and invertebrate communities through predation, and providing trophic linkages between productive rivers and estuaries and the coastal Atlantic Ocean (Able 2004). From this perspective, the striped bass may be seen as an indicator of estuarine and coastal health and habitat quality. The importance of this fish species remains undiminished today, and if anything, the relatively recent collapse (early 1980's) and restoration (1995) of the migratory striped bass population and fishery has only heightened public interest in management effort s (W. Laney, personal observation).

 

The Chesapeake Bay is the epicenter of migratory striped bass abundance and production on the East Coast. However, other estuaries from the Cape Fear River, North Carolina, to the St. Lawrence River, Canada, as well as the nearshore Atlantic Ocean, contribute to production and are essential for the long-term survival and sustainability of the species (W. Laney, personal observation). The purpose of this chapter is to describe the habitats used by all life stages of migratory striped bass, and establish a basis for formal habitat designation.

 

The striped bass is an anadromous, schooling species with a historic native range extending discontinuously from the Canadian Maritime Provinces to the Gulf of Mexico (Lee et

al. 1980; Fay et al. 1983; Hill et al. 1989; Rago 1992; Rulifson and Dadswell 1995; Richards and Rago 1999). On the Atlantic coast, the range of striped bass is continuous from the St. Lawrence River and southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, Quebec, to the St. Johns River, Florida (McLane 1955; Leim and Scott 1966). The species is absent from southeast and southwest Florida rivers below roughly 29 E N latitude; it appears again in the Gulf of Mexico from the Suwannee River, Florida, to Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana (Jordan 1884; Lee et al. 1980).

 

Many striped bass in Atlantic Coast rivers from Albemarle Sound, North Carolina, to the St. Lawrence River are migratory as adults. They travel annually from oceanic waters to riverine spawning grounds and back to the ocean, where they undertake a northern summer migration and southward winter migration (Boreman and Lewis 1987). However, recent studies of otolith microchemistry (Morris et al. 2003; Zlokovitz et al. 2003) indicate that striped bass residing in some longer river systems (Roanoke River, North Carolina, and Hudson River, New York, respectively) may exhibit multiple life history strategies, with some individuals remaining year-round in the upper freshwater portion of the system. Additionally, one group of individuals resides in the lower river and upper estuary, another group migrates to the coastal ocean, and a final group exhibits a mid-life habitat shift between freshwater and saltwater environments (Morris et al. 2003; Zlokovitz et al. 2003).

 

Striped bass populations south of Albemarle Sound, North Carolina, and in the Gulf of Mexico are thought to be endemic to each river system, and are considered essentially non-

migratory by most researchers (Vladykov 1947; Scruggs and Fuller 1955; Scruggs 1957; Raney 1957; Murawski 1958; Barkuloo 1970; Dudley et al. 1977; McIlwain 1980; Richkus 1990).

 

However, it might be that past and present management measures used for these stocks have largely precluded most fish from reaching a minimum size for migration (i.e., small size limits and liberal bag limits that, in combination, effectively maintain an artificially young age structure for a species well-documented to live to at least age 30) (W. Laney, personal observation).

 

Historic and recent recaptures of tagged striped bass suggest that migratory behavior in southeastern stocks is displayed by at least some small percentage of larger individuals. Hess et al. (1999) reported that movement between the adjacent Savannah and Ogeechee rivers in Georgia has occasionally occurred via coastal waters. For example, a striped bass tagged in Alligator Creek (a tributary to the Cape Fear River, North Carolina) on February 18, 2004, was captured by an angler on May 13, 2005, at the mouth of the Cape Cod Canal in Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts (Mark Westendorf, Coastal Zone Resources, Wilmington, North Carolina, personal communication). Additionally, two striped bass populations on the Atlantic coast, one in the John H. Kerr Reservoir on the North Carolina/Virginia border and another in the Santee-Cooper Reservoirs in South Carolina, developed upstream spawning migrations to reservoir tributaries after downstream migration was precluded by dam construction (Scruggs and Fuller 1955; Scruggs

 

On the Pacific coast, striped bass were introduced in the San Francisco Bay estuary in 1879 and 1882, and have since spread north to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and south to Baja California, Mexico (Lee et al. 1980).

 

You can find Chapter 9 Striped Bass at the ASMFC publication lists for 2009.

 

Reading this introduction, has reminded me that i forgot a few of the facts and need to rember them more closely. this is a scientific report and very detailed. Enjoy it. RJ

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I just started salt water fishing about a month ago.  Joined here yesterday.  Stumbled on to this 6 yo thread today.  Just wanted to say that RJ's post was a great read.  

 

I calculated RJ's age to be a big eight-O this year.   Hope you are having a good year and still fishing with us some where. If not, hope you can still entertain us with your posts. 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

6 hours ago, kenzozozo said:

I just started salt water fishing about a month ago.  Joined here yesterday.  Stumbled on to this 6 yo thread today.  Just wanted to say that RJ's post was a great read.  

 

I calculated RJ's age to be a big eight-O this year.   Hope you are having a good year and still fishing with us some where. If not, hope you can still entertain us with your posts. 

 

 

Welcome aboard...what made you want to get into saltwater fishing? Because you dug up this old thread, I'm guessing you live somewhere close to the Raritan river and got curious about catching stripers in the river. That's how it started for me. 

Edited by Frugal Fisherman

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I remember the ‘mothball fleet’ of warships up around Stoney pt., and I’m still kayak fishing stripers around Crawbuckie beach on the Hudson, and on the Croton river for big channel cats. Great swimming on the Croton river too. It’s actually gotten much better the last couple of years, and the newish 18”-28” striper slot should improve it even more.

Edited by cheech
Correction

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The Raritan River does not seem to have have the required characteristics to be a successful striped bass spawning location.

Striped bass recruitment, in my understanding, requires a river with the physical and flow characteristics that keep the eggs suspended in the water column (eggs suffocate when they settle to bottom,) and a long freshwater residence time (eggs and newly hatched larvae do not tolerate salt water.)

The third key variable, and often overlooked, is the right type and quantity of food for the newly hatched larvae. 

A big recruitment year is when all three major variables come together in the first few months post spawn.

The Raritan River does not have these attributes. The shallow nature of the River and long stretches without the necessary turbulence would cause the eggs to settle and die. The short nature (river mileage) of the Raritan would also cause the eggs and any newly hatched larvae to be swept into salt water prior to their ability to survive the transition. It is doubtful that the dam removal will overcome this limitation.

It is not surprising to find young Hudson River bass in the Raritan. Bass become salt water tolerant within a few months of life. Young of the year bass, flushed from the Hudson, can easily move from the Hudson to the Arthur Kill tributarties, Raritan or the Navesink/Shrewsbury which are all part of the NY Harbor estuary.

Freshwater, especially during high river flow periods, rides on top of the less dense saltwater. Even very young saltwater intolerant bass, flushed from the Hudson, would be able to ride the less saline surface water to find new homes in the Raritan.

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Some more info on that transfer of striped bass to California.  It was part of a 3 way trade arranged by Dr. Slack who owned what is now the Musky Trout Hatchery. Slack traded the bass to CA for chinnook salmon eggs that he then traded with Germany for Rhine River Atlantic salmon eggs.

Slack raised the Atlantics to smolt stage and they were released into the Delaware, Passaic and Hudson rivers all of which had returns of adult Atlantics in the early 1900s. The goal was self sustaining runs and when the stocking stopped so did the returns. Sadly, the Rhine River Atlantics and their unique genetics that allowed them to survive here, are extinct.

The bass survived spectacularly in CA. The chinooks failed in Germany.

 

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An interesting pilot program to consider would be collecting eggs from Hudson River (to maintain the genetic diversity) and raise them in a hatchery for the first month or so of life which is the critical life stage.

Capturing and moving young of the year Hudson fish to rivers and estuaries that can support successful rearing but not spawning would also be an interesting project. (There is some natural flushing movement of bass from the Hudson however the numbers don't seem to beyond the potential food supply in nearby rives and estuary areas.)

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Hello RJ,

 

Do you know where these Hudson River fish that you speak of winter over ?  Just curious..Thanks

 

:"They are Hudson River Striped Bass females feeding on herring before they commit to the 100+ miles trip up the Hudson River to the HR SB spawning grounds, between Newburgh NY and the Federal Dam above Troy NY"

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Was and is a great thread.

as far as stripers in raritian. Yea, the are there, as I have picked up a few while fly fishing for smallmouths. Not any big ones but i sometimes wonder when my 5x tippet breaks off what just hit it. 

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2 hours ago, jerseystriper said:

Was and is a great thread.

as far as stripers in raritian. Yea, the are there, as I have picked up a few while fly fishing for smallmouths. Not any big ones but i sometimes wonder when my 5x tippet breaks off what just hit it. 

I have yet to see any really big girls caught up past the route 1 bridge but i have caught and seen plenty of slot fish caught. Those were mainly during the spring and fall runs. Micro bass up to 12" tend to stick around from April though October. One day in June, i had a trifecta (largemouth, smallmout, & striper) at one spot above the tidal boundary. In the fall, snapper blues and weakfish of similar size go as far up as the tide does.

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>>Welcome aboard...what made you want to get into saltwater fishing? Because you dug up this old thread,

>>I'm guessing you live somewhere close to the Raritan river and got curious about catching stripers in the river. That's how it started for me. 

 

I started Salt water because some one invited me out for Snapper/Scup fishing and I enjoyed it so much.   I'm in Rockland county, actually. I found this thread trying to understand the migration pattern and where I can fish for Stripers.   It's so much to learn.  

 

I went to sandy hook few times about a month ago and for now I'm ending up a the Piermont pier since that's pretty close by.  I caught a 15 " striper there so far.   But, I still don't feel like I know what I am doing.   For example, can I use plugs / lures at Peirmont ? 

 

I'm buying some equipment to get ready for the spring run and surf fishing at the beach next year. A bit frustraged because I have so much fresh water stuff that is just not applicable at all to salt water.   I'm reading up on lots of stuff here. So, you may see me ask some questions on this forum here and there.  

 

Cheers.  

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