Fishing Tackle for Hudson River Stripers and Black Bass Tournaments









Hudson River Striper Report - Saturday, June 1, 2019


Although the sight of all the poplar "fuzzies" flying at the beginning of June marks the very end of each year's Hudson River striped bass run don't go thinking that they have all disappeared - some of them will hang around for a few more weeks. Just yesterday multiple reports of stripers measuring in the 30 to low 40-inch range came in from several sources. I'll admit that during the next few weeks such fish may be considerably harder to come by than those we've seen the last couple of months but I assure you that June stripers such as these are yet available and will remain so for yet another week or two, and perhaps even longer.

We here at the RIVER BASIN first became acutely aware of the existence of such late-run stripers back in the early 1980's when one of our customers would regularly bring in fish measuring longer than 3 feet in length. And... this was in the middle of June!

It turned out that the angler, a gent by the name of Joe Ferraro, was throwing larger Rapalas into the deeper holes of the tidewater Catskill Creek anywhere up-creek of the old railroad bridge, and he was having a blast doing it. But it seemed to us that the timing was all wrong. The striper run was over and, to top it off, he was fishing bright sunlight in the middle of the day. What were those stripers doing up there all the way to the head of tidewater at such a time and past the peak of the run?

Well, it took a while to figure it out but we did, and then it seemed fairly obvious. Not only had the main striper run ended but so had the main herring spawn. Although only few herring remained in the area, most of them were to be found in the creek, a relatively confined area. Any of the striped bass that had yet to depart for the ocean were just merely looking for and following their food source - up the creek.

 This fishery hi-jinx was taking place mainly at night time on rising tide times. This allowed the stripers easy and seemingly secure passage over numerous shoal areas, shallower sections which the smaller herring had no problem crossing during any time of day or night. But, as the tide once more started to fall the stripers were forced to drop back to deeper water and head for the river. Invariably, due to the receding tide level and oncoming daylight, some would miss the tidal escape-window and get stranded. These left-behind fish were forced to seek sanctuary in the deeper holes of the creek while waiting for the next higher tide and darkness in order to cross the shoals and return to the main river. Such were  the ones which Joe was so effectively targeting.

Of course solving the mystery of Joe's fish led us to discover that night time striper fishing on the creek would also pay big dividends. Merely by timing the arrival of the higher tide an angler stationed at an appropriate location could have a real blast with these nighttime marauders. It turned out that these big fish were more than happy to hit large lures such as Bombers, Rebels and Rapalas when cast over shallower water areas. Many a night was spent back then just sitting on a rock in the middle of the creek, waiting for the tide to bring the big stripers in. It was a great fishing time - and one which a real dedicated angler could still partake of in June.


Back in 1980 when even a three foot striper was considered a trophy on our waters and when Catskill's Mike Angelo's 26 ¼ incher won the first of the 34 annual striped bass contests the RIVER BASIN SPORT SHOP was to run, his fish was considered large in our waters. But it was just then when things were starting to change and the effects of the 1976 ban on commercial netting of stripers in the Hudson River was starting to show some beneficial results.

Prior to that time commercial gill nets stretching out for hundreds of yards on the flats of the lower brackish waters of the Hudson were commonplace. Larger stripers had but a slim chance of evading such and making the journey any further upriver. But then, with the commercial fishery shut down and the deadly nets pulled, the annual striped bass runs up the Hudson started to occur without hindrance. The forthcoming effects of the netting ban on the fishery were truly fascinating to observe - the fish now had a chance to grow and multiply.

By virtue of having the RIVER BASIN SPORT SHOP's own carefully kept shop record-book to guide us we have been able to track the changing size of the Hudson's striped bass since the time the shop first opened in 1979.

 From 1979 through 1990 our trophy records only listed stripers greater than 26 inches in length - a 26 incher in our mid-Hudson section of the river was scarce enough to deserve a record book listing at that time. But that was rapidly changing and by 1991 any listings for fish smaller than 30 inches were dropped - yup, fish below that length had suddenly become too commonplace! There was a definite correlation to be seen between these new larger sizes and the passage of time since the 1976 commercial fishing ban.

 But the trend toward larger fish didn't just halt there, it continued and 1992 saw any listings of less than 34 inches dropped. The fishery had definitely improved, and then again in 1993 listings of less than 36 inches fell by the wayside. Obviously the stripers were getting larger and larger every year and 1998 saw the elimination of sub-40 inch fish in the rankings - such had become far too common and had to go in order to make room for even larger trophies.

 By 2002 all records of stripers under 42 inches had been eliminated and by 2003 even the listings of 42 inch fish had become so numerous that the decision was made to track only those fish hitting the RIVER BASIN measuring board at 44 inches or larger. Still, even after that size increases remarkably continued until finally, in 2010, we set the minimum size for inclusion to 46 inches, a size which we still adhere to today..

 This year, 2019, seems to have brought about an even greater number of big stripers than usual, at least from what we've heard. But we've learned not to accept as Gospel any measurements that we have not personally witnessed. Among the giant sizes we have witnessed in the past, those measuring 4 feet long or better, were the following: Jeremy Phillips 48 ½", John Repko 48 ¼", Tom Borchert 48 1/4", James Provoncha 48 ¼", Bob Koziol 48"; Charles Graham 48", Art Robinson 48", William Walsh 48", Dean Krissler 48" - perhaps they deserve a record book all their own. I can hardly wait to see what future years bring.


 I personally am willing to let this 2019 striped bass season come to a rest, as great as it was. I just can't help it. The reason for this is that the other day, while visiting down at Catskill's Riverview Marina and looking out on the creek, I happened to catch a movement in the water. It was low tide and there, at the base of the bulkhead, on the inside of the floating docks, were two separate smallmouth bass nests, each being attended to by smallies I'd estimate as being between 2 and 3 pounds in weight. It was a great sight and stirred my soul enough so that I came back to the shop and started preparing for the upcoming black bass season on the Hudson which opens on June 15th. Can't wait to get out there.   Tom G


Hudson River Striper Report – Saturday, May 18, 2019


 Mid-May - generally this is when the first reports of striped bass spawn on the Hudson start to come in… and this year is no exception. Just about a week ago we received our first report of such activity taking place about 30 miles downriver from Catskill. Since then we’ve had some nice cooler weather come through and the river temperature dropped back down a few degrees. This cooled down the ardor of the stripers, much to the delight of those striped bass anglers wanting the fishing action prolonged as much as possible.

 However, it appears that things can be delayed for just so long and now it seems that we are just about at that tipping point. Even though there is additional rain forecast for us it will supposedly be accompanied by warmer weather, which helps draw us closer to the end of the 2019 striped bass run. We are anticipating spawning activity in our Catskill area of the Hudson to be starting this coming week and continuing through the following week before slacking off. The clock is ticking down.

 Even so, do NOT go thinking the fishing action is over yet. Some of the biggest stripers we’ve ever seen have been taken during the final two weeks of May. Sure, after the fish have spawned they will start to meander back down the river… but they will be hungry and actively foraging for food at the same time.

 But – back to the present. In most locations up and down the river the action this past week did take a definite upturn. 40+ inchers still seem to greater in number than the norm. However the waterway has been running semi-muddy for the past few days and the amount of floating debris is considerable. Boaters must keep a sharp eye out for floating hazards.

 Likewise, herring have become much more willing to hit on sabikis so the likelihood of catching your own bait has definitely improved.

 This coming week should be the peak of this year’s run so take advantage of it now – who knows what next year will bring. Ominous rumblings about various forms of angling restrictions which will impact our Hudson River fishery are starting to be heard in the distance. Hang in there and we’ll all see what’s going to happen!      Tom G


 The Catskill based TIDERUNNERS BASS FISHING CLUB has set its 2019 Hudson River tournament fishing schedule, which this year sports 10 events rather than 9 as in years past. According to club president Steve Daley this small, but dedicated, group of black bass anglers holds all its events on the Hudson River starting on the first weekend of black bass season in June and ending at the beginning of November. Club membership is required in order to participate in their events and ownership of a qualifying fishing boat is mandatory. Additional information can be had at the River Basin Sport Shop. The following is the group's tournament shedule:

June 16

June 23

July 14

July 28

August 18

September 8

September 22

October 6

October 20

November 3



Hudson River Striper Report – Thursday, May 8, 2019




The striped bass fishing action remains rated good to excellent from Kingston right on up to the Troy area at the head of the Hudson River’s tidewater section. There appears to be a real strong run of fish ranging over 40 inches in length this year. Most certainly there are some anglers who would probably strongly dispute this observation but judging by the reports we’ve received from hundreds of visiting anglers to the RIVER BASIN SPORTS SHOP such is the conclusion that must be drawn. The even better part of this story is that… the next two weeks it should get even better!


Today the surface water temperature on the central section of our tidal river was tickling the 57-degree mark by early this afternoon. It was a gorgeous day, even if it was a bit too windy for many river anglers. This is the stage at which the wiser striper-men start hoping for cooler weather to come in and thusly, perhaps, delay the start of the spawn for a week or so. Once the spawn starts it will only be another couple of weeks, at the most, until the great fishing action of 2019 dies out and we start counting down the months until March of next year.


Both chunk and live herring have been the baits of choice for most anglers during the past week and a half. Some live-bait anglers, those anchored-up, report having switched to “chunk” during the past few days for better action. As usual, the best fishing is to be had during the first 2 to 3 hours of daylight with a preference toward fishing an ebbing tide.


If present conditions continue, we are expecting the spawn to be starting within the next couple of weeks here in the Catskill area, perhaps up to a week earlier down in the Newburgh area and perhaps a week later up around Albany.


At spawn what tends to happen is that goodly numbers of stripers will congregate over shallower (8 to 15 feet deep) side-areas of the of the river and that is where the actual spawn will take place. This is usually accompanied by lots of surface splashing. Such spawns can be observed to cover many surface acres. Even so, some smaller individual spawns will take place, sometimes even at mid-channel locations.


The start of the spawn sees a definite upswing in the striper fishing action and the best catches of the year tend to occur at this time. Seeing stripers pursuing hooked fish to the boat, and sometimes even being netted at the same time as a hooked striper, is a sure sign that the spawn is on. The immediate two weeks following the first of such observations signals your time to get in on the action before it’s all done.


So, the next couple of upcoming weeks should be tops, and then perhaps another week to pick up some straggler fish before the striped bass will be departing. Most certainly some will be picked up by anglers even as late as the beginning of June, and they might even be reported as still having “green” eggs. Such examples might be late arriving fish into the river system to start with and, according to some sources, these fish might not even spawn but rather just reabsorb their eggs and head back to the ocean.


After the main spawn is over a considerably smaller contingent of stripers will remain in the river system for the duration of the summer. Smaller 8 to 21-inch fish are occasionally caught throughout the warm season and, even rarer, three-footers are sometimes reported. Such larger stripers seem to make nocturnal forays up the tributaries following rising tides throughout the summer and then they retreat back into the mighty river’s depths when daylight returns. Yes, they are catchable… but that’s a story for another time.       Tom G







Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, April 26, 2019


With present surface water temperatures in our mid-Hudson section of the Hudson River running around the 53 to 54 degree range the fishing action here around the Catskill area has definitely taken a step up during this past week. Not only does there seem to be an abundance of striped bass in the 20-pound, 36-inch sized group but an influx of even larger stripers has spread throughout the range all the way up past Coxsackie. These fish, surpassing the 40-inch range, a few approaching the 4-foot mark, started to show up about a week ago and appear to be greater in number than we were really expecting. The final week of April is when these 30 to 40 pounders normally start to appear here.


Even so, we are expecting even more of these trophy fish to enter our waters during the next two weeks as to 2019 spawning run continues. The outlook for anglers here to land the fish of a lifetime just might be at a high point this year.


Around the Catskill area the water both north and south of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge have been productive to anglers using both chunk and live herring either while anchored or drift fishing. Bloodworms still are continuing to provide excellent action.


Shore bound anglers at Glasco, Tivoli, Malden, Cheviot, Germantown, Catskill, Hudson, Stockport, Coxsackie, New Baltimore and Bethlehem have been reporting improving success all the past week as the river conditions continued to re-coup from the preceding week’s muddy runoff. It remains to be seen what the present rainy weather will do to fishing conditions.


Obtaining bait has been somewhat tricky but again, as the water conditions improved, so did the odds of catching enough bait for a day’s worth of fishing. Sabikis and stoolies are both working now to catch herring. At the River Basin, aside from bloodworms, we do have fresh chunk, as well as frozen herring available at the present time


The next three weeks will most likely be presenting us with the best fishing of this year’s run. If fishing is one of your passions you must make plans to take advantage of this time period.     Tom G




Hudson River Fishing Report – Monday, April 15, 2019



This past weekend’s water temperature here in the mid-Hudson River valley ranged around the 47/48-degree level. It seems that the fish of 2019 striped bass run are now distributed throughout our tidal river. Even though the action up in the Albany area has been rather slow as of yet, this is normal and should soon get better. From Catskill downriver to Norrie Point the action has been good. (present muddy waters will delay further improvement)



Up to about a week ago most of the striped bass reported were in the 18 to 28 inch range. This past week fish in the mid-30 inch range seemed to arrive, and this weekend we received the first report of a 40-inch-plus striper being caught in the Saugerties area.


The striped bass’ primary forage during this spring run is herring, both alewives and bluebacks, and by now they too are distributed all throughout the tidal waterway. As of the past week their numbers seemed to be greater downriver from Catskill, but there should be a major push of these silvery fish up to Troy this week, as long as conditions permit.


Best striper catches we’ve heard about have been from Esopus Meadows, Rondout Creek/Kingston, and Glasco sections. But, during the past few days, all indications were of a strong surge of activity just to the north of Catskill. Germantown still seems to be a hot spot for shore-bound anglers.


As usual, a major problem for fishermen has been in obtaining suitable bait for this springtime pursuit. River herring, probably the most popular bait, have been running in fairly deep water, making catching them difficult. Creek efforts with sabikis were reported to be spotty, at best. Catch rates in both areas should quickly improve as the water temperature rises.


Bloodworms, which had been producing really well the past three weeks, fell into short supply last week – it seems that during the previous week the state of Maine, where most of our bloodworms are harvested, experienced a snowstorm which curtailed the picking activities, thereby causing a lack of worms to be shipped. The newer squall line of nasty weather which passed through New England this Monday (today) could cause yet more problems for the pickers as the winds accompanying such storms often cause nasty tidal levels which hinder the harvest. Additionally, the problem lies with getting quality bait, not the "red spaghetti" strands which some call bloodworms. We’ll see what happens in the next few days to come.


As I sit here in my living room, looking out at the Catskill Creek, it’s apparent that as last night’s storm swept through our area it dumped a goodly amount of rain – the Catskill Creek is now filled with wooden debris being washed down by an overabundance of extremely muddy water. I’m sure that other tributary streams up and down the river are experiencing similar conditions, all of which will require boaters to use far more caution for the next couple of weeks. The mud will be of no aid to the fishermen and will probably take a couple of weeks to subside in the main river while the feeder creeks should be better in 3 to 7 days.


Out on the main flow itself the mudline from the creek could be easily seen dividing the Hudson into two halves, the clean (east) and the dirty (west). By tomorrow the entire waterway will be muddy. Driving through Dutchmen’s Park I spotted four shore bound striper anglers with their rigs cast out into the dirty waters of the west side. If you do have to fish in the mud consider concentrating on using chunk bait and change it at least every 10 minutes in order to keep a fresh scent in the water column. Remember - Catskill has two separate parks on the Hudson from where shorebound anglers can fish - DUTCHMEN'S LANDING PARK (also boat launch) and THE POINT PARK.


Basically, we are still at the very beginning of this year’s striper run and the biggest and most abundant numbers of stripers have yet to arrive. Generally, in our area, most of the real big fish (35 to 45 pounders going 42 inches or better) seem to start arriving during the final week of April and tend to peak out during the first two weeks of May.


All the launch ramps up and down the river are ready for you to launch your boats now – all that’s left is to get off your duff and do it. Best of luck.     Tom G

















We just received reports that the launch floats at the Coeymans and Cheviot launch ramps have been installed. Thanks for the information, fellows. The stripers are on their way!   Tom G 



  The first striped bass of the run have now arrived at Kingston. The ones we are aware of were caught Saturday and were in the 18 to 24 inch range. We anticipate movement further upriver this week.    Tom G





We just received word that the launch floats at the Henry Hudson Park launch ramp have been installed - a good start to this year.   Tom G



Hudson River Fishing Report – Sunday, March 24, 2019




The past four months did certainly give us a heck of a weird winter, at least judging by what we observed take place on the lower Catskill Creek. We must have had at least ten freeze-ups and ice-outs take place but never had an ice sheet thick enough for anyone, other than geese, gulls and eagles, onto which to venture. We see years like this every once in a while… but now, with spring having arrived, that’s all over. And since spring is here most certainly the striped bass won’t be far behind.

At the time of this writing the Hudson River’s water temperature from Albany south to Newburgh has been in a narrow 2 to 3 degree temperature range, between 38 and 40.

It will probably remain just about in this range this week before we hit the warming trend forecast for the end of the month. We need just a wee bit more warmth before we can expect the 2019 striped bass run to arrive here in the Catskill area.


 Last year the first of the stripers and herring made it here to Catskill just in time for April Fools Day, April 1. They had arrived in Kingston approximately a week earlier when the warmer Rondout Creek had helped raise the river’s water temperature there into the low 40’s. Albany, with the colder run-off water from the Adirondacks, didn’t get any action until about a week after us. The way it’s shaping up now it appears that we are on a very similar schedule to last year and we are expecting the early “scout” fish of the spring run to reach Catskill sometime in the first week of April, BUT …this is just a guess, things such as heavy rains or even late season snow storms can most certainly occur and change that.

 Last year, 2018, overall turned out to be a good year for the majority of striped bass anglers on the Hudson, especially after a rather poor 2017. Many anglers reported landing twice as many fish as the year before (having released 95% of them due to the slot limit imposed on upriver anglers). We are expecting that this year, 2019, to be at least as good as 2018, and hopefully even better yet.



 When those early run stripers do finally arrive here they will be hungry. The large schools of their staple forage, herring and alewives, will have yet to arrive. Most certainly there will be a paltry few early arriving herring around but nowhere as many as there will be 2 to 3 weeks later. This being the case the first stripers to arrive will be looking for just about anything to eat. And, that’s the reason why, in some years, the first stripers of the year may actually be caught by anglers fishing regular nightcrawlers on the bottom.

 Now, usually, nightcrawlers really aren’t what’s considered to be striper bait but, at this time of the year since food is scarce, if it swims or wiggles, it is food! Stripers do, even though perhaps reluctantly, bite on them!


 Another good bait, which is often dismissed by striper fishermen, is the common shiner minnow, the larger in size the better. This can be a great alternative if other baits aren’t yet available. You’d rig them just like you would a herring but would downsize to a freshwater 1/0. 2/0 or 3/0 hook (depending on bait size). Still, although shiners are generally readily available for purchase all over, it can be difficult to find the larger sizes which are better suited for the stripers.


 Fortunately for our fishermen, at just about this same early time of year, up in Maine the “diggers” start to harvest saltwater bloodworms and they (along with sandworms) become available for purchase. These salt water worms are great striped bass bait. They, especially the bloodworms, exude an aroma which seems to be just about irresistible to the stripers and are readily taken. Unfortunately this bait is also irresistible to many other fish species, such as catfish and white perch. It is heartbreaking to catch a 7 inch white perch on a worm which can cost you anywhere from 1 to 2 bucks each.

 So, more than likely, bloodworms would be the first striper bait you can get at the beginning of the run. You should use them on a hook that’s thinner than your regular striper hook, perhaps the same hooks as listed above for shiners or maybe a little bit smaller, depending on the size of the worm. Just run the hook through it a few times and leave some excess draped and hanging off.

 Don’t hesitate to use this bait all throughout the striper run. Even if you can only get small, scroungy worms, use them – they’ll work just fine. Here at the River Basin Sport Shop we are expecting to be able to supply bloodworms starting the final weekend of March.


 Herring are probably the most popular striper bait here on the Hudson, either “chunked” or fished live. But obtaining them, at times, can be just about impossible, especially at the very start of the run. However, by the time the final week of April rolls around their availability is much improved and most anglers are readily catching their daily allotment of 10 to use as bait. We try to have either “fresh dead” or frozen herring available here at the shop during the season but at times our suppliers just are not able to keep up with the demand. The shop is not permitted to handle live herring.


 Of course artificial baits are another possibility for the striped bass angler. Among the most popular items we sell are bucktail jigs, rubber herring (stoolies), Rat-l-traps and other larger plugs from Rebel, Rapala, Daiwa, Sebile, Bomber and Yozuri.  Keep in mind that stripers really aren’t that picky – if you can put any decent sized, natural looking offering in front of them there’s a good chance they’ll hit it.


 Locations for stripers are wherever you have access to the water. Shoreline spots are actually quite plentiful here on the west shore of the river – just about every community located up and down the waterway has a public park on the river’s shore from where one can fish. Here, in Catskill, we have two parks as well as a couple of other open locations on the Catskill Creek from whence angling is possible.

 The east side of the river is somewhat tougher with fewer parks. Access up and down along the railroad tracks has been utilized by anglers for decades but now it seems the railroad gods are angry and are on the verge of trying to close off access along their property (which extends the entire length of the river). Hopefully this will not come about.

 There are public boat launch ramps all up and down the river, again more on the west shore than the east and all readily available for use. The problem with the ramps is that, real early in the season, without launch ramp floats it is quite tricky, and often difficult and dangerous, to launch and retrieve watercraft. The Hudson is a tidal river with swift flows.

 The crews that do the ramp installations are usually in no great hurry to accomplish this task. Sometimes, much to the frustration of the boaters and fishermen, it can be weeks after the first of the stripers have arrived and certain locations still haven’t had their floats installed.


 While on the topic of floats and launch ramps it seems that the popular public ramp located in Coeymans might just become even more congested and difficult to use, at least if certain zoning changes are granted to the owners of the restaurant that’s located adjacent  to the facility. Any boater that has ever used this ramp is already aware of the difficulty in lining up their vehicle for launching and loading – there is barely enough maneuvering room to accomplish the task.

 Looking at the proposed restaurant plan it becomes obvious that, as presently laid out, there would be considerable additional traffic into the launch site area. Restaurant patrons will inevitably be parking their cars so as to cause additional congestion at the launch site. Not good at all. And, even though it seems that viable alternatives do exist which pretty much would lay to rest the concerns of those impacted, the powers-that-be seem very intent on pushing the present proposal through, regardless of any already existing zoning laws.

 Those opposed to this new construction point out that if the restaurant were to build their new structure in the same location as it presently exists, rather than moving it down next to the launch park property, there would be no problem at all - not for the boaters, the fishermen, the nature lovers, nor for the bald eagles that utilize the tree located right there as a feeding station. Looks like an obvious mess in the making. If you are one of those with concerns in this regard you could make your thoughts known by e-mailing to BUILDINGDEPARTMENT @ COEYMANS.ORG.


 Gratefully, we find that there have been no further restrictions placed upon our striped bass fishermen this year… as of yet anyway. Here at the RIVER BASIN SPORT SHOP, now in our 40th year, our “semi-retired” hours of operation during the striped bass run, from now thru June 2, are Thurs., Fri,. Sat., and Sun. from 9:30 to 5 p.m. And then, for the remainder of the summer season through the end of September we’ll only be open three days a week – Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

 Of course we now are primarily a fishing tackle shop, having mostly eased out of the hunting lines since the time of our Governor’s decision to abandon the rights of our shooting sports enthusiasts a few years back.  Eh – it was time for us to start winding our business down anyway – my wife and I aren’t kids anymore. Additionally, we no longer issue New York sporting licenses here at the shop.

 Of course we still have a great selection of fishing tackle - lots of stuff for all different species of fish. Right now, at this moment, we have over 25 different baitrunner rod and reel striped bass combos on display, for sale. Additionally, there’s lots more striper rods and over 100 different reels, which include 25 different baitrunner reels to choose from so you can make up your own combos if you wish.

 We also do bulk line spooling using premium monofilament from Berkley. Just bring in your reel, or just the spool, and we’ll fill it up for you. However, we no longer do any service work on reels but can suggest a reel doctor to whom you can send your sick reel.

 Enough for now, if you have any striper or herring news to share you can drop us an e-mail to tomgriver at  Good Luck - Tom G.


Hudson River Fishing – Thursday July 19, 2018



Even though the Hudson’s water temperature at most locations now sits at around the 80 degree mark we found the bass were active and receptive to angler’s offerings this past week.

 Largemouths seem to be in good supply around most water chestnut bed locations. However, the majority seem to be in the 13 to 16 inch size slot, weighing up to around 2 ½ pounds. There have been a few better ones weighing around 4 ½ to 5 pounds taken from harder structures, those which are related to the chestnut beds. Shad imitation crankbaits, Yamamoto Senkos, spinnerbaits and frogs have all been producing. Lower tides are particularly good for stalking these “green” fish.


Larger smallmouths have become harder to find during these warmer times but smaller fish (13” or less) appear to be abundant. “Suckholes” are always capable of putting a few of them in the boat and most current-swept points of old docks are also magnets for these “little brown” fish. Higher tide times will see the smallies come up on the shallows to chase minnows across gravel and rock shoals, but times of bright sunlight will definitely keep them deeper and harder to find. We’ve been having good luck with poppers as well as by drop-shotting 3” senkos or Berkley 4” Gulp minnows, particularly during higher tide times.

 Due to the running of the United Way’s 8th Annual Catfish Derby this weekend we’ve decided to re-run the article that appeared on our website at this time last year. It contains some interesting background tidbits which we’ve observed about catfish on the Hudson during the past 5 decades. We’ve updated details such as the date, etc.


.This upcoming Saturday, July 21, will see the United Way Organization’s 8th annual catfish derby held here in Catskill at Dutchman’s Landing Park. With that in mind I thought I’d do a little background piece on the status of the river’s catfish here in the Catskill area.

.Prior to the late 1990’s there were basically just two species of catfish to be found in the river, the brown bullhead and the white catfish. Oh, the “white” cat was often mislabeled “channel” catfish by some, but no, it was and still is a “white” catfish. Definitive identification between the two, white or channel, can be made by a count of the rays in the anal fin of the fish – a white cat has 23 rays or fewer while a channel cat has 24 or more.

.If you really don’t want to get that technical about it, a quick visual observation of the two reveals that the white catfish has a larger head in comparison to body size as well as a considerably wider mouth than the channel. The third species, the bullhead, has always been easier to distinguish due to its smaller size, browner color and more rounded tail.

.It was in 1998 when I saw my first Hudson River “channel” cat. Even though I had been fishing for and catching river catfish since the 1950’s I had never caught or seen one of this species here previously. I wasn’t even sure that Walt, the river angler who entered our shop with the 5-inch fish in a bucket, wasn’t just trying to fool me. “Take a look at this,” he said, pointing at the miniature catfish in the pail. Walt said he had just caught it in the river.

.The catfish in the bucket had a much sleeker appearance and sported black spots on its sides, unlike any catfish I had previously seen from the Hudson… and it obviously was a channel catfish. The black spots on its sides were unique to channel cats – they disappear as the fish gets larger and matures.

.Now, if you were to leapfrog forward a mere ten years to 2008 you’d find that the channel catfish had, in that blink of an eye, become the dominant catfish species in the tidal Hudson River. The past “top-dog” out there, the white catfish, had been relegated to an “also ran.”

.Judging by the catch rates we have been seeing since that time the white cat now makes up less than 10% of the river’s catfish population – an almost complete reversal of status in a mere decade! It seems entirely likely that the decline in the white’s population was somehow caused by the arrival of the channel cat. Bullheads, which had been quite numerous in the main river flow, had now also become a relatively scarce commodity out in the main river. But, for some reason, they still held fairly strong in the tributary creeks.

.Here at River Basin Sports we have been tracking catch-sizes of area fish since the shop opened in 1979. We have our own record book dedicated to recording the largest fish for each species brought in, and these listings obviously include catfish. Bullheads are an exception – they were dropped from the book’s roster years ago due to a lack of listings.

.The largest white catfish we’ve logged was back in 2005 when Bill Cody of Saugerties brought in a 24 ¾ incher. He caught this beaut out of the Catskill Creek on a nightcrawler. Although a two footer might not seem like such a big deal when compared to the lengths of the channel catfish presently being caught let me assure you that Cody’s was a truly large white cat. This species rarely measures greater than 20 inches from our local waters.

.As we’ve pointed out, channel catfish have just about taken over our tidal Hudson River. They can be found over any type of bottom and are voracious eaters - just about everything seems to be on their diet, even artificial lures being fished for other game species. The picture which you see at the top of this page shows what great fish these cats are. Our shop record channel catfish belongs to Gerard Uhrik of Tannersville. Uhrik caught this 36 ½ inch, 25 pound 1 ounce beauty back in May of 2013 while fishing with a live herring bait by the Rip VanWinkle Bridge at Catskill.

. Channel cats measuring greater than 30 inches in length are great fish, even if they are no longer that exceptional. Several fish of this size have visited the inside of my boat while I was bass fishing the river these last few years and I’ve seen pictures of quite a few others.  What I’m anticipating now is seeing a channel cat that is pushing the 40-inch mark. This could be happening any time now considering that their river population continues to grow older and larger in size.

.Catching catfish is relatively easy and good baits abound – the cats feed on just about any type of organic matter. Their “whiskers” are magnificent sensory organs which allow them to zero-in on any food. Exotic baits have been commercially formulated to attract the cats to your hook, many of them cheese scented. Of course, there are also the fishermen who insist that there is no finer catfish bait than fermented chicken livers, but anglers utilizing chunk herring as bait just might want to put up an argument in this regard.

.I have found that nightcrawlers seem to work just about as good as most other baits and certainly are a lot easier to obtain. Two problems with the crawlers though – 1) every other fish in the river also likes them, and 2) they will dirty up your hands and your boat.

. My personal favorite catfish bait is shiner minnows. I’ll put a dozen or so into a bag with ice at the start of the fishing day and then cut, or pinch, them in half to use on a hook. This puts a fresh food smell into the water that the cats find irresistible and smaller fish, like perch for instance, will leave your rig alone. An additional benefit is that, unlike with worms, you won’t be leaving dirt smears on either your clothing or gear.

.As far as fishing equipment goes any medium action or heavier rod will work just fine. You’d probably be wise to spool your reel with at least 14-pound test, to which you’d tie a #1 or larger hook, along with a 2-ounce sinker. If you are a striper fisherman you’ll find that your striper outfit with a baitrunner reel is just about perfect for catfish fishing.

.Anyhow, the Catfish Derby is this Saturday, July 21th. There will be many categories of competition and lots of prizes, including a $1,500 first prize. There is a $15 registration fee and you must be pre-registered with the organizers. For further details, you can call Brad Poster at (518) 755-2155.    Tom G




Hudson River Fishing Update – Wednesday June 12, 2018





As we start another Hudson River black bass season the fishing outlook appears to be good. For the second year in a row we did not experience one of the Hudson’s vicious late-winter ice-out-semi-floods which often tend to alter the structure of fish holding locations. On the bum side of the same affair this lack of flood water allows for the thicker growth of many of the river’s water chestnut beds, often to the extent that access to weed-in spots is severely restricted.

At present the chestnut beds are still not fully developed, in many places the “nuts” not even reaching the surface at high tides… a height which they will reach in the next 2 to 3 weeks. Carp are in those beds right now causing quite a ruckus with their mating antics, an occurrence which generally disturbs anglers more than it seems to bother the bass.


The black bass spawn is over. Most of the bass have moved out from their spawning areas in the tributaries and are either establishing or have established themselves in their summertime haunts. Even so, from present reports we can ascertain that the bass are still showing the after-effects of spawn and are fairly hollow-bellied. Still, they have been plenty active enough to hit some lures being thrown by late season striper hunters.


Water temperature in most locations in the main river, when I checked it out this past Tuesday, was running around 70 – 71 degrees, but areas around some inflows and slower moving backwaters were as warm as 76. Water color was surprisingly dingy in many places even though we have not had any heavy rain in weeks.


As mentioned above, most of the spawned fish have left the creeks but there are always some, including a few hefty ones, that are slower to leave than others. Therefore, these inflows should not be entirely discounted by anglers even if it might seem that only “short” bass remain therein.


On the other hand, the lower sections of these same creeks, at their confluence with the Hudson, may be holding some chunky bass. You can legitimately fish the lower 400 or 500 yards of their shoreline and not feel like you are wasting your time. Of course, such areas tend to get pounded pretty hard, especially if windy conditions are prevalent on the main flow. 


Any sort of inflow on the river could be bass magnet. Of particular interest are those which we call “suck holes” – the openings under the railroad tracks on the east shore of the river which lead to large tidal-fluctuation bays. As the tide washes in and out of them so do many types of bass forage and the bass will line up and just sit there waiting for this wonderful conveyor belt to bring their meal to them.


Chestnut beds are the prime location for the largemouths in the river, if that’s your quest. But these beds can cover multitudinous acres of water and make the bass, which seem to find just small sections of the greenery to their liking, hard to locate. Dragging frogs, toads, worms and spoons across the pads can be a tedious process but is often the only way to locate the fish. Needless to say, usually any action will come around openings in the weeds or as the lure approaches the weed bed edge and drops off.


Lure selection tends to be pretty standard – crankbaits, poppers, frogs, jigs and trailers, worms, and drop-shot combinations. Any lures you use for bass fishing anywhere else will work just fine here – just match the lure type to the location being fished.


Lure colors are fairly standard with shad imitation plugs popular. Worms in dark shades, such as green pumpkin for instance, are a standard here as in most other places. Around sparse weeds I often find myself throwing white spinnerbaits with good success and find that I prefer those with gold colorado blades. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your lure selection at this time of year.


I’m looking forward to this Sunday’s black bass season opening on the Hudson and it’s tributaries. Unlike MOST OTHER WATERS in the state the bass season here has been CLOSED FOR "CATCH AND RELEASE" fishing until the state-wide season opener on the third Saturday in June. This weekend I’ll be out on the Hudson's water fishing along with the other members of Catskill’s Tiderunners Bass Club’s in their first bass tournament of the 2018 year - hope to see you out there. Good luck!        Tom G



 Hudson River Fishing Update – Thursday, May 24, 2018


  It seems that last Saturday and Sunday were the magic days for many of this year’s Hudson River striped bass fishermen. Here at the River Basin Sport Shop we heard of many great catches being made on those days. Some anglers actually reported dozens of stripers ranging in size from 16 to 48 inches being caught – these guys thought they’d died and gone to heaven! But no, they were still here on good old terra firma, it was just that they’d experienced the peak activity period of 2018’s Hudson River striped bass run and for them it will remain ever memorable

  Since last Sunday the quality of the striper fishing, although it was still good right through this past mid-week, has been declining on a daily basis. It will continue to further do so until about the second or third week of June, at which time you’ll be hard put to find a decent sized striped bass up here in the mid-Hudson Valley. Oh sure, it seems that there always will be a few of the “bigger” boys left over and hanging on a little bit later up at the Troy dam, and there may be some smaller two to three-year-old stripers inadvertently caught up and down the river by some anglers… but for all intents and purposes and with very few exceptions, the action for the big boys will be done for this year.


  Here at the River Basin we’re going to take a little time off and prepare ourselves for what should prove to be a great summer. We’ll be closing the shop starting this Monday (May 28) and will re-open again on June 6th in anticipation of the start of the state’s black bass season on June 16th.

  Being a member of Catskill’s TIDERUNNERS BASS CLUB I’ve got lots of preparations to make with my own boat and fishing tackle. It’s funny how all those things that were left undone at the end of last year’s bass season present themselves as being critically important to be fixed - right now, before our first Hudson River tournament on June 17.

  Our TIDERUNNERS club is a small group of men, all of who enjoy the pursuit of both smallmouth and largemouth bass on the Hudson River. Each year we schedule a series of 9 tournament events starting on the first Sunday of black bass season and ending the first weekend of November. Points are awarded for fishing accomplishments and the three top anglers are honored at a dinner fete each December.

  The club events are all held on Sundays, usually starting at morning’s “safe light” and concluding at 2 p.m. with a formal weigh-in. Points are awarded for each member’s daily catch and a ranking scoreboard of each member’s accumulated points is kept on display at the River Basin.

  If you feel you might be interested in joining such a group feel free to stop by the shop and ask any questions you might have regarding membership. A basic requirement for joining is having a “tournament ready” fishing boat. Of course, there are dues and event entry fees which also have to be considered. But overall, it’s fun as well as a great learning experience, one that you’ll never really obtain by remaining a lone fisherman.      Tom G  



Hudson River Striper Update – Thursday, May 17, 2018

For some of our striped bass anglers this next 7 to 10 day period will provide almost unbelievable fishing action - how’s about putting a dozen or more stripers in the boat in just a half day’s fishing sound? Perhaps an unlikely feat for most of us, but yet entirely possible for those fishermen who happen to be in the right place at the right time. That’s what to be on the lookout for starting this 3rd week of May.


 Why? What’s happening? Well, what will be taking place is the peak of the 2018 striped bass spawning run up our tidal Hudson River. The proper environmental conditions will be coming together at this time. For almost two months vast schools of stripers have been invading our river system, and presently there’s probably hundreds of thousands of these black-on-silver striped fish, some weighing in excess of 50 pounds, ensconced within its shore lines. They are here just awaiting the proper time to spawn.

 The river’s water temperature has been on a steady upward trend since it hit 43 degrees in late March. As of this morning the entire section from Albany down to Poughkeepsie was pushing the 62 to 63 degree mark. This is the temperature where we start to see some of the shallower side-waters warm up a little quicker and thus trigger the start of spawn.

 The spawn itself usually always takes place off to the sides of the main river channel, but not in creeks. The obviously somewhat slower current and warmer water in these side areas is the preferred location. I have never witnessed a mass surface spawn (dozens and dozens of fish at once) to take place over the main channel even though I have observed small spot-spawning (3 or 4 fish) that has taken place in the middle of the main flow.

 This is the stage we are at, or on the cusp of, right now – numbers of stripers will start to concentrate in some areas off to the sides of the main flow. There the egg-laden females will be pursued by smaller aggressive males who will actually drive the females to the surface while physically bumping into them, causing the release of eggs.


 Other than perhaps at very slow idle you should avoid entering such areas of ongoing spawn with your boat since you might damage the fish with your propeller. But, why would you enter such an area at all since the spawning fish are entirely engrossed in procreation and are not interested in any bait you might dangle in front of them? The answer is simple – there are lots of non-spawning fish concentrated beneath the spawners… and they WILL bite.

 The spawning area can change location during the course of the day. One year I witnessed an early morning spawn start on the west shore just to the north of the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge and by the time mid-afternoon rolled around I had seen it gradually move 5 miles further upriver to the Glasco area. Other locations where I’ve witnessed mass surface spawns taking place have been Cementon, Cheviot and by the power lines south of Athens.

 The spawn itself usually seems to start lower down the river than we are, and works its way upriver over the course of about a week or so before coming to an end. At the present time it seems that there is some spawning activity occurring in the Newburgh and the Kingston area.


 Generally speaking, most striped bass will start their journey back to their saltwater environs right after spawn. But not all stripers in any one group will spawn during the same time – for one reason or another there may be some delayed individual spawns taking place as late as the start of June. Additionally, it is claimed that some of the fish might not spawn at all but rather will head on back to the ocean and just reabsorb their eggs. This could be an explanation for finding green eggs is some stripers as late as mid-June.


 Although the preferred bait for stripers at this time of the run seems to be either live or chunk herring, this is also the prime time for artificials. Casting larger Rat-l-traps, Bomber Long-A’s or some of the larger Sebile minnows is paying off right now. The trick is to fish them around current breaks, bay outflows, or troll them along specific contour breaks.


 So, after spawning the stripers head back to the ocean, right? Yeah, but not all of them – some 6 to 15 inchers will hang around for most of the summer and, surprisingly, so do some bigger fish. I really don’t know where these 3 footers go and hide in the river (perhaps in the same locations as the river’s walleyes) since I can’t catch them there again until we enter late September. But I do know that under cover of night, on a rising tide, they will make feeding forays up to the head-of-tidewater in the Catskill Creek. This action starts to occur about mid-June and lasts right up through the first half of summer. I would have to surmise that similar occurrences also take place in other tributary creeks.

 To ambush these fish you should position yourself around shoal areas which the stripers must cross and cast larger shallow running plugs. The lures we listed above will work just fine for this task but we have a friend who accomplishes the same thing with a stout fly rod, throwing a good sized”bunny” streamer. If you like to burn the candle at both ends you might give this a try.


 Most of our anglers are familiar with the OKUMA series of baitrunner reels for striped bass and catfish fishing. The OKUMA AVENGER series has been our best-selling reel for stripers for the past decade. Well, OKUMA came out with a new baitrunner series this year, the CORONADO, which is ranked EVEN a couple of notches higher than the AVENGER.

 In our usual springtime haste we were a little bit careless and mistakenly doubled our order of these in the CDX-60 size. This is a silver-colored 5 bearing reel with a 4.4:1 gear retrieve ratio, having a line capacity of 225 yards of 20 pound test. Yes, it does have the baitrunner feature which is just about mandatory for striper fishing with herring baits.

 We have a limited quantity of these beauts left to offer any of our website followers who might need another reel or would like to upgrade from whatever they are using now. They list at $110.00 each, our shop price for them this year was $95.98, and we’re ready to sell out our excess inventory at $64.99 each. Availability is limited and this offer is not displayed in the store – if you would like one you must ask for the special price when you come to the shop.    PLEASE NOTE - THIS IS NOW SOLD OUT Thanks for visiting our web site – Tom G




Hudson River Striper Update – Friday, May 11, 2018


The action continues! Excellent striped bass catch reports, from Newburgh to Troy, continue to come in as the 2018 run winds along. There definitely appears to be a profusion of smaller fish, 18 to 30 inchers, this year but stripers up to 42 inches most certainly are not missing. It’s readily apparent that this year’s run has that of the 2017-year beat hands down.




Looking at areas that have been providing good fishing action we see two of particular note around Kingston – one between Black Creek and the Esopus Meadows lighthouse and another further upriver, to the north and south of the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge.


The Glasco section, just south of Saugerties, has also been outstanding, while a little bit to the north, the contour from the mouth of the Esopus Creek up to Malden is known to produce good fish.


Along the east shore of the river, running from Tivoli north to Germantown and then further past the Roe-Jan Creek to Greendale (across the river from Catskill) the fishing has been excellent all spring long for the shore bound anglers. The mouth of the Catskill Creek has produced some excellent fish as has the area on the west shore running about a mile up past the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.


Up in the Athens / Hudson area the water under the giant power lines crossing the river, and the shoreline just north of Hudson’s boat launch past the old match factory, known as “The Shacks,” are both producing good catches. North of Athens, a mile and a half stretch running upriver from 4 Mile Point to what’s often called the “Coxsackie cliffs” has been producing well. The water just to the south of Coxsackie cove has always produced good fish, particularly on an outgoing tide. Further upriver the channel edges from New Baltimore all the way to the Thruway Bridge are good bets.


From Bethlehem all the way up to the Troy dam you start to encounter a different phenomena as the concentration of fish intensifies right along with the action. The fish here are backed up all the way from the head of tidewater at Troy and tend to mill around, just gorging themselves on the herring which are similarly halted here in their upriver journey.




This past week saw a concentration of bigger striped bass hanging around he Esopus Meadows section of the river for several days before moving further upriver to the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge area (we had a report of a 51-inch monster having been caught out of this grouping). This school should have moved up past Saugerties by this time and could be providing some action up as far as Hudson by now.




During the past few days the annual dumping of the locks upriver was scheduled to take place, an event that brings piles of debris, both natural and manmade, washing down the waterway. If the scheduling holds true the water around the Catskill area should be receiving it’s first influx of the mess in time for this weekend. It will be a very tricky, and possibly dangerous, time to navigate the river without using extreme care to avoid floating logs and such.




With the river’s temperature running in the high 50’s all the way from Norrie Point to Troy it is apparent that the striper spawn is about to start. A guess as to just when this will happen is just a stab in the dark…BUT – we wouldn’t be surprised to hear of spot spawns starting by the end of this upcoming week. One sign of such immediate pre-spawn activity is when a hooked fish is followed to the net by several other fish. This is also the peak of the striper activity period.


The striper spawn itself is usually observed on the surface as spawning fish churn up the water with their activity. This can take place as a mass spawn where acres of water are being churned up by hundreds of spawning fish, all at the same time. In such an instance the stripers are so preoccupied that often many are killed unintentionally by curious boaters who drive into such activity, thereby injuring many of the frenzied fish with their propellers. If you spot a spawn taking place, usually NOT in the main channel, observe from a distance.


The best of times is coming up in the next couple of weeks – don’t miss out on it.   Tom G



        Hudson River Striper Update – Friday, May 3, 2018

Just a brief update here since there really isn’t much new to report at this juncture. Striper action from Albany tp Wappingers appears to be very good as we enter this first weekend in May. Fish up to 42 inches in length are being reported throughout the waterway up as far as Coxsackie; no such reports from further upriver. Herring appear to be relatively easy to obtain at most locations with Sabikis the key in the creeks while both Sabikis and stoolie/scapping are working in the main flow. All baits are reportedly working well – herring (live and chunk), bloodworms and large shiners.

With daytime surface water temperatures ranging from about 51 degrees at Albany, to 52/53 around Kingston, perhaps even a bit higher during the day’s peak, the striped bass action should really be at an optimum level this weekend. Multiple striped bass fishing contests will be occurring this weekend and the catches should be excellent. Today’s (Friday) weather will be the warmest of the weekend and perhaps somewhat windy but both Saturday and Sunday should see much calmer water. The main annoyance on the river this weekend (with perhaps the exception of any jet skis that might be in your area) will be the amount of floating debris – lots is being reported.

Depending on water temperatures in any particular region of the river the present warm spell could cause some early striper spawn to start taking place during this upcoming week, particularly in the lower sections of the flowage. The spawn will then start to work its way upriver. However, it presently appears that the main spawn is yet 1 to 2 weeks in the future (the further in the future it takes place the longer the good fishing will stay in place). 

We are now approaching the BEST period of the 2018 striped bass run – try to take full advantage of it.   Tom G



 Hudson River Striper Update – Monday, April 30, 2018

As we had anticipated, larger striped bass moved upriver into our mid-Hudson area this past weekend. We received multiple reports of fish ranging up to 42 inches from the section between Newburgh and Germantown. From Germantown to as far north as Bethlehem the larger fish seemed to peak out in the high 30-inch range. The next 3 weeks should see some stripers approaching 50 inches and weighing in the vicinity of 50 pounds being caught in our waters.


This past week anglers in the Kingston – Rondout area reported good action in both the creek and the river. From the Esopus Meadows to just north of the Kingston Rhinecliff bridge the action was picking up and from there north to Glasco the action seems to have been very good. Saugerties, Malden, Cheviot, Germantown, and Greendale - all were producing a few 40 inchers mixed in with sufficient numbers of three footers. Keepers (18 to 28 inches) certainly did not appear to be lacking.


It seems that the main run of larger fish hadn’t quite arrived at the Catskill area, or north thereof, this past weekend. Most certainly fish were being caught from here to the north but most action reported from the RVW Bridge, the power lines, the shacks, Stockport, and the Coxsackie cliffs was less than that to the south. From New Baltimore and Bethlehem up to Albany we’d have to rate the action a little bit weak but still sufficient to produce some fish in the high 30-inch range.


The Albany waters had a lot of debris floating from rain earlier in the week, debris which should be here in the Catskill area just about now. Additionally, the beginning of May sees the upper river dam locks flushed out which will also bring additional debris down to our area.


Water temperature both at Albany and Norrie Point to the south had at one point actually touched to 50 degree mark a few days ago but Albany has since dropped back down to about 46 while Norrie still appears headed to the 51 – 52-degree level. However, with the forecast of daytime air temps to rise into the 80’s during the next few days you can be sure that the entire river will also heat up, although perhaps prematurely, into the low 50’s. Even though the water temp might seem quite warm this upcoming week we are hoping that the striper spawn won’t be starting yet for another 2 to 3 weeks. 


Herring became quite abundant in our area this past week as huge schools of them pushed further on up river. From this point on they should start stacking up below the Troy dam, perhaps even extending as far down river as Bethlehem. Sabiki rigs as well as scapping with stoolies should produce sufficient baits for your fishing.


Chunk herring have been producing for the shore bound anglers and bloodworms are still producing lots of action, even for more inexperienced anglers. Larger “striper shiners” seem to be working really well for drift fishermen and trollers have started taking fish on artificials. The most productive depths we’ve heard about from the trollers have ranged between 10 and 18 feet.


Here at the shop we’re starting to run low on some of our striper rods and reels but will be getting in a fresh supply this week. We’ve seen particularly strong demand from anglers for our “STOOLIE RODS” – the first two shipments we had of these perfect rods to use when scapping for herring have completely sold out but we are hoping to have some more arrive later this week.


We should have an ample supply for chunking herring bait, bloodworms and “striper shiners” for this coming weekend but can make no guarantees – we’ve sold out of bloodworms each of the past 4 weekends even though we’ve been increasing the size of our order each week… and this weekend will probably be no exception.


Even though our striped bass run will extend right into the beginning of June the next couple of weeks should be the prime time for you to get in in the action. It’s not to late to get fresh line on your reels and get out there and enjoy this present that nature brings to us each year.      Tom G



Hudson River Striper Run Update – Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Although the striped bass action up and down the tidal Hudson River has been holding steady all this past week we sure can’t say that it’s been hot and heavy. Some locations, such as Germantown and Athens, have reported decent catches of smaller (18 to 24 inch) fish along with a few three footers thrown in. Between Poughkeepsie and Kingston we’ve been seeing greater numbers of the heftier (3-foot-long) fish moving upriver, seemingly following some huge schools of herring as they ply their way north. Even Albany has been reporting a mixed-sized bag with some stripers in the mid-thirty inch range.


Traditionally this coming week is THE week when the larger stripers start to arrive in the section between Norrie Point and Catskill, while from Ravena to Albany tends to lag by about a week or so. Here we are referring to the fish over 40 inches in length – those that you are allowed to keep one-of, per day. Of course probably 90% of our striper anglers have never caught one of such giant size, and have been relegated to keeping their one legal keeper of a size within the state-set slot limit of 18 to 28 inches. Many of them still remember the days when they were allowed to keep at least one of those thirty-plus inchers instead of having to release them for the anglers below the George Washington Bridge to harvest – it’s been a bitter pill for them to swallow.


Obtaining bait this past week was somewhat hard for many river anglers. The supply of herring bait was rather spotty and bloodworms sold out fairly early in the weekend. Bloodworms appeared to be the best bet for catching a keeper striper (18 to 28 inches) but they also accounted for lots of white perch and catfish being hooked. Large striper-sized shiners also worked well.

I personally spent a couple of pleasurable hours bank-fishing on the Catskill Creek on Monday afternoon with those large shiners and caught 2 stripers in the 20-22 inch range, as well as 2 smallmouth bass and one catfish (remember that you can’t legally target black bass out of season in the Hudson River or it’s tidal tributaries). We’ve been told of an angler going out of the Athens launch this past weekend with a sucker on his line for bait – and on his second lob with that bait he nailed a nice striper. All kinds of bait will work - you’ve just got to put it in front of the striper’s snout.

This week, when River Basin Sports re-opens on Thursday, our bait situation will be much improved. A plentiful supply of fresh-dead herring will be available (in bags of 3). Additionally, we are expecting morning shipments of those striper-sized shiners (4 to 6 inches) and a supply of super-fresh bloodworms. We suggest coming by starting in the afternoon for bloodworms and striper-shiners.


Catching your own baits should also become easier from this point on. The sunshine of the past couple of days has raised the river’s temperature sufficiently to really start to turn the herring on. At one point this morning we actually saw the surface water temperature in Albany finally top that of the water 50 miles further downriver, 46 vs. 45 – a come-hither call to both herring and stripers. Hopefully the rains forecast for the latter part of this week won’t muck the water up too bad.


Since you are not allowed to use any net to catch herring in the creeks you are, most likely, relegated to using sabiki rigs and they should really start to work well from this point on. They come in a vast assortment of styles and colors. One important feature on these rigs is the color of the bead (or head-wrap) just in front of the hook – generally this will be either red or green. If what you’ve got tied on isn’t working – try switching to the other color. This often will do the trick for you.

Just for your own information, here are a couple of other sabiki things you might find interesting. If you come into the River Basin and go to our sabiki section you’ll find like, oh, 3 dozen different sabikis. One reason why some of them are priced twice as much as others is due to the composition of the “wing” attached to the hook. The cheaper rigs will generally have a milar or other such synthetic material wing. The Japanese, being the sticklers they are for fine detail, believe that real fish-skin wings are what “fine tunes” the sabiki and really makes the herring bite better. This is why some sabikis have a premium price – they are crafted with real fish skin, a much more complicated procedure.

Another sabiki thing that is often tossed around is the number of hooks that a sabiki is permitted to contain. Most sabikis come with either 5 or 6 hooks attached to a main trunk line. State regulations prohibit more than 5 lures on a line. Our ENCON officers have been very understanding of possible confusion regarding whether a sabiki is “one” lure (allowed to have 15 hook points) or multiple lures (no more than 5 permitted). We suggest that if you have any doubt about your 6 hook sabiki – just cut one point off. Whatever you do – don’t argue with the ENCON guy who’s just doing his job.

Yet another interesting sabiki thing is the hook size – their sizes run contrary to what our usual hook sizes run. For instance, an oriental size six is smaller than an oriental size 8, just the opposite of what we’re used to. The most popular hook size sabiki we sell is the #8. Sometimes under clear bluebird skies, when the bite is tough, switching to a smaller size hook will improve your bite. However, even though your number of hookups may improve you will lose way more of the fish – those smaller hooks just pull free a lot easier.

That’s enough rambling for this update. Thanks for visiting our website and we hope to see you at our shop where we’ll probably have most of what you’ll need to make this year’s striped bass run a successful one.   Tom G




Hudson River Striper Update – Saturday, April 21, 2018

As more and more linesiders piled into our waterway striper action has continued to improve along the 60-mile section of the Hudson River from the Troy Dam to Poughkeepsie to the south. Now we are seeing 3-foot-long fish being taken along the entire waterway. In addition, larger schools of alewives have arrived and Sabiki rigs have started to pay bonuses in the form of lots of action for anglers in the creeks. 

Even so as the weekend began there appeared to be a lack of sufficient striped bass baits available for the fishermen. Here at the River Basin Sport Shop our supply of bloodworms and herring was sold out by mid-day on Saturday. It appeared that there was a definite lack of bait to be found all the way up and down the river since we were receiving calls seeking bait from as far as 40 miles away to both north and south. Hopefully this situation should be somewhat alleviated this week. 

In the meantime, what we do have to offer our anglers is a supply of “striper shiners.” These 4 to 6-inch-long shiners were the perfect baits for the striped bass which have no problem in making a meal of them. The main thing we advise anglers to do is downsize their terminal tackle somewhat. Instead of using 6/0 or 7/0 striper hooks you should drop down to 1/0, 2/0 or 3/0 standard hooks which are build of a thinner wire than is found of the large Gamagatsus. Actually, most black bass worm hooks in sizes up to 3/0 are of an ideal size to use with them. But, our supply of these gorgeous larger shiner baits is running low and we’ll probably sell out of them sometime this Sunday. 

When the shop re-opens this Thursday, we’ll be receiving a fresh supply of bloodworms from our diggers in Maine. Last week’s supply was severely cut back due to storm conditions influencing the tides along the Atlantic coast – hopefully nothing similar will happen this week and we’ll be able to supply all your needs. We hold the same hopes for our supply of herring as the warming of the river should bring more of these fish into shallower, more-catchable water.             Tom G 



Hudson River Striper Update – Thursday, April 19, 2018


Last Sunday things were just starting to pop here in the Catskill area – some stripers were being caught in the Catskill Creek and herring were hitting on Sabiki rigs. Everything was looking good… and then came Monday.  

It’s amazing how quickly a day of heavy April rain can melt the mountain snowcap and turn a perfect-for-fishing creek into a swollen, swirling muddy mess. And, of course, this mess flows into the main Hudson, also making that a sight for sore eyes. Yup, our spring striper run suffered a definite setback here. 

Here at the River Basin we had just received the first trickle of this year’s herring bait into the shop (too late in the day for any sales) and had sold out of bloodworms by early afternoon Sunday, much to the dismay of a bunch of striper fishermen. With Monday’s heavy rain beating down it was obvious that our herring suppliers would be stymied in their efforts to bring in any additional bait this week. 

Upon checking with our bloodworm suppliers in Maine we found that the same storm that had muddied our local waters had also screwed up the costal tides and that fresh bloodworms would be a very iffy proposition this week. However, we finally located some diggers that could accommodate us and we should have fresh bloodworms in by Thursday afternoon; herring are doubtful and will probably not be available yet. 

But – bloodworms are a prime striper bait in muddy water! Not only that, but they have been working best all spring long so far. Even anglers who usually get skunked have been catching stripers on these saltwater baits. A key to using them is to downsize the thickness of your hooks, especially when baiting with smaller worms. Additionally, if the worms are large enough – don’t use a whole worm, it usually is not necessary. The worms may be drift-fished or still-fished on the bottom. Even though the river may be stained or muddy, the stripers are out there and WILL bite on this bait. 

As far as river temperature goes the water from Catskill to the south seems to be retaining its 43-degree level and hasn’t gotten real dirty but up in Albany it has dropped a few degrees, running between 40 and 41 degrees, and is definitely dirtier. Even so, the next six weeks is your time to take advantage of what could be some fantastic fishing up here - don't miss out on it!      Tom G



Hudson River Striper Update – Friday, April 13, 2018


River conditions these past few days have shown but scarce change. Water temperatures around the Catskill area have been hiccupping between 40 and 43 on an almost daily basis. You can add 1 to 2 degrees to either end of that range for what’s happening at Kingston. Albany’s water temp has seen a relatively consistent rise from 39 to 42 while further downriver, around Poughkeepsie, you can find 44-degree water. As of today the only place we were aware of that had floats at it's launch ramp was at Bethlehem,


There is a definite correlation between fish activity and these river temperatures. For example, Albany has had just about no striper/herring activity as of yet, the Catskill section does have some striper/herring action going on while Kingston has had some respectable fishing. Good action seems to all be centered around the 43-degree mark - at this time of year, the warmer the water, the better the fishing.


Presently, obtaining good bait has been the main problem for the striper fishermen. Since we’re at just the beginning of the run and have such cold water, the herring that have arrived are staying deep and difficult to obtain. At River Basin Sports we’re hoping to have some “fresh dead” available for NEXT weekend but make no promises.


At present the shop only has bloodworms available – these have been working well. Unfortunately, we’ll probably sell out of them this Saturday morning and won’t have more until next Thursday. If you wish to catch your own herring, stoolies are probably your best bet at this early season. But as the water warms further during the upcoming weeks Sabikis will start to produce, especially in the creeks where you can’t use stoolies since netting is prohibited.


We had been expecting some nicer, warm temperatures for this weekend but the weather gods seem to have changed their minds – cooler temperatures will prevail and thus will delay the upriver migration of larger schools of herring and stripers for a few additional days. The 70-degree warmth that had originally been forecast for us has now been changed to the high 40’s. Even so, this delay won’t last too long and we’re sure that after the next week or so we’ll be right into some real good striper action all the way up to the Federal Lock in Troy.     Tom G



Hudson River Striper Report – Wednesday, April 11, 2018


With the Hudson’s water temperature ranging from 39 up in the Albany section to just about 43 in the stretch below Kingston the present striper fishing conditions appear just about the same as last week. We see this year’s run of stripers and herring extending upriver from Kingston to past Saugerties. From Saugerties upriver, the amount of herring quickly dwindles. Some stripers are being caught all the way past Coxsackie. A few herring were reported up in the Hudson area this past weekend and we actually had a report of a couple of smaller stripers being caught up in Albany. There’s no question that the most successful bait in our upper section of the river was bloodworms since herring, for the most part, were unobtainable.


With warmer weather forecast to arrive this weekend we should see a strong push of this year’s spawning run to proceed further upriver.  The first larger schools of herring should arrive at Stockport, and perhaps even a few make it as far as the Posten Kill (even though that upriver stretch of water is still extremely cold). Since there may already be a few stripers up there their numbers should quickly increase and fishing should pick up. Still, you must bear in mind that we are at the very beginning of the run.


How good this year’s striper run will be is questionable. The majority opinion is that last year’s was rather mediocre at best. One experienced guide we talked to, who works the Ravena section of the river, said that although herring were plentiful and easy to catch, the number of stripers to see the inside of his boat was the poorest he’d had in some years.


Most certainly there were anglers out there who had what can be described as a good year but on the whole the results were somewhat disappointing. As we have found to be the case throughout the past 20 years or more – one year’s results are in no way indicative of what the following year will bring. Boom or bust, we’ll just have to wait and see.   Tom G



Successful reports of striped bass being caught in the section of the Hudson between Coxsackie and Saugerties have continued to come in during the past few days. The largest striper of which we are aware was around 28 inches long. The others all appear to have been under two feet in length. Action has still been extremely spotty out there.

With the water temps ranging from 41 in the Albany area to 43 in the section south of Kingston we appear to be on the cusp of seeing larger scale arrivals of both herring and striped bass. However there has been no real stability in these water temperature readings and swings of 2 to 3 degrees almost daily seem to have been the rule, not the exception. The next couple of weeks should see the arrival of warmer, more stable weather that will speed the arrival of the fish.

Although we’ve heard of some herring in the Kingston area, as of yet there certainly has been nothing of the sort mentioned to us here at Catskill. Some locals have been trying artificials for the stripers but their results so far have been poor. Bloodworms have been the bait of choice for the successful anglers, all of who have been fishing from shore so far. We will be getting in herring bait as soon as possible but in the meantime if that’s what you want you’ll have to try to get your own. Cold water, such as we have now, seems to call for the use of stoolies to lure herring in while Sabiki rigs get better as the water warms a bit.

As of the present time we are not aware of any launch ramp floats having been installed anywhere on our upper section of the tidewater Hudson. If you are going to give it a try this weekend be prepared and bring along a pair of hip boots to help with the launch. If you are aware of any ramps ready to use you could send us a note and we’ll pass the word.  We are back to monitoring the web at ”tomgriver” at

Our annual tide books are now ready for sale. They encompass the time period from mid-April into the begining of November and list tide times for Castleton, Catskill, Saugerties and Kingston in an easy-to-look-at horizontal format which makes it a snap to see and compare what’s happening at these different locations with just a quick glance.

Please remember that the River Basin Sport Shop is only open 4 days a week (Thursday thru Sunday) from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.   Tom G




With reports having come in of striped bass being caught down in the Newburgh area during the past few days it really was not too much of a shock to find that at least one of those stripers had already made it up as far as Catskill by this past Sunday. Alex Deyo and Kevin Passaro of Cairo had been shore-bound fishing in the vicinity of Catskill most of that day and were the successful anglers.

The river temperature was tickling the magical 43 degree mark that afternoon and the duo had been getting a few catfish using the bloodworms they had for bait. But they had had only one really good, strong bite which, unfortunately, did not hook up. And then their day finally brightened up as they nailed the first striped bass of which we are aware of being caught this far upriver in 2018.

Oh, it wasn’t a big fish, perhaps only 16 inches long and was quickly released after an appropriate picture was taken. But - it was the first of the year and therefore deserves recognition.

Now it seems that we’re just about on the same fish arrival schedule that we experienced here in 2017 and bloodworms are the appropriate early-run bait to use… at least until this year’s herring start to arrive sometime during the next week or two. So, no longer can you put off getting your fishing gear ready – the run is starting.

Unfortunately, we are having some problems with the functioning of this website and therefore updates just might appear to be somewhat erratic. But be assured that we are working to have this straightened out as soon as possible so please bear with us.    Tom G



Well, here we are, about to start another year of striped bass fishing in the upper tidewater section of the Hudson River. It’s been a long winter and the striper guys I’ve talked to have all been chomping at the bit to get another chance to do battle, with brain as well as brawn, with these magnificent fish that enter our waterway each spring..

It used to be that some of our more stalwart anglers would start striper fishing in mid-March, but a few years ago the powers-that-be decided to move the start of our striper season from March 15 to April 1. Of course any mid-March that saw stripers as far upriver as Catskill were few and far between, and any “linesider” that might have happened to swim into our upper section of the waterway was just a stray. We use the term “scout” to label such early arrivals but they’re not too often caught up here..

The way we see it any rationale for changing the striper opening date would have had to be due to what might be happening in the Hudson’s waters further downriver, probably in the brackish section of the Hudson where you can even find smaller stripers to hang around all winter long. Be that as it may, the official start of the striped bass season for us is April 1st..


Most of our fishermen agree that last year’s striper run was rather mediocre. Blame is attributed by some to the muddy river conditions that existed while yet some others feel that the construction  activity at the new Tappan Zee Bridge site down by Sleepy Hollow (Tarrytown) was sufficient to hold back some of the fish. But, it seems to us that last year’s mediocre showing was more of a cyclical thing rather than something definite you can point a finger at..

This year so far has been rather strange – the river at present is running non-muddy (can’t really ever say that the tidewater Hudson here is running “clear”). This is great news, but when I glance up at the snow yet to be seen on the Catskill Mountains and realize that the Adirondacks must also have similar amounts of the white stuff, the odds of fishing in a normal river for the next 6 to 8 weeks are slim indeed. The mud will almost certainly come - the only question is when, and how long will it last..

Looking at the present water temperature everything looks pretty good. The stretch between Albany and Poughkeepsie has been running in the high 30 to low 40 degree range, just below what we in Catskill find to be the probable arrival period for the first of the herring run. Generally speaking, many years will find the herring to be just somewhat downriver from us at this time and it seems that they require just a few more degrees of warmth before they push up into our waters. The next few days to a week or so just might see that occur... with the stripers right behind them.


Since 1996 New York State has committed over 10 million dollars to the “Estuary Program” in order to improve public recreational access to the Hudson River with most emphasis being on the East shore of the waterway. For decades this access had been restricted by the presence of the New York Central (now Amtrak) railroad tracks that run parallel to the waterway’s edge. However, stalwart fishermen, among others, have always managed to trudge and wend their way through all sorts of obstacles and still were able to access the waterway..

 But, it seems that the state’s good intentions just might come to a screeching halt this year, at least along our central section of the river if the railroad’s new desire to prevent any recreational access gets approved.  The railroad’s plan is to put up gates and fences to keep us undesirable humans away. The decision to approve or disapprove this action is due to be decided by the Department of State’s Office of Planning and Development this week. Could be a rotten deal for our fishermen..


Officially our Striped Bass season in the mid-Hudson Valley will begin this Sunday. Last year the first reports we had of stripers being caught around here came during the first week of April from anglers in the Germantown area. These early fish were taken on bloodworms, and some even on nightcrawlers, since herring generally are not available around here until about the second or third week of April..

For those of our anglers desirous of testing the early, chilly waters the main hassle will be to obtaining bait. As it stands now we will have bloodworms available starting this Thursday afternoon. Bloodworms are generally considered the best real-early bait available for stripers..


The River Basin Sports Shop is in pretty good shape for the opening of both the New York striped bass and trout seasons on Sunday. Presently we’ve got worms and live shiners and are expecting fresh bloodworms in on this Thursday..

Tackle? You bet – we’ve got 30 DIFFERENT baitrunner reels to choose from including the new OKUMA Coronado and Ceymar series. Of course we’ve also got Daiwas, Ticas, Shimanos and Penns. We’ve got over 20 baitrunner striper combos set up to choose from, or you can make up your own. Plenty of striper rods as well as a new little “STOOLIE ROD” – perfect for heaving those rubber fish (which take up just about a whole half an aisle of our display space). Also zillions of Sabiki herring jigs to choose from, all kinds of sinkers, hooks and swivels, herring holding pens and quality scap nets..

For those of you that have yet to get fresh line put on your reels, bring them over. The bummer with the line spooling is that if we’re busy you will have to wait – sometimes this could take a while. Of course you can just leave the reels and pick them up later. We only use premium line for spooling purposes and this year we’ve added SUFFIX SUPERIOR bright yellow in 20 pound test to our selection for those of you who want to see the line better. Of course we still use Triline Big Game for the majority of our spooling..

The time is here – let’s get out and do it!    Tom G


As the all-seeing eagle sat, perched high above in his eagle tree, and the mergansers and gulls flew and dove and cavorted over the waters at the mouth of tidal DuBois Creek, the still rising sun bore witness to a solitary 100 foot long slab of ice as it drifted by on its way to the mighty Hudson a quarter mile below - and then the Catskill Creek was, once again, ice free.   Tom G
As unusual as it might seem when I drove through Catskill's DUTCHMAN'S PARK yesterday morning the river ice was gone. Sure, there were some floating chunks of it to be seen scattered along the one-mile-wide waterway but most definitely the huge icefield seen here just a few days previous was gone.
It's not rare to have the river's ice move out in mid-February but it certainly is not the norm. During the past 4 decades its happened plenty of times, on some occasions even in January, and in even scarcer years the river here hasn't even iced up at all. All that being said, March is when the ice moves out most often.
The signifigance of this happening is that it must take place before the ice in the Catskill Creek can depart and that is what's happening now. This morning the creek only had a spotty soft ice cover in the section from Hop-O-Nose Point to just above Riverview Marina, and that looked as though it was just about ready to depart as well.
This whole ice-out sequence was foretold by the appearance of the pair of bald eagles that utilize a couple of tall trees on the south side of the creek, down by the mouth, for perches as they scan the water below for any tidbits to eat. They showed up several days earlier when the ice still blanketed the creek.
Yesterday morning the creek's downstream ice edge was perhaps a hundred feet below where it was at sun up today. Today three mallards, accompanied by about 30 mergansers, could be seen right at that edge, the mergansers diving, perhaps to capture some hapless baby bass or walleye, while one of the eagles kept an eye on the whole from its lofty perch above.
Even though it seems as though the end of winter is now in sight, as if to quash local fishermen's dreams of an early spring, tonight's weather forcast calls for several inches of snow, but... a few days further along the possibility of a 60 degree day also is forcast. Better days are ahead my friends and we'll all be glad to greet their arrival and promise of a great fishing year to come.     Tom G

A strange summer for sure, 2017. We never did get the traditional early season flooding that we've seen during the past two decades. And, as good as the quieter flow was for some fishing spots on the Hudson, it did nothing but spoil it for other locations - the lack of stronger flow allowed weed growth to clog up a few of our better honey holes. As of right now however, the water chestnuts are mostly gone, what remains should disappear during the next couple of weeks.
Additionally, the prolonged warm summer still has the river's temperature running 6 to 8 degrees warmer than it should be for this time of year. This has disrupted the fall's seasonal transition patterns of both largemoutrhs and smallmouths in our tidal flowage, transitions which are now taking place, albeit perhaps 3 weeks later than usual.
Still, the bass fishing has been pretty good in the main river itself. Last weekend I anchored my winning 5-fish-limit in the Tiderunners Bass Club's tournament with a 4 pound smallie and a 6 1/2 pound bucketmouth, and culled about a dozen other keepers. The fish were moving around out in the river, transitioning to their fall/winter stomping grounds.
A good plan of attack right now would be to just hit as many points and outflows in the river as possible, looking for transitioning fish. And, if this doesn't work for you, then head for the tributaries to see if they've made it to those more sheltered locations yet. Throw those crankbaits on the points and sweeps, and flip those Senkos onto structure - they'll work just fine. However, the magic lure for me last week was non-other than one of Billy Alexander's hair jigs.
For those of you who don't know who Billy is - he's one of legends of smallmouth fishing in the late fall bass tournaments on the Hudson... starting in the 1980's he would always bring in giant tournament limits of those brown fish using his own special jigs, which he now personally ties for resale.
We had just received an order of the jigs into the River Basin for the fall season and I was itching to give them a try with my new Steez rod and Ohero 10 lb. braid line. Worked great, fantastic sensitivity - just what was needed for these jigs. The majority of the bass in my 19 1/2 pound bag came on the jigs, but I must say that the Rat-L-Trap, Senko and drop-shot Gulp minnow also produced well.
While the river's water remains in the 60's and high 50's decent fishing should still be available out there. But, as the waters continue to cool from this time on, many of the river spots will start to peter out (a very few select ones will improve) as the fish finish their seasonal migrations, many of them moving into feeder creeks.
As the next few weeks hurry by we'll all have to get out our cold water gear - the gloves, ski masks and insulated jackets and get ready for what's to come in late October and the first half of November - THE BEST SMALLMOUTH FISHING OF THE YEAR! See you out there.   TOM G.








This upcoming Saturday, July 15, will see the United Way Organization’s 7th annual catfish derby held here in Catskill at Dutchman’s Landing Park. With that in mind I thought I’d do a little background piece on the status of the river’s catfish here in the Catskill area.


Prior to the late 1990’s there were basically just two species of catfish to be found in the river, the brown bullhead and the white catfish. Oh, the “white” cat was often mislabeled “channel” catfish by some, but no, it was and still is a “white” catfish. Definitive identification between the two, white or channel, can be made by a count of the rays in the anal fin of the fish – a white cat has 23 rays or fewer while a channel cat has 24 or more.


If you really don’t want to get that technical about it, a quick visual observation of the two reveals that the white catfish has a larger head in comparison to body size as well as a considerably wider mouth than the channel. The third species, the bullhead, has always been easier to distinguish due to its smaller size, browner color and more rounded tail.


It was in 1998 when I saw my first Hudson River channel cat. Even though I had been fishing for and catching river catfish since the 1950’s I had never caught or seen one of this species here previously. I wasn’t even sure that Walt, the river angler who entered our shop with the 5-inch fish in a bucket, wasn’t just trying to fool me. “Take a look at this,” he said, pointing at the miniature catfish in the pail. Walt said he had just caught it in the river.


The catfish in the bucket had a much sleeker appearance and sported black spots on its sides, unlike any catfish I had previously seen from the Hudson… and it obviously was a channel catfish. The black spots on its sides were unique to channel cats – they disappear as the fish gets larger and matures.


Now, if you were to leapfrog forward a mere ten years to 2008 you’d find that the channel catfish had, in that blink of an eye, become the dominant catfish species in the tidal Hudson River. The past “top-dog” out there, the white catfish, had been relegated to an “also ran.”


Judging by the catch rates we have been seeing since that time the white cat now makes up less than 10% of the river’s catfish population – an almost complete reversal of status in a mere decade! It seems entirely likely that the decline in the white’s population was somehow caused by the arrival of the channel cat. Bullheads, which had been quite numerous in the main river flow, had now also become a relatively scarce commodity out in the main river. But, for some reason, they still held fairly strong in the tributary creeks.


Here at River Basin Sports we have been tracking catch-sizes of area fish since the shop opened in 1979. We have our own record book dedicated to recording the largest fish for each species brought in, and these listings obviously include catfish. Bullheads are an exception – they were dropped from the book’s roster years ago due to a lack of listings.


The largest white catfish we’ve logged was back in 2005 when Bill Cody of Saugerties brought in a 24 ¾ incher. He caught this beaut out of the Catskill Creek on a nightcrawler. Although a two footer might not seem like such a big deal when compared to the lengths of the channel catfish presently being caught let me assure you that Cody’s was a truly large white cat. This species rarely measures greater than 20 inches from our local waters.


As we’ve pointed out, channel catfish have just about taken over our tidal Hudson River. They can be found over any type of bottom and are voracious eaters - just about everything seems to be on their diet, even artificial lures being fished for other game species. The pictures which you see at the top of this page show what great fish these cats are. Our shop record channel catfish (picture top right) belongs to Gerard Uhrik of Tannersville. Uhrik caught this 36 ½ inch, 25 pound 1 ounce beauty back in May of 2013 while fishing with a live herring bait by the Rip VanWinkle Bridge at Catskill.


 Channel cats measuring greater than 30 inches in length are great fish, even if they are no longer that exceptional. Several cats of this size have visited the inside of my boat while I've been bass fishing the river these last few years and I’ve seen pictures of quite a few others.  What I’m anticipating now is seeing a channel cat that is pushing the 40-inch mark. This could be happening any time now considering that the river population continues to grow older and larger in size.


Catching catfish is relatively easy and good baits abound – the cats feed on just about any type of organic matter. Their “whiskers” are magnificent sensory organs which allow them to zero-in on any food. Exotic baits have been commercially formulated to attract the cats to your hook, many of them cheese scented. Of course, there are also the fishermen who insist that there is no finer catfish bait than fermented chicken livers, but anglers utilizing chunk herring as bait just might want to put up an argument in this regard.


I have found that nightcrawlers seem to work just about as good as most other baits and certainly are a lot easier to obtain. Two problems with the crawlers though – 1) every other fish in the river also likes them, and 2) they will dirty up your hands and your boat.


 My personal favorite catfish bait is shiner minnows. I’ll put a dozen or so into a bag with ice at the start of fishing and then cut, or pinch, them in half to use on a hook. This puts a fresh food smell into the water that the cats find irresistible and smaller fish, like perch for instance, will leave your rig alone. An additional benefit is that, unlike with worms, you won’t be leaving dirt smears on either your clothing or gear.


As far as fishing equipment goes any medium action or heavier rod will work just fine. You’d probably be wise to spool your reel with at least 14-pound test, to which you’d tie a #1 or larger hook, along with a 2-ounce sinker. If you are a striper fisherman you’ll find that your striper outfit with a baitrunner reel is just about perfect for catfish fishing.


Anyhow, the Catfish Derby is next Saturday, July 15th. There will be many categories of competition and lots of prizes, including a $1,500 first prize. There is a $15 registration fee and you must be pre-registered with the organizers. For further details, you can call Brad Poster at (518) 755-2155.    Tom G




 Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, June 22, 2017


.Now, with just two weeks remaining until the 4th of July the Hudson’s water conditions seem to be following a standard summer pattern. As of this week the water temperature in the section between Albany and Kingston has been hovering between 74 and 75 degrees. With the present warming trend we are in it will probably rise another couple of degrees during the coming week.

.The water clarity took a big hit earlier this week when we had that vicious frontal system with accompanying torrential downpours pass through. Even though the river in a lot of places was definitely off-color from the storm this effect should be relatively short lived since the event passed through very quickly. The amount of floating debris we observed, both flotsam and jetsam, was very slight when we were out this Wednesday and the tributary creeks have quickly recovered.

.Mid-week boat traffic has been very slight but hot weekends can bring out more than the usual number of pleasure boaters, particularly now as we approach and pass by July 4th. Try to fish in the mornings and pull off the river by 11 a.m.

.Although the annual striped bass run is now over smaller stripers ranging up to about 24 inches are still being reported caught, now on plugs, jigs and shiners rather than on herring. These smaller fish are mostly found in areas of current breaks such as old bulkhead points. Usually they are a by-catch for the smallmouth bass fishermen who insist on having moving water to fish.


.The black bass spawn in the creeks has concluded and most largemouth bass are now either transitioning to their river summer locations or have already done so. The larger sized smallmouths will also have joined their big-mouthed cousins in moving out from the tributary creeks into the main river flow. Of course all the bass don’t partake in this exodus at the same time and therefore a few larger fish may still be found lingering long after most of their kin are gone, particularly in the sections closest to the main river. However, generally speaking, after the start of July just smaller bass will be left behind.

.As the water chestnut beds in the river develop the largemouths will start relating to them. The smallmouths will position themselves to utilize hard structure - gravel, stone or even old river bulkheads. But in contrast to the largemouth’s preference for a reduced water flow, they insist on having current.

.As a rule of thumb I seek out largemouths during periods of lower tides when they will generally be found closer to the outside edges of chestnut beds. For smallmouths I prefer higher tides when smallies come up onto the shallower, newly inundated flats seeking food. Still, don’t be surprised if you find either species to be in just the opposite environment – tidewater tends to play tricks on everyone and everything.

.Among the best fishing locations there are what we affectionately call “suckholes.” These are water inlets / outlets into back bays but can refer to any sort of opening which allows water to flow in either direction, depending on time of tide. Another favorite is what is commonly referred to as a “sweep” – this is simply the up-current side of a river point that slows and channels the tidal flow. And then, of course, there are the chestnut beds – acres and acres of greenery with seemingly just miniscule portions that, for some reason, seem to hold bass.

.Crankbaits, jigs, spinnerbaits, poppers, frogs, mice, all sorts of rubber worms and weird creature baits are the most popular artificial lures used by bass fishermen on the river. Each type of lure in use out there tends to be very spot specific, but that’s another choice that can be altered by time of tide. It’s truly a learning experience out there.


. This past Sunday saw the TIDERUNNERS BASS CLUB hold its first tournament event of the year on the Hudson. The winner of the contest was Steve Daley of Palenville whose 5 fish limit of largemouths weighed in at 17.34 pounds and included the contest lunker – a 4 lb. 8 oz. beaut. Steve’s great catch was accomplished by fishing Senkos and other creature baits in a bed of sparse chestnuts for the duration of the entire event. Nice bag! Second place went to Tom Gentalen with 13.57 lbs. and Russ Burton took third with 12.78. The group’s next event will be on Sunday, July 9th.   Tom G


HUDSON RIVER FISHING UPDATE – Thursday, May 25, 2017


 With the river's water temperature at Albany running around 64-65 degrees while the mid-valley section at Catskill checks in at 63-65, the striper spawn is presently in progress. It has been ongoing since late last week. So far we have not heard of any large mass spawns taking place, rather only smaller spot events, but more than likely the larger ones have also been taking place.

.Here in the Catskill area the striper fishing has remained very good to excellent throughout the past week. The hardest part of this striper fishing for many anglers has been in obtaining a sufficient supply of bait – particularly live herring. These little frisky guys are here one day and then, just when you think there will be no problem getting them, they’ll be gone.

.Locally the hot location for the stripers seems to have been what is referred to as the “bridge run.” This consists of about a two mile long stretch of 8 to 20 foot deep water along the edge of the river’s main channel drop off. It starts just about even with Catskill’s “Dutchman’s Landing” park’s free launch ramp, runs north to the Rip VanWinkle Bridge and then continues about an equal distance further north of the bridge to where a cluster of houses ends (Hamburg).

.Either drifting while bouncing your bait along the bottom, or throwing out the “hook” (anchor) and letting the bait soak, would be the way to tackle this area. Even so, make no mistake - the FIRST TWO HOURS of daylight are your prime time to be on the water.

.The stripers that are still being caught are of sizes ranging from 20 to over 40 inches and are in varying stages of spawn. Some of the late comers to the scene will have very green eggs, and some of them may even return to the sea without spawning and just absorb their roe. Yet other fish will be very thin and considerably underweight for their length, obviously having fulfilled their mission of dropping their eggs here in the freshwater tidal Hudson.

.Even though the main contingent of striped bass anglers will now be abandoning their quest for that 48 inch “Moby” striper they’d been hoping to catch during the past couple of months, there will yet be some decent fishing available. The real die-hard anglers will get yet another crack at them during the next few weeks as the river linesiders make their way back downriver to their summertime salt water home.


.In the meantime it’s the black bass fishermen who are getting ready to have their turn on the Hudson’s water. Locally Catskill’s TIDERUNNERS BASS CLUB will be holding their first club tournament of the season on June 17th.

.Although the river has both smallmouth and largemouth bass scattered throughout its length the past two or three decades have borne witness to quite a spectacular transition insofar as which species is dominant. It used to be that largemouths were the most abundant species seen during any contest weigh-ins held on the river, but that has completely turned around since, oh – just about the time that the river’s striped bass population peaked and the zebra mussels arrived. Now it seems that 90 percent of the fish weighed in are smallies. Yes indeed, many changes on the river have taken place in the past 20 years.

.If you feel like you’d like to get in on the river’s black bass action you might want to check the TIDERUNNERS out. Among the qualifications for membership in the club are having a qualified “tournament ready” boat, loving to fish for bass, and having a willingness to get up at the ungodly time of about 3 a.m. on Sunday mornings in order to be at the tournament site in time for the start at “safe light.” This group fishes its 9 tournament schedule only on the Hudson River. Their contests are held on Sundays and membership applications are available at the River Basin Sports Shop.               Tom G





.The first customer to walk into the River Basin Sports Shop this morning asked what all those fish that were “jumping” out in the river might be. That same question was repeated three more times in the succeeding hour and that left no doubt – the 2017 striped bass spawn was on.

.The surface water temperature at the Port of Albany was ranging between 63 and 64 this mid-afternoon while down here in the Catskill area, depending on location, it was at just about 62. This is the range when we usually see the start of spawn.

.Captain R.E. Booth of Reel Happy Fishing Charters also reported that the fish were extremely active and that his boat saw multiple stripers come aboard for a visit, the largest just a bit shy of 40”. Additionally, he said, the “buck” males were chasing hooked females all the way to the net.

.But there were even bigger fish out there, and some of them considerably shallower - the picture up above today’s report will bear that out. That fisherman, Harry Praetorius, landed several such stripers by throwing a full-sized Zara Spook across shallower flats. Aaah – sorry but he kept the location of this hot spot all to himself.

 .Of course, not all anglers caught fish. Many of them just couldn’t manage to get any fresh bait before hitting the water. Most anglers reported herring extremely hard to catch this morning. Many successful striper reports were provided by anglers who were drifting their bait far deeper than normal – down at the 30 foot level and even a bit deeper. Seems strange when the spawning stripers we generally see tend to be in about 15 feet or so of water.

.Anyhow, this following week will more than likely be marking the beginning of the end to the prime time striper fishing for this year. Most certainly there will be some stripers around right into the beginning of June, but their numbers will diminish a little more with each passing day. It’s not too late to go out and do your thing yet. Good Luck!   Tom G



THE STORM’S GONE… but the stripers remain (for a little while yet)

.Saturday’s rain resulted in the equalization of the Hudson’s temperature, in the section between Troy and Kingston, to just about 55 degrees. This was much to the delight of many veteran anglers who saw this as prolonging the time until the end of the striper spawn here in the mid-Hudson valley. Unfortunately the rain also ruined this weekend’s fishing for the hundreds of anglers who would have been out plying the river’s water in hopes of landing that one 40+ inch striper to top off the 2017 run.

. Be that as it may, Sunday saw daybreak arrive without rain and, at crack of dawn, I observed several fishing boats departing Catskill Creek in hopes of continuing their quest for “Moby” striper.  Surprisingly, taking the previous full day’s rain into consideration, the creek did not appear to be as bad as I had expected, off color – yes, but definitely fishable.

.The real fly in the ointment right now is the weather forecast for this upcoming week. Even though Monday appears to be fine, maybe just a bit windy, from Tuesday on the forecast indicates that we will more than likely be starting the final countdown to the spawn, at least from Coxsackie on downriver.  Daytime air temperatures will climb into the high 70’s, even 90 is being forecast for Thursday, and they will remain in the mid to high 70’s at least through the following week.

.Saturday’s rain did dirty up the river enough so that now the water will warm up a bit faster than normal and the water temperature will swiftly rise into the low sixties, thereby triggering the spawn. It’s hard to predict just when and where this will take place first but often we receive the initial reports from further downriver, and then the spawn seems to progress steadily, and swiftly, upriver from there. Sometimes the spawn may occur over a span of a couple of days in any one location, but when it’s over – it’s over!

.From all indications we are seeing right now, it would not surprise us to have reports of spawning activity in the mid-Hudson area by the end of this upcoming week, maybe even a little earlier or a bit later. Last year, 2016, saw mass spawns in our area on May 23 so it appears that we are just about on the same schedule this year. We’ll see.


.A pre-spawn indicator is having smaller hooked stripers spewing milt all over the angler’s boat. Another more-dramatic indication of what’s happening, or about to happen, is having smaller male stripers follow a larger hooked female fish to the boat, and sometimes even getting netted right along with the larger fish. An actual mass spawn is something altogether different as perhaps many hundreds of stripers have gathered in an area and the surface water there is then being churned to a froth by the actions of the fish. This can occur just sporadically in little spots or over an entire section, perhaps even many acres, where you can see numerous water explosions caused by the thrashing fish. A word of advice – if you see an area of mass spawn please do not drive a boat into it as the fish are so preoccupied with their ritual that many of them will get killed by the boat’s propeller.        Tom G




TIME MARCHES ON… but fish can only swim

Well, there’s no question that this past weekend’s fishing was rather a bust. The waters were dirty, fast, cold and windblown, and the bait herring were just about impossible to catch. The stripers were, for the most part, hugging the deepest parts of the channel, having come down with a severe case of lockjaw but even so managing to laugh at the thought of the anglers in boats and along the shorelines above.


Still, fish other than channel cats were caught. Even up in the Albany area, where the flow was exceedingly swift, a few fish were taken. Yet, to show how poor the action really was – in one tournament held downriver only three fish were brought to the measuring board… and the event winner was a 28 incher.


This is not how it’s supposed to go at the end of the first week of May when the fishing action should be driving toward a peak. A few herring should already be starting to beat the shores in spawning frenzy and the water temperature should be at just about the 60-degree mark. The stripers, particularly those in the 36 to 46-inch range, should be actively feeding, with some of the bigger females already starting to be harassed by smaller randy males.


Nope – that ain’t happening this year. Here in the Catskill area the Hudson’s water has cooled back down into the mid 50’s and it’s excessively dirty. Most of the herring have been clinging to the deeper sides of the main channel. And the stripers… well, who really knows what’s up with them – they’re obviously deeper and turned off.


The worst part is that this coming week really won't bring us any improvement. Presently the water temperature in the Albany area has fallen into the low 50’s while the mid-Hudson area tends to run between 55 and 56 degrees. We will be in a cooler weather pattern right through this coming weekend at which time, guess what – we are due to get another inch or two of rain (translation – more muddy water).


Still, most of the tributary creeks have returned to decent shape and the river has somewhat improved. So, up until late Saturday the water should remain in somewhat fishable condition. But, by Sunday the conditions will probably have badly deteriorated.


On the bright side of things, it appears that the resulting cooler water from this week should delay the striped bass spawn by probably a week or so. The actual spawn generally takes place over somewhat shallower flats off to the sides of the main river channel. Some such locations tend to warm up earlier than others, just by a few degrees, and thereby see spawning activity start prior to larger mass spawns.


What we have witnessed in a few years past, when cooler muddy main river conditions extended past the third week in May, was that the stripers would sporadically start their spawn even though the prime spawning conditions had not yet been achieved. Obviously, the egg development in many of the female fish had reached a stage of “now or never.” The strangest part of this was that rather than mass spawns just taking place over shallower side-channel areas we saw some completely different behavior - smaller individual pods of fish would also engage in the ritual over deeper mid-channel water.


So anyhow, presently we are at the immediate pre-spawn stage as far as time of the year is concerned but, more than likely, somewhere about two weeks away as far as water conditions seem to dictate. Next week the temperatures are supposed to return to normal and then we’ll see just how the spawn of year 2017 turns out. Till then just try to enjoy what time is left for this year’s run.     Tom G 





 Even with last week’s less than optimum water conditions in the Hudson it seems that goodly numbers of larger striped bass were taken. A couple of weeks ago we saw a few fish in the 40+ inch range being taken but their catch really wasn’t much compared to the last 8 days when we had reports galore of them. All this was much to the delight of the more serious striper guys who had been releasing all of their “up-till-then keepers” (sub 28 inchers) in hopes of putting just one of these larger ones in the boat The bigger fish are now definitely here and the next two weeks will give you the best odds of catching one.

.Meanwhile, the striper fishing on a whole has been good, all the way from Kingston up to Troy. What hasn’t been overly good for many anglers has been getting a fresh supply of herring bait. In creeks such as the Rondout, Esopus, Roe-Jan and Stockport the herring reportedly have been, for the most part, plentiful. But, the Catskill Creek and most locations on the Hudson River itself have been very reluctant to yield any copious amounts of them. Even up in the Albany area it had been slow until just a few days ago.


The line of thunderstorms that passed through this past weekend most certainly did nothing to help the situation. Although much improved from a couple of days ago when the Catskill Creek, the Coxsackie Creek and the Normans Kill further upriver were pumping out muddy water as an after effect of the storms, they were still far from clean. It’s likely that the inflow creeks south of Albany, on the EAST side of the river, are in much better shape since the thunderstorms basically passed to the west and north of them.

The river here at Catskill is quite dirty and has quite a bit of debris floating. The weather for this coming weekend most certainly doesn’t portend any great improvement either with several days of rain being forecast. I must admit that the river up around the Albany area looked considerably better than the water down here but I suspect that the dirtier flow from the Schoharie / Mohawk tributaries still hadn’t reached there at the time of my observation. Any meaningful rain this weekend will probably re-muddy the local creeks.


The present water temperature has been ranging in the high 50’s around Albany and in the mid 50’s from Catskill down to Kingston. This is about 5 to 8 degrees below the level at which we normally expect to see the start of the annual striped bass spawn. Considering the cooler temperatures that are being forecast for next week it appears that we probably should have about two weeks of real good fishing coming up (as long as the waters don’t get too screwed up by additional rain) before the spawn starts. We’ll just have to play it by ear and see what happens.


With muddy water a distinct possibility this next week one of the main problems for anglers will be to obtain bait. Odds are that even being able to purchase herring will be severely limited so you’ll probably have to try and catch your own using either “sabiki” rigs or “stoolies.”

By the way, off topic, have you spotted some of those giant herring that have been showing up during the past couple of years? They’re about half-again as long as a regular herring and are often mistaken for shad but definitely are not. Very strange, but anyhow, back to the topic at hand…

Those “sabiki” rigs seem to lose most of their effectiveness when the bluebacks and alewives can’t even see them (go figure). “Stoolies” are a viable option under such conditions, particularly in brighter colors such as white and chartreuse. I’d have to think that these, along with the use of a square scap net, will be your best shot at obtaining your 10 bait daily limit of herring.

Of course the River Basin shop does have scap nets in stock as well as (at present count) 16 different color shades, both rigged and unrigged, of stoolies. Our scap nets are of a size that require NO special permit to use and are custom tied for us to use here in the Hudson River.


 Have you considered upgrading your striper equipment this year? If so, here’s a special deal that’s available only to the readers of this website’s fishing report. It will not be advertised in the store or anywhere else. It is a “cash only” (no cards) proposition and, since quantities are very limited, will require you to ask specifically for this Ugly Stick – Shimano striped bass rod-reel combo.

 It’s a Shakespeare 7 foot Ugly Stick heavy action rod along with a Shimano BTR8000 OC baitrunner reel. Our regular price on this top-end outfit is $219.98 with our special cash-only discount dropping it by $20 to $199.98, but wait… for this deal we’ll knock off yet another $30, bringing the CASH ONLY price down to $169.98 (plus tax). That’s a $50 saving off the regular price but only while our stock lasts. The final day for this special is Sunday, May 14, 2017.              Tom G



HUDSON RIVER FISHING UPDATE – Sunday, April 23, 2017.




It was just a matter of time before the larger striped bass made their appearance here in the Catskill area - and this past week was just that time. Earlier in the week we received a couple of (doubtful) reports of 40 inchers being landed. But, generally speaking, such reports are treated with some skepticism since there usually is no visual evidence to back them up. Most fishermen know how easy it is to misread a measuring tape and then even to inadvertently add an inch or two… (or maybe several more inches)… to the total length. But the fish we saw on Saturday was the real thing. Indeed, the Big Boys are here.


The largest striper the River Basin has measured so far this year was that belonging to Bob Pilatich of Catskill.  Bob was fishing a live herring in the vicinity of the Catskill’s Rip VanWinkle Bridge when something grabbed his bait and took off for parts unknown. Now, in the river you can never be sure of just what it is on the end of your line. Could be a three foot long chunky channel catfish, or perhaps even a slim four foot pike… but in this case, hopefully for Bob, a big striper!


And yup, just that’s what it was – a beaut which measured out to be 43 inches long and which weighed 35 pounds. A great start for the striper season for Bob.




This weekend’s fishing in the Catskill section of the river was really good, particularly today (Sunday). Multiple landings were reported by the striper boats and shoreline fishermen. The entire section between Cheviot and Hudson did well. Lots of “dink” fish (sub 28”) were caught but there were enough of the 28+ size hooked so that angler’s hearts kept beating faster during the fight with the hope of catching one of those 40 inch or even larger cows.




From this point on the stripers will just keep stacking up here in the upper environs of the river until we hit the spawn period three or four weeks from now, usually in the first half of May. At this time it’s too early to know precisely when that spawn will take place – earlier spawns are usually dictated by the water climbing into the low 60’s, but not all fish will be ready to spawn just then. This means that there will be some late spawning fish. These will have arrived here mid-May or later and their eggs will still be green, needing time to ripen. Such fish are liable to be around, albeit far fewer in number, right into the beginning of June. So we can look forward to about another good month of striper action. Get your gear ready and give this a shot.            Tom G



From what we've heard today: The launch ramp floats at Rensaelaer are now installed, the ones at the City of Albany's Corning site are as usual - non existant, and at Bethlehem's Henry Hudson Park - they won't be installed until Tuesday April 25th so there will be a very jolly time putting boats in at that location. The river is flowing very fast and dirty, and even though the herring are somewhat tough to come by, a few stripers still are being caught.    Tom G 



HUDSON RIVER FISHING UPDATE – Sunday, April 16, 2017




Just about four days ago the striped bass action in the river took a giant bounce up as far as success goes. Instead of spotty results, all of a sudden fishing reports all the way from Troy downriver to Kingston were of good to excellent fishing, albeit it was with mostly smaller schoolie fish (under 28” - these ARE the ones of which you can legally keep one a day).


Still, we did hear of a few “slot” fish (over 28”, less than 40”) up to 39 inches being caught throughout the same section of the river – all of which were released so that the anglers south of the George Washington Bridge could catch them. The only fish down there that can legally be kept (over 28 inches in length) are the very same ones we HAVE to release. Yeah, figure that one out.




The most interesting report we had this week was from up around Albany-way where the Posten Kill creek, one of the prime locations for those anglers to obtain their herring up there, had started to get a good run of herring. As the anglers stood there, watching the herring come up the lower section of that waterway, that bait was being frenziedly pursued by marauding stripers just tearing up that shallower water. Quite a sight.

 Further down river we hear that the Stockport Creek has been loaded with herring but the Catskill Creek seems to have been getting sparse action. A little further down river the Roe Jan Creek has plenty of herring, as do the Esopus and Rondout Creeks in Ulster County. Haven’t heard much from any further downriver but I imagine similar conditions exist down there.




And now that the stripers are finally here the next task for the striper fishermen is to obtain bait to catch them. Herring are the most popular baits in use and the easiest way to get them… is to buy them. This may not be very cost effective but it certainly is the quickest way. Here at the River Basin Sports Shop we do sell “fresh” (not alive) and frozen herring. They come in a bag of three and do meet state regulations allowing their retail sale. Generally these dead herring are “chunked” up into three or more pieces and still-fished on the bottom.


If purchase isn’t an option then catching your own becomes a necessity. Generally this devolves into one of two methods: netting or angling. We’ll just take a quick look at angling.




25 to 30 years ago local anglers here were using small (1/8 to 1/32 oz.) shad darts and small shad spoons for herring. Then, when herring rigs were discovered, everything changed. Nowadays angling for herring refers to the use of a lure with multiple hooks called a “sabiki” rig. It consists of one stronger leader line to which anywhere from 3 to 6 staggered dropper lines are attached. All these droppers have a small (between a size 6 and size 14) gold hook attached. The hook is generally preceded by a small red or green bead and, in turn, may be decorated with either shiny milar strands or pieces of small wing-shaped material. Many variations of the sabikis occur.


With the addition of a small weight on the bottom the sabiki can be cast out and slowly reeled or jigged in, or just jigged vertically under the boat or off a dock. When a fish is felt to bite it is just simply reeled in. Some more experienced anglers will let the hooked fish swim around a bit before landing it - a maneuver which often causes additional herring to bite the other hooks. Landing multiple herring at the same time is not at all unusual although more often than not many of the extra fish will throw the hook and escape.


The main problem with sabikis is storing them once they are out of their original package. Those lose hooks are sure to snag on something, be it a shirt, pant leg, finger or arm. Usually a separate rod is dedicated for sabiki use and afterwards is carefully stowed away where it won’t cause any harm. Special sabiki rods are also made just for these rigs – they are hollow and the rig is just reeled up inside where it can’t cause any trouble, but they tend to be expensive.


Additional enhancements can be made to sabikis to make them even more productive. The idea is to attract herring to the immediate vicinity being fished. Once the fish arrive there, the jiggling bright hooks of the sabiki bring on the bite. Seemingly the most successful such adaptation consists of adding a “herring dodger” to the bottom of the sabiki. This takes the place of the sinker normally attached there and not only allows the cast but, upon retrieve, its flashing motion also attracts herring. Many herring anglers claim that this simple addition increases their catch ratio by 50 to 80 percent. Give it a try.




And now, as we enter the second half of April the anticipation of the arrival of the herring and striped bass is over. The next thing to look forward to is the arrival of the real big guys – stripers in excess of 40 inches and 40 pounds. Traditionally we start seeing these big fish arrive during the final week of April and the first week of May and that’s right around the corner. Fresh line and hefty gear will be the order of the day for a lot of guys, especially the ones who take their annual vacation time just to fish the river at this specific time of year. I wish them, and all of you, the best of luck.  Tom G



We thank those of you sending us reports as to what’s happening in your area. Keep sending them to us at “rivergen at” If you don't, we'll have

nothing here to report to you next time.   Good luck.          Tom G


 HUDSON RIVER FISHING UPDATE – Sunday, April 9, 2017   




 In Troy?  Sure, so it seems. We’ve received a couple of different reports of stripers taken from that cold, muddy off-colored water up there. A couple of days ago even though the water temperature at the dam was 41 (dropped to 40 for this morning) the fish decided that they weren’t going to hold back any longer and made the move up. A wee bit further downriver, at Bethlehem’s Henry Hudson Park, a 19 ¼ inch keeper was taken on the season’s opening weekend using cut bait. There are no launch floats in the water there as of yet.


We haven’t heard much from the section south of Bethlehem to Athens but across the river from Catskill the shore bound anglers at the end of Greendale Road have had some success with smaller fish. So have the guys fishing the stretch of east shore between Germantown and Cheviot. We haven’t heard much from Saugerties but it sure seems that the stripers should be active there. In Kingston the Rondout Creek has both herring and stripers and the action has been reported as good. A little bit further down river in the Port Ewen area the shore anglers off River Road are also scoring. Most fish being caught now are smaller “schoolie” fish.


It seems that bait has still been the biggest hang up for the anglers. Here at the River Basin Sports Shop we’ve been getting fishermen from as far away as Poughkeepsie coming in to buy bloodworms and herring.


 Even though there are some herring in our section of the river they have been extremely hard to come by. Since the flowage is still running very dirty our bait suppliers so far have been unable to bring us any of this year’s herring to sell as bait. Fortunately, we had a reasonable amount of frozen bait left over from last year’s run so there was something to sell the guys to put on their hooks (we are now sold out of herring). We also have bloodworms in the store but this year’s first delivery has been a little bit disappointing – kind of small size. Still – better than a bare hook. The fresh herring supply should be much improved by next weekend.


The water conditions are improving very quickly. Yesterday the Catskill Creek was a muddy mess but today it actually looked pretty good. In another day or two it should be just about back to normal. The river too is improving but it’s going to take another week or more to become what one might call respectable. And, right along with these improvements we’re expecting some good sized schools of herring to start arriving this week. Your sabikis and stoolies should finally start to produce good results.


In the meantime we’ve got some gorgeous looking days ahead this week. The upcoming weather appears to be perfect for you to get out there on the water and get this 2017 fishing season started. Good luck.    Tom G




HUDSON RIVER FISHING UPDATE – Thursday, April 6, 2017 -



  OK, so our river is flowing dirt muddy, filled with trash, and is all the way up to flood stage in some locations. It sure doesn’t seem as if there could be anything good to report at this time. But, that actually is not the case.

  We’ve now had our first reports of stripers being caught in our central section of the river. With the water temperature actually hitting 43 degrees yesterday (Wednesday) several bank fishermen in the Germantown area reported catching the fish, the biggest one being approximately 24 inches in length. Oh, it wasn’t any wild feeding frenzy to be sure but it did mark the start of the striped bass run up here. The bait used for the catch was herring, reportedly extremely difficult to catch in the muddy water - that in itself took a few hours to accomplish.

  Since then the river conditions have further deteriorated as runoff continues to enter the flowage from all that Thursday rain. Still, those Germantown guys are planning the hit the banks again tomorrow no matter what. Obtaining bait will be their main problem. At the River Basin we’ve been selling bags of frozen herring which we held over from last year. This is better than nothing, but of course the fresher the bait is, the greater your chances of success become.

  Try catching your own fresh herring before getting any frozen stuff. Or, you can try bloodworms which we now have in stock at the store. These work really well under such conditions that exist at the present time and could just be the key to success at this early stage of the run.           Tom G



HUDSON RIVER FISHING UPDATE – Saturday, April 1, 2017 -





Even though the Catskill Creek is still running muddy at the present time the conditions further downriver are not quite as bad. We’ve had our first believable herring reports come in from the Rondout Creek at Kingston as well as further upriver in the Esopus at Saugerties. This often is the point at which the upriver migration pauses until the water conditions further north become a little friendlier.


The pause can be just a couple of days but some years we’ve seen almost a couple of weeks before they once more head north. And, if the herring are here… you can be sure that the stripers are not far behind.     Tom G



HUDSON RIVER FISHING REPORT – Sunday, March 26, 2017


That early season warming trend we had about a month ago most certainly did get squashed by a brutal snowstorm just a scant few days later. That nor’easter deposited about 29 inches of snow at my house. Additionally, since the Catskill Creek had just skimmed over again two nights earlier this snowfall resulted in the creation of multiple inches of new ice – all of which further delayed the anticipated start of this year’s herring/striped bass run. That ice just departed this past week..

Today the Hudson’s temperature was running between 36 and 37 degrees… a little over three weeks ago it had actually hit 43 and had many of us thinking that we just could be in for the earliest herring/ striper arrival in the past few decades. Naw, wasn’t about to happen… Mother Nature made sure of that..

Considering the amount of snow yet to melt in the mountains, and the muddy water that usually accompanies that event we here at the River Basin Sports Shop don’t really anticipate any fish arriving in the Catskill area for at least another week at the earliest. That will put this year’s run just about back on a normal schedule with perhaps a few fish will straggling in before the end of March or during the first week of April. Most certainly the hopes of an arrival as early as last year (mid-March) have been squashed. .

What we have witnessed in previous years has been that March’s upriver progression of the herring and stripers generally proceeds apace until they hit any real nasty muddy water and then they just seem to hold below that location until the conditions to improve. If the water isn’t too dirty or cold then the leading fish can shoot right on up past us in quick order..

Of course these first arrivals are but just a spattering of what will follow in the next 3 to 4 weeks when the real action starts. To be quite frank, generally they are but a tease which draws the fishermen out into the early April cold. But, that’s part of the whole craziness of early season fishing which so many of us enjoy..


Remember that the official striper season in New York doesn’t start until the beginning of April, and don’t forget to renew your mandatory Marine Registry. Additionally remember that we are on a slot limit here allowing us to keep but 1 fish per day BETWEEN 18 AND 28 INCHES, or 1 fish LARGER than 40 inches..

However, if you are fishing the river below the George Washington Bridge, even though you are still allowed only one striper per day, IT HAS TO BE 28 INCHES OR LARGER. In other words the fish which we MUST release (probably around 90+ percent of our catch) here are the very fish that they MUST keep down there. I’ll leave you to ponder that while you wait for this year’s run..

If you are a striper fisherman here in the mid-Hudson Valley you realize the importance of herring as bait. Along with the striper slot limit we also have herring regulations which you must keep in mind. Generally speaking, there is a daily limit of 10 herring that can be used or possessed by a fisherman and the use of nets to capture them in any tributary (creek, stream, etc.) is prohibited. Net size is also regulated. To become aware of all the pertinent regulations we suggest you ask for a New York Fishing Regulation Guide when you purchase your fishing license or Marine Registry. These are supposed to be available at all license issuing outlets. The River Basin Sports Shop no longer issues licenses and refers people to the Catskill Town Clerk located on Main Street in Catskill.,


Herring gear is such a big part of striper fishing. We have all types of it available here at the store. Sabiki rigs by the dozens and all sorts of Stoolies line the striper aisle; herring pens and quality scap nets hang from the ceiling above the aerated herring tanks and this is all right along with loads of standard striper gear. We’ve even got decent striper baitrunner combos starting as low as $69.99 (cash price) or you can make up your own rod and reel setups of whatever quality you desire. We’ve got plenty of stout rods and 27 different baitrunner reels you can choose from along with all the necessary tackle. Don’t put off getting all set up while the best selection is still available.   Tom G






.It was Thursday morning, 6 A.M., just getting  light… but a very gray, overcast, early-morning light. The kind that makes you want to crawl back into bed… and then kick yourself in the butt for not having gotten up even earlier to be out there fishing for one of those early season walleyes. Of course, then twenty minutes later the snow started, accumulating to about an inch before ending some hours later.  Mmmm, sure was nice to be inside a warm, comfy house!

.Driving in to the River Basin I spotted a fishing boat on the lower Catskill Creek and I cheered up knowing that it wasn’t me sitting out there in the white flaked 31 degree weather – definitely a younger man’s game. Still, the longing was there.

.During the past few weeks, as the air temperature fluctuated from a high of 70 degrees to a low of 8, and as the creek once more froze over and re-melted for about the 6th time, I’d seen 3 or 4 different fishing boats on that water. Their goal, for the main part, had been to hook into one of those hefty pre-spawn walleyes that are rumored to cruise in that tidal stretch. 2017 didn’t appear to be the year for success in that venture – all the reports I received were of nil action.

.However, we still have a few days left until the close of this year’s walleye season. It runs through Wednesday, March 15th this year, so there’s still time. Nightcrawlers, medium minnows, jigs, Rapalas and blade baits would be the lures of choice for the anglers. The walleyes are equal opportunity eaters and are liable to hit any of them.


.Yup, we’ve already been getting reports of stripers being caught further downriver. This is a normal occurrence at this time of the year and just tends to send the blood pumping through the veins a little bit faster. It means nothing to us.

.These fish are part of a contingent of smaller striped bass that remain in the lower salty-section of the Hudson (the New York pool) all winter long. The shore bound anglers in the Piermont – Croton Bay area do catch them but other than to act as harbingers of things to come they don’t really affect us.

.The river’s water temperature was running at between 38 and 39 degrees this morning, definitely too cold for stripers. However, about two weeks ago the Hudson’s water out there between Albany and Norrie Point actually touched 43 degrees before succumbing to the effects of a colder weather pattern shift that is still affecting us at present.

.Even though the river has cooled back down into the high 30’s the fact of it having hit 43 is very significant. In the past we have witnessed the arrival of the first herring in our section of the mid-Hudson valley right around the 43 to 46 degree mark. Last year (2016) we had our first reports of herring being seen in the Stockport Creek around March 13.

.It must be remembered that these early herring (alewives) will only remain in any place but a few days before moving on further upriver. They, in turn, will be replaced some days later by yet another school and so on and on until the river is just about teeming with these silvery fish. Generally, depending upon water conditions (temperature and turbidity) the first of our stripers will show but a few days behind the herring arrival.

.Years ago we found that the first of the stripers to arrive here showed up during the first week of April. But as the years passed it became apparent that they were arriving about a week earlier, the last week of March. And now we seem to have progressed to the point where mid-March is also in the running as far as the start of the herring run. Global warming? It appears so.

.However, with the present weather forecast calling for a heavier snowfall this week and colder than normal temperatures, an early herring / striper arrival appears to be very questionable. I suspect we won’t see any such action in our area until about the end of March at the earliest.

.Of course that time span appears mostly irrelevant to the striper guys anyhow since the new (2016) regulations have started listing the opening of the striper season as April 1 rather than in mid-March as it had been since your great, great grandfather’s time. Until then you guys will just have to be content with fishing the river’s water for catfish, chub or yellow perch – anything to allow you to get out there.


.Here at the River Basin Sports Shop we’re in pretty good shape to supply you with anything you might need for the upcoming striped bass season. Lots of baitrunner reels, rods, and combos to choose from as well as the peripheral items such as river sinkers and heavy duty swivels, hooks and lines.

.Sabiki rigs and Stoolies? I have to say that we’ve got a larger selection of these than I’ve seen anywhere else. Presently we do also have herring tanks in stock as well as a good supply of commercial grade, quality scap nets. Also, don’t forget to put on fresh line for this year – we do bulk spooling here at the shop. 20, 25, 30 or 40 pound test premium monofilament line will cost $9.00 (up to 200 yards) for most spinning reels. You can bring in the reel or just the spool and we’ll do the rest. We’ll see you at the shop.   Tom G.












Although it took longer than we expected the river's water temperature has finally dropped down to much more comfortable level for it's black bass. This past weekend was the first time my boat's water temperature gauge dipped below the 70 degree mark. I logged four separate fishing excursions on the water this past week and can report that those chunky smallmouths that had been missing all summer are finally back - and with a vengence! Numerous quality smallies of over three pounds paid a visit to my boat this past 7 days, including one that hit 4.17 lbs.
The largemouths still seem to be transitioning and in-between patterns. The chestnut beds are quickly drawing back but still provide enough shelter for them so that moving to a more secure location has not yet become a neccessity. A few smaller largemouths seem to have started the transition into creeks but there does not seem to be much impetus in this movement as of yet. This will change very soon.
The best smallmouth fishing appears to be over SHALLOWER gravel or rock shoaling areas which smaller packs of these fish, generally 2 to 4 bass, invade looking to fatten up for fall. And fatten up is no lie - most all of these bass have hugely bulging bellies, filled with young of the year herring and shad. We were out checking different types of structures to fish (both good and bad ones) and had one day which resulted in 20 hookups and yet another that resulted in 30. No, not all these fish were actually boated - that just does not happen with smallies, but there was action galore including several doubles that occured.
The best fishing occured during the first half of the mornings and during periods of overcast skies but some action was to be had throughout the day. Strangely enough, tide time was not as critical a factor for success (the way it appears to be throughout most of the fishing season) since plenty of fish were taken throughout the tide cycle. Baits of choice were Senkos, Rat-l-traps, drop-shot with Gulp minnows and 3" Senkos, Pop-r's, and Strike King KVD sexy shad pattern crankbaits.
The bass should slowly continue their fall transitioning as the water temperature drops and the chestnut beds continue to dissipate. Main transitioning into creeks usually reaches its peak when the creek temperatures fall into the mid 50's - that generally is sometime at the end of October or beginning of November.
The next 4 to 6 weeks can provide some great fishing on the Hudson's waters but you shouldn't just hope to catch those bass where they were during the summer. Still, do check out the rock-pile lighthouses, rock points, shoals, edges of bulkheads, deeper creek holes, suck-holes - and just keep looking until you locate a pack or two, or three, of those roving bass. There's great fishing coming up in October!      Tom G 


Hudson River Fishing Update –Sunday, May 29, 2016




Even though there were a few striper fishermen who experienced slow fishing action from this spring's run, that certainly was not the consensus of opinion from the majority of anglers who thought it was the best in years. The action started early (mid-March) and, as a matter of fact, was still ongoing, albeit at a much slower pace, as I was writing this report.


Right through Memorial Day weekend stripers ranging in size from 18 to 32 inches were still being sporadically caught all up and down the valley from Troy to Newburgh. Oh, not many to be sure but enough to whet the appetites of die-hard striper guys who can never get enough. Additionally, the final week of May still had plenty of herring beating the shores so getting fresh bait was not too difficult a chore.




And now we’re looking forward to the rest of the summer fishing season. As most of you are aware, a couple of years ago New York made “catch and release” for black bass legal even during the closed (not legal to keep) part of the season. Therefore you may now go out legally fishing for them prior to the official species opening on the 3rd Saturday in June. This applies statewide… with the EXCEPTION of our Hudson River and its tributaries up to the first barrier impassible by fish. That’s right, contrary to what you can do statewide, for some reason it is NOT legal to “catch and release” black bass in these hundreds of shoreline miles of water until the third Saturday in June.


Oh, and keep in mind that when the season does open (this year on June 18) the size limit on the Hudson River is greater than the 12” found throughout the rest of the state – it’s 15”. I think that was put in there just to discourage tournament bass fishermen from the river… and boy, was that effort successful. Here in Catskill we had good sized tournaments going out just about every weekend - B.A.S.S., FLW and even some national championships. No more – other than just a few small local events, they and all the revenue they brought in to the area were driven away. Amazing!


Right now the river’s smallmouths are on their beds and the largemouths are just about there too. When the season does open a few weekends from now we’ll finally be allowed to go out and keep some of those bass – WHICH 99.5% OF US WILL RELEASE ANYHOW. ENCON – give us a break!    Tom G






Hudson River Striped Bass Fishing Update –Thursday, May 19, 2016


Last week’s cooler days and nights caused the Hudson River’s water temperature to drop several degrees and thereby probably added at least another week to the spawning period for the striped bass. Oh, I don’t mean to say that it stopped the spawn because it certainly didn’t - it just means it slowed it down, that fewer stripers had their roe maturing to the point of spawning.


But we had plenty of reports of spawning action from both up and down the river – males chasing larger females to the net, surface spawning and boat decks covered with milt from male fish that had been brought aboard. However, good fishing action is still taking place now, even though perhaps at a lesser pace than it was just a few days ago.


The water temperature, which had dipped back into the high 50’s, once more has climbed up to the 62 degree mark and will rise yet another 3 to 4 degrees in the next week or so. Presently the herring are “beating the banks” in their annual mating ritual and getting ready to depart after being here in vast numbers during the past 2 weeks, a period when they were relatively easy to catch. Many of the larger female stripers now are thin bellied and those such will generally be headed back downriver to spend the rest of their year dining out in the big waters of the Atlantic.


The quality of the striper fishing will be diminishing on a day by day basis even though it might appear to some to be holding steady. By the end of May it will be just about all over even though, most certainly, a few of the big cows might still be lingering in the area and some males, perhaps up to 3 feet long, will be making late-night rising-tide feeding forays up into the larger tributaries in search for any remaining herring. So, enjoy what’s left cause in a couple of weeks it’ll be just another pleasant memory.       Tom G





 Hudson River Striped Bass Fishing Update –Thursday, May 6, 2016




With today’s water temperature hitting 62 there is no longer any doubt that the striped bass spawn has started. The last few days have brought multiple reports of smaller stripers following larger, hooked cows to the boat… and even a report of two being netted at the same time when a smaller male was side by side with a larger female as the net swooped. These have all all been signs of immediate pre-spawn or start of spawn.


We still haven’t received any report of a “mass area spawn” but are sure that these will be taking place throughout this coming week. When such things occur you can often see acres of water with stripers surfacing and splashing as the smaller males try to bump into the sides of the egg laden females, thereby driving them to the water’s surface.


These surfacing fish are not much inclined to hit your baits since they are engrossed with other activities but – there generally are multitudes of other fish located just BENEATH the spawners and those will hit your offerings. Artificial lures as well as live baits can be used at such times.


Boaters should be very careful not to cruise into such activity at speeds other than idle since the preoccupied stripers are extremely vulnerable to getting chopped up by propellers. Although mass spawns will generally take place on 6 to 15 foot deep flats on either side of the main river channel smaller pods of fish will sometimes be seen actively spawning even in mid-channel.


Meanwhile, the stripers that still have green eggs (not ready to spawn) will continue to provide great fishing action on the river. It’s really incredible the number of 40+ inch fish that are reported being caught this year, and the numbers of “throwback” slot-fish that have been taken is also amazing. It’s a shame that many such fish that were deep hooked had to be released to die in the river instead of filling some anglers creel limit. They must be tossed back – if you get caught with one of these you will be ticketed since ENCON makes NO exception to the 28 to 40 inch release rule.


Even though this next week will probably be the peak of this year’s run and you are liable to get bit at any time of the day, the best bite will still generally occur during the first 2 hours of  daylight, or perhaps the last 2 hours of  twilight, both times when the fish seem to really turn on. We’ve seen this occur in Catskill all this past week. However, keep in mind that surface spawning can take place any time of the day, or night, but seems to be more common during the day as the river’s water warms up from the rays of the sun.


Today’s striper action, from most reports has been very indicative of the peak of the run fast approaching – all the way from Kingston to Troy. Be sure to get out to enjoy it while it’s here at our doorstep.   Tom G.




Hudson River Striped Bass Fishing Update –Friday, May 6, 2016


It’s kind of hard to believe that the river water’s temperature is still holding in that 54 – 56 degree range that we’ve seen all through the past couple of weeks… but that’s O.K. with us. Some anglers believe that for GOOD fishing action they need an even warmer temperature range than we have at present, but such is not necessarily so – the way we see it this is just right. The longer the river remains as it is the further delayed the annual spawn will be, providing continuing great fishing throughout the interim period. Plus, the number of stripers in our Hudson will have a chance to get even larger throughout this period. More fish, more action, more fun!


Most of the herring reports we’ve had from anglers have been of a definite lack of herring to be caught. Most certainly some anglers have had no trouble getting an adequate supply of bait but, judging by the demand here at the store, there are far more of them failing to catch the bait than there are successful ones. Shoreline anglers “scapping” with stoolies seem to be having the best success with their efforts. The Albany area is the one location with no herring problems, lots of the little devils up there, stacked up from below the dam extending miles to the south.


Although some of the bigger early-run alewives are still around the predominant herring in the river now is the smaller “blueback.” I’ve always looked upon these smaller herring as being just right – a perfect snack for the stripers.


Bloodworms are still producing quite well and are a viable alternate choice for those who can’t get herring for bait. They are generally just kind of draped onto a thinner wire hook, perhaps a 2/0 or 3/0 size, and either drift fished or set on the bottom.


One of the most common questions (other than “You got any herring?”) we get here at the store is which is the best herring jig (sabiki) to use. Our answer usually is that if there were just one, then that’s all that would be hanging on our wall rather than the two dozen different ones that ae there - everybody has their own favorite, but even that choice can change from day to day.


This past Tuesday, for instance, I went out on the Catskill Creek and tossed MY favorite rig – the Wally Whale sabiki. This is one which had produced most consistently for me through the years. Well, I flung that thing for an hour and a half without a touch until I finally snagged it and broke off a hook. I knew that I should have switched to some other sabiki earlier on but, you know how it goes – I was just too lazy to re-tie. But rather than keep using a wounded rig, now I did.


In the boat I only had one other type of sabiki - the winged Hayabusa #8 red bead, and I tied it on. Well, in the next 20 minutes magic happened as I put 8 herring in the boat, and that wasn’t even taking into consideration the time it took to get the hooks out of my trousers twice, and out of my finger once. Finally, with but 3 hooks remaining on the rig and a swiftly receding tide which mandated I leave the upper creek before I got trapped, I happily floated down past all three bridges, having re-enforced yet another fishing lesson – don’t be afraid to try something new.


There is no doubt that, overall, the striped bass fishing on the Hudson has been excellent this year. Lots of 28 to 40 inch “slot returnable” fish have been caught, as have more “over 40 inch” lunkers than I can recall seeing in a long time. Sure there are some anglers not having a good year but overall it’s been dynamite out there, and the next few weeks should get even better. Down Newburgh way the reports are of lots of smaller “schoolies” being taken. Further upriver the Esopus Meadows has been producing as have both the east and west channels in the vicinity of the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge.


Glasco and Tivoli south of Saugerties, and Malden and Cheviot to the north have all been good as has Germantown even a little further north. The mouth of the Catskill Creek has been producing well the last few days on the early morning bite and the area to the immediate north of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge has yielded its share of good stripers. Four Mile Point was both hot and cold this week while the river’s junction with Stockport Creek was reported good. Up by Coxsackie the anglers we talked to did well just by fishing out in front of the launch ramp.


On last Monday (very rainy) when not too many anglers were out, the boys in New Baltimore talked of moderate success and the one guy I talked to who was shore fishing at Bethlehem Park didn’t really have much to brag about except that he had had a run and that he had some herring in his wire age.


Boaters were generally reporting even better results than most shore fishermen. That was true in Catskill according to Captain R.E.Booth, in Coxsackie where we found Balt Santiago loading his boat on a trailer and in the Albany area where our two friends Dennis and Dave (who nailed a 40 incher this week) regaled us with all kinds of good reports about the happenings up there.


All in all, the striper fishing is the best we’ve seen in years. If you’ve never been able to catch one previously this just could be your year. Give it a shot, your odds of success are just great!      Tom G


The dynamite fishing of last week abated this past Monday as the huge concentration of herring that occupied the river from Coxsackie all the way south past Saugerties moved on upriver to the Albany area. And along with those baitfish went most of the stripers that had been feeding on them. The Albany area anglers have been having a real good bite with fish in the 20 lb. class (roughly 36") and we've heard of several bass going over the 40 inch mark. Even so, the last couple of days might have seen a slackening in the action. Shad are reported heavy at the dam. 
Even though this past week saw a definite shortage of herring here in the Catskill area and had our anglers in a frenzy trying to find bait there still appeared to be plenty of stripers around. As one local angler put it - "If you have a herring, you have a striper." We anticipate seeing new schools of alewives , as well as the late season bluebacks, moving upriver into our area shortly.
The water all the way from the Federal Lock in Troy down as far as Kingston was running in the 54 to 56 degree range this week and savy anglers are hoping it will stay in this range as long as possible - all in hopes of delaying the start of the spawn cycle which would signal the start of the end of the annual run. Right now it appears to be about two weeks or more away, but a strong warming trend could shorten that time period considerably. We'll just have to wait and see.     Tom G
As we expected the contingent of fish up-swimming the Hudson this past weekend has reached the Albany area and according to our friend Dennis Northrup, a regular on those waters, it is "hot, hot, hot" right now. Dave Mc Farland, another Albany regular who took a 42 incher there this week, very definitely agrees with that observation. It appears that this Saturday and Sunday the Albany - Troy region just may experience the best weekend of striper fishing they've had in years
Of course the great fishing extends all the way from Albany down as far as Poughkeepsie. Multiple boatings of stripers from this 70 mile section of the river were reported to us all today. It just may turn out to be the best spring run of the decade - we'll see.
Best baits being used are herring, both "chunk" as well as live. Additionally, blood worms are very effective and should again be available throughout our area - the River Basin just received it's fresh supply today. And - trollers are scoring big by dragging long-minnow type plugs at 8 to 20 foot depths. It should be great out there this weekend!   Tom G

Hudson River Striped Bass Fishing Update –Thursday, April 21, 2016


This morning’s reports from up and down the river were of very good action. Here at Catskill the reports were of anglers getting into schools of very active stripers, boating numerous quality fish in their effort to catch that elusive longer-than 40 inch fish. Germantown, Cheviot, Malden, Saugerties and Glasco reported similar results. Bait of choice was herring, either live or chunk. However live herring, now plentiful in the river, seemed to be ignoring anglers’ Sabiki efforts today although netters seemed to have no difficulty in catching their limit.


Bloodworms were not available today due to a shipment delay from Maine but should become available sometime tomorrow.


It seems that multiple schools of herring have now reached the Albany area so their shortages there should end. More stripers will be accompanying those baitfish upriver.


Although the timing seems to be a little bit earlier than we had anticipated it seems that the first push of giant stripers into the mid-Hudson Valley area of the river could be starting any time now. Typically greater numbers of these fish, measuring from 44 to 50 inches and weighing in the 40+ pound category, arrive during the next couple of weeks.


Previous years have led us to conclude that the odds of catching them are greater if you fish at depths greater than 20 feet… but the odds of catching them are slim wherever you fish. Their peak catching period usually lasts only one to two weeks (yeah, I know - you caught one last week in 4 feet of water) and the prime section of the river for them usually ranges approximately from Norrie Point north to Catskill. Most certainly some of them may always range further upriver than that.


This weekend’s action should be dynamite. Do it!      Tom G



Hudson River Striped Bass Fishing Update –Thursday, April 20, 2016




The “best of times” is drawing closer and closer for our striped bass anglers. Although this past weekend still saw fewer than the desired numbers of herring in the Catskill area (we quickly sold out of our supply each day) the reports were that big schools of herring had made it upriver to just below our location as of Saturday. By this Tuesday (yesterday) the river here was teeming with herring - it seems that the bait shortage has ended as we are again stocked up in time for our re-opening on Thursday. Additionally, we’ll be receiving a fresh supply of salt-water bloodworms (which we also were out of) for striper bait so the River Basin will be in great shape for this upcoming weekend.


Our striper fishing definitely picked up this past Friday and has continued to improve right on through to the present time. Herring bait was producing well and it seems that smaller than usual pieces of chunk were the ticket for many catches.




On Saturday we saw pictures of a 40+ inch striper caught in the Albany area but only heard of a scant few smaller fish taken there. The water in the vicinity of Henry Hudson Park (Bethlehem) was running at about 52 degrees (perfect) and even though the fishing was slow the anglers we heard from were anticipating having it bust open this upcoming weekend.


Closer to our shop’s locale we heard of a 46 incher that was caught during the past few days. Action around the Coxsackie area was picking up and we’re aware of several nice fish that have been taken from just across the river at Newton Hook. A little further downriver Four Mile Point, just to the north of Athens is continuing to yield fish, just as it did right from the beginning of the early run in March. Catskill area anglers have also been taking their share of stripers, most of them having had a decent weekend with that action continuing right into this morning. We’re aware of several stripers over 3 feet in length, as well as numerous much smaller “keepers,” being caught on Catskill’s “bridge run.” Catskill Creek itself has been slow going although today we spotted many herring swimming along its banks.


In the Germantown area some trollers have been doing real well on schoolies using long-minnow type lures such as Bombers and Rebels. Shoreline fishing there continues to improve. Malden, Saugerties and Glasco have been, and continue to be, good choices for action, as are Kingston and the Rondout Creek.


Further downriver, the weekend action around Wappingers Creek was good. Goodly numbers of herring had arrived and, of course, the stripers were right there with them. Lots of schoolies were reported caught before those herring moved further upriver. In that lower section of the river, between Wappingers and Newburgh, fishing for suspended fish is quite popular.




Here’s a special deal, only for readers of the reports on this website - if you need another good baitrunner rig for stripers read on. It’s a combo of the OKUMA ABF55b 7 ball-bearing reel and our top-selling 7 foot one piece SHIMANO SAGUARO striper rod. The regular price on this combo is $129.98 but as many of you are aware we knock that down to $114.98 on a “cash only” deal. Now, through THIS weekend only and only as long as our supply lasts, we have knocked the “CASH ONLY” price down to $94.95. This price is ONLY good through this coming weekend and you must ask for it - it will not be posted anywhere at the shop.


The River Basin’s stock of striper tackle is still in pretty good shape. Even so, there were a few of you who wanted to purchase one of our special 4x4 special herring scap nets which were out of stock. Just today we received a few more of these little gems. They are all specially made just for us and their price is $99.95. More than likely these will be the last ones for this year. If you want one, don’t delay.




So, it seems that this weekend will be the REAL start of 2016’s striper run - the weather conditions have normalized and we are now back on a normal schedule and we can say that the fish are finally here. From this point forward more and more stripers will be headed upriver into our area and the fishing should continue to improve even further as we steamroll ahead toward the annual spawn. That event, in our area, will probably take place sometime in the second or third week of this upcoming May. It all depends on the weather. If you’ve been putting off getting ready for this action you really shouldn’t procrastinate any longer, the time to hit the water is here.     Tom G


Hudson River Striped Bass Fishing Update –Friday, April 15, 2016
The third week of April! That was the time that the members of our local Catskill fishing club had traditionally waited for through three preceding long months of winter. The time was back in the 1980’s, our club was 22 members strong and each and every one of us was waiting for our first competitive event of the year - a striped bass tournament on the Hudson River. The club always had three striper events in its annual schedule then, spaced out from the end of the third week of April to the start of June.
Having success in that early April event was always a very “iffy” thing. Most years there already were some stripers up here in the Catskill area but some years, if you wanted to put a fish in the boat, a downriver run was necessary. Runs down to the Saugerties or Kingston area were common, and one real cold spring I can recall that a trip all the way south to the power plant past Wappingers Falls was required in order catch a keeper.
The club rules mandated artificial lures be used so each boat had a plentiful supply of ½ ounce white bucktail jigs, 1 ounce Bill Lewis Rattletraps, gold Rebel DJ30 lures, Storm Big Macs, and Bomber 17 Long As. But, in most of the contests, with perhaps the exception of those early April ones, the fishing was easy.
You could call those the “good old days.” Since the implementation of the 1970’s ban on commercial striper fishing on the Hudson River the striper population was rapidly racing toward it’s fantastic late 1980’s peak. Catching 2 or 3 forty-inch-fish in a day was not unheard of, the keeper size-limit had been raised from 16 inches to 18… and there was no daily limit, either on stripers or on herring.
Things have changed. Forty inch fish are still out there but the peak numbers of the striper explosion are long gone. Lures are now rarely used except by purists of the “artificials only” mind-set, and herring are the OVERWHELMING bait of choice. Therefore, when we experience an early April snowfall such as we had about a week and a half ago, and the water temperature drops 4 degrees, and the herring seem to disappear - our fishermen go into a frenzy searching for the early run alewives. To no avail, their scap nets remained mostly empty – the past week saw very few herring available.
Oh those little devils were still out there but had developed lockjaw, scattering themselves out into the deeper waters of the main river channel. Such was precisely what we experienced this past week or so.
But now we are seeing a change. The waters are warming back up and huge new schools of herring have been moving upriver these past two days, coming to augment the meager numbers remaining from that first surge of March fish. Just this morning our suppliers brought us a new shipment of fresh herring and it appears that our striper fishermen will be back in business, just in time for the weekend. The weather has improved and the fishing should take a marked change for the better. Now is the time to get out there.
Last minute reports from the Kingston area were of improving action, Saugerties/Malden reported the same. Catskill had sporadic action but Athens was producing for those few of the shore bound fishermen who had managed to snag a few bait. Ravena, Bethlehem and Albany were reporting very slow action. All this will change for the better this weekend. We thank those of you sending us reports as to what’s happening in your area. Keep sending them to us at “rivergen at” If you don't, we'll have nothing here to report to you next time.   Good luck.          Tom G
Hudson River Striped Bass Fishing Update – April 08, 2016
Just as the Hudson’s water condition was improving this past week we got hit with our biggest snowfall of the entire winter - upwards of 7 inches of the white stuff blanketed our Catskill area. Although the snow mostly melted in the next couple of days the water temperature in the river’s tributaries dropped 3 to 4 degrees and turned off both the herring and any stripers that had entered into those waterways.
Then, with that front and its brief period of torrential rain that passed through our area on Thursday, the remainder of the snow cover in the mountains melted. The resulting runoff did a good job of muddying up our local Catskill Creek and the Hudson River in our environs and I’m pretty sure that most of the other feeder creeks will probably be pouring muddy water into the river right now.
So our present situation is pretty typical for springtime on the Hudson - off-colored water which will definitely deteriorate the quality of our fishing. Whatever stripers and herring had arrived in our area before this last weekend will remain here regardless of conditions – there is no going back for them. But, due to the colder, muddy water they have now become much harder to catch (as if they weren’t hard to catch previously). This means that herring will be extremely hard to get this weekend and, most likely, all of next week.
Figuring that any upcoming rain events will be minimal the feeder creeks should be vastly improved by next weekend (not this weekend). The Hudson will take at least twice as long since it’s drainage system extends west through the Mohawk River and north to  the Adirondacks. Any mud in those upper reaches has to dissipate and flow through here before our water improves.
So, what has happened now seems to be that we have reverted back to a more or less normal pattern for this spring. If this is indeed true then we should start to see a very definite strong pickup in action starting the week AFTER this upcoming one. Then the action should continue to build throughout the rest of April and into May as the stripers and herring continue to stack up in our waters.
Quite often the LARGEST stripers of any year’s run seem to be in our area during the final week of April and the first week in May. That’s lunker hunting time for the real serious guys who have taken their annual vacations just in order to spend all day and, in many cases, all night on the river’s water fishing. Their goal invariably is catch a fish approaching 50 pounds and going 48 inches or longer in length. Anglers to achieve this feat of whom we are aware are the following:
49 ¼” TOM BORCHERT, High Falls
48 ½” JEREMY PHILLIPS, Saugerties
48 ¼” JOHN REPKO, Germantown
48 ¼” JAMES PROVONCHA, Stockport
48 ¼” WILLIAM WALSH, Rock Tavern
48” BOB KOZIOL, Pleasant Valley
48” CHARLES GRAHAM, Palenville
48” DEAN KRISSLER, Alburg, Vt.
Here at the River Basin Sports Shop our business has been good and this is much appreciated. We’ve re-ordered and received a lot of the gear that’s been going out and so our striper equipment is in pretty good shape. Thank you very much for your patronage and be sure to stop through to say hello if you visit our area to do some fishing.   Tom G

Hudson River Sunday Update – April 03, 2016
New schools of herring moved upriver later in the day Friday and Saturday saw a vast improvement in being able to catch these striper baits, particularly in the Rondout and Esopus Creeks. Stripers, though still fairly scarce, are being caught all throughout our tidal waterway up as far as the Federal Lock in Troy. The ones we are aware of ranged in size from 18 to 37 inches with the largest ones being caught either on chunk or live herring while the smaller fish mostly were taken on worms. Please note that we said “still fairly scarce” up above. We just received a fresh batch of herring baits from our suppliers, and these are available now at the shop in bags of 3, for those anglers having difficulty catching their own.      Tom G
TThe most recent reports we've had tell us that the launch ramp floats from Albany down to Bethlehem have been that section of the river is now accessible to those striper anglers with boats. Other ramps further downriver should be set to go later on this week, as long as the weather doesn't throw a monkey wrench into the works. Even though the floats at the Catskill ramp are still missing there were a few boat trailers in that parking lot this morning. The water was calm and the wind was absent.
The herring appeared to be plentiful at certain locations in that upper river area but we know that at this time of the year the herring can be here today and gone tomorrow. From what we've been hearing at the present time, with the exception exception of the Albany area, the herring have been very hard to come by all the way down to the Wappingers Creek and Newburgh area. We are anticipating a much larger movement of alewives to run up the river at any time now but as of this time it appears that anticipation is all that we can offer. We did hear of one smaller keeper striper being taken up around Albany.     Tom G

We received several reports Thursday that there were herring in the Albany area. The Posten Kill, as usual, was the place they were most in evidence.
In the meantime there seems to have been a lack of herring further down river all the way to Kingston. This situation should change rather quickly due to the warm weather of the past two days which should pull the alewives into the warmer creek flows. Unfortunately, this situation is again quickly due to deteriorate when the weekend’s cold weather (and upcoming snow) arrives and slows the annual run down for a few days.  Tom G

Hudson River Fishing Update – Wednesday, March 30, 2016
It’s been almost two weeks of anticipation since we received our first reports of stripers up this far north in the Hudson River. Since then, even though the River Basin is only open but four days a week, lots of anglers have been through gearing up for the “legal” start of the New York striped bass season this Friday, April 1.
Items of most interest, as far as sales go, have been: handfuls and handfuls of sinkers, Sabiki herring rigs, rigged stoolies, line spooling in 20 and 25 pound weights, striped bass baitrunner rod and reel combos and baitrunner reels. Hook sales have been mostly of the “J” hook variety and in the “hook, leader, slide” type of packaged rigs the #747 has been the most popular. Although the #6/0 striper hook had been the most popular one for many years it seems that the #7/0 might be close to nudging it out of the top popularity slot. And the last minute rush is yet to come as anglers get set to go fishing and discover that smaller items, such as swivels, leaders and beads, may be missing from their striper gear.
There really hasn’t been much else to report this week since most fishermen have been laying low waiting for the start of the season. Yes, the herring are around but very spotty - the really big schools of alewives have not arrived yet. The word is that the Rondout, Esopus and Stockport Creeks have all had herring but that the Catskill Creek has seen very few of the fish. The reason for that could be that the Catskill Creek is running a few degrees colder that the other waters, in the upper 40’s. With the cold snap coming in for the weekend the herring all over just might drop back out of all the shallower creeks and huddle up in deeper water of the main river. Hopefully the few periods of rain that are due will just be light showers.
The last word we received from the Albany area (a week ago) was that the herring still seemed to be missing but there should be some up there by now - we did hear of one striper being accidentally caught there so some herring must be around. If something’s going on wherever you are we’d appreciate hearing from you – send an E-mail to “rivergen at”.
It appears that river herring, which are the preferred bait by the majority of striper fishermen, are going to be a little hard to come by for the start of the season. Our suppliers tell us that the waters are still a little too cold and that most of the herring are still out in deeper water. We were hoping to have an adequate supply (dead – we are not allowed to bring live herring into the store) for the start of the season but such no longer appears to be the case. Give a call and check before coming for herring bait. Be prepared to try to catch your own supply this week.
The best bet for catching your own bait will probably be to concentrate your efforts in the creeks using Sabiki rigs – hopefully some herring will be still remain there. Since netting herring in creeks is prohibited the use of a “stoolie” won’t do you much good there. Instead, with stoolies, you will just about be forced to concentrate your efforts closer to the shoreline of the main river and hope that those rubber fish will lure them to your net out there. In a few more weeks, as the water warms, you will also be able to use Sabikis in the main river but that doesn’t work too well this early in the run.
The River Basin Sport Shop is located at the corner of West Bridge Street and Dumond Street here in Catskill. Just in time to celebrate the opening of both the striped bass and trout seasons on April 1 the “powers-that-be” have decided to join in the festivities by starting to lay in a new water line along Dumond Street at the same time. Very considerate of them considering that there just happens to be a FISHING SHOP located at that location. If you're driving in and find that work is going on when you arrive you just might have to park on West Bridge Street (the main drag) rather than in our parking lot.

Friday’s trout opener nowadays relegates our Greene County to second place when it comes to having its streams stocked – they are never replenished in time for the season opener as are the streams in some neighboring counties. In Greene County the Basic Creek and Catskill Creek are due to be stocked on April 4. On April 6 the Batavia Kill and East Kill will receive their allocations and on April 8 the big Schoharie Creek and much smaller West Kill will be taken care of. The Kaaterskill Creek and Green Lake are last on the April stocking list, scheduled for April 14.        BEST OF LUCK THIS COMING SEASON -   TOM G



Hudson River Fishing Update – Sunday, March 20, 2016
This weekend saw the first stripers of the year being caught in our upper environs of the Hudson River as catfish anglers in the section between Tivoli and Germantown report linesiders ranging in length from 22 to 34 inches biting on nightcrawlers. I guess that the stripers aren’t aware that they are not allowed to bite until April 1. As of the present time I have not heard of any local launch ramps, either up or down the river, having launching floats installed yet (river currents make launching very tricky without floats).
    Tom G

Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, March 18, 2016
And so we head into the third weekend of March 2016. In the years previous to last (2015) the striped bass season had already opened… but that opening had never been anything but a pipe dream to most anglers as far upriver as we’re located. Those fish just had not made it this far north.
 And now – with the new striped bass opening date of April 1, guess what? That’s right – the herring are already here. The first school of herring arrived just about a week ago and I have it on good authority that there also are a few stripers roaming our waters. Please, please, please - do not go out thinking that the main run is already here. That event is still at a minimum two to three weeks in the future. Let’s wait until after this weekend and see if we get any of the snow that had previously been predicted - and then we can start to get real antsy.
Also remember that it is not legal to pursue any gamefish (i.e. striped bass) out of season. The ENCON officers will be out there to remind you of that. There seems to be a misunderstanding that it is permissible to legally do this as long as you again release the fish - not so. According to ENCON law the following is the case: 
“Incidentally caught threatened or endangered species, or species caught during closed seasons, must be unhooked and released immediately. Such fish may not be removed from the water or otherwise handled for any purpose other than removing the hook and placing the fish back into the water. Intentionally angling for threatened or endangered fish, or for fish during the closed season for that species, is prohibited.” Even holding such a caught fish for a photograph is not permissible, according to law.
“Catch and release angling” may be permitted during the closed season for a specific fish species, but only in certain designated waters. For instance, even though catch and release fishing for black bass during the closed season is permitted on most waters in the state, for some reason it is NOT allowed on the Hudson River and its tidewater tributaries upstream to the first barrier impassable to the fish.
Here at the shop we are hoping to start getting in some fresh herring this coming week, most of which we’ll freeze up for later on in the season. If you wish to get in some early season fishing though, this stuff is dynamite for channel catfish. Just chunk it up into small pieces and fish it on the bottom. If you can’t catch any herring on your own while jigging with Sabikis we should have some for sale here.      Tom G


 Fishing Note - Wednesday, March 16, 2017


The water in the Catskill Creek was running at 47 degrees today... good temp for herring but no reports from here yet.  



River Basin’s Hudson River Fishing Report – Tuesday, March 15, 2016.
True to form, the first report of herring having arrived in our section of the Hudson has been substantiated. Today we received verification of a previous rumor that the annual herring run has reached here, more specifically the herring are now up as far as the Stockport Creek… and in good numbers.
Now, this is just the start of the run and what usually happens is that these early arrivers, which are not actually a part of the real huge schools to follow during the next few weeks, will be in the area for a few days and then disappear. In reality they just head on further up river, leaving a void behind. That void will be filled some days later with yet the next school of arriving fish, and so it goes until our waters become almost saturated with these amazing little sparkling fish. And since it’s been several days since we had the first report it would not be surprising if they were all the way up to Albany already.
Of course the herring are just harbingers of the stripers that are, right now as you are reading this, also on their way up river. Yes, it certainly is going to be an early run this year! If you wish to let us know if either herring or stripers are in your area, or have any other interesting tidbit about the river to share, you can drop us an E-mail at RIVERGEN at YAHOO.COM.  In the meantime, wipe the dust off your tackle – our season is about to begin.    Tom G

Hudson River Fishing Report – Sunday, March 13, 2016
The “Winter That Wasn’t” is about to end… maybe even today. For me, "winter's end" is marked by the arrival of the Hudson River's first migratory fish species here in our Catskill area, specifically either the herring or the striped bass. And this year just may see them arrive here earlier than usual due to the mild,relatively snow-free, winter we just experienced. As a comparison last year, in 2015, the ice didn’t go out of the tidewater Catskill Creek until March 27, almost breaking our old “ice-out” record of March 28. Not so in 2016.
This winter we didn’t really have much ice cover at all, at least in-so-far as trying to determine when a possible ice-out might have taken place. Although the creek's tidal water did ice over on several different occasions it rather quickly melted out again before it ever got thick enough to support an ice fisherman, and that’s the one factor we use to determine when ice-out occurs… it just didn't happen this past winter. Actually, for most of the winter the creek was completely ice free.
So now we’re just sitting back watching the river and hoping that perhaps our usual real-nasty spring storms will not occur, or perhaps they’ll just be mild enough so as to not muddy-up the main river too much. Right now there is some color in the Hudson's water but it’s not too bad. In the creek, one of the marinas has already got its docks in.
Generally speaking we have found the first herring to arrive at Catskill when the river hits the 43 degree temperature mark, perhaps a degree or so higher. The first of the stripers, which we look upon as “scouts,” may be there right along with those herring but usually are spotted a few days later. Just a couple of hours ago I went down to the Catskill launch site and measured the water temperature at 44 degrees – things could start to pop real early this year.
Of course water temperature is not the sole factor for determining our fish arrivals, the amount of daylight also plays a part. Even if the water temperature is appropriate the lesser amount of daylight we receive so early in the year just might delay the migratory run.
Just yesterday I received a phone call from a fella in the Stockport area who reported that he had “heard” of some herring being in the Stockport creek. I’ve heard tales of herring and stripers already being in the lower confines of the Hudson and it’s quite likely that they are in that lower river section already... but I have heard of no other reports of them being up as far as we are so we'll just put that one report on the back burner. As usual, we all want those fish to arrive as soon as possible.
Even if the stripers were here, or were to arrive within this next week or two you must remember that the “powers that be” changed the start of our striped bass season last year – it used to be March 15 but NOW is April 1st. This is also the approximate time we usually see the FIRST of the herring appear, to be followed by the main schools of fish two to three weeks later.
An additional thing for you to remember is that the daily striper limit now is 1 (one) fish and that can be EITHER one of 40 inches or better, OR one between 18 and 28 inches in length. Also keep in mind the present 10 herring per angler possession limit and the regulation that you may not use a net to aid in capturing herring in any creek.
If you want the full skinny on this just go to any place where fishing licenses are sold and ask for the regulations booklet. They are supposed to be available for the asking at ALL those outlets. Also, remember that to take any migratory fish species you must have a “marine registration” - you can get this free wherever licenses are issued. The River Basin no longer issues fishing licenses.
Here at the shop we’re in pretty good shape as far as our supply of tackle and equipment for stripers goes. Yes, we’re still waiting for a bunch of "back-ordered" tackle to arrive but yet we still have more striper stuff to offer than any other place we’re aware of. Of particular interest to some of you might be striper baitrunner combos priced at under $100. These are perfect for someone just trying this striper fishing game. Of course we also have approximately 30 different baitrunner reels in stock right now as well as numerous other baitrunner combos priced from under a $100 up to $239. The selection is best right now. Advice - if you want to buy a spinning striper outfit anywhere, be sure it includes a "baitrunner" reel - it's the only way to go.
Oh,  and we’re still offering line-winding with Berkley Trilene Big Game in 20, 25, 30 or 40 pound-tests for $9 per spool (up to 200 yds., additional yardage at 3 cents a yard). Just bring in the spools and we’ll try to get them done while you wait – if we’re busy with other customers you’ll just have to wait till we get a break, or leave them and pick them up later.
Stoolies? You bet – we’ve got different stoolies galore. And the same goes for herring jigs (Sabikis), sinkers, hooks, rigs, etc. and, at present, herring scap nets. It’s time for you to start getting ready for the run, and should you need anything for that event we’ll be here to try and serve you. Remember that we’ll only be open 4 days a week this spring – Thurs., Fri., Sat., and Sunday. Our hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. This schedule will be in effect until just about the end of May.                Tom G.


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.
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.
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).
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.
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 


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.
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.
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.
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.
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


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



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




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




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





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




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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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



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




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



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.


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.


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.


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



 Hudson River fishing report - Saturday, June 28, 2014


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.


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




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


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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




Hudson River Striped Bass Update – Thursday, May 22, 2014.
Our STRIPED BASS TOURNAMENT conditions and observations:
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 down