HUDSON RIVER FISHING WITH RIVER BASIN SPORTS

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

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THE WINNER OF OUR 2014 "RIVER BASIN SPORT SHOP 27th ANNUAL STRIPED BASS CONTEST", ART ROBINSON, WALKED AWAY WITH OVER $6,600.00 DOLLARS IN PRIZE MONEY THIS YEAR

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AS PART OF OUR "SEMI-RETIREMENT PLAN" WE WILL BE CLOSED FOR THE WINTER SEASON, AS SEEN AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE. WHEN WE RE-OPEN IN MARCH WE'LL THEN BE ON A REDUCED HOURS / DAYS SCHEDULE, THE SPECIFICS OF WHICH HAVE YET TO BE DECIDED. WHEN WE KNOW WE'LL POST THE DATA HERE.
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 Hudson River fishing report - Saturday, June 28, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Update – Friday, April 6, 2014

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IT’S STARTING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MORE ON HERRING PENS AND ASSOCIATED PROBLEMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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LET US KNOW

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Update – Friday, March 28, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Striper Update – Friday, March 21, 2014

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

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WHAT’S HOT AT THE SHOP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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STRIPER "BAITRUNNER" ROD - REEL COMBOS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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STRIPER CONTEST ENDS SATURDAY, JUNE 1, AT NOON

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

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

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

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WANNA BASS FISH?

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

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

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

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

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

  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEW CONTEST ENTRY 

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

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

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

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CALICO CAT?

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, May 16, 2013

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NEW SHOP HOURS… AND DAYS!

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

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

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CONTEST WINNERS TAKE NOTE

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

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 GOOD STRIPER ACTION STILL CONTINUES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Tuesday, May 14, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Wednesday, May 8, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  

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

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1)    Pat Abate          42 1/4"

       Robert Burns   tie

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3)    Chris Geroux     42"

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4)    Frank Tamburro Jr 41 1/2"

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5)    Marc Uhrik         40 1/2"

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

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

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1)    Pat Abate          42 1/4"

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2)    Chris Geroux     42"

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3)    Frank Tamburro Jr 41 1/2"

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4)    Marc Uhrik         40 1/2"

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5)    Mike Fastert      40"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, April 25, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, April 19, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Monday, April 15, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Striper Report – Friday, April 12, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Bulletin – Tuesday, April 09, 2013

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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Hudson River Fishing Bulletin – Saturday, April 06, 2013

 

 

It seems that the action is starting to happen here in the tidal mid-Hudson River section of the valley. Herring have now been reported up north as far as 4-Mile Point (Athens) on the west shore of the Hudson, and also up the Stockport Creek on the east side. Some of the fellas at 4-Mile have been “stoolie-ing” and “scapping” the herring while the Sabiki’s have been the key up in Stockport.      Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Wednesday, April 03, 2013

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

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

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

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

  

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, March 29, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Monday, March 25, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, March 14, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, March 07, 2013 

    

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, October 19, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, October 12, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, October 4, 2012

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

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QUICKIE REPORT, MONDAY SEP. 24 -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, September 6, 2012

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – August 22, 2012.

Be Careful out There

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, August 10, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River fishing report - Friday, August 3, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Saturday, July 21, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Hudson River Update - Saturday, July 7, 2012

 

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

 

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, July 06, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, June 28, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, June 21, 2012

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

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

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

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

 

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, June 14, 2012

  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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 LENGTH TO WEIGHT CORRELATION OF HUDSON RIVER STRIPERS 

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

 

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

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

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 STRIPER CONTEST CONCLUDES THIS SATURDAY AT 12 NOON 

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

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

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

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

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

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RIVER BASIN HUDSON RIVER REPORT – Thursday, May 24, 2012

 

A quick note as we head into this holiday weekend:

 

Although most of the striped bass spawn is now over there still remain some fish that haven’t accomplished this chore. The fishing during the past few days has been good but, even though we have been getting a few reports of 40 inch fish, the vast majority of the stripers remaining appear to be males ranging in size from 18 to 30 inches. The main problem with fishing for stripers this weekend will probably be in obtaining bait. Presently the River Basin only has frozen herring remaining and is expecting to be sold out of that in short order. Keep this in mind if you are planning a striper trip this weekend. Enjoy the weekend   - Tom G

 

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RIVER BASIN HUDSON RIVER REPORT – Tuesday, May 22, 2012

 

It seemed rather strange to look out upon the Hudson River at Catskill this morning and see but one lonely striper boat out there, up north of the bridge on the “Bridge Run.” Strange but not surprising, since the main portion of the striped bass spawn is now over. Most certainly there will still be some fish out there that have yet to spawn, particularly in water to our north, but with the water temperature now pushing above the mid-60’s mark it won’t be too long until they too have completed this task.

 

Other than those yet-to-spawn fish there always seems to remain another contingent out there for a week or two – these are large spawned-out cow stripers. In appearance they seem skinny and they weigh perhaps 25% less than you’d imagine them to be if still stuffed with eggs but guess what – their length has not shrunk a single fraction of an inch. They’re out there just cruising around and recuperating from the stress of the past couple of weeks and… looking for something to eat that’s easy to catch.

 

A nice bite-sized blueback herring or a tempting chunk of alewife lying there on the bottom would be just ideal fare for them as they start to head back to their saltwater summer haunts. But - they still have to pass a gauntlet of stalwart die-hard fishermen trying to pull a rabbit out of the hat by nailing a big contest-ranking striper. It happened last year and is just as likely to happen again now.

 

It appears that the greatest likely threat to our present leaders would be from some angler down on the lower half of the tidal Hudson, say from Kingston south.  Oh, a few fish are still being caught all the way from Kingston up to Albany – after all, Frank Green caught his 45 ¾ incher just three days ago at Catskill and I’m aware of several other decent fish caught during the past couple of days. But any big fish action will most likely come from the lower half of the tidal Hudson. THERE’S ONLY A WEEK AND A HALF LEFT IN THE CONTEST FOR SOMEONE TO PROVE THIS TO BE TRUE.

 Contest end

The final few days of our striped bass contest are the hardest. No, not really for the 99% of our entrants who have already resolved to try again next year but rather - for the 5 people now in the running for the top payback slots. Will their fish hold onto their present standing, or will someone sneak in a striper just a quarter inch longer and cost them what could be thousands of dollars?  This questioning all comes to an end on Saturday June 2nd at 12 noon when our contest ends.

 

Even though I am sure most of the record number 753 anglers entered in our contest already know - we do have the following reminders for anyone still out there competing in this, our 25th annual striped bass event.  Yes, it all comes to an end at 12 noon Saturday June 2 even though there still will be fish in the river and the contest standings could possibly change right up to the last minute. If you do catch a big fish on that Saturday just remember the following part of the rules – “Any fish brought in after 12 noon Saturday, June 2, 2012 will be deemed ineligible and will not be considered for contest ranking.” We will post a final standings result here as soon as possible after the conclusion of the event.

 

At this time we’d also like to remind all our customers that the River Basin Sports Shop will be switching back to its normal summertime hours of operation starting on Sunday, June 3. Yup, we’ve been open 7 days a week since the start of March but now WILL BE CLOSED on Sundays (my fishing day) and Mondays (my sweetheart’s day), opening Tuesday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. It’s been a great spring and it was great meeting all of you as you came through the shop. We hope to see you all next spring when we can go through this marvelous madness of striper season again.

 

Our contest winners may stop through the River Basin Sports Shop any time after noon on Saturday, June 2 to collect their prizes. Remember that we will be closed on Sundays and Mondays starting on June 3rd. Also, winners please remember that we will need your driver’s license and social security number before we can conclude the winning transaction and that any prizes not claimed by 60 days of the contest’s end shall be forfeited and those sums carried over to the following year’s event.

 

Check back here for any updates or contest changes and stop through the store if you happen to be in the area.     Tom G

 

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS CONTEST CORRECTION – Sunday, May 20, 2012

 

Due to an incorrect log-in of Frank Green’s striped bass yesterday we have made a change in our contest standings. Frank’s bass actually measured in at 45 ¾ inches. This now puts him in a tie for third place with Randy Brocket and drops Marc Palazzo’s 44 ¾ incher down to 5th place.

 

The river action continues to be excellent but it will start to drop off rapidly in the next few days as the fish finish their spawn.        Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS RUN UPDATE – Saturday, May 19, 2012

 

Many reports of spawned out fish are coming through now. The morning action here at Catskill was very good. The couple of reports we got from further upriver were of slower going. Down in the Saugerties Malden Germantown area the action was also reportedly good.

 

We now have a tie for fourth place in our striper contest.  Frank Green is the bearer of bad news to both Dan Keyser and Marc Palazzo -  Dan was in fifth place with a 44 ¼ incher and now is an “also ran” while Frank now ties Marc for 4th place with his 44 ¾ incher.

 

Green was fishing the area to the north of the Rip VanWinkle Bridge this early morning when his spawned-out fish hit. The time was just about 5 a.m. and his bait was chunk herring. Frank and his partner had also put several other fish in their boat before calling it a day. The peak of the spawn is NOW – it will tend to go downhill real fast from this time on.    Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS RUN UPDATE – Friday, May 18, 2012

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Just a quick note as we enter the weekend –
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The striped bass spawn continues. The past two days have seen a definite lack of anglers on the water but the ones out there report great fishing with multiple fish landings. If you haven’t caught a striper yet this year the next few days might be your best shot at doing so.

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After the rainstorms earlier this week muddied everything up now it seems that most of the tidewater feeder creeks should be in excellent shape for fishing this weekend. The Catskill Creek was already fishable yesterday. We’re heading into the finish of this year’s striper run so now’s the time to get out there.           Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS RUN UPDATE – Wednesday, May 16, 2012

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The striped bass spawn continues apace throughout the tidal Hudson River, and this includes the sections right up to Albany and beyond where some night and early morning anglers did fairly well a couple of days ago with some smaller fish. As of this morning however, reports were that the action had slowed down as dirtier water from above started to arrive. If you’re not getting action where you are fishing – find another location.

Dan Keyser of Germantown has now taken over fifth place in our contest standings. Dan measured in a 44 ¼” spawned-out striper this morning. That fish was the second half of a double he hooked. Upon quickly landing and releasing the first (approx. 34”) he then landed the second fish which was worthy of contest recognition. He was using chunk herring as bait while fishing the area to the north of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.

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This morning we see that the Catskill Creek is running muddy from the rains of the past two days but the main river itself is OK… except for the floating debris that’s still out there. This week will, most likely, be the peak of the spawn and just may give you your best fishing of the year. Try to get out there as soon as you can.   Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS RUN UPDATE – Tuesday, May 15, 2012

From what we can ascertain it seems that the striper fishing could best be called spotty during the past two days. If you were in the proper location you caught some fish, if you were in a “super-duper” location you absolutely creamed them. And, if you were up in the Bethlehem area on Saturday… you hummed a song to yourself as you watched the debris from the locks go floating by!

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The annual fishing derby that goes out of the upper tidal river Bethlehem launch site really seemed to get waylaid this year, either due to the copious amount of debris being released from further upriver or perhaps just by those upriver stripers developing lockjaw. Although we figured that the event would really crock them this year the final results were extremely dismal.

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Dennis, who organizes the event, tells us that there were 119 boats entered and that was fantastic. But - the results were totally shocking – only 4 fish were weighed in, and fifth place was left vacant. The top four fish weighed 15, 12.9, 11 and 11 pounds respectively.

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One possible reason for this poor catch could have been the lack of herring up there on Saturday. Let’s face it, the bulk of those linesiders will be following their food source and  if the main school of herring isn’t around all you’re going to be fishing for are straggler stripers (strange as it may seem, the herring appeared to be back there on Sunday).

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The Hudson’s water temperature is the big thing right now – yesterday we saw the temp in most locations from Coxsackie to the south either playing with or exceeding the 62 degree mark (the Albany area appeared to be running about three degrees cooler). For the more experienced striper fishermen this means just one thing – the spawn will have started and will be proceeding apace from this point on.

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Yesterday (Monday) we became aware of two areas where some spawning took place – Germantown and Glasco, and there might have been yet another spawn in the Poughkeepsie area. These spot spawns will more than likely be an ongoing thing during this next week and should see a definite uptick in number a few days from now when we get those weekend 70+ degree temperatures that are being predicted.

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Even though the main spawn will likely be done by the end of next week I know I’ll be hearing about stripers with “green” eggs for the remainder of the month, and that’s entirely normal. Not all stripers will ripen their roe at the same time, and there is even one train of thought that some of the females might not even drop their eggs in the river but rather head on back out to the ocean and reabsorb them. Whatever… it is what it is.

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As far as the timing of the spawn goes it appears to be occuring right during the normal established time span. Over the past 28 years we’ve observed the spawn to start as late as May 23 and as early as May 5 as it did last year, with the bulk of the years seeing it between May 13 and 16. It does appear that the trend during the past 15 years has been toward a slightly earlier spawn, perhaps as much as a week earlier than 25 years ago. These figures may not be “officially” accurate but are derived from our own personal observation notes kept since 1984.

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As far as fishing for the stripers during the actual spawn - you will find it can be excellent. Of course the fish in the act of spawning will not be receptive to your baits but there usually are lots of other fish holding beneath those surfacing stripers. These deeper fish will definitely hit.

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The one caution we do want to throw out to you is to not run your boat through an area of spawning fish. Those surfacing fish are just about completely oblivious to boats, and motors, and slashing propellers - many get needlessly damaged by overly zealous anglers who run their boat right into the middle of an ongoing spawn. The annual striped bass run is peaking this week.

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Our contest standings remain the same as they were at the close of April 29th, the day when the top three fish in our event were caught. At present, taking into account the number of small fish which have been around this year, it sure seems as if William Walsh’s 47 ¾ inch linesider has a lock on first place. But of course past experience has shown that such is not the case at all – there always are some huge fish around at the end of May that are liable to be brought in. Year 2011 proved that when the first place fish was taken on May 26 (49 ¼”) and the second place fish on June 1 (48 ¼”). Lots of time to land that lunker yet – good luck.             Tom G

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HUDSON RIVER UPDATE, SUNDAY, MAY 13, 2012, 11 A.M.

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The striper action during the past two days has been rather slow. The debris field was still working its way south from Catskill  - lots of timber. Even so, fishermen were picking up a striper here and there. Of particular note is Bill Buck's 42 3/4 inch striper - it was the first contest fish brought in that was taken on an artificial lure, a RAPALA. Nice catch.

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This morning's reports from the water were that the temperature was running in the 60 - 61 degree range. We consider this to be just about the immediate pre-spawn range and also are aware of a boated striper today that was running some roe. It seems likely that spawns will be starting this week, anytime now.

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When the spawning stripers congregate in localized areas the fishing action can be fantastic. Certainly most of the fish will be concentrating on spawning but there will also be lots of others very receptive to biting on hook and line. If you spot surface spawning activity drop us a note as to where and when you observed it. It's not hard to distinguish - the fish will be seen thrashing about at the surface of the water, sometimes in areas encompassing acres of water.     Tom G

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RIVER BULLETIN - Friday, May 11, 2012

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We have reports of a real nasty debris field working downriver from the Catskill area - huge logs, etc. Use caution. Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS RUN UPDATE – Thursday, May 10, 2012

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The striper fishing action continues to be red-hot in the Hudson, with anglers reporting multiple hook-ups and landings in the section between Malden and Troy. Most of these fish are ranging between 24 and 39 inches in length with just a smattering of even larger fish that hit the measuring board somewhere in the low 40’s.

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The Glasco area was reporting some good action about a week ago but we’ve heard nothing since so we’d have to guess that the action has slowed down. The flats both north and south of the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge have been producing but the few reports we received were of slower action with smaller fish. From Kingston south we’ll also have to surmise that the present action is slower since reports from there are definitely lacking.

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The morning bite here at Catskill has been excellent with some mid-week trips boating 15 – 16 fish, most of them measuring in the three foot range and a couple of 42’s. We’re aware of a few 40 inchers reported from the 4 Mile Point area to the north of Athens but have not heard much from Stockport right across the river from there. This is somewhat similar to the lack of better action from the boys fishing at Greendale, right across the river from Catskill.

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Further upriver in the New Baltimore – Ravena area the fishing has reportedly been good with many anglers boating multiple, but smaller, fish; we had a couple of reports of debris in the water there - be careful. Up in Bethlehem the same appears to be holding true even though some fishermen may be complaining that they “only” got two or three fish to the boat;  haven’t heard anything from the Troy area – we can’t tell you what’s going on unless you tell us first.

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Our over-all perception right now is that we are very rapidly approaching the peak of the run, at least here in our Catskill area. The present water temp is in the 58 – 59 degree range, a range that generally tends to put the fish into a definite heightened activity mood. The peak fishing time here has been in the morning, generally best during the first three hours of the fall. Initial reports from the water this A.M. were of slower action but that was prior to the start of ebb - generally the first two hours of daylight produce the best.

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Good fishing was to be had from the Catskill launch north to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge and then continuing about an equal distance to the north of the bridge (to where the houses end), a stretch known to some locals as the “Bridge Run”.

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As we are in a slightly cooler weather pattern right now the main striper spawn should be delayed by a few days but now it would appear to be about a week away. Of course, not all the fish spawn at the same time - you should have a good chance to get in on some of the best fishing of the year during the next 7 days and then see a slackening of action during the rest of the month. The exception at that time will be the Albany Troy area which usually sees a later peak.

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Those of you lunker hunters out there should keep in mind that very often the largest fish of the year will be taken at the very end of the striper run. For instance, last year the second place fish was taken in the last week of May and the winning striper actually was caught in the first week of June (both were taken on chunk bait).

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Also, we’ve been hearing rumors of huge stripers being caught. These will remain as rumors until we measure any such fish. If any of these tales should be true then they definitely were not caught by any of our 753 contest participants.

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For any of you salt water anglers out there we do have a closeout special here at the shop you might be interested in. It’s on a Penn rod and reel combo. The reel is a salt water (non-baitrunner) PENN 750SSm and is “factory matched” to a PENN SLAMMER SL1530S70F, 7 foot, 1 piece rod rated for up to 30 pound test line. The reel itself normally sells for $121 while the combo goes for around $165. Our close-out price for the outfit is $99.98.           Best of luck - Tom G.

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS RUN UPDATE – Monday, May 7, 2012

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After Saturday initiated a relatively slow start to last weekend it was Sunday that opened the door to some really terrific striped bass fishing on our Hudson. Furthermore, the good fishing has continued all the way through Monday and, unless the weather shuts it down, should run right through this coming weekend.

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Anglers are reporting multiple landings and releases of stripers (up to about 39 inches in length) with double as well as triple hook-ups not being unusual. While herring were rather sparse last week a huge swarm of them appeared to move upriver during the weekend and, sure enough, the stripers were right there with them. The water temperature in our area of the main river ranges between 55 and 58 degrees and is somewhat off-color but not that bad.

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The way that the intensity of the catch is being reported right now appears to be what we refer to as the “early pre-spawn” stage, even though the water temperature is somewhat cooler than we usually find during that phase. It could just be that there are simply more stripers in the river than we usually see and therefore we are getting all this great striper action. Though extremely hard to predict this year it appears that the spawn is one to two weeks away and the fishing should get better and better as we move along this time frame. As some of the bays to the sides of the main river start to warm up “spot spawns” will be seen starting at any time now, especially in areas to the south of Catskill.

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The mystery right now is – to where did that pack of huge stripers that arrived  about a week ago disappear? I know that Fred up in New Baltimore found one of them – a 43 ¼ incher, but the others are still lost. When they once more make their appearance our contest standing board is sure to see some dramatic changes.                 Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS RUN UPDATE – Thursday, May 03, 2012

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Even though we know that a contingent of larger striped bass arrived here in our mid-Hudson River valley last weekend they now seem to have disappeared into the river’s swirling depths. While it’s true that most of our contest entrants no longer bring sub-43 inch fish into the shop (they’re too small) we have always received reports of such fish being caught – but not this week! We’ve only heard reports of scattered smaller fish throughout our area.

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In the meantime, Dennis further up in Albany reports that the bite up there has been turning back on. At the Troy dam the first-light bite seems to have been particularly good. Although there are some reports of plenty of herring in those upper reaches, not all anglers find that to be the case - we have been selling bagged herring to many of them who can’t seem to find any there.

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 By the way, if any of you purchase so-called herring in frozen vacuum packs that turn out to be complete mush and won’t even stay on the hook – those are not our specie of Hudson River herring. They are some sort of Pacific ocean fish that have been tagged as herring but are far, far away from what you need to catch stripers. They don’t even seem to be very good eel bait – get local stuff.

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The river’s water temperature throughout most of our section ranges between 52 and 54 degrees, actually quite an ideal range for striped bass activity. But, many local anglers feel that the colder nights we’ve had this past week really turned those fish off, making them go deeper into the river’s depths. If that truly is the case then we should see a rapid recovery of the action by this weekend - the forecast calls for milder temperatures.

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Although most feeder creeks into the Hudson are now flowing normally the main river itself  is off-color due to the flow-down of muddier water from the river’s northern reaches. To add to the nastiness of the off-color water, now is also the time when the river’s locks from Troy upstream are opened up. This usually brings a torrent of winter accumulated timbers and trash downriver and makes it imperative that you keep a watchful eye while navigating this waterway.

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Despite the weather and debris the fishing this weekend should be good. Weeks ago when we were in the midst of that warming spell our worries were that the annual striper spawn would occur perhaps as early as the start of May and those fish that had spawned would already be leaving our waterway. Obviously this has not happened and now it appears that the spawn is probably at least two to three weeks away. In the meantime the number of stripers in the river will continue to increase as more and more ocean fish enter  each day.

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Our bait of choice under the present conditions would have to be chunk herring, at least if we were interested in trying to catch the biggest, meanest striper in the river. Many of the more experienced anglers feel that those big “cow” stripers are just too lazy to want to chase down a meal of fast swimming herring – they much prefer to gulp up a tidbit that’s just lying there in front of them. But make no mistake, should a live herring venture too close they will definitely scoff  it up.

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To bear witness to this “chunk bait preference” just check out what our present contest leader William Walsh used as bait to catch his 47 ¾ incher – it was chunk. Additionally, last year’s winner Tom Borchert used chunk bait to win our striped bass event with his 49 ¼ inch behemoth. I know that many of you think that live herring is the only way to go but I suggest you play it smart – since you are allowed the use of three rods this year, throw at least one out baited with chunk.   Tom G 
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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS CONTEST UPDATE – Sunday, April 29, 2012

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In our previous report we said that “The big ones are coming!” Well, those stripers now are here.

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Late this morning a large grouping of BIG fish moved upriver through the Norrie Point area and north past Kingston into the vicinity of the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge. There several of our contest anglers picked off some real beauts. Among the big fish caught there today are the three new leaders in our striped bass standings.

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 Since we closed at 1 p.m. today there wasn't time to get all the pictures up until now but here they are. We have posted William Walsh’s now-contest-leading 47 ¾ inch striper picture above for everyone else to drool over. This fish is definitely a contest contender. Walsh caught his fish below Kingston using chunk herring for bait.

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The other two big fish today were taken by Nick Kulick (46 ½”), and Randy Brockett (45 ¾”). With these fish being entered we now have a higher mark for everybody else to shoot at. It also negates any reason to bring any striped bass smaller than 43 inches in to the River Basin. In the next few days we'll see just how big a school of these larger fish we have moving upriver.      Tom G.

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS CONTEST UPDATE – Thursday, April 26, 2012, 5 P.M.

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5 P.M., end of the day… and a brand new leader in our striper contest! This is just a quick update; we’ll have a picture up tomorrow.

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Marc Palazzo of Germantown (his picture is already posted here with his previous 41 ¾ inch entry… which now fades away into the sunset---- -- -) nailed a gorgeous 44 ¾ incher late this afternoon. It was the first “over 44 inch” fish we’ve seen this year. He was fishing the start of a rising tide in the “Golden Triangle” (Catskill – Germantown – Malden) with a live herring when the 40.3 pound striper inhaled his bait. The big ones are coming!   Tom G

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Hudson River Striper Bulletin Report – Thursday, April 26, 2012

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Even though we’ve seen a goodly number of 40+ inch stripers caught this year it’s still apparent that the real big fish have not arrived. Those huge 44 inch or longer stripers that will just about knock your socks off are still off somewhere, on their way up.

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Of course this always brings up the thought that perhaps those larger fish might be absent this year. After all, with the present plethora of stripers ranging in size from 18 to 39 inches inundating the river perhaps this just is the year that the “big’uns” take a breather and not show up.

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Nah, that in itself is an unlikely scenario. After all, the “big fish time” has not even arrived yet. In checking back in the River Basin’s records book (which dates back to 1979) we see that of the top 25 largest striped bass that we have recorded as being brought in the shop… 22 have been caught in May (1 in June, 2012)! This tells us that we are right on the cusp of being inundated by huge stripers. So if you are planning to be out there fishing you had better spool on some heavier line and get an even bigger net cause the “good times” are just about to start.

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The heavy rains we had earlier this week certainly did a job of messing up the present appearance of the river. The transition from a condition of “I can’t believe the water is so clear” to the “Man, did it get dirty fast” took approximately 2 days to accomplish. The reason it took so long was that the dirty water from way further upriver had to work its way down to us… and now it’s here.

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The good news is that the stripers are already here – and they won’t be going back for some weeks yet. Therefore, the good fishing we’ve been experiencing should continue even though the water might not appear to be as pretty anymore. The water temperature this morning was at 52 degrees in the Catskill Creek and 54 in the Hudson itself – an excellent level for good striper fishing action.

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Even though the local feeder creeks should be in decent shape for the weekend the main river itself will remain muddy. You might want to concentrate a little bit more on using “chunk” herring baits rather than whole herring. Even before the water dirtied up chunk baits were doing well as evidenced by the fact that the top three fish in our contest all were caught on chunk bait. Just remember to change that chunk often, about every ten minutes is ideal for keeping that fresh “come hither” smell in the water. Any longer than that and the chunk washes out and its effectiveness diminishes rapidly.

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By the way, the new leading fish in our contest, Jesse Sperl’s 43 incher, which was taken on chunk bait in the Saugerties area, weighed 37.8 pounds. That is the heaviest fish we’ve weighed in so far this year.

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As we were getting ready to post this update to our website Dave Handlowich Jr. of Ancram arrived to have us log-in a striper he had just caught. Dave was using chunk bait on Catskill’s Hudson River “Bridge Run” when he nailed this 42 ¾ inch beaut . This now places him in second place in our contest standings.                     Tom G

 

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Hudson River Striper Bulletin Report - Saturday, April 21, 2012

As we end the first week of our 25th Annual Striped Bass Contest we see that Dan Swartout’s 42 ¼ inch striper is still leading the pack. Dan was fishing chunk herring baits in the section of the Hudson between Athens and Coxsackie when he hooked the fish. The 2nd thru 5th positions are still in a constant state of flux at this early stage of the contest but even so, we will make sure that the standings shown above are up to date - even if we do not get a chance to post a new report here .

 As it now turns out, most of the larger fish we’ve seen coming in appear to have been caught in the river between Cheviot and Hudson. Both live and chunk herring baits have been working well. Prime fishing time has been early morning, approximately the first two hours of daylight, and then again starting at about an hour before dark and continuing right into the night. Here in Catskill the area around the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, particularly the north side, seems to have been producing the best.

The reports we’ve been getting from downriver around the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge have been of meager action and quite a few of those anglers have been coming further north in hopes of finding some quality fish. The Rondout Creek has a goodly share of stripers and herring. The reports from down in the Newburgh area have been of mostly smaller fish.

The Albany area is producing well, news already well-put-out since you can now see the “Albany Armada” back on the river – 50 to 100 striper boats jammed into the narrow confines of the river up there. Stripers appear to be plentiful although obtaining bait seems to be a rather “iffy” proposition. The word we’ve been getting from lots of anglers up there is that if you can get the bait, you’ll get the fish. The only downside is that the larger fish seem to be lacking – plenty of 24 to 36 inchers but a paucity of larger ones.

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We’re seeing plenty of contest entry fish come through at present but it’s quite obvious that the real big “cow” stripers still have not made their appearance in the river. The 40 to 42 inch range seems to make up a healthy proportion of the striper run so far but we have yet to see a 44 incher or longer.

We want to thank all of you who have come through the shop, both locals as well as out of town visitors. You have made this spring the very best one we’ve had in over 35 years of business and we appreciate it. Hopefully we’ll yet have about another month of this striper run and we’ll get a chance to meet even more of you.       Tom G

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Striper Note, Wednesday, April 18, 2012 -
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We're way behind schedule on lots of things here at the store so our postings will be somewhat delayed. The scoreboard at the top of this page will reflect the actual contest standings and we'll make sure that those standings are correct.
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The river fishing for stripers has to be, without a doubt, the best we've seen in the past 15 years. True, the real large fish still appear not to have shown up but what's out there, fish up to about 39 inches, are there in numbers. Chunk bait as well as live has been working fine. Stripers are all over, from Newburgh to Troy.  Tom G.
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The RIVER BASIN'S 2012 STRIPED BASS CONTEST  lead was taken over early on the first day with Dan Swartout's 42 1/4" inch fish. Dan caught the striper in the Coxsackie area while using chunk herring bait. The second place fish, a 40 incher caught on chunk by Aaron Crewell, also came from the Coxsackie area. Jerry Rowell was the first to hold the #1 slot with a 38 1/2 incher taken next to the Rip VanWinkle Bridge at Catskill but was quickly deposed by Swartout and Crewell. A record of 753 entrants are vying for contention in this year's contest which is paying back more than $11,000 in prizes to the top 5 fish (see pay schedule below).

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Hudson River Striper Bulletin Report II – Monday, April 16, 2012

Present contest standings:

1)      42 ¼”  Dan Swartout              chunk bait       Coxsackie

2)      40”      Aaron Crewell             chunk bait       Coxsackie

3)      38 ½”  Jerry Rowell Sr           herring             Catskill, RVW Br.

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Great weather for fishing                  Tom G

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Hudson River Striper Bulletin Report – Monday, April 16, 2012

First fish entered in our contest this morning – 38 ½” by Jerry Rowell, caught on live herring at Rip VanWinkle Bridge.

Contest went off with a record breaking 753 anglers; paybacks as follow:

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1)      $6,221

2)      $1,923

3)      $1,470

4)      $1,018

5)      $   678

Bigger fish due to come in right now per phone call. Check back.    Tom G.

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, April 13, 2012

 .THE FISH ARE HERE

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The time is here, just in time for our striper contest we’re now getting dynamite reports of striped bass activity all the way up the river to the Troy dam. Even though the striper fishing in the Albany area is really turning on with stripers up to about 36” and about 24 lbs. in weight it seems that the herring may still be somewhat spotty up there. Some anglers report no problem getting them but others are having problems. Today we had several Albany area anglers drive down here to Catskill to buy baitfish which they couldn’t get up there.

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The action between Albany and Coxsackie appeared somewhat slower but that was probably due to a lack of anglers plying those waters. Coxsackie itself was good and just a few miles further south in the Stockport / 4 Mile Point section the fishing appeared to be excellent with some stripers up to 42 inches long being measured.

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Around Hudson the action was also improving with the “shanty town” area being good and the “towers” continuing to produce fish just as it has for the past couple of weeks. Heading southward toward Catskill the fishing again was very good in the vicinity of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge and along the “bridge run” extending southward to the Catskill launch ramp. The mouth of the Catskill Creek has produced a few decent fish as has the creek itself although these have generally been less than 3 feet in length.

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Across from Catskill the shore bound anglers along the railroad tracks in Greendale have been having fair action as has those guys in the Roe-Jan section. The Catskill Germantown Malden triangle has turned on. The area of the Green Flats to the south of Cheviot has accounted for numerous good fish including a 47 ½ incher caught a tad too early for our contest and therefore released, perhaps to find another contestant’s hook this coming week.

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Saugerties and the Glasco flats have been producing numerous fish for anglers. Unfortunately we’ve had a lack of reports from the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge area. The Rondout Creek is producing enough stripers to keep those anglers there satisfied. Present reports to the south of there are lacking.

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CONTEST RECORD READY TO TOPPLE

Tomorrow will be the final day for entry into our striped bass contest. You must get your $15 registration fee to us no later than this Sunday when we will extend our usual closing time to 5 p.m. There will be no acceptance of late registrations after then.

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Presently it appears that we will be setting yet another contest record both as far as the number of registrants and the amount of money to be paid back as prizes. Going over 700 sign-ups appears to be an almost certainty now, so naturally the awards will also set a record.

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We’ve been going through “bait runner striper combos” like wildfire here at the shop and have just received additional rods and reels to refresh our offerings. The combos at the shop are already discounted below their individual-piece prices and so afford an excellent opportunity for you to pick up a decent striper outfit at a good price. Check them out when you come through.  Best of luck to all our contest entrants when the event starts this coming Monday.          Tom G.

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Wednesday, April 11, 2012

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 FINAL DAYS TO ENTER THE RIVER BASIN’S STRIPER CONTEST
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This Sunday April 15th will be the final day for you to sign-up for our 25th Annual Striped Bass Contest. The event itself starts at 12:01 a.m. on the 16th.  Registration for the 100% payback event will only cost you $15 which is far less than for any other river contests held at this time of year… and our paybacks are definitely far far better than for any of the others.

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Even though we won’t be able to tell you the exact amount of paybacks until after the sign-up period is over (since we pay back 100% of all entry monies), the sum will be greater than what we have shown below. As of the close of business today the payback schedule was as follows:

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1)      $4,686.00

2)      $1,448.00

3)      $1,107.00

4)      $   766.00

5)      $   511.00

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Don’t forget to sign up.

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 BIGGER FISH START TO ARRIVE - JUST IN TIME FOR THE CONTEST

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The best news of the year so far is here – the bigger fish have started to arrive! Stripers over 40 inches in length have now become more than just a rumor and we’ve received verified reports on quite a few being taken. These larger fish have been in our area since this past Monday and we know that they have already progressed upriver past the Coxsackie area. We’re expecting to get reports of them being caught in Ravena and New Baltimore by this weekend.

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It really appears to be shaping up to be an excellent striper run, and for the Capital District area in particular. Our feeling is that the Albany drought (lack of big fish) of the past three years will finally end this year and not only will the NUMBERS of fish reappear there but so will QUALITY fish such as Lori Lash’s 2005 contest winning 44 ¾ incher, caught at the Port of Albany.

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Down here the best fishing locations during the past couple of days appear to have been in the Catskill / Germantown / Malden “Golden Triangle”, and around the Stockport Creek locale. Multiple fish up to about the 42 inch range have been caught at these locations. We’ve been waiting to have somebody bring a striper of larger than 40 inches to the shop but have yet to actually see one here. If you get one like that which you’re keeping and are in the vicinity, stop thru for a measurement and let us take a picture of it (we only use pictures of fish which we see and measure) for the web site.

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WHAT’S WITH THE HERRING?

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It’s been almost a full month since the first of this year’s herring arrived in the upper reaches of the tidewater Hudson River. This arrival was so much earlier than anybody here could remember although it seems likely that it must have happened at some previous times.

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Still, it even seemed to catch the members of ENCON’s Hudson River herring seine crew by surprise. Back in March, while checking in the lower reaches of the Hudson, they just weren’t seeing any herring, at least not until about the end of the month. This lack of herring was a definite cause of concern. Of course, what they appeared to not be aware of was that the first run of herring had ALREADY blown past their netting locations… and that some of those fish were already as far north as Albany.

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Even so, it must be said that the herring run has been somewhat spotty at most of our mid-Hudson locations. Our herring suppliers tell me that there seem to be plenty of herring in the tributary creeks but the main river population is still somewhat iffy – plenty one day and just about nil a day or two later as the schools of fish pass through.

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Shore bound anglers are barely managing to capture enough to fish with by luring those silvery little devils in with stoolies and then scapping them. Sometimes one color stoolie will work better than another – it pays to experiment. Although they are working better in the creeks, in the river Sabiki rigs still have not really come into their own – they work best in slightly warmer water.

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If you go out this weekend make sure that you have some fresh “chunk” with you so that you can be fishing even while trying to catch bait. You are allowed the use of three rods this year so bait up two for the stripers and jig with the third. Naturally, here at the River Basin we do have fresh bait herring you can purchase – either frozen or salted, but NOT alive. This stuff has been working real well.

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 We’ve been seeing some smaller herring start to show up now – these should probably chunked into just two pieces rather than the three that you can make out of some of the larger alewives. Keep in mind that you should refresh your chunk bait about every 10 minutes, 15 at the very longest. If you examine your chunk after just 10 minutes of use you’ll see why it should be changed – it’s all washed out. Keep fresh smell in the water for best results with the stripers!

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What do you do with that washed out piece of chunk you pull in? Take it and cut it into small pieces. Then intermittently throw it out behind the boat as chum. Sometimes this works real well but at other times it just seems to attract catfish and eels. You’ll have to judge for yourself if it’s worth the effort. But you’ll never know until you try. See you at the shop – Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Sunday, April 08, 2012

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NEW E-MAIL ADDRESS

Our old E-mail address was hijacked by some spammer so now we have a new one – “tomgweb at yahoo”. Please don’t use the old one anymore since we will not be checking it – and should you receive any correspondence from it just hit delete.

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PRESENT STATUS OF THE RUN

After being at a seeming stand-still for most of last week our striper run finally appeared to take a turn for the better. Reports of increased fish activity from south of Kingston started to come in last Thursday and Friday. Saturday the fishing activity at Kingston was reported to be good. The Germantown / Tivoli area was even producing for some trollers as well as the guys fishing from the bank. Here in Catskill and Greendale across the river Thursday saw a definite improvement in action as fish up to, and surpassing, three feet in length started to show up. On Saturday we were receiving some reports of fish up to 40 inches in length. The best action was being had on “chunk” herring even though it seemed that catfish were taking most of that bait.

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Columbiaville / Stockport, to the north of Catskill, was reporting that the herring had moved back up into that creek in decent numbers and that striper action in that area was actually rather good – most of the fish were around the 30 inch size with a few going into the high 30’s.

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Further up the river reports of fish became much spottier. Herring appeared to be rather sparse but they definitely were there in places like the Postenkill. The trick is to be there when the herring are – they usually tend to enter and move up on a rising tide. Even though harder to come by, stripers of 22 to 30 inches in length are being caught in the Albany Troy area… at least judging from the pictures many of you have been sending us.

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Of course we still have to remember that we are seeing the striper action uncommonly early here at Catskill. Our striped bass contest starting date, which is next Monday, April 16th, has always been picked to be approximately a week prior to the arrival of the main striped bass run and, although we have seen plenty of smaller fish here, we figure the main migration arrival is still a week to two weeks in the future.

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THE RIVER’S CONDITION

This Easter Sunday morning at daybreak the Hudson’s water temperature at the Catskill launch ramp was a chilly 47 degrees – chilly for us but just about ideal for the linesiders to make a big push upriver. Due to the fact that we’ve had no springtime flooding the water clarity is rather unusual for this time of year – we could see down a good 2 ½ to 3 feet.

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CONTEST STATUS – ENTRY IS $15

As of right now we have just one week remaining for you to register for our 25th ANNUAL RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS CONTEST. The deadline to sign up is April 15th. If the registration were to close today the paybacks to the top 5 fish would be as follows:

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1)      $4,015.00

2)      $1,241.00

3)      $   949.00

4)      $   657.00

5)      $   438.00

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Not too shabby. But – the registration won’t close today so the posted amounts will get even larger as the final week’s rush to enter reaches it’s peak. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of effect today’s $4.10 a gallon gasoline price has on the total number of people traveling here to fish. We’ll let you know if anything new breaks.    Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Monday, April 02, 2012

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Even though our striper-herring run this year appeared to get off to the earliest start we’ve seen in the past thirty five years it's progress at the present time appears to have come to a screeching halt. Yes, there are herring and stripers in our waters right now, all the way upriver to Troy but they are just the meager start to this year’s fish migration which will really get pumped up and under way in about the next two to three weeks.

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The record breaking warm spell we had a few weeks ago really faked out the fish and had a lot of us anglers thinking that the number of fish would just keep increasing as we are accustomed to seeing in a typical year. Nope! Mother Nature put the brakes on that with some really frigid temperatures last week. This brought the early advance to a standstill and, it appears, will bring the main 2012 run just about back on to schedule.

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One topic of discussion we’ve been having here at the River Basin Sport Shop has been as to the composition of those first stripers that did make the trip upriver. These fish were not of the same status which we’ve seen first to arrive in our waters during the past twenty five years. They are smaller, what we commonly refer to as “schoolies”, ranging mostly in size from 18 to 32 inches and weighing up to about 15 pounds. Yes, there have been a few bigger fish caught but these have been scarce exceptions. Our usual spring runs of the past two decades have been seen to START with fish of 30 inches and longer in size.

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Back about 25 years and longer ago, by the time the river’s striper run reached us it was more or less a hodge-podge of smaller fish - a “big” fish then was considered to be anything larger than 30 inches. This is a size not even worth a second look at present. Most of the larger stripers back then, those between 30 and 46 inches in length, had been captured by commercial gill netters on the flats down in the lower salt/brackish sections of the Hudson. From mid-1970 on it took almost a decade for the striper fishery to recover to the point where larger fish once more became abundant here in the upper tidal section of the river.

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So what happened this year? The local consensus of opinion is one of two things: 1) that the larger fish just weren’t hanging around the mouth of the Hudson when the unusually warm weather triggered the herring to enter the waterway. Smaller stripers were and  they pursued their food supply upriver, or 2) the stripers that arrived up here were not the ocean migrating stripers but rather the smaller (in number and size), resident Hudson River population that spends each winter down in the salty Haverstraw Bay region of the Hudson.

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It’s really impossible for us “non-fisheries biologists” to know for sure which stripers we presently see here but it sure has been great to get an early start on the 2012 season… and to anticipate the main run which is yet to come in the next 2 to 3 weeks.

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 If you want to go out and give it a try you DO have a shot at catching a striper at present. We do receive daily reports of fish being caught all up and down our waterway. And, needless to say, if you need any bait or proper tackle for the stripers we do have it all in stock. Best baits to use at present – chunk herring or bloodworms. Get yourself tuned up for the heavier action yet to come this month.

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There is no doubt that striper fishermen are all psyched-up and raring to go this year. We’ve seen plenty of them, all fired up, come through the shop already. Most of the interest so far has been in the many different “baitrunner” reels of a size for stripers. We stock more of this type than any other shop we are aware of – there are fully two dozen different baitrunners on the shelf at the time of this writing, ranging in price from $49.98 (too small for stripers but ideal for reservoir fishing) to $199.98 (superb Shimano creations if you can swing the price).

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Despite the dour economic forecast for this coming year we’ve gone ahead and stocked a full assortment of these “bad boys”. Many of them are available even further discounted if purchased as a rod/reel combo. And, as usual, we have a full stock of all striper gear waiting for you – rigs, hooks, slides, floats, heavy duty swivels, sinkers, landing nets, gill nets, scap nets, herring pens, striper rods, line, etc.

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Although we always do a lot of bulk-spooling of line for anglers it surprises us when one of our regular customers seems to finally “discover” that this service is available. This is particularly noticeable with our striper fishermen who require heavier lines for their equipment and usually do it once or twice each annual run. For those of you who have been wondering how often it should be done – at a minimum you should re-spool your line once each year, more often if you fish a lot.

Generally speaking, the total cost of having us re-spool a spinning reel with 20, 25 or 30 (or even 40) pound Berkley Big Game monofilament (up to 200 yards) is $9 plus tax. This is all PREMIUM line and winds up costing less than if you purchased the line separately.  The spool will be properly filled, there’ll be no left-over yardage of line that goes to waste, you won’t have to wonder and ponder if the line came off the new spool in the proper direction so as to avoid line twist, and you won’t have to ask your “significant other” to hold the spool on a pencil while you crank away.    Tom G.

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 SPRINGTIME CATSKILL CREEK FISHING – THE END OF AN ERA??
The following is a copy of the letter we sent to both Catskill’s “THE DAILY MAIL” newspaper and New York’s ENCON regarding plans to shut down a section of the Catskill Creek for springtime fishing.  This plan did not receive the endorsement of our local government officials but ENCON's final decision on this matter has yet to be made. A great many local anglers fear that no matter what the truth of the matter is this rash decision will be pushed through.
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This is in reply to your article “Close the creek” which appeared in the Daily Mail on Tuesday, April 12, 2011..I should like to reply to Mr. Bennett’s plans to place a section of the lower tide-water Catskill Creek off-limits to fishing for an approximate 1 ½ month period each year. I, as a long time fisherman on that section of waterway and as one of the founding fathers of three different nationally affiliated fishing clubs here in Catskill, and as the owner of Catskill's River Basin Sport Shop fishing store for the past 33 years, wish to voice not only my opposition but the opposition of a multitude of other anglers to such an undertaking.
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During the period of closure, which supposedly would encompass the second half of March and the entire month of April, the section of the Catskill Creek from the Route 9W bridge upstream to Leeds has provided anglers with an amazingly varied fishery since the area was originally settled in the 1600’s—one unequaled elsewhere.  I personally have been fishing this particular stretch of water during the proposed closure period for over 50 years, clambering over its rocks from the time of my pre-teen years all the way to the present. Not only have I done so, but so also have multitudes of other local fishermen and many customers from my business. What would be halted at this MOST productive time of the year is as follows:
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Trout: This is the only period of the year when we have access to brown trout this far down in our waterway. The springtime high waters and semi-floods always wash these fish from their haunts in the upper reaches of the Catskill and Kaaterskill Creeks down into our area. Of importance for anyone fishing for them are the shoal to deep areas that abound in this section and, in particular, where tidewater finally meets its match with the outflow from our mountain streams. This section is locally known as the Edgemere and was dedicated over sixty years ago by Eleanore Roosevelt for outdoor recreation use.
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Yellow perch: Springtime has always meant great yellow perch fishing in the Catskill Creek but nowhere on this waterway is there a location as conducive to the pleasures of sitting on the bank and “yanking out” a few perch as in this tidal transition zone. It’s an experience I, as well as countless others have enjoyed for, it seems, forever and it basically exists only during the proposed period of closure.
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Herring: Back in the 1950’s I recall watching beat-up wooden work boats dipping their huge scap nets into the waters of this area and seeing those nets once more emerge, alive with the sparkling silver of springtime alewives and herring. Although that time is long gone, as are those men and their boats, the herring and alewives still continue their genetically programmed springtime run up into the Catskill Creek in impressive numbers. And, they are still pursued by avid anglers, again in this accessible area where we find the shoal to deep hydrography.
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Striped Bass: This tidal transition zone remains as just about the only section in the Catskill Creek where anglers using artificial lures have a decent chance of catching striped bass. And, the best time of the year for this opportunity is during the proposed closure period when those stripers pursue the herring upstream. Additionally, the upper tidal transition zone is the only locally viable area where one can expect to successfully fish for striped bass using fly fishing gear. It is a section used by this cadre of anglers as well as by licensed New York State guides to bring their friends and clients.
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I have fished the section of the Catskill proposed for closure from ice-out through freeze-up (and, on occasion, even through the ice) from the early 1950’s right up to the present time and have personally caught 30 species of fish there – legally, on hook and line.
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The one fish I have never caught therein is the walleye. Oh, I know that walleye can at times be found in that section of the creek. But just as I make no effort to catch any other game fish out of season I most certainly make no effort to pursue this one. For any fisherman to be prohibited from fishing this section of the Catskill Creek because a few rogue anglers may choose to do so illegally would truly be a crime in itself.
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Surely when such an unlawful condition exists it should be up to the law enforcement division of our Environmental Conservation Department to handle it. The present, as well as past experiences, teach that if it does exist the handing out of a few citations will handle it quickly enough once the word spread. Thanks to the picture the Daily Mail ran in the paper last week this has already started to happen.
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It seems that this whole situation has been way overblown in its deleterious effect on our walleye fishery since this fishery, for all intents and purposes, does NOT exist. The only time this species is in the creek is during its closed season – after that I am not aware of one single fisherman that can actually go out and intentionally, for certain, catch one. These fish disappear into the depths of the main Hudson River and are but rarely, and then only inadvertently, caught. The closure of this section of the waterway would do nothing but cause ill will among the many legal anglers who enjoy fishing there.
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Already there is limited public access for fishing in our area. To close off almost half of the creek’s water for fishing certainly would make no sense. Rather than bring any people here to enjoy the splendor of our upper tidewater creek it would do just the opposite. What sense is this? Closing off the creek because of a few lawbreakers would be akin to closing off Rte. 9W because of a few speeders. Instead, let’s make sure law enforcement keeps doing its job. It should be kept in mind that walleye fishing during this time is ALREADY illegal.
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As an angler fishing the tidal Catskill Creek for more than 50 years, and as the owner of Catskill's River Basin Sport Shop in contact with thousands of anglers each year, I urge the Greene County legislature and Mr. Bennett to forgo the idea of closing this water and let us continue to enjoy our centuries old pastime of angling there.
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Sincerely yours.Thomas Gentalen, angler
River Basin Sport Shop, proprietor
(518)943-2111.
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After we posted the above story we received several phone calls about who to contact in this regard. You have until April 2 to send in your comments:
Comments on the proposals can be sent via e-mail to fishregs@gw.dec.state.ny.us  
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Hudson River Fishing Report – Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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As we head into the second week of this year’s striper run we’re still amazed that everything has popped so early. As near as we can tell from our sources the status of the run has remained pretty much the same for the past 7 days - here’s what we hear from up and down the river:

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The herring are now all the way up to the Troy dam. The Postenkill, a favorite herring catcher spot, is said to be packed with them. This is an interesting little creek with herring there in the daytime and then, after the sun sets, at this time of year spawning walleyes move in. Of course, nowadays a similar herring / walleye scenario is played out in just about all the tributary streams into the Hudson.

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 The one thing missing at the present time are the schools of smelt which used to run up the river each March. They petered out about 25 years ago as the results of the mid-1970’s ban on commercial river fishing for striped bass took hold and now, except for a rare sighting, these fish are virtually gone. Of course, their replacement has been in the form of hundreds of thousands (maybe?) of stripers which probably looked upon them as bite-sized candy and apparently sucked them right up. Looking at our records it appears that the striped bass population increased in number and size right up into the late 1980’s before leveling out.

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With the present river temperature at Catskill standing at 47 degrees, the wind howling and the air temp having dropped down to the mid-20’s last night there is a good chance that some of the creek herring will drop back into the deeper river waters for a day or so and become harder to catch.

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The stripers that have arrived in our mid-section of the tidal Hudson appear mostly to be in the 18 to 32 inch range (3 to 15 lbs.). This does seem a wee bit strange to us since we are used to seeing somewhat larger fish arrive in the area first, those measuring up to 38 inches. But since the action started here about three weeks early we won’t complain too much. Fish all the way from the Newburgh area north up to Stockport appear to be pretty much in the same size range.

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A normal patterning for striper arrivals here in the Catskill area is to have the main run start approximately three weeks after the first of the “scout” fish arrive. IF that should hold true in this non-typical year then we should expect to see a goodly increase in the number of stripers, as well as in the size of the fish, sometime around the end of the first week in April. If we revert back to our usual patterning then you could expect to see the better fishing start around the end of the third week in April. In this very unique year it is truly hard to predict just what may happen – the big ones could move in tomorrow.

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Anyway, the time is here. The floats at Catskill’s free launch ramp have now been installed and are just waiting for you and the parks are open for any shore-bound anglers. Here at the shop we have chunk herring bait as well as bloodworms for you to try. Tackle? We have the best selection of striper tackle around. We can re-spool your striper reels and issue your NY State fishing license as well as your mandatory Marine Species registration for the stripers. We have river maps and can provide you with good solid fishing instruction and data, not just merely rumor. Come on over, we’ll be glad to see you.       Tom G .

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Wednesday, March 21, 2012

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 Reports abound of plentiful herring from both up and down the river, and along with them– the striped bass! So far it seems that the herring have been running a bit on the large side, at least somewhat chunky. The striped bass have mostly been measuring up to about the 32 inch range and weighing in at around 15 pounds. A few reports of larger fish have come in but we have yet to see one of these. We did receive a small shipment of fresh bait herring to sell here at the shop today but if you wish to try and catch your own it seems that the Roe-Jan and Stockport Creeks have a pretty good run going at the present time.

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Sign-ups for our 25th Annual Striped Bass Contest are coming along real well and we are finally starting to log-in the entries now – unfortunately everything in this regard seems to be progressing at about a two week delay this year.

As all our past contest entrants know all striper entries are ranked by length as measured from the tip of the fish’s closed mouth to the furthest out tip of tail. Through the years we found that this was the surest way to do it – weights can be fudged, and when you start talking about a number of entrants like we have (last year we had almost 700 entrants)… it’s better to remove any temptation. Additionally, there is but ONE official measuring board and that’s the one here at the RIVER BASIN - all fish are sized on that board and in the same manner.

And, of course, our paybacks will be to the largest 5 fish brought in. The amount of payback is determined by the total amount of registration money – there is a 100% payback of all registration fees. The winner’s percentages are computed after the $4,000 guaranteed first prize money has been taken in. Any ties will have the total amount of money that’s up for consideration split between the tied contestants. Last year we paid back over $10,000. For a full list of rules and particulars you’ll have to stop through and pick up the entry application.

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Afternoon reports from the river today continued to tell of plentiful herring, and perhaps somewhat fewer stripers up to about 32 inches in length, with a couple perhaps around the 40 inch range. Plenty of herring and striper action down around the Kingston area also. The herring at the Roe-Jan are reported to be jumbo size and we’ve had confirmed herring reports from as far upriver as New Baltimore. Bethlehem still seems to be lacking any such action but that should be changing at any time now. The Hudson – Stockport area seems to have a particularly fairly good number of stripers around. We’ll keep you posted.   Tom G.   

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Monday, March 19. 2012

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WE’VE STARTED

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This past weekend was definitely the earliest date (March 15) that we here at the RIVER BASIN SPORT SHOP have ever logged the annual arrival of the river herring at Catskill.  Furthermore, it was the first time we ever saw the stripers here prior to St. Patrick’s Day – they arrived on March 15th(not too many in number or size but they had definitely arrived). Additionally, this past weekend we received a report that the first of the herring might have already reached the Postenkill Creek in the Albany area, but it was a night time observance, therefore somewhat iffy.

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The first surge of herring to arrive made a good showing in both the Roeliff-Jansenkill Creek and about 8 miles further upriver in the Stockport Creek at Columbiaville. From this time on, judging by past years, new schools of herring will be entering the Hudson on a fairly regular basis, working their way upriver and usually hanging around any feeder creeks they come to for a few days before pushing on further north toward the head of tidewater at Troy. Hopefully, they will soon be followed by schools of large stripers.

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We still have not received our first shipment of herring bait this year and won’t probably be getting it until next week. All we have right now are some frozen baits from last year’s run. We’ll try to get some sandworms or bloodworms for this coming weekend for any of you wanting to give it an early try. But – do remember that this is just the start of the run and “usually” the good fishing won’t get started here until about three weeks after the first herring passes under the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.

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By the way, our striper contest starts on April 16th – anything caught before that date does not count. Be sure to be registered for the event by April 15th.

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Email Address

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In order to try and give you a more thorough idea of what’s going on up and down the river we’re once more going to re-try an old idea. A few years ago we were posting fishing reports on another web site but had to stop doing it due to the amount of E-mail we were getting – it was taking half a day every day just to try to respond to all the mail. We just couldn’t do that and finally had to stop it all together. Since that time we’ve been duplicating that effort here on the RIVER BASIN SPORTS web site but with the provision that we won’t be replying to any questions posed to us.

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The following Email address, “www.XXXX @XXXX.com” can be used to send us any fishing report you wish to contribute to the whole effort of fishing in our area. We will use the reports you send us to let others perusing this website know what’s going on. But again - there will be NO replies to any of the E-mails submitted other than as an acknowledgement of receipt. If you wish to participate in this effort feel free to so. Your Email address will not be used for anything else at all – no distribution of any kind!  Thank You.     Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Saturday, March 17, 2012

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 THERE’S HERRING AROUND

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Pretty much as we figured the yearly run of herring reached our area late Thursday, March 15, 2012, afternoon. Additional rumors of a few stripers having been caught were circulating this morning but we did not see any of these fish… and our sources of information so far are unknown quantities to us.
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We have no fresh herring bait in the shop as of yet but we've got plenty of supplies... and we are open 7 days a week now. Check our hours, listed above.   Tom G
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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday March 16, 2012

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 If you’re a regular visitor to this site you already know that the doomsday-like changes to the herring fishing regulations which we were all anticipating for 2012 did not materialize. This means that everything in that regard remains as it was in 2011. Here at the River Basin we all partook in a long sigh of relief… but have grave misgivings about the possible consequences of this action next year, in 2013. All we can do is wait and see what happens.

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THINGS ARE HEATING UP

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At the crack of dawn this morning a lone soul was to be seen standing down at Catskill’s launch ramp, shivering in the strong cold wind blowing up the Hudson River Valley. And I’ll confess – it was me. The task at hand was to take the river’s temperature, and that was completed without any wasted effort.

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The reading on my thermometer appeared somewhat unlikely… so I tossed it back into the waves again, same reading – just a smidgen below 43 degrees. Wow! The river had reached the temperature at which we usually anticipate herring arriving at any time – and fully about two weeks before normal.

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Back at the shop we made a few phone calls and found that yes, indeed, the herring are now in mid-river and are on their way here to us. Actually, considering the temperature, there is a good chance that a few of the lead fish might already be here, and might even be past us. If so, we’ll know in the next few days and will let you know right away.

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Even so, our herring suppliers are anticipating going out to test the waters during the next few days and if, and when, they meet with success we will have a fresh supply of this bait here at the shop (at present all we have are some of last year’s frozen fish). We’ll know in just a few days.

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HERRING JIGS

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Of course, if you just can’t wait for us to get them you can go out and try to jig up some of your own – but this is a tough task at the very beginning of the run. Nevertheless, it is possible with the use of herring jig rigs (Sabikis).

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Every few years or so we like to relate the story of how we first discovered how well these little multi-hook fish catchers were locally put into use and this seems like a good time to once more tell the story.

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Back about 20 years ago the prime place to catch your striper bait (herring) was in the tributary creeks to the Hudson. Here in Catskill the prime water was the Catskill Creek. And the primary method of doing this was by using smaller shad darts, either singly or tied tandem, that were cast out and then either reeled in or jigged vertically under a boat.

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In the beginning these worked just fine but as the popularity of striper fishing grew the creeks became rather crowded with boats, all trying for their day’s allotment of fishing bait. The resulting drop in the success rate for these bait fishermen was rather dramatic, since the bait now had to be shared between far more anglers.

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At the River Basin there was a lure, a “Wally Whale” rig, that had been sitting on our shelves for two or three years… and not a single one had ever been sold. But it always seemed to us that it had the potential to catch herring and alewives during their spring run.

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The time then was mid-May, the weather had already turned warm and it seemed that most of the herring had completely deserted our local waterway – anglers were reporting efforts of 2-3 hours just to catch 2 or 3 herring. One such day as one of the more adept local anglers was about to leave the shop for his daily fix of striper fishing, we offered him a few of these dust covered lures to try. He took them figuring he had nothing to lose, and we certainly felt the same way since they were just sitting there.

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Our angler friend went down on the creek and headed up to the High School Dock area, which was considered to be the most likely location to catch bait in the creek. He tossed his darts for about an hour and had the same luck as the other half dozen boats fishing there – zip! He moved down the creek further, trying the Hop-O-Nose Hole and then any other place he could think of, all to no avail. Disgusted, he was ready to call it a day when he spied the lures we had given him to try. “What the heck” he figured, and tied one on.

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He took a couple of casts with no luck and then, after retrieving his third cast, rather than pulling in his line he just left it dangling in the water 5-6 feet under the boat. All of a sudden, much to his surprise… the tip of his rod started bouncing up and down. He yanked on the rod, felt some resistance, then pulled in not one but TWO of the precious herring. HOLY SMOKE!

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In the next 15 minutes this magic lure let him load up his herring-well with over 2 dozen of the gorgeous bait, much to the consternation of the dumbfounded fishermen in several other boats looking on. Since our angler was the only one there catching bait, and very ably so, he was suddenly surrounded by curious fishermen straining to see what his magic lure was.

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Well, actually the lure was only magic to us freshwater anglers - saltwater fishermen had been using similar creations for a long time. It was a “herring/smelt” rig, also called a “Sabiki” – six different bare gold hooks tied onto a central leader, each having a tiny brightly colored (red or green) bead placed just in front of the eye - and it was dynamite.

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The word quickly spread and our meager supply was completely gone by the end of the next day, but an emergency shipment had already been ordered. When that new supply arrived eager fishermen quickly snatched them up. Fortunately for us (or perhaps unfortunately) the striper run was already at its end, leaving us plenty of time to prepare for the next year.

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When the next year’s striper run began we were all stocked up with the magic “herring rigs” and our fishermen were happy. Of course, the smaller shad darts still worked to catch herring but, in most situations, it seemed that nothing was quite as effective as those special rigs. In the years in between we’ve carried lots of other styles (and still do) here at the shop, some of which have garnered their own following as being the “best”. But, overall, it seems that the most effective rig, the one that outsells all others by about 10 to1 here, remains that original one from 15 years ago.

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Often anglers come in and pick up these “Wally Whale” rigs a dozen at a pop – just to make sure that they don’t run out during the striper run. Yet others will order a few dozen of them months in advance for just the same reason. This makes sense since they do have a habit of getting stuck on the bottom, and quite often the tiny hooks will actually break when the angler tries to remove them from a fish (or from their shirtsleeve) – anyhow, smart anglers never go out with just one.

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 If you happen to be one of these fanatical Wally Whale anglers, or just wish to pick some of these up to distribute amongst your fishing buddies, we’ll make you a special “website only” deal on just these rigs – purchase a dozen at the store and we’ll throw 2 more in for free. That’s right, purchase 12 and receive 14. They aren’t that cheap - $3.48 a pop, so you’re looking at $41.76 (plus tax, of course) as a total… but you do save about $7.00 on the transaction.

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To get this deal you must come to the RIVER BASIN (no mail or phone orders), and even at the shop it will not be posted – you must ASK to receive it. If you’re serious about your striper fishing you should have at least a couple of these Wally Whale rigs on your boat even if you don’t want to swing for the 12/14 deal. This special will be good through April 30, 2012. (The fishing regulations specify no more than 5 points on a rig so if you should happen to purchase a six hook rig… just cut one off)   Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, March 14, 2012

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IT’S MAINLY ABOUT HERRING THIS YEAR

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(SEE THE SEPARATE VERY IMPORTANT NEWS PARAGRAPH BELOW)

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 Even though we’ve already been getting reports of herring having arrived down in the lower brackish waters of the Hudson River one of our most dependable sources of information there has yet to report any of them upriver as far as Wappingers. Yet I’m sure that it won’t be long now until he does. The reports of loads of herring hanging around New York Harbor for the past couple of months were not of the “river” herring which we see up here on the Hudson but rather of another species more cylindrical in body shape than our alewives and bluebacks.

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And it is the herring that has been the main topic of discussion among our striper fishermen this year. We’ve had great fears that we might see a total shut-down of the herring fishery but they were somewhat allayed due to the proposed implementation of New York’s herring management plan… at least for the present.  Such has not been the case in New Jersey this year.

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Due to New Jersey’s failure to develop a “sustainable management plan” for river herring (bluebacks and alewives), that state’s anglers are now prohibited by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), which has jurisdiction over such affairs, from keeping these fish. The fine for possessing each herring is $30 per fish.

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TIMELY PARAGRAPH INSERTION (added after everything else for today had been written).The rest of this herring restriction report refers to a “non-event”, one which did NOT happen. After I wrote all this up we decided to give it a final check and discovered that even ENCON must bow to a higher power in this state - since NONE of these new regulations were approved on March 14th as planned. Furthermore, among some people involved there is the thought that all the stuff written about below, as well as various other incidentals relating to it, will probably not even go into effect this year. What the future consequences of this might mean should now be our main worry.
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CONTINUATION OF ABOVE ARTICLE

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Rather, it appears (although not yet quite official at the time of this writing) that our strictures will include a limit of 10 herring, dead or alive, which you may keep in one day. Once you have caught, or obtained, your 10 herring – that’s it! You may continue to fish but must release any others you catch. Further, there is a maximum number of herring allowed on a boat - 10 per angler up to a maximum of 50 herring. This rule also applies to charter boats.

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But the one new restriction which they want to impose this year, the one which will probably create a shortage of bait herring, will be the “no nets in creeks rule.” Dip nets, scap nets, gill nets or any other type of net you can think of, according to a bulletin issued by ENCON,  may not be used to fish for herring in any of the Hudson’s tributaries. This includes netting a herring lured in with a “stoolie.” The use of Sabiki rigs (herring rig jigs) in creeks is allowed but it seems that they are emphasizing the “5 hook” limitation per rig this year – just clip one off if yours has six.

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Up in the Albany area it should be remembered that herring fishing is prohibited on the Waterford flight of locks / dams, from Guard gate 2 to lock 2).

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Remember that you must have a separate “registration” (license) to fish for any saltwater species (stripers, herring, etc.) in N.Y.  If you are fishing strictly for any fresh-water species, even in the Hudson, then the “salt license” is not required, rather the standard state fishing license is. The exception is in the tributaries where, even if you are fishing only for salt-water species, you must have BOTH types of license. There is no charge for the salt license – just bring your driver’s license into the shop and we will issue it to you. The standard NY resident license costs $29.

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Of course, here at the River Basin we sell all sorts of stuff to catch the herring as well as the stripers. Yes, we have scoop nets, seines, the perfect scap net, stoolies, Sabiki’s, herring pens and tanks, and gill nets. Out of this selection it is the gill net that requires a special commercial license, even if it is not for commercial use – it is considered to be a commercial piece of equipment. It’s really no big thing to get this license and the cost is minimal. If you want to give the netting thing a try get the license-permit first since that process could take up to a couple of weeks. Then, if you find it necessary, you can just walk in and buy a gill net on the spot. To get a gill net application you need to call ENCON’s Marine Division at 631-444-0470 and tell them you need the application for a net on the Hudson River. These folks are usually very helpful and will get it out to you quickly.

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Oh, one other thing I don’t want to forget to mention is that you are allowed the use of three rods this year. No longer do you have to worry about having two striper poles out while jigging for herring with a third – it’s now legal… at least until this temporary permission runs out on December 31, 2013. Why’s and how-comes for this??? Who knows, just go with the flow. (THIS IS ALREADY IN EFFECT FOR 2012).

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Here at the River Basin we’re running somewhat behind on getting our merchandise out on display since our main spring shipment was delayed several weeks. But now it’s here, over 250 cases of tackle in our back storage room, overflowing into the shop itself. We’re rigging up all kinds of special deals on striped bass baitrunner combos and reels and are getting more stuff out on display each day. WE HAVE MORE SPECIALIZED STRIPER STUFF THAN ANYBODY ELSE WE ARE AWARE OF.

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Here’s a limited time “super-duper” website-only striper special you might take advantage of. A brand new, real sharp looking, TICA baitrunner reel, the SPORTERRA SV5007R. This one is so new that it won’t even be listed until next year’s Tica catalog comes out. Suggested list price on will be $99.95, our regular price is $89.98… but through this coming week, until Saturday, March 24th, as an introductory special, you can save an additional $20 dollars on it and get it for $69.98. Remember though, this is a website special and is not advertised in the store – you MUST ask for the special price to get it.

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So come on and get ready, be sure to sign up for our striper contest since it won’t be long until the stripers are here. We just had a couple of guys come through and claim that they had seen a dead herring (or shad) in the Catskill Creek – no, they didn’t bring the fish through. But any way you look at it, this season is about to pop open.    Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, March 09, 2012

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EARLY STRIPERS?

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As we approach the start of April the most often heard question here at the River Basin is “Do you think the stripers will be in early this year?” Our reply is always that we won’t know until the end of March since we could still get nailed by a bunch of cold weather, “nor’easter storms,” or even a blizzard. This has all happened in years past.

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But, should the present weather pattern continue, there is a good chance we might see an earlier arrival than usual. Generally the herring arrive here first, immediately followed by the stripers. There have been some years we’ve actually seen the stripers around before the herring. One thing for sure is that the stripers and the herring are partnered by nature and if we spot either one of them the other is sure to be around.

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Ignoring the early February rumors we’ve heard of herring already being here, our River Basin records show the earliest past verified herring / striper arrival in the Catskill area took place back on March 29, 2002. At that time we were in a warming trend and the Catskill Creek was flowing at a temperature of 43 degrees, reaching 47 degrees just a week later. Other early arrival years at the end of March were 1983, 1987, 1998, 2004 and 2006.

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Right now the trend seems to indicate that this year just might top any of those others. But keep in mind that that’s just the start of the run – it’s usually 2 to 3 weeks after that before the number of fish in the area has grown appreciably to the stage where you can successfully fish for them.

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NEW REGULATIONS

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Among the new regulations which may be imposed upon our striper fishermen this year these 2 seem most onerous – no netting of ANY kind of herring in the creeks and a daily possession limit of 10 herring per angler.

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No netting, according to Kathy Hatala of the NYDEC Hudson River Fisheries Unit out of New Paltz , means just that – you can’t “scap”, seine or scoop this species out of any Hudson tributary creek. If you have to wonder where you’re using your net for them is actually inside a creek – I’m willing to bet that it is. Do keep in mind that Sabiki herring rigs are legal to use in the creeks.

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And, 10 herring a day means just that – only 10. They can be dead, they can be chunked, or they can be alive but they can only be 10. And no, you can’t use up your first 10 and then go back for more. Boy, enforcement of this one is sure to give the ENCON officers fits.

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By the way, it appears that the “non-transportation of herring by motorized vehicle” rule has now been lifted, at least mostly. After years of worry and bother for striper fishermen the state now appears to be saying that yes, it was a silly regulation – sorry about that. But do keep in mind that you may transport the herring up and down river only within the Hudson River valley corridor. Also keep in mind that you do still need to have a “marine species” license to fish for either herring or stripers – no charge but you must have it. Just have your driver’s license with you when you come in and we’ll issue it.

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EQUIPMENT

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After several weeks of delay our spring striper gear shipments have finally started to arrive here at the River Basin. And, we’re hustling to get all this stuff out onto our shelves. Lots of rods, reels and tackle – heck, we’ve even got over 20 DIFFERENT baitrunner reels in stock ON THE SHELF. Where else are you going to find all that?

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Lots of Sabiki rigs, lots of stoolies, hooks, sinkers, rigs (on display), nets, lines, advice and unfortunately, usually just one of me. Even though we carry a huge selection of striper equipment we’re still a small shop and we hustle the best we can, but sometimes you might have to wait a few minutes to have a question answered when you come in. The clock is counting down now, the weeks are passing by and lots of guys have already entered our striper contest. Get off your duff and start getting ready - the striper fishing season is just about here.

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ICE OUT, WALLEYES, RESTRICTIONS

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“Ice Out” on our Catskill Creek was definitely a non-event this year. There was no time at all when this waterway was frozen over thick enough to support the weight of any fisherman, and that’s the criterion we use to determine when the creek is actually frozen over. The “no-ice” situation here in our Catskill locale is a definite rarity but by no means a “100 year event” such as the enormous flooding caused by last fall’s passage of Hurricane Irene.

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Delving back into the past 32 years of “ice-out” data which we have accumulated here at the River Basin Sport Shop we see that during the first 18 years the shop was in business (since 1979) the creek had frozen over solid every year. Then we had a real mild winter in 1998 and, although there were a couple of periods when skim ice was to be seen on the waterway, no single brave soul of an ice fisherman even dared to attempt entry onto its surface. A similar occurrence took place just 4 years ago – no real ice! And now, in 2012, we’ve seen a third time.

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There were a few hardy walleye anglers that took advantage of this nature’s whim – in the middle of winter they took to the waterway in boats. There were those that caught fish and those that didn’t. Since our walleye fishery has been kept as kind of a secret to a small select group of knowledgeable local anglers in an attempt to have it remain viable - they were the ones who caught fish… newcomers usually didn’t.

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For years the details and movements of the spring walleyes in the Catskill Creek had been known to these guys. Fish that were caught were again released so as to allow them to reproduce and perhaps be caught again during some future fishing expedition. This went on for years and the population of walleyes grew dramatically in number. From approximately 2005 on, during the nights of spawn the walleyes were stacked up on the creek’s shallows, literally from shore to shore. And nobody else knew - neither other anglers nor the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

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Of course such a state of affairs could not be kept a secret forever. There were a few newbies who had been invited to either observe or participate in this fantastic fishery and afterwards couldn’t be restrained from spreading the word – and a few of them even went so far as to stalk the spawning fish out of season. By this time the word had spread far and wide and even ENCON had become aware of the walleyes.

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And along with this awareness came the inevitable – more restrictions. Yup, even though it has been illegal all along to pursue those walleyes out of season, it appears that we will soon be having even more restrictions piled atop any previous restrictions. ENCON is proposing to close off several miles of the creek, from the route 9W Bridge all the way to Leeds, to ALL FISHING during the period walleye season is closed. It’s pretty much a done deal. Tough luck perch, catfish, and striper fishermen, sure you’ll lose all that fishable water but that’s living here in New York State.

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Anyway, as of right now you have until March 15th to fish this section of the creek for ALL species with the exception of black bass (another of our local restrictions not held to throughout most of the state). As of this date the closure of the creek is still not official - so enjoy the fishing while you can.                       Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, February 16, 2012

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What an incredible winter we’ve had so far! I certainly can’t remember one such as we’ve been having here in 2012 with such a prolonged spell of warm weather and lack of snow.

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When we returned from our vacation last week I was surprised (pleasantly) to see that the local terrain was still nice and brown (I don’t ski nor do I have a snowmobile) and that the pond which is my front yard was only partially frozen over. Of course, most of the RIVER BASIN’S ice fishing customers thought that this state of affairs just completely sucked. Many of them just took out their normal warmer weather fishing gear and headed to the banks of any local waters still unfrozen.

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Within the definition of what we generally consider to be “local” waters that ARE suitable for ice fishing at present are North – South Lake, Rip Van Winkle Lake, Colgate Lake, Queechy Lake and Franklinton Vly – these are the ones that were being targeted for ice fishing action last weekend. Among the many local waters that were LACKING ice were Greene Lake, Copake Lake, Lake Taconic, Coxsackie (Medway) Reservoir, Esopus Creek and Catskill Creek. Bear this in mind if you’re planning an excursion this weekend.

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The most interesting fishing reports came to us from the Catskill Creek where some anglers have been having decent luck with some nice yellow perch, quite a few of which have measured around the jumbo 14 inch size – real beauts! Best baits for these have been shiner minnows, but worms run a close second.

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The main trick to catching the perch is to locate the school – you can either bank-fish while waiting hopefully for them to move into your location, or you can go seeking them. One of my favorite ways to fish them is to drift fish while bouncing either a worm or minnow directly beneath or slightly behind the boat. I’ve found the stretch between the Hop-O-Nose Point and Riverview Marine Services Marina to be pretty good for this. A smart move while doing it is to have a marker-float ready to drop in when you have a hit. Usually these fish will be grouped and this will let you locate that school again.

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In addition to the yellow perch you may also hook an occasional smallmouth bass. Keep in mind that it is not legal to pursue this species out of season in the Hudson River or its tributaries up to the first barrier impassible to the fish. So, just concentrate on the perch or… the walleye.

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That’s right, with the ice-free condition of the creek it is now possible to fish for the walleyes here, at least until the season closes on March 15th. I would suggest fishing for them in the same manner and with the same baits as for the yellow perch, only somewhat deeper. The deeper water in this lower reach of the creek can be found tight onto the south edge shoreline, right next to the cliffs.

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So far the only walleye reports I’ve received have been of a few “short” fish (less than 15 inches in length) but one has to know the source of any information received in order to trust their veracity. There are some anglers whose reports we don’t usually give any credence to, while with others we try to read between the lines of their “no luck” tales. Often, with this special type of fishermen we see that – yes, indeed - the fish are there. So far this year we’ve received no such “bad luck” reports.

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As you can plainly see from the illustration at the top of this report, the entry forms for our 25th ANNUAL STRIPED BASS CONTEST are now available here at the River Basin. You can’t get them anywhere else so you do have to pick them up here at the shop. If you have an extra form left over from last year do NOT use it - it’s no good.

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After much discussion, and input from many previous participants regarding changes in the way we run our event it has been decided that there will be no changes in the rules this year. I want to thank those of you who sent in suggestions and assure you that they were all read and considered. The only change that has been made has been in the amount of money GUARANTEED to the angler bringing in the first place fish – we have increased this by a $1,000 to $4,000.00.

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As last year’s participants are well aware we paid back to the top 5 striped bass last year and 100% of the registration monies we have taken in have been paid back as prizes. 2012’s paybacks, based on the $15 registration fee, were as follows – 1) $5,758, 2) $1,779, 3) $1,361, 4) $942, 5) $628. The more entrants we get into the event, the greater the paybacks will be, but the least amount of prize money the top angler will receive is $4,000.

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We’ll detail more contest rules, fishing facts and trivia here in the upcoming weeks but will now end this, our 1st installment of our 2012 fishing reports, with a wish that you have a great season of fishing and perhaps catch the lunker of your lifetime.     Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, November 17, 2011

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This report will just about wind up our fishing updates for 2011.

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As strange as it may seem the Hudson River here in the vicinity of Catskill has actually gotten a wee-bit warmer during the course of the past week and a  half – from 46 degrees up to 48. As could be expected, the Catskill Creek has seen a similar temperature rise, from 44 degrees to 46.

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The river’s color, for the most part, is pretty good with a see-through visibility in most locations of at least 1 to 2 feet. The Catskill Creek will show bottom all the way down to the 8-10 foot level.

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Somewhat surprisingly the creek’s smallmouth action has been very sporadic – real good for a day or two and then dropping off to just about nil for several days. We’re going to have to assume that this is due to the temperature differential between the big river and the creek – generally we don’t see the mass of the smallie movement into the creek until the temperatures of the two waters equalize or when the creek actually gets to be warmer than the river - that certainly has not happened yet.

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Although the river’s fishing has coalesced into some small, very distinct areas the catch from any such spot tends to be superb. It almost seems that 3 pound smallies are the norm now and 4 to 4 ½ pounders are not uncommon. Of course the trick is to locate such small honey-holes.

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Best baits have been 1/8 ounce black or brown hair jigs, tubes and live shiners. Of course a slow retrieved Rat-L-trap or Normans Deep Little N can still put a fish or two in the boat at this time so don’t hesitate to give them a try.

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Although we have received one or two reports of walleyes being taken from the creek most assuredly there has been no big movement of these fish into the creek yet. The same can be said of the wintering population of yellow perch – we’ve caught no perch from the creek yet but last time out on the river we did catch 5 or six.

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As a final wrap-up, here are the 2011 finishing positions for our local TIDERUNNERS black bass fishing club, an affiliate of the FLW, NYTBF. They hold all 9 of their events on the Hudson River. 1) T Gentalen, 2) TIE R. Phelan and J. Imbesi, 4) R. Burton, 5) K. Clarke, 6) L. Paccione, 7) J. Rath Jr., 8) S. Daley, 9) J. Rath Sr., 10) Fidelius, 11) Henderson, 12) Delaware, 13) Vinci 14) Erikson.

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From this time on we are going to start thinking mainly of the upcoming year’s annual striped bass run and our RIVER BASIN SPORTS striped bass contest. This past spring’s run produced some great fish and the $5,758 dollar first prize (we paid back to the top 6 fish) was won by Tom Borchert with a 49 ¼” contest record-breaking linesider. We’ll have entry forms for the event available sometime starting in February – last year there were almost 600 fishermen entered in this 100% pay-back contest.    Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, November 3, 2011

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Last week’s surprise snowstorm did a real nasty job here in the mid-Hudson Valley and the two tournaments that were scheduled were each cancelled. To make up for it we have two other ones scheduled for this weekend, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday. Since I have not received any information on Saturday’s event there’s not much to say about it but Sunday’s contest is the Bergen Bassmasters “Bassin Lane Open.”

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Sunday’s weather really seems too good to be true – a NICE day for this 5 fish boat-limit event. Since there is only a five bass limit you can even partake in it by yourself if you don’t have a partner. The entry fee is $160 per boat and you can sign up at the Catskill ramp that morning starting at around 5 a.m.

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I hit the river for a couple of hours before work this morning and here’s what I found. The water temperature is running at just about the 47 degree mark but the feeder creeks are 2 to 3 degrees cooler. In most locations I fished the see-thru water clarity ranged from 1 to 2 feet but there was one spot where 6 inches was the best to be had. The feeder creeks, with the exception of the Esopus, were running nice and clean.

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Somewhat surprisingly there was more floating debris on the main river than you would have expected and branches, limbs and larger chunks of timber were to be seen. Although it actually wasn’t real bad more than the usual amount of caution should be exercised. But what will require more than the normal amount of caution is just how close you go to any duck blinds out there. Saturday is the opening day of the second half of the duck season here in our southeast region. Let’s not tick those duck hunters off!

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The smallmouths which were supposed to have been real active at the beginning of this week seemed somewhat dormant this morn. Using Gulp Minno drop shot rigs I hit 6 spots which I felt should have been producING good action considering the present conditions and was really surprised that three of them turned out to be zips. On each of 2 locations that held fish I shook off 2 that felt decent and then left those spots alone. On the third spot a 14 inch smallie decided to hook itself but that was the only fish that seemed to be holding there.

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The fellows fishing the Catskill Creek yesterday caught a few fish but reported the action was considerably slower than what they had found there this past Monday and Tuesday.

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With the warming trend coming in the fishing this weekend should really turn on. Good luck to any of you that’ll be out there.    Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, October 27, 2011

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As incredible as it may seem the forecast for later on this afternoon calls for an inch or two of snow in our area… but that’s no problem since I’m NOT going fishing today! Now, this weekend is a different story. Saturday’s predicted high of 45 and low of 27 are about 5 degrees below the norm. The wind isn’t supposed to be too bad, 4 mph with gusts to 9, but there is supposed to be a little bit of rain mixed in with that. Sunday looks to be 3 – 4 degrees warmer, perhaps a wee bit breezier but no rain. Not too bad, so I think I’ll fish the local TIDERUNNERS bass club’s final tournament of the year this Sunday. Should be fun.

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The Hudson’s fishing conditions for this weekend should find the water temperature to be running somewhere in the low to mid 50 degree range with a little bit of floating junk (just left over weed stems and leaves). The water color is going to be harder to predict. Last weekend it was all dependent on location - we found some places with an almost two foot see-thru clarity and others with barely six inches. The muddiest waters we encountered were to the north and south of Saugerties where the Esopus Creek still continues to pump in very muddy water and, surprisingly, further north in Stockport Cove. I suspect that conditions this weekend will be very similar to last weekend’s with the water’s see-thru range perhaps somewhat a little bit better.

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Although my partner John Imbesi and I didn’t exactly “kill ‘em” last weekend we did put a respectable 5 fish limit just shy of 16 pounds in the boat. The winner’s of last weekend’s 1st Sullivan Open tournament found a bunch of largemouths somewhere and weighed in a 19 pound limit of those green fish.

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We fished primarily crankbaits (Rattletraps and Norman Deep Little N’s) all day long hitting lots of points all up and down the river between the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge and the Stockport Cove, picking up a fish here and then a couple of others there. Unfortunately we did not get into a good school of chunkers until just about the very end of the tournament day with about 10 minutes of fishing time left. That was when a school of 3+ pound smallies moved out of deeper water and up into our area. We boated several, lost several, and then had to go. Another 15 minutes there and the final weight in the livewell would definitely have been a few pounds heavier… but that’s the way it goes.

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I received a note from Nick of the Bergen Bassmasters stating that although there would be no advance registration for their Catskill “The Bassin’ Lane Open” tournament on November 6th (see previous notice below) you can fill in their registration form in advance and bring it to the tournament site that morning rather than doing it there in the dark. If you come through the River Basin you can pick up one of the forms here.         Tom G

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 Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, October 19, 2011

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LAST WEEKEND: once again the Hudson’s feeder creeks were wiped out as far as any decent bass fishing was concerned. By late Friday afternoon the Catskill Creek was almost up to flood stage again… but then dropped down rather quickly. Still, I doubt if the bass boat I saw heading up-creek against the muddy flow on Saturday morning was able to catch much. By Sunday the current had reduced considerably but we were still considering the creek to be unfishable.

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There was a TIDERUNNERS club tournament held on the river on Sunday - and man, did some of those guys whack the smallmouths. The top two finishers had over 15 lbs. each while third place weighed in just mere ounces below 15. Even though no 4 pounders were taken in that event I am aware of at least one that was caught the very next day.

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The fish have definitely started to school up and there were at least 5 different schools of bass that Sunday’s anglers discovered. Even though most of these congregations consisted of 6 to 10 bass there was one that yielded 24 fish before it was depleted. Best yielding lures appeared to be rattletraps, Norman’s Deep Little N (gel-coat with sparkles) crankbaits, Senkos, tubes and spinnerbaits.

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The semi-muddy water of the main river flow (most places had about 12 inches of see-thru visibility) seemed to dictate the use of lures which would produce more vibration - but yet the productivity of tubes and Senkos almost seemed to put a lie to that. I guess then that my best guess as to the reason for such success under the present conditions would be… location, location, location.

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Guys that fished the “suck-holes” had good success with the smallies but were often sidetracked by vicious attacks by stripers weighing up to about 15 pounds. Mouths of creeks were also decent producing areas. Water temperature was running just around the 60 to 61 degree range, definitely somewhat warm for this time of year. Amount of debris in the river here in the central tidewater section is surprisingly little but some reports from 30 miles further down are of considerable trash.

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We are now heading into the peak of the smallmouth fishing on our tidal waters and as long as excess rain doesn’t once more spoil it – the next 3 to 4 weeks should see absolutely the best smallmouth fishing of the year.   Tom G

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Hudson River Update, Friday, October 14, 2011

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Bad news for anyone planing to fish the creeks this weekend... as of late this afternoon most of them are running very high and extremely muddy. Last night's and today's storms have dumped an awful lot of rain on our already waterlogged area - local rain gauges were reading in excess of 3 inches for just the overnight rain and we had quite a bit more today. The river is going to be the angler's only hope this weekend.  Tom G 

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, October 13, 2011

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The bass fishing in the Hudson River has been real good during this past week. The smallmouth bite seems to have really turned on and quality fish, in the 3 ½ + lb range are starting to show up. I don’t have an accurate temperature reading on the water but will make a guess that it is somewhere in the 62 to 63 degree range.

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The hazardous floating debris on the waterway is fairly minimal but you will encounter loose floating clumps of weeds… which have an affinity to attach themselves to objects such as logs or branches. Water see-thru clarity is more than a foot at most locations, a good indicator that most types of lures should work. The waters to the north, in the Albany area, have slightly less clarity than those here in Catskill but south of Saugerties the conditions become ridiculously bad.

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It seems that the powers that be found out that they had failed to kill off all the fish life in the Esopus Creek last fall and winter and are now giving their efforts an even greater try – volumes of swirling red-mud waters continue to be discharged from the Ashoken Reservoir further upstream in an effort to clog up the gills of any remaining fish life in that waterway. The river’s waters for miles to the south of Saugerties, on the west shore side, should be avoided.

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Many fish have already made their fall  migration into the river’s feeder creeks and the reports were of good action from largemouths in the Rondout and smallies in the Catskill Creek. Grubs, Senkos, tubes, spinnerbaits and crankbaits have all been working well in the creeks as well as on the main river.

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Of course we do have a prediction for about an inch and a half of rain during the next 24 hours, as well as another half inch of rain forecast for Friday – these possibly could muddy up the creeks. Additionally, Saturday is predicted to be quite windy so the first half of this weekend might not provide the of best fishing conditions. Still, if the wind is bad you should find some refuge in the creeks.    Best of luck.   Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, October 06, 2011

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Although the calendar says that it’s the 6th of October the Hudson’s water temperature certainly is not indicative of that.  This past weekend we had 65 – 66 degree water temperatures out there, fully 10 degrees warmer than what we had during the same period for most of the past decade when at times the temp was down into the low 50’s. What this does to the fall transitioning of the bass is to slow it down – oh, it’s still taking place but perhaps at a much more leisurely pace than what most bass fishermen would like. Be prepared for this if you go out this weekend.

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Although most of the anglers we talked to this week reported smaller groupings of fish, perhaps two or three, we did talk to one who hit the mother lode. This angler pulled up on the back side of a point and scored on smallies for almost two hours straight. At the start it was a hit on just about every flip of his Senko, grub or tube. He lost count after 15 bass but continued to pull out what he figures was at least half a dozen more. Then – as the tide went slack… the fish disappeared.

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Over 90 percent of the bass we are hearing about right now are smallies – the bigmouths seem to be lost out there somewhere. This could be due to the main breakup of the chestnut beds that’s been occurring – last Sunday saw huge rafts of chestnuts heading down to sea. Places like Coxsackie Cove were completely barren while larger sections, such as in the Embough Bay at Cementon, were still clinging on to perhaps 50% of the greenery. We would not be surprised if just about all the chestnuts here in the mid-Hudson region were gone by this weekend. Of course, those in the lower river around the Newburgh area usually last a couple of weeks longer.

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The river is still somewhat muddy but fishable in most locations with see-thru clarity of 10 to 12 inches. An exception to the “fishable” rating would be the waters directly downstream from Saugerties and the Esopus Creek. That waterway is discharging extremely muddy water which seemingly has shut down the bass fishing in the waters extending several miles to the south. Avoid this if you can.

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Although there is some floating debris out on the waterway, the situation is not that bad. Still, keep a sharp eye.

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The river’s tributary creeks should be receiving the first of the season’s transitioning fish right now and bear a good checking out before the Bergen Bassmasters Open on November 6. See the info on that event at the end of this report.

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The fall run of striped bass is in our area right now – don’t be surprised if you hook a 3 footer while fishing any suckhole. Hint – if the hooked fish is not landed within 15 seconds it’s not a black bass. It’s either a carp or a striper.

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NOTICEThe Bassin’ Lane Open.The Bergen Bassmasters will be running theBassin’ Lane Open buddy tournament on the Hudson River out of Catskill NY on Sunday, November 6th..The Bassin’ Lane Open will be held from 7AM to 3PM and registration plus boat check will be from 5 to 6:30AM. The entry fee will be $160 per boat and this includes lunker and an 80% payback.The boat limit will be FIVE bass at 15 inches minimum and you can fish alone if you like. There will be no advance registration and boat numbers will be given out as you step up to the plate on 11/6. It therefore pays to get to the ramp early. Please have a copy of your boat insurance on hand and everyone not a member of Bergen or the TBF must sign a liability waiver. We have the Dutchman’s Ramp reserved and the Village of Catskill will be leaving out the docks for us. If we get hit with a nor’easter or another big storm, check thewww.bergenbassmasters.com website for a status report. Questions? call Nick on 917-217-9350.We are the only club running an open out of Catskill on 11-6.

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October 1, 2011 - Sorry to report this but the river is pretty much screwed up again - just too much rain. Last weekend was pretty good and it seemed that we were in for some great fall fishing coming up. Needless to say - it doesn't look too good with very muddy, debris filled water. If you go out on the river use lots of caution.       Tom G

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September 23, 2011 - We're still trying to catch up from all the after effects from our car accident (rehab, insurance forms, etc) but here's a little bit on the river anyhow. The Hudson itself is still off-color but as of early this morning was showing a see-thru visibility of approximately 1 foot. I'm not sure of the water temperature but would take a guess that it's somewhere around the 60 degree mark. The reports from the river are that although it is still fairly dirty there really is not that much hazzardous debris afloat. The water chestnut beds are still there. I'm going to try and get out this weekend and I'll let you know what I find out next week.

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September 7, 2011 - As some of you are well aware the River Basin has been unexpectantly closed all this week and will probably only be open sporatically during the next few days. My wife and I were involved in a fairly serious auto accident on Monday. Linda received the worst of it breaking three ribs and also had to have surgery on both arms today. The early report is that the operations went well. I'll try to have things back on a more normal schedule this coming week.

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Saturday, September 03, 2011

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Well, the river’s certainly going to be screwed up for another 2 – 3 weeks but the creeks should be back to being fishable by this next mid-week (hopefully). Not much else to report except that creek bottoms could have dramatically changed due to hurricane Irene’s intrusion, and the same will probably hold true in many sections of the main Hudson River itself. Most all marinas in the creeks suffered major damage from the event.

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I rescued 2 sunfish, 1 white perch and 1 spot tail shiner from the pit of my cellar's sump pump during Irene's recovery mission. The water was 18 inches higher than I have ever seen it in the cellar (located on the lower Catskill Creek) during the past 35 years when we've had just 3 other events to flood the property. Silt / mud accumulated about 1/2 to 3/4 inch on the floor. Catskill Creek's water color is improving now and I would expect it to be just about fishable in another 3 or 4 days.   Tom G.

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, August 25, 2011

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Sure looks like we’ve got a washout coming in starting this Sunday. Hurricanes in general don’t bode well for fishermen and, judging by present predictions, the one that’s on its way is going to be a real doozy. It’s a real shame since the river has been in a cool-down mode for the past week and a half and should be on the verge of coming on with some real strong fishing action. The water temperature out there has dropped down to 76 degrees and that’s usually just about where I start to get into some better fish.

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I must admit that the past two weeks have been particularly difficult for me - the patterning I use has not been producing quality fish. The last tournament I took part in yielded a bare limit of keepers plus another 7 or 8 shorts – those 5 keepers weighed less than 11 pounds. Then I went out one morning this week and again caught 7 or 8 shorts… but only 1 keeper! To top all this off, I had to try again and went out for a couple of hours yet again and caught NO bass at all - just 2 channel cats. Man, those results are real tough on a fisherman’s ego!

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So now comes this hurricane, the after-effects of which will hopefully transition the river into a better fall fishing pattern a couple of weeks in the future. The main Hudson River should still be fishable (but very uncomfotable) this Sunday even though the feeder creeks will probably be dumping in lots of muddy water. Depending on the amount of rain we get, it will probably take 1 ½ to 2 days to foul the river up COMPLETELY. Then, after the rain stops it will be just about a week before the creeks return to a normal fishable condition - but the river will take at least two weeks (or more) before we have see-thru visibility of more than a foot.

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Even though the weekend coming up certainly doesn’t appear to be too good for fishing we may still find this Saturday, and perhaps the first half of Sunday, to be fishable. It all depends on the rain and wind. We’ll just have to sit back and wait to see what happens.    Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, August 11, 2011

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Going into this weekend there is at least one aspect of the Hudson River fishing scene that appears to be favorable – the water temperature! Gone are the 83 degree days of three weeks ago. This past Sunday, a gorgeous cloudy day with a forecast of rain that didn’t arrive until late afternoon thereby keeping most pleasure boaters home, saw the water temp running just about all day long at the 79 degree mark. Even better, we’ve had several cooler nights since then and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this weekend’s water temp in the 77-78 degree range – this should help turn the bass on.

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Presently the Catskill Creek is still flowing pretty muddy from Monday’s rain but the volume of water flow is not really great at all. Even though this lack of water volume translates into the creek being about back to normal by this weekend we still don’t like feeder creeks as fishing locations at this time – they’re too warm for the river fish to move in.  Of course, the area right around any creek’s junction with the Hudson is a different story – those locations have definite bass fishing potential at just about any time of the year.

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The floating eelgrass in the river is still, and will so remain, a problem for anybody using a “cast and retrieve” lure (crankbaits, spinnerbaits, etc.). Additionally, now we are getting chunks of lose chestnut weeds joining into that mess. Obvious solutions here are to use worms or jigs which will at least allow some fishing or else go to the leeward side of the river – the breeze tends to concentrate the floating detritus along the opposite shore.

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Water see-thru visibility seems to have lessened a bit recently but you should still have about 3 feet of visibility in most areas during calm, high tide.

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Judging by the results of last weekend’s tournaments your degree of bass fishing success out there will be very definitely decided by your choice of locations to fish. We’re aware of one group that had very mediocre results but yet another one, the Tiderunners bass fishing club, logged in results almost on a par with their excellent opening event of the year. One of the main revelations was the seasonal reappearance (coinciding with the cooler water temperature) of larger fish. That club’s average lunker weight during the earlier 83 degree days had been 2.34 lbs but now has jumped up almost a pound to 3.27.

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Although the group remained quite close-mouthed about where they caught their fish some things did come to light. It appears that the largemouths (which made up the bulk of their catch) did not come directly out of the chestnut beds. Rather, the key appeared to be to concentrate on hard structures immediately adjacent to the chestnuts - casting jigs, Senkos/worms, tubes or spinnerbaits. That’s a good strategy but it often involves making a commitment to sitting and protecting one location for hours while waiting for bass to move in. And, if no bass show up after all that time – it’s a tactic you’ll curse at for the next couple of weeks.

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The smallmouths last weekend were also a little bit off their form. In filling out our limit we found that the “suckholes” were working as usual… but that gravel drifts and sweeps were surprisingly lacking in their appeal to the smallies. Also surprisingly, even though we spotted a couple of smallies surface chasing minnows, we couldn’t tempt them to hit - we got no action at all on topwaters. Drifting Senkos in the current or swimming a drop shot rig were the two most productive methods in our boat and accounted for 16 smallies and a fun day.

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This weekend’s most productive times for smallmouths in our Catskill area should be between 7 and 11 a.m. and largemouths should be most catchable from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Good Luck!                    Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, August 11, 2011

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This past week has seen very little change for us to report as far as the Hudson River’s fishing goes – basically you should read last week’s report so as to be up to date. The water temp is still in the 80 to 81 degree range but with the cooler trend that has arrived we’ll probably see the temperature dropping down into the upper 70’s for this weekend. Hopefully this will start to put the bass in a more positive state of mind so as to cooperate with the anglers on the river.

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This weekend’s prime largemouth fishing time on the river (in the Catskill area) should occur between 8 and 11 a.m. and the best times for smallies should take place from 2 to 6 p.m. Now, if only the fish would pay attention to these simple guidelines we’d all have it made. Of course, the channel catfish bite is excellent all day long.

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There’ll be lots of fishing taking place out there since we’re aware of at least three bass clubs holding tournaments in our area, and there should be plenty of other bass boats around due to anglers pre-fishing for the following weekend’s NY Federation bass tournament. The only stickler for Sunday may be the weather since the forecast is for thunderstorms and showers. Of course most bass guys welcome summer rain since it tends to keep the weekend pleasure boaters off the water.

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Once more it seems that Randy Phelan of Germantown is the one guy doing real well out on the river at present. He won this mid-week’s Wednesday tournament with a 5 fish limit (3 largemouths and 2 smallies) with a weight of 16.16 pounds. The guy’s obviously found one or two locations that haven’t been molested by the rest of us yet. I’m not sure of what he’s using for bait at the present either, but in the past he’s been known for slowly dragging tubes. Just great – and I’ve got to fish against him this weekend. Oh well, second place isn’t too bad a spot to aim for.       Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, August 05, 2011

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The Hudson’s summertime fishing continues – the water temp out there is still ranging between 80 and 82 depending on time of day or the location. The major problem for fishermen at present is the amount of lose floating eel grass which will foul your lure very quickly. See-through visibility ranges between 4 and 5 feet.

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Last weekend saw the smallmouth bite continue to be difficult – at least for those fish measuring the river’s 15 inch minimum length or greater. Most reports were that fish which would be legal on other New York waters, those between 12 and 14 inches, were rather easily caught and plentiful. New York still, due to whatever mysterious logic they use as justification, prohibits these from being taken for tournament measurements. By imposing such a ban the “powers that be” have managed to wipe out 80% of the tournaments that used to be held on the Hudson. It is doubtful that the river’s recreational tournament fishery will ever recover from this, at least not in my lifetime.

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Although the largemouth bite seemed to turn off this past week some good fish were still taken. One decent limit I saw belonged to Randy Phelan of Germantown – it pushed the scales to just about 15 pounds. Although most anglers weren’t lucky enough to take limits of largemouths the fish which I did see caught were real chunky – up around the 3+ lb. range. Kevin Clarke of Tannersville had three that went over 10 pounds in the Tiderunners club tournament.

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Locations reportedly working best this past week for smallmouths were suckholes and gravel sweeps; largemouths appeared to be most abundant in the chestnut beds and around the entrances to the major tidewater tributary creeks.

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I do believe that this Sunday is the date for the “Wacky Raft Race” from Athens to Catskill. This event generally transforms a usually calm river into a real zoo. Since Sunday will see a high tide at just about 10 a.m. that’s when the race will start. Seriously, I would avoid this area around that time.                          Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, July 29, 2011

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Last Sunday at first light we saw the Hudson’s water temperature start the day with an 82 degree reading. By the time mid-afternoon arrived it was hitting a blistering 83 degrees – not really ideal for either bass or bass fishermen. Most bass catches we heard of on the river were of 2 or 3 keepers with perhaps another 6 to 8 shorts adding to the thrill of the chase.

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When we managed to get out on the water again early this Wednesday morning it was a pleasure to see the water temperature had dropped back down to a reasonable 79 degrees (even though it did creep back up to 80 by the time we had to come off the water). Water clarity that morning was fairly surprising – a good 5 feet of visibility at the Catskill launch ramp. I don’t remember seeing this much clarity anytime during the past two years.

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Presently on some locations out there, at least on the windward side of the river, you’ll encounter quite a bit of loose floating eel grass - if you throw crankbaits you’ll do yourself a big favor to switch to the other side. As of yet there aren’t too many loose chestnuts but we do see a few of them starting to float.

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Smallies are relatively active – at least those ranging from 10 to 14 inches. It’s the keepers, over 15 inches, that are hard to find. Largemouths are in chestnut beds but we’re finding that the fish have changed locations in some of those beds so you might have to do a little bit of exploring to locate them. Frogs have been working real well for us on the weed beds while Senkos and Gulp minnows have been producing the lion’s share of our smallmouths. For some reason two of our favorite lures out there have really been striking out so far this year – spinnerbaits and poppers. We’ll see how it goes this weekend.               Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, July 20, 2011

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Now, here we are in the REAL summer. At the beginning of this present week the water temperature on the Hudson was running at just about the 79 degree mark, this morning it was just a hair over 80, and by this weekend it will probably be bouncing around the 82 – 83 range.

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Here at the River Basin Sports Shop we’ve been assiduously tracking the river’s temperature as part of our fishing log since the turn of the last century. Looking at the past 12 years we see that there have only been 2 wherein the water temp reached 83 degrees. One of those was last year, 2010, when the mercury tickled the 83 mark for several days in mid-July. The other was in 2007 when it happened all the way from mid-July through mid-August. It seems that 83 is probably about the highest it will get out there, at least without breaking any of our existing records.

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As onerous as this heat may seem I suspect that it might be worse for the fishermen rather than for the bass. The fish are still out there and can be caught. Although one might be inclined to think that all the mid-summer smallmouths go deep and seemingly disappear, that is not the case. Actually is seems that the largemouths become much tougher to catch - the smallies remain very active. The trick to catching those fish at this time of year is to concentrate one’s efforts in the mornings before 10 o’clock, or go out on overcast days, preferably when it’s raining.

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When I hit the river this morning I caught several legal size smallies (minimum 15” on the Hudson’s waters) in both deep and shallow locations. I fished drop-shot Senkos and Gulp Minnows. There were a few spots where I expected to have better luck but instead got skunked – that’s fishing! I’m pretty sure that the lack of action then might have been caused more by the fact that I was fishing around a dead-high slack tide period – smallies like a current.

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Presently the river is in great shape. The water’s see-thru visibility this morning was a good 4 feet or more (caused by a lack of current since the tide was just about at a dead high). As far as floating debris goes there was nothing much to be seen other than some loose weeds. The chestnut beds are presently at their peak and are holding bass (see previous report on the chestnut beds). It appears we have a great weekend coming up on the river. I know that the local TIDERUNNERS bass fishing club will be out there for one of their tournaments this weekend and I wish them the best of luck.   Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, July 07, 2011.

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For our bass fishermen 2011 seems to be the year that the Hudson finally behaves in a predictable manner.  The springtime transition of the larger largemouths and smallmouths from their creek spawning areas to the main river occurred right on schedule and was pretty much completed by the end of the first week of June. The smallies took up their river positions on rock and gravel bottom locations by the third week of June and, as the river’s water chestnut beds matured at June’s end, the largemouths transitioned therein as per nature’s plan.

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Presently the river’s water temperature is holding at about the 74 degree level (just about where it’s been for the past several weeks) and its see-thru visibility ranges from 1 to 2 feet (depending upon time of day/tide and amount of  wave action). In the more sheltered bays where you’ll encounter heavier weed growth 3 to 4 feet of visibility can be encountered.

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Early this past Wednesday morning we found the quantity of free-floating debris out there to be a little surprising. The scattered flotsam had not only the usual free-floating weed scraps and smaller sticks but also included more than the usual amount of hefty sticks, branches and logs. I have to assume that these were wash-ins from the thunderstorms that went through the area last Saturday – these certainly did bring the Catskill Creek up to almost flood level overnight (it’s OK now).

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I’ve received quite a few inquiries from tournament anglers these past couple of weeks, all interested in a hint or two as to where to find the Hudson’s bigger bass. The answer to this question is invariably – “in the water chestnut beds.” For that reason I’ll relate a little bit about fishing the “’nuts.”

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A very annoying river problem that bass fishermen will encounter at the present time is the growth of scattered water chestnut plants on many of the points and rip-rap edges, those locations where one is inclined to usually throw a crankbait. These ‘nuts can certainly make the use of plugs an exercise in futility. The easiest way to overcome this is through the use of spinnerbaits of course (although my spinnerbait bite has been rather slow this year). However, such scattered plants are not the place to seek the largest bass - you must check out the bigger, heavier growth chestnut beds.

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Water chestnut beds can win you a tournament since they generally do produce the largest fish of any contest. The thing to remember is that the bass reside and concentrate in only a tiny portion of the acres and acres of weedbeds you’ll see out there. This is the reason you pre-fish out there… to discover just where those small productive pockets are. Complicating this already onerous task though is the fact that those gorgeous weed bass can usually be located only during periods of  LOWER tide. In the chestnut beds your prime fishing time is from an hour before low to an hour into the rise. It generally is completely worthless to look for chestnut bass any more than two hours either side of low tide since it’s far too easy to miss them completely.

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Additionally, one must restrain one’s self and remember that pre-fishing is just meant to LOCATE the fish – not stick them. Because of this you should only be looking for reaction strikes which will give you the better weedbed locations. Pre-fish quickly to cover as much of the outer edge and any openings within the ‘nut bed – you’ve only got 2 to 3 hours per tide to do this. Drag spoons, tubes, worms or other creature baits quickly across the surface in order to elicit strikes… but hit those spots later when the money is on the line. Needless to say, if you find any hard structure relating to weedbeds those spots always necessitate a  little bit of extra investigation.

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Finally, believe it or not, those chestnut beds and scattered shoreline chestnuts will actually start to break up towards the end of this month. The scattered plants will go first and then, little by little, the main beds will start to shrink until, by the end of September beginning of October, they’ll be just about all gone here in our neck of the woods. The lose clumps of chestnuts which we’ll begin to see floating in the river in a few scant weeds will be the proof of this occurrence.

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The nice weather predicted for this weekend will bring out enough pleasure boaters so as to make afternoon boating on the river sort of a torturous undertaking. Just remember to take it easy out there and enjoy the experience.                 Tom G.

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Thursday, June 30, 2011

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The river is really in great shape for this weekend with water clarity running about 2 feet in most locations. The water temp is in the normal range for this time of year, running at around 73 to 74 degrees. We are starting to see more lose floating plants now and expect that by the end of this 4th of July weekend the pleasure boaters will stir up enough of them to become considerably more of a problem for you fishermen. Floating debris is minimal.

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What you can expect to see out there this weekend, other than pleasure boaters towing tubes, are bass fishermen “pre-fishing” for tournaments that are going to be held here out of Catskill during the next three weekends. Expectations are that the catch should be good – smallies are in their summer patterns and the largemouths have finally started to make a stronger appearance in the chestnut beds. Channel cats are aggressively feeding so if you have a young angler who just wants to catch something now is the time to get out there with a container of nightcrawlers and have a good time.

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2012 HERRING TRANSPORT LEGALIZED -

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Here’s some good news for next year for you striper fishermen – you will be allowed to transport your herring from one location to another along the length of the river – an act which was forbidden for the past few years by the almighty ENCON administration. Read the following release for more detail:

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DEC ANNOUNCES REVISED BAITFISH REGULATIONS

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Allowance for Overland Transport Accommodating the Use of Baitfish on a
Select Group of Waters
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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
(DEC) today announced changes to state regulations that formerly banned
the overland transport of uncertified baitfish by anglers, including
baitfish that were personally collected. The changes are contained in a
Final Rule Making which was filed with the Department of State on June
14, 2011 and become effective June 29, 2011. The amended rules allow for
the overland transport of personally-collected baitfish within three
specified transportation corridors, provided the baitfish are used in
the same water body from which they are collected.

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The three transportation corridors include: the Lake Erie-Upper
Niagara River; the Lower Niagara River-Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River;
and the Hudson River from the Federal Dam at Troy downstream to the
Tappan Zee Bridge. While overland transport is allowed within these
defined areas, the use of uncertified baitfish is restricted to the same
water body from which it is collected.  Only certified disease-free
baitfish may be transported in motorized vehicles outside of the
transportation corridors specified in the amended regulations.

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“We are thankful for the comments provided by the public which
helped DEC take a common sense approach to establishing overland
transportation corridors,” said Commissioner Joe Martens. “However,
where the ban is still in place, we are counting on cooperation from
anglers to ensure compliance and protect our fisheries.”
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New York’s current fish health regulations were established
shortly after Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) was first confirmed in
New York waters in May, 2006 in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
VHS is a disease that causes hemorrhaging of the fish's tissues,
including internal organs. There is no known cure for VHS.  In June
2007, DEC finalized regulations to help prevent the spread of VHS and
other fish diseases into New York's inland waters.

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The introduction of infected fish, including baitfish, is a
common pathway for the spread of fish pathogens. In 2007, a strict
prohibition on overland (motorized) transport of uncertified baitfish
was implemented to ensure that the use of uncertified baitfish was
limited to the same body of water from which it was collected. Allowing
transport within these defined corridors will still contain the movement
of baitfish, including retaining the requirement that uncertified
baitfish only be used in the same water body from which it has been
collected. With strict compliance, the risk of spreading VHS and other
fish pathogens into uninfected water bodies should not be increased.
DEC’s regulations will:

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 *Allow the overland motorized transport of uncertified baitfish
that are collected for personal use within the identified transportation
corridor. Such baitfish may only be used in the water body from which
they were collected.
Allow the overland motorized transport of uncertified baitfish
by anglers purchasing the baitfish from licensed bait dealers located
within one of the transportation corridors (provided the seller has
obtained a permit from DEC to sell uncertified baitfish). The seller
must provide the purchaser with a receipt that identifies the water body
from which the bait was collected and can be used. That water body is
the only place where the baitfish may be used.
Impose no restrictions on the number of uncertified baitfish
that may be collected or purchased for personal use in the water bodies
associated with the transportation corridors. Also, such fish may be
retained or preserved in any manner within the boundaries of the
corridors. They may not be transported outside of the transportation
corridors.
Continue to subject any commercial sale of uncertified baitfish
involving overland transport to a permit issued by the Department.

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Anglers should be aware that a prohibition on transport of
baitfish remains in effect outside the designated transportation
corridors. The Department will monitor and evaluate the impact of the
modifications to the regulations to ensure that the proposed
transportation corridors do not compromise efforts to guard against the
movement of uncertified baitfish beyond the water from which the
baitfish were collected. Future regulatory amendments may be necessary
based on those evaluations.
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Sounds O.K. right now, let’s just wait and see if it works out this way next spring.    Tom G
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Hudson River Fishing Report – Wednesday, June 22, 2011

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Last Sunday’s first tournament of the 2011 black bass season on the Hudson River didn’t produce the best results that the members of the NYTBF organization had ever seen. That was quite apparent right from the first moment that those anglers arrived at Catskill’s launch ramp when they were greeted by a surprisingly strong north wind blowing down river. And, true to usual form, the wind certainly put a damper on the day’s results - only two limits of bass were brought to the scales. Most of those anglers weighed in either two or three fish.

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But although Sunday’s results didn’t show it the fact is that the river’s fishing right now is quite good… as long as you keep one main thing in mind – the spawn is over. The fish have already moved out of their spawning locations in the back bays and feeder creeks and are now starting to settle into their summertime locations on the main river. So, for your best shot on the main flow you should start to look for standard summertime spots such as “suck holes”, rock pile lighthouses, thicker chestnut edges, as well as any structure breaking up the main tidal flow (always remember that the areas around the mouths of feeder creeks can produce all year long).

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As of this past Monday afternoon the conditions on the Hudson at Catskill were as follows – water temperature just shy of 74 degrees, a few larger pieces of floating debris but not many, some scattered lose floating chestnut tops (no roots attached), see-thru water clarity at most spots from 1 ½ to 2 feet, main chestnut beds still not fully developed but probably will be in a couple of weeks, scattered individual chestnut plants along many shoreline locations.

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Catskill’s TIDERUNNERS fishing club will be holding their first tournament on the river this Sunday and the results of that event will give us a truer picture of just how the bass fishing on the river is going. As a side note – those same fellas usually have a small side bet on for the biggest catfish caught and that payback was not claimed in their last two contests of 2010. Going into this weekend’s event that catfish pot will be riding just around the $100 dollar mark – should be interesting to see just what’ll come out of that.

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I’m not aware of any tournaments on the river during the Fourth of July weekend but the following Sunday (10th) will see the ABA of NJ and PA here. Then the next Saturday (16th) the Hudson Valley Bassmasters are on tap followed the next day (17th) by the NJ Bass Federation.   Tom G

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Hudson River Fishing Report – Friday, June 10, 2011.

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Heading out onto the Hudson’s water at the beginning of this past week we found the river to be in pretty good shape. The water temperature at daybreak was riding at just about the 72 degree mark on the main flow but was 69 in some of the back coves. At the same time the Catskill Creek was running at 65 degrees. All these temps could be a couple of degrees warmer this weekend since we had those record breaking days of heat.

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The water color on the river was what we usually consider to be good for fishing – stained with a see-thru visibility of approximately 1 ½ feet. Although floating debris in the river was fairly minimal we did encounter a few “drift piles” that contained enough wood to be considered somewhat hazardous.

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Mid-week boat traffic is extremely sparse but the weekend will probably see more activity… at least until the boaters realize how many gallons of $4.00 gasoline it takes just to go from Catskill to Athens and back..

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We enjoyed fishing minnows at some suckholes out there and caught several striped bass ranging in size from 15 to 26 inches. Additionally the channel catfish were extremely active and cooperative – we put several in the boat including a couple of two footers. Of course we were also constantly plagued by white perch as well as a few out-of-season smallies. Although we felt like we gave the walleyes a good try that effort ended as usual – not a one.

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Fishing up the Catskill Creek caught us lots of catfish, yellow perch, white perch, and a sampling of smaller stripers. Some spawning smallmouths were also to be seen there as well as some late-run herring.

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Even though the newly emerging water chestnut plants are starting to present a problem to the river fishermen they still are not that bad, except perhaps at low tides when they become exposed. Other than that the river is perfect for fishing right now and by the time the black bass season opens on June 18th it should be ideal for the bass fishermen.   Tom G.

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RIVER BASIN FINAL STRIPED BASS CONTEST REPORT, Sunday, June 05, 2011.

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What a year for stripers – I think that we saw more fish over 40 inches in length caught since the peak of the striper explosion back around 15 years ago. In addition, we had two giant fish measured in, Bill Walsh’s 48 ¼ and Tom Borchert’s 49 1/4 incher. Wow!

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2011 was actually kind of reminiscent of the previous year’s run when the decent size fish just seemed to diminish greatly in number the further upriver from Catskill one went. Last year the Ravena / Thruway Bridge area still had some good fishing but from thereon north the quality quickly diminished. This year the good fishing never quite reached that far, seemingly ending to the north at about the Coxsackie area. Sure, some decent fish were caught upriver from there but they were relatively few in number.

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If you were one of the striper anglers in the Troy / Albany / Bethlehem sections you bore witness to the likely cause of lack of fish up there – cold, muddy, debris filled river water that at times approached flood stage. It truly was a cold spring with lots of rain that halted the initial upriver surge of stripers to below the Kingston area right from the get-go in mid-April.

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Here at the River Basin Sports Shop our records indicate that the entire run was set back by 1 ½ to 2 weeks and the bulk of the fish actually never got further upriver than the Germantown / Malden area. Of course the delay in arrival time, due mostly to the water conditions, also extended the best striper fishing period right through the end of May, as is evidenced by the catch dates of our top 2 finishers – May 26 and June 1.

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One of the big surprises to many of our striper fishermen, but not to the river’s “old timers,” was the preponderance of big stripers being caught on “chunk” (a.k.a. “cut”) herring bait. From our observations, especially this year, it was obvious that your odds of catching a BIG striper were much greater if you were using chunk bait. Out of our top five contest fish three were caught on chunk, and 9 out of the top 12 fish entered also came on chunk bait – that certainly shows you something.

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And finally, our 24th annual striper event drew yet another record number of entrants for striper contests on the upper Hudson River – 698. The event also had the best payback of any river event – 100%... you really can’t expect more than that.

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Our registration fee for this event has been $15, an amount which many of you have told us is too little since most other river contests cost in the range of $20 to $25 or more (and yet pay back far, far less). Suggestions have been made to jack up the entry fee a little bit so as to build the payback even higher. We’re somewhat reluctant to do so but would like to get your opinion. We’d appreciate your thoughts – just send us an e-mail to TOMGRIVER at YAHOO.COM and let us know how you feel.

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We have waited until after noontime today June 5th before posting this final STRIPED BASS REPORT for 2011. At this time we declare our striped bass contest to be over and the standings as shown in the above “2011 LEADERBOARD” to be final. Congratulations to our top 5 finishers and our condolences to all of our other great also-rans – better luck next year. Now it’s on to a summer of great smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing on this great river known as the HUDSON – my favorite.     Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER CONTEST REPORT, Saturday, June 04, 2011

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The end is near – tomorrow at noon our 24th Annual Striped Bass Contest WILL END! And it presently seems like a pretty good bet that the five contest entrants on the above leader board will retain their contest rankings. Of course there are a few others that will probably still be out there trying right until the very end to break into the top five (right, Wally?) but boy, that’s a long shot right now.

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The contest paybacks are as listed above. The tie for third and fourth places pays back the combined monetary amount of the two spots, divided by two, to each of the tied contestants or $1,152.00 each. The winners are welcome to stop in at anytime to collect their rewards.

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Hey, guess what – right now the river is gorgeous – it’s cleared up and there are no floating debris to be seen. Looks like a grand place to go fishing – and that’s where I’ll be tomorrow afternoon. And although our striper reports will now end remember that we still will be posting fishing reports for the Hudson River, right here, on a weekly basis.     Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER CONTEST REPORT, Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The final few days of this contest are the hardest. No, not really for the 99% of our entrants who have already resolved to try again next year but rather - for the 5 people now in the running for the top payback slots. Will their fish hold onto their present standing, or will someone sneak in a striper just a quarter inch longer and cost them what could be thousands of dollars?  This questioning all comes to an end this upcoming Sunday at 12 noon when our contest ends.

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It appears that the greatest likely threat to the leaders would be from some angler down on the lower half of the tidal Hudson, say from Kingston south.  Oh, a few fish are still being caught all the way from Kingston up to Albany – I’m aware of several caught during the past couple of days just here in the Catskill area… but these were all sub-30 inch stripers, great eating but certainly not contest material.

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The larger, mostly spawned out fish are now heading back to their saltwater summer haunts but they still have to pass a gauntlet of stalwart fishermen yet trying to pull a rabbit out of the hat by nailing a big striper. And… it could just happen since that’s what happened last week when Tom Borchert nailed his 49 ¼” hog and knocked Randy Brockett and Vince Maiuri  down a peg into a tie for second place. It’s not over yet!

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Even though I am sure most of the record number 692 anglers entered in our contest already know, we do have the following reminders for anyone still out there fishing in this, our 24th annual striped bass event.  It all comes to an end at 12 noon this Sunday (June 5) but due to this year’s prolonged striper arrival times there still are fish in the river and the contest standings are liable to change right up to the last minute. If you do catch a big fish on Sunday just remember the following part of the rules – “Any fish brought in after 12 noon Sunday, June 5, 2011 will be deemed ineligible and will not be considered for contest ranking.” We will post a final standings result here as soon as possible after the conclusion of the event.

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SURPRISE, SURPRISE – A CONTEST CHANGE!.

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JUST NOW, as we were trying to finish up this web report we had the unexpected happen - a standings change!

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Bill Walsh of Rock Tavern, N.Y. (close to Stewart Airport) just walked in and asked for a measurement on a fish he caught early this morning, sometime between 1 and 2 a.m. I figured it would just be another 40 to 43 inch fish such as I had been seeing all along this spring so I wasn’t overly enthused with the thought of measuring it. Still, I set up the measuring board and assorted paraphernalia and waited for him top pull it out of his cooler.

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Wow! This one looked like a real goody – its tail dragged the ground on the way to the measuring board. It certainly looked like a contender for our top fish of the year.

But no – although when placed on the official measuring board the tail of this huge fish overlapped the end by a good quarter inch this was not sufficient to bring it onto par with Tom Borchert’s leading 49 ¼ incher. Bill’s official length was logged at 48 ¼ inches, putting him into second place in our standings with barely 4 days to go.

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The contest’s standings, of course, have now also changed. Larry Coddington’s 44 ¾ incher becomes an “also-ran” and Steve Sigler’s 45 inch beaut now drops down into the final payback position, #5. There now is a tie for spots number 3 and 4 between Randy Brockett and Vince Maiuri both of whom measured in 45 ½ inchers.  What a great event we had this year – we saw more 40+ inch fish than we’ve seen in years!

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Here’s a couple of more details from Walsh about his catch: he was fishing a flat in about 10 feet of water to the south of Kingston and was out all night; he caught one other fish in the 20 pound range; he fished the end of the incoming tide, just about the same as that which gave Borchert his 49 ¼ inch fish in the same general area; he used a chunk piece (the head) as bait. As a basis of comparison in weight, Borchert’s fish weighed 53.1 pounds while Walsh’s spawned-out striper tipped the scales at just 40.7.

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WHEN THE CONTEST ENDS ON SUNDAY.

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The contest winners may stop through the River Basin Sports Shop any time after noon Sunday to collect their prizes. Remember that we will be closing at 1 p.m. this Sunday. Also, winners please remember that we will need your driver’s license and social security number before we can conclude the winning transaction.

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At this time we’d also like to remind all our customers that the River Basin Sports Shop will be switching back to its normal summertime hours of operation after this Sunday. Yup, we’ve been open 7 days a week since the start of March but now will be closed on Sundays (my fishing day) and Mondays (my sweetheart’s day), opening Tuesday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. It’s been a great spring and it was great meeting all of you as you came through the shop. We hope to see you all next spring when we can go through this marvelous madness of striper season again.               Tom G.

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER CONTEST UPDATE – Thursday, May 26, 2011.

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For all those of you who have been thinking that the biggest fish of the year hadn’t arrived yet – it seems you were right! It’s been a weird year  - all that colder weather, all that rain… it certainly did disappoint many an angler who had really been looking forward to this 2011 striper run. All along it was obvious that weather conditions were delaying the progress of the run by about 1 ½ to 2 weeks. After all, the river’s water temperature 5 days ago was still reading only 57 degrees – ridiculous!

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But that has changed now – the past couple of days we’ve finally reached the magical 62 – 63 degree range in the river, the temperature when the stripers appear to be at their peak of activity. Finally guys who haven’t caught a single fish all season long are now going out and banging 2, 3 or even more stripers in a single trip. It’s great fishing all the way from Poughkeepsie to Coxsackie.

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But this burst of action we’re seeing is also a portent of a lessening of activity yet to come. Any fish that finish spawning, as some are doing now, will drift back downriver and then disappear for a few years. Fortunately there are still plenty of others around that have yet to spawn and they’ll be giving our striper fishermen action for a while yet.

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So, we figure that the fishing right now is at a peak for this year. So did Tom Borchert of High Falls this morning at 5 a.m. when he took to the river’s water a little bit south of Kingston. He got into all kinds of striper action putting over 20 fish into the boat – it was a blast! Using chunk bait he anchored on the down current side of a shoal on a rising tide and had such a great day that, even after he caught a really giant striper, he didn’t want to leave.

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That striper’s tail hit the River Basin Sports Shop’s contest official measuring board’s “extension” end at 49 ¼ inches, making Tom our new contest leader. We then hung the giant fish on our shop scale and found the weight to be 53.1 pounds. Additionally, the 49 ¼ inch length now marks a new River Basin Shop record, as well as a new striper contest record. Quite a fish and one that will be real hard to top for any of our other 697 contestants.

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It should be quite a weekend on the river with good reports from everywhere except the Albany area.    Tom G

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RIVER BASIN SPORTS STRIPER CONTEST BULLETIN - Thursday, May 26, 2011, noon

We DO have a new contest leader - we're working on the details right now.     Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER FISHING REPORT– Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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The quality striped bass bite on the Hudson continues here at Catskill. Each morning’s report lists multiple catches of the linesiders. Even the shore bound fishermen at Catskill’s two riverside parks are reporting better than usual results with fish ranging up to 40 inches and weighing 30 to 35 pounds. The annual spawn is taking place but so far has been spotty and occurring in differing locales at different times. Such spottiness should extend the total spawn period for another week or perhaps two. Ideal fishing depths can be anywhere from 6 to 28 feet.

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Here at Catskill the west side river drop-off edge extending up to a mile either north or south of the Rip VanWinkle Bridge has been real hot during the mornings. Additionally, the Malden – Cheviot – Germantown – Roe-Jan stretch has also been excellent during the past week. The Coxsackie – Stockport area has been reporting similar results.

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Reports from the Kingston area and further south have been hard to come by during the past few days but the river’s east channel by the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge has been said to be producing. The Albany – Troy – Bethlehem section does not seem to have recovered from the miserable water conditions that have plagued it all season long. Any of the reports from up there have been of poor fishing… but that spawn up there is yet to come so things could improve.

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The condition of the Hudson has improved considerably during the past few days. Sure, it might still be somewhat muddy but it’s definitely fishable. All the floating debris out there seems to have miraculously diminished (but you still have to be careful) and I’m even thinking of sneaking away from the store for a couple of hours to try for one of the big boys myself. This Memorial Day weekend seems to be set up as the prime time to go out and give it a try! We’ll be here at the shop should you need any equipment – open from 8:30 to 5 every day except Sunday when our hours are 9 to 1.             Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER CONTEST BULLETIN – Saturday, May 21, 2011.

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Yes, the Hudson River is flowing awfully fast… and extremely muddy… and it’s filled with all kinds of hazardous junk (i.e. limbs, railroad ties, tires and trees)… but it’s still loaded with stripers… and lots of them big stripers! That’s what Vince Maiuri of Palenville discovered this morning when he headed out onto the big river to once more try for a big fish and a spot on our 2011 contest leader board. He accomplished just that.

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Setting out onto our local, seemingly magical, triangle area which extends from Catskill to Germantown to Malden he secured his anchorage in about 6 feet of water and commenced fishing. During the morning, up until about 10 a.m., he put three nice stripers in the boat but not a one of them was a contest contender. Then with but one bait left (a giant herring that he almost cut into chunks because he wasn’t sure that a striper would dare to attack it) that he hooked up and flung over the side, he sat back to wait.

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When the line started to zing of his reel, and then when he felt his pole bend after the hook set, he knew he was onto a big fish. The fight was good - his equipment stood up to the punishment and he finally landed his contest contender – a gorgeous 45 ½ incher that tied him for first place with Randy Brockett of Middletown.

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Of course our striper run is just going into its peak time at present and our contest has almost two weeks yet to run. This means that the race is not yet over - any of our 698 contestants is yet liable to latch onto an even larger fish since 45 ½ inches is very definitely beatable. In the next two weeks we’ll see if anyone can accomplish that task.         Tom G.

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER CONTEST BULLETIN – Saturday, May 21, 2011

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Quick contest update – we just measured in a tie for 1st place in the River Basin Sports Striped Bass contest. This knocks Pete Longo out of 5th place in the above standings. We’ll post the new standings later today.       Tom G.

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER RUN UPDATE – Thursday, May 19, 2011

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The river’s water temperature here at Catskill read about 58 degrees this morning, the Catskill Creek was about 4 degrees cooler. Both were running extremely muddy with lots of floating debris making for a far from ideal fishing situation. Still, one of the local stalwart anglers sat out the morning’s rain and put a three footer in his boat and a local netter went out and hauled in a goodly catch of herring baits.

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At present the sun is shining outside the River Basin Sports Shop… but we know that Mother Nature is just trying to fake us out. Sure, if we go on out fishing it’s inevitable that the heavens will open up with yet an additional deluge of rain.

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Still, if you want to catch those striped bass that are now in the Hudson River this is the time to give it a try. The run, whether we like it or not, is presently at its peak here in the middle part of our tidewater Hudson and we’ve just received our first report of the 2011 spawn having started. Striper fishermen plying the river’s water by the Mid-Hudson Bridge at Poughkeepsie last night bore witness to frenzied stripers surface spawning all around their craft – an amazing sight that many anglers will never witness.

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As the spawn takes place both up and down the river and groupings of fish are spotted at the surface care should be taken not to run through them in a boat with the propeller turning. Carnage is sure to ensue since such stripers are just about oblivious to anything else that is going on.

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These surfacing fish aren’t interested in biting, but usually there are lots of other stripers holding beneath that surface action – and those fish will definitely hit. Care should be taken not to snag any surfacing fish.

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Predictions as to where and when such spawns will take place are rather hard to make as they can occur just about anywhere. However, most often we see them crop up in shallower side areas with slightly reduced flow of water. Such will be happening between Newburgh and Coeymans throughout this ensuing week and possibly even later than that in the Albany Troy area. The colder water temperature this year can, and probably will, extend the spawn over a longer period of time than we normally see.

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Many of the spawned out fish will head right back to their summer haunts in Long Island sound or off Massachusetts and the coast of New Jersey - yet others will seemingly linger in the Hudson for a while. Additionally, there will even continue to be decent fishing after the main spawn since we always have late arriving stripers with immature eggs entering the waterway and those are fair game right until the end of our striper tournament at noon on June 5.

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But anyway you look at it – now is the time to get out there, regardless of the conditions, if you wish to partake in what would ordinarily be the best part of the striper run.    Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER UPDATE – Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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Just a quick condition report – most feeder creeks are now either flowing muddy and fast, or will be doing so very shortly. The main river itself is picking up color but how bad it will get depends entirely on the amount of rainfall here in the next two days.

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During the past 4 -5 days the striper fishing has been good to excellent at most locations from Poughkeepsie to Coeymans. Even the Albany area had started to produce some better fishing… but now it seems that might get wiped out by the excess water we’re getting. Reports are of female stripers up to about 42 inches in our area and a slew of smaller schoolie bass ranging in size from 22 to 34 inches. Many anglers during the past four days are reporting the best fishing they’ve had in years, some boating 8, 9 or more fish per trip.

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From the quality and quantity of the striper run that we’re seeing right now we get the feeling that we’re in an immediate pre-spawn period, even though the river’s water temperature remains right around the 56 – 57 degree mark. The number of stripers has increased dramatically during the past week and should increase even more until the spawn starts. We have not yet received any reports of spawning activity and hope that we won’t for at least a week or more. Let’s hope the rain doesn’t screw things up too badly.   Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER UPDATE – Monday, May 16, 2011.

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I was talking to one of our striper regulars this morning – you know, one of those guys whose second home during this time of year is either in a boat sitting under some bridge or else camped out on some desolate piece of shoreline on the Hudson River. This particular angler has been taking part in our striper contest for years… and has won some money and recognition in the past. So far this year he is still out of the money.

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Each morning during the run he’s out launching his boat before the crack of dawn. Then he’ll motor out to his favorite river nook and lay out his gill net for herring – no, he doesn’t stretch it out as you might visualize, just kind of dumps it over the side and lets it sit. After about 10 minutes, sometimes less, he pulls it up and removes the herring that have managed to entangle themselves – and then he goes fishing!

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And he does this just about every morning for four weeks straight!.

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And he catches stripers.

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No, he doesn’t crock them every time he goes out, but often enough. One fish boated is considered a successful trip; two over the side is good while three is great; four is a really excellent day, especially if it includes a quality fish or two measuring up to 42 inches. That’s the kind of year this guy’s had… but now he’s anticipating even more, the approach of spawn. This is a time when it becomes possible to land a dozen or more stripers during a single day’s outing and it’s just around the corner.

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The start of the 2011 year run wasn’t that hot – there were several strings of days when this guy got skunked, or just landed a runt or two. But NOW things have changed – it seems that every day for the past week and a half would have to be rated, at a minimum, “good.” And – he just KNOWS that there is a one four-foot-long striper out there looking for the bait at the end of HIS line.

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The above story is called “paying one’s dues”… it’s also called fishing..

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This past weekend’s action here in the Catskill area was very good. When the afternoon reports started to come it and we had a clearer picture of just what was happening, even though the weather kept many anglers off the water, all seemed right. The reports were of multiple landings from those boats that happened to be at the right locations as schools of stripers worked in those areas.

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Similar reports came in from the Malden / Cheviot area, 4 Mile Point, Coxsackie, New Baltimore and Bethlehem. These fish ranged in size from about 24 to 40 inches. The Albany Troy area fishing was reportedly slow but at least some stripers were now being caught up there, including some in the three foot range. Both chunk bait and live herring were working well.

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The present persistent rains will be muddying the feeder creeks into the main Hudson whose temperature remains at just about the 57 degree range here. We’ve had our first reports of herring starting to “beat the shore” signifying the start of their spawn. Generally we figure the striper spawn to start in the low 60 degree range but if the cooler water lasts longer those eggs will still continue to mature and be distributed – even if the optimum spawning temperature is yet to be reached. Should this be the case, as it appears it will be this year, our experience indicates that the spawn will extend over a greater span of time and can last right into the start of June.

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Last year the warmer temperatures had us log-in our start of spawn around May 5; the year before it was approximately May 12 while the year before that it occurred around May 23, As you can see – it can be extremely variable! Generally the spawn works its way upriver with our first reports of it occurring around the Newburgh area and the final ones up to two weeks later from Albany. Fish with “green” eggs will still be caught up to a few weeks after the main spawns have occurred.

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We’re approaching the best action of the run now – don’t give up the fight.      Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER UPDATE – Friday, May 13, 2011

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A good bite has continued each morning here in the Catskill area with many anglers reporting multiple fish being boated. The area to the north of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge seems to be getting the bulk of the action but there are fish all around. At the present time it seems that the live herring bite has caught up to that of the chunk bait even though the vast majority of biggest fish brought in have been taken on chunk. Of course we have fresh dead herring for sale here at the River Basin as well as all the assorted gear it takes to go out on our big water to grab that four-foot-long fish.

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The river, at 57 degrees, is still running off color with plenty of debris floating down – gotta be careful out there! Additionally, there will be plenty of boat traffic this weekend with all of the 698 entrants in our River Basin Striper Contest fishing as well as those in three other events of which we are aware – but I’ll bet that no other event will pay back the amount that we’ll be giving our winners.

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Latest fishing reports we’ve received show the Kingston area to be on the slow side; Glasco flats, just to the south of Saugerties, has been good; Malden to Cheviot has been good; Germantown very good; upper Catskill Creek (head of tidewater) excellent; Stockport very good; 4 Mile Point to Coxsackie excellent; New Baltimore to Coeymans fair; Bethlehem spotty but improving; Albany to Troy poor but with water conditions improving and herring abundant.

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With the water temp running about 5 degrees below the optimum for spawning it looks like we should get another two weeks or more of good fishing before the run starts to dwindle away. The time to delay is over – get on out there!  -  P.S. – Don’t forget to register for your Marine Species tag – it’s free but is mandatory.          Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER UPDATE – Wednesday, May 11, 2011

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Last weekend was a good one for most of our striped bass fishermen. Saturday was top-notch and Sunday, although definitely not as good as the previous day, had to be rated good also… at least at most locations.

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Further down the Hudson there seem to be plenty of stripers to be caught but most are running under the 25 pound mark – lots of 10 to 15 pounders. The Kingston area hadn’t been showing us much as far as size goes during the past week… that is until Al Lasher brought in his 44 ¼ incher this afternoon and moved into 4th place in our standings. Al was fishing in the vicinity of the Kingston Rhinecliff bridge with live herring when the big fish hit.

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We’ve been getting lots of reports and seeing decent fish from the Malden area north to the Coxsackie cliffs. From Cheviot to Germantown the fellas fishing from shore along the railroad tracks have been, for the main part, having a great time – lots of stripers ranging from 30 to 41 inches.

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In the vicinity of Catskill the area just to the north of the Rip VanWinkle Bridge seems to produce a few stripers in the 39 – 40 inch range each morning to the regulars at that location - but patience has definitely been needed. Meanwhile, the Catskill Creek at the head of tidewater has bee real hot for the early morning anglers who have been throwing Bomber size 17 plugs. No contest winners there but lots of fish ranging in size from 22 to 36 inches.

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To the north of Athens – Four Mile Point, Stockport Creek, Coxsackie cliffs and the Coxsackie boat launch area –  all been producing good action.

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And finally it seems that some larger fish are moving further upriver. Lesa Rendo showed us a gorgeous 39 ½ inch striper she caught at New Baltimore this afternoon. Lets hope that more of those fish move upriver since the anglers up there have been having a real tough time.

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 The fishing derby that went out of Bethlehem this past weekend  had about 110 participants signed up but only 7 fish were caught, the largest weighing 21 pounds but things seem to be improving up there. The water is cleaner, herring are easier to get, and other reports lead us to believe that the Troy derby and the Castelton events scheduled for this weekend should have more success.

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All in all it looks like a great weekend for striper fishing coming up. Don’t miss out.   Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER UPDATE – Sunday, May 08, 2011.

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Yesterday’s excellent striper fishing on the river continued into today with many reports of multiple fish being boated, including quite a few in the 40 to 42 inch range. Steve Sigler moved into second place in our striped bass standings with a 45 incher which he caught fishing a live herring to the north of Catskill’s Rip Van Winkle Bridge.

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I talked to a charter boat captain who had been fishing that same bridge area earlier this morning and his comment was “you’d almost have to try to not do well out here at the present time. He had scored with several stripers while using chunk bait.        Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER UPDATE – Saturday, May 07, 2011

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There was excellent action reported today all the way from Poughkeepsie to Bethlehem. Some of yesterday’s reports were for improving conditions up in Albany itself so we have to believe that today’s results were similar. This is the time to be out there fishing.

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It was a real busy day here at the River Basin Sports Shop. It seemed as though stripers were being brought in for our tournament measurement on a conveyor belt. The standings switched several times throughout the day and when we finally managed to lock the door (5 minutes ago) it was Randy Brockett of Middletown that stood as today’s king of the hill. Randy was fishing chunk bait in the vicinity of the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge when he hooked into his contest leading 45 ½ inch striped bass. Sandra Tuczynski ended the day tied with Steve Hopf for 5th place in the standings. Sandra caught her 43” fish to the north of the Rip VanWinkle Bridge.

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Although live herring seemed to be working just fine as striper bait it was still the chunk bait that seemed to produce the best results in the river’s dirty flow. I’m aware of a 100 man striper derby that went out of Bethlehem today – the results from that event should give us a real good picture of what’s happening up Albany way. I’m going home now.      Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER UPDATE – Friday, May 06, 2011.

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As we had figured, a main grouping of striped bass has moved upriver. Even with the water temperature at a cool 52 degrees the action at Catskill’s Rip VanWinkle Bridge was pretty good this morning - many anglers reported multiple catches.

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The river itself is still running muddy with of all kinds of floating debris - boaters should take extra care out there.

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Fifth place position in our contest standings did change once more this afternoon. It was Germantown’s Joe Pertilla who was responsible for the change as he shoved Ryan Kastner’s 40 ½ inch fish out of the competition, replacing it with his own 40 ¾ incher. Joe was fishing a live herring from shore in the Germantown area when he caught his striper.

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If you’ve been putting off your striper fishing trip this year now is the time to think about changing your mind, at least in the area from New Baltimore to the south. The fish are in this region now and odds are that the river conditions, as bad as they might seem, are not going to get much better for at least a couple of weeks. Good luck.        Tom G 

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER UPDATE – Thursday, May 5, 2011

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Just a quick note to confirm that a larger grouping of striped bass has indeed moved up here into our section of the Hudson River valley. There were reports of multiple catches this morning from out by the Rip VanWinkle Bridge, in the Catskill Creek, at 4 Mile Point and at Germantown.

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Although I kind of figured that this would be a slow fishing day due to the passage of a cold front yesterday I was certainly mistaken. These fish should also be moving further upriver and I would expect the action in New Baltimore and Bethlehem to show some improvement by this weekend.     Tom G

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.RIVER BASIN STRIPER / HUDSON RIVER REPORT – Thursday, May 4, 2011

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Yup, the river is still muddy and off color, although somewhat improved over what it was last Sunday. We can’t yet be sure what it will look like tomorrow or this weekend when we’ll see if today’s rainstorm actually might have worsened things.

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Still, the good news is that larger fish are now moving into our section of the river. Even with the lack of boats on the waterway this week we have been receiving good news reports about the striper run.

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Though we do not usually hear too much from the Newburgh area we have at this time - the reports are of good fishing. Schoolies were being taken by trollers in the main river while the shallower flats, particularly in the area around Denning Point, were yielding some fish in the 40 inch class to drift fishermen. If you want to fish shallow concentrate on areas where you have inflow streams of some type or other.

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Further upriver from there to the south of Kingston, around the Esopus Meadows and Vandenburgh Cove section, we don’t have any reports but expect that there should be fish there – usually that fishing is decent at this time of year. To the north of Kingston, both up and downriver of the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge, the fish are to be found along the drop-off edges of the mid-river Flat and the Hogs Back. Some hefty fish come from this area each year and we’ve already seen a couple of them. The Tivoli area, across from Saugerties, has also produced some decent fish.

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Our “Golden Triangle” section which extends from Malden to Germantown to Catskill seems to be getting an influx of 40+ inch fish at the present time. The shore bound anglers have been hitting some beauts as have the boaters. The shoreline extending from Cheviot to Germantown is a favorite area as is the Greendale section right across from Catskill. Of course, at Catskill, the “Point Park” with its easy access to deeper shoreline water is a magical draw for shore bound striped bass anglers.

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 Boaters are having best luck in the 3 to 10 foot depths over the mid-river flats in the “triangle” area, particularly using chunk herring for bait. The muddy water just calls out for the use of this cut bait. Seven out of the top ten fish we’ve seen so far this year have been caught on chunk.

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As the fish move further upriver to Hudson, Four Mile Point, Stockport, and Coxsackie in the next few days that action should improve dramatically. Up until now it had been somewhat disappointing. Further north past Coxsackie it still remains to be seen what will happen. Up to now it had been so slow that some charter boat captains up there were even cancelling booked trips.

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Herring seem to be abundant at most creek locations although just today we heard some grumblings about a lack at the Roe-Jan. “Stoolying” them in appears to be the most effective way to obtain your supply of bait… unless you come to our shop and buy a bag or two of our refrigerated stuff. 

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I'm sure that you've noticed the standings change on our leader board today - Steve Hopf and Ryan Kastner brought their two beauties today. Those two fish along with Coddington's  44 3/4 incher, which was caught yesterday, are a sure portent that we'll be seeing even more lunkers this coming week.            Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER CONTEST UPDATE - Tuesday, May 3, 2011

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Yes, we have a new leader. Larry Coddington caught the above pictured bruiser down around the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge around 9:15 this morning. His bait? you guessed it - chunk herring. Congratulations Larry!        Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPER REPORT – Monday, May 02, 2011

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 Even though the Hudson continues flowing muddy and debris laden there are anglers out there catching striped bass. The two areas we’ve been hearing most about are Stockport and  Germantown/ Malden.

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It was in the Germantown area that Josh Hanlon of Niverville caught a fish that moved him into third place on the River Basin Sports Striped Bass Contest Leaderboard overnight – a 40 incher. Josh was fishing from shore with chunk herring when the large striper nailed his bait. Chunk bait seems to have been the way to go with the Hudson running as muddy as it has been lately and that’s just what another boat found out by the RoeJan yesterday – a pack of stripers were surface feeding on herring and just loved the live and chunk bait that the guys flung at them – they nailed several up to 33 inches.
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Most of the larger feeder creeks into the Hudson are running clear right now and are much nicer to fish. However, when the boating and recreational activity on such waters picks up… the fish turn off! This was exactly what seemed to happen in the Catskill Creek on Saturday morning – 9 or 10 stripers were caught during the first two hours of the morning and then the creek just shut down for the rest of the day.
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Garry and Dennis from up Bethlehem way report the water conditions up there have slightly improved but there still is a lack of fish there. The weather forecast for the remainder of this week certainly does not lend much hope to the thoughts of the river clearing up. Still, as we all know – the fish are there, somewhere, all we have to do is figure out where and how to catch them.   Tom G
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RIVER BASIN STRIPER REPORT - Saturday, April 30, 2011

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Even with the Hudson flowing as muddy and debris laden as it is at present there are stripers being caught. Greg Zifchak of Port Ewen proved that by bringing in a new 2nd place fish for our striped bass contest, a 41 ½ inch beauty. Greg caught the fish late yesterday afternoon while fishing a chunk of herring (head) in the Port Ewen section of the river.

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And, just downriver from Catskill, in the Germantown / Cheviot region, some trollers have also been having a ball with smaller schoolie stripers… and catching quite a few. I don’t know how they are managing to manipulate around the floating trees and brush but they certainly are accomplishing that feat.

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Herring, from all reports, are plentiful around the area. Even with the muddy water guys are “stoolying” them in or hooking them using Sabiki rigs, particularly in the creeks which have been cleaning up quickly. They are definitely more fishable today than they were yesterday. So, even though the fishing is tough at the present time - there are fish out there and some people are catching them. The stripers will come in on the bait scent trail so do consider using “chunk” bait or sandworms.       Tom G

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RIVER BASIN UPDATE – NOON, Friday, April 29, 2011.

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 Quote from an NYDEC news release a month ago: “The new law establishes a no-fee registry to take the place of the marine license. DEC is currently developing the registry, and expects to have the new no-fee registry in place in early June. In the interim, saltwater anglers may fish without a marine license and without registering with DEC.” .

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Today’s quote from DEC, after sneaking the new “registry” item onto the DECALS license issuing menu today and also confirming our phone inquiry that you must NOW register: “Customers wanting to fish for salt water species MUST be registered.” What a way to run a railroad.    Tom G
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RIVER BASIN UPDATE – Friday, April 29, 2011

.

Checking out the flowage waters in our area this morning we find some pretty miserable conditions. The Catskill Creek has deteriorated even further from what was apparent yesterday and is really looking quite muddy – the after effect of three separate rounds of heavy rainstorms that passed through our region this past week. The main Hudson River is also very ratty looking – muddy with some debris, and we are expecting more of the same to be arriving from the upriver section. Fishing conditions will probably be tough for the next few days.    Tom G.

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RIVER NOTE - Thursday P.M., April 28, 2011

We just received notification that the Coeymans ramp docks were put in on Tuesday. The water coming down from there is supposedly real muddy and filled with debris. Does not sound good - larger creeks might be a good fishing option for the coming weekend'    Another report we had said that the herring were thick in the Postenkill today.   Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS UPDATE – Thursday, April 28, 2011

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Striper action on the river seems to have shifted a little bit now with the main river fishing at Catskill having slowed. Even so, we find that the activity in the Catskill Creek has definitely been picking up. This morning we found the water temperature at our Dutchmen’s Landing launch ramp to be around the 53 degree mark while around the corner the creek measured in at about 5 degrees warmer – this could account for the better action in the creek. In addition, even though the water in the creek is somewhat muddy, it still appears to be cleaner than the water out in the main river. Stripers up to about 36 inches are being caught in the creek by shore bound fishermen.

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But even though the action here might be slow at present, what is happening further upriver appears downright pitiful. North from Catskill to the Stockport Creek everything still appears fine but to the north there is a definite lack of herring from Coxsackie to Albany, and along with that there is a definite lack of striped bass to be had. Some of our regular reporting anglers from that upriver area tell us of absolutely terrible results (like zip) from their fishing trips up there – no herring, no stripers. We heard of just one fish being caught up there in the past few days. The water is dirty and the water temp has been around 46 – 47 degrees. As another guy put it – “Over 7 hours with a dummy on both ends of the rod and not one herring spotted…”.

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. 

To add to the difficulties up there we hear that the launch ramp floats at the Coeymans launch ramp still have not been installed. Too bad – that’s a prime striper fishing area there. That’s a good way to drive the fishermen to Bethlehem or Coxsackie – but then, maybe whoever is in charge dislikes striper fishermen.. From Catskill to the south the action starts to improve. For guys in the right place at the right time the chances of landing multiple fish are a definite possibility. The day before he took the lead in our striped bass contest Pete Longo reported having what he said could possibly have been his best day ever on the river – he boated 9 stripers, all in the 38 – 39 inch range. Local charter boat captains are reporting similar results, particularly in the Malden area. The Esopus Creek at Saugerties is still a waste of time as the powers-that-be found that they still hadn’t killed ALL the living creatures in that waterway and therefore seem to have renewed their efforts to accomplish that by continuing their siltification project.

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 A little further south, in the Tivoli Bays and Hogs Back region, the fishing has also been good although as of this time there have been relatively few anglers sampling those waters. I’m sure that this will change by this weekend (as long as the weather co-operates) since the fish are there. Additionally, the deeper edges of the mid-river flat to the south of the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge have been holding fish.

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. The Rondout Creek at Kingston has both herring and stripers being caught but some of the best action in that region appears to be occurring a little bit further downriver. There the anglers are scoring in 4 to 8 feet of water around the section known as Vanderbilt Cove and the Esopus Meadows.. Our present contest leader Pete Longo seems to sum up the varying reports we’ve been receiving from anglers scoring with larger bass during the past few days (as contrasted to what we said in the preceding paragraph) – if you’re not getting shallow water action (10 – 20 feet) drop down and try the 30 foot level. Yesterday when Pete caught his 44 incher he also caught 7 or 8 additional fish in that 40+ inch size group – all in deeper water than what he traditionally fishes.

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Additionally, what most successful anglers have been reporting, right along with Pete, is that - with the present water conditions (off-color or muddy) chunk (cut) bait is the way to go. Just be sure to change that chunk every 10 minutes or so – you must keep fresh smell in the water. Another alternative might be to try sandworms on a separate rig – stripers really zone in on that smell.                Tom G.

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 RIVER BASIN BRIEF - WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27, 2011.

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Just in case you hadn't noticed the most recent contest standings, take a gander at the leader board above. Pete Longo, our 2009 winner, has now jumped into first place with a fish that could also vie for a paying position in our contest's final standings. We'll try to get a picture up first thing in the morning and tell a little bit more about it. The reports for the past day and a half are of great fishing but the trick has been to use chunk bait... and to hang it down in 30 to 35 feet of water. Tom G.

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS UPDATE – Tuesday, April 26, 2011.

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Yesterday afternoon saw our striper action bumped up a notch or two. Lots of stripers ranging in size from 22 to 39 inches were landed between Malden and Catskill, as well as all the way up past 4 Mile Point to the Coxsackie cliffs. The action, which continued this morning, had to be rated as “very good” but, unfortunately, the real big fish still have not made their appearance in our region.

.

Herring, which had been scarce for 4 or 5 days, likewise seem to have returned to the area. Commercial netters reported capturing a bonanza of this striper bait during the last day and a half.

.

  Along with the warmer weather which we are now enjoying we should be seeing the arrival of the 30+ pound stripers at any time. Having 698 anglers registered in our striper contest and spread out all the way from West Point to the Troy Dam we are confident that as soon as those fish make their appearance we’ll hear about it. This is the traditional week that those fish start to be taken.

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Presently we have plenty of fresh and frozen legal herring in supply at the River Basin. Unfortunately we are sold out of salt water worms but expect a new shipment of bloods or sands this Thursday.        Tom G.

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS UPDATE – Monday, April 25, 2011.

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The new listing on the leader board of Josh Skelly’s 38 ¼” striper is rather indicative of the action that’s been occurring on the Hudson during the past few days – action but no real BIG fish as of yet. It seems that nobody is just slaying them at any one location out there but we can say that there are stripers being caught. Probably 60% of the fishermen we’ve talked to report having caught some fish in the 24 to 35 inch range. Most guys are throwing out one rod rigged with live herring (if available) and the other with a piece of chunk. Skelly was anchored on the Catskill Bridge Run late Sunday afternoon when he caught his fish.

.

 

We just talked with Captain Chuck Graham who had a great time out on the river this morning and might just be the one fisherman who has been having a great week. He reported lots of action with stripers up to about 36 inches in length this morning - the majority of the fish came on cut bait. Chuck had set up a few miles downriver from Catskill and scored best during the first couple of hours of falling tide. Such has been the story from Coxsackie to Kingston. We’ve had no reports from up in the Albany Troy area.          Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS UPDATE – Sunday, April 24, 2011
 

We received some clarification regarding those large fish down Newburgh way. The huge fish, approx. 61 lbs, was caught in a net along with other fish in the 40 pound range. These stripers were released, however the large one did not survive the encounter. Thanks for the reporting guys.

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Today’s action in the Catskill area was slow; herring extremely scarce. -  Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS UPDATE – Saturday, April 23, 2011.

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As it turns out - the striper bite from Kingston upriver all the way north to Albany seemed vastly improved yesterday afternoon. This trend continued throughout most of this Saturday and we’ve received a slew of reports of fish ranging from 24 to 40 inches being caught, on live as well as chunk herring. Our present contest leader Jan MacDonald caught his 39 inch fish late yesterday afternoon while fishing from shore in the vicinity of the City of Hudson.

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Unfortunately, bait has been rather hard to come by. Since earlier this week these “almost kippers” seem to have made themselves very scarce, but that’s a condition that seems to manifest itself each and every year. It just lasts until the next school of herring arrives in the area.

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Additionally, we’ve gotten a couple of reports of some real big stripers moving north from the Newburgh area… fish in the 50 pound class… or even bigger. One of the reports was that there was a possibility that the state striper record had been broken with a linesider somewhere around the 61 pound mark. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this in the next few days, if true. In the meantime we’ll just sit back here and wait for those giant bass to make their way up here to Catskill.     Tom G

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS UPDATE – Friday, April 22, 2011.

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. The cold spring continues! We were quite shocked when we found the water temperature at the Catskill launch ramp this morning to be holding at 44 degrees. That’s pretty chilly. Last year at this same time the water temperature at Catskill was running between 52 and 53 degrees. Hopefully we’ll see a little improvement this coming week, a week that traditionally sees bigger stripers moving into our mid-Hudson area.
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 . The present cold spell we’re under seems to have been responsible for the sudden lack of herring. Monday, and even Tuesday, the herring seemed to abound in the local feeder creeks and then – BOOM - colder weather set in and the herring disappeared. The opinion of local river men is that they have gone deeper, holding in the main shipping channel – at least that’s what their sonar readings seem to indicate.
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.  Most launch ramps in the upper half of the tidal river are set to bear the onslaught of the hoards of striper fishermen expected for this year’s run. We’ve heard that the ramps at Germantown, Catskill, Athens, Bethlehem, Schodack Island, and Hudson are all set but as of a couple of days ago Coeymans still was not ready. Coxsackie should be set but we’ve received no confirmation on that site.
.
.  Most assuredly there are stripers being caught both to the north and south of our Catskill striper tournament headquarters. The fish seem to be scattered and the catches sporadic. There appears to be no concentration anywhere, as far as our reports go. The sizes of fish caught mostly range between 22 and 36 inches. There are no contest entries as of yet - last year at this time we already had two, each of which was over 38 inches long.
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.  Anybody that was in the shop last week looking for a Shimano Baitrunner and had to go away disappointed should be glad to hear that we again have them in stock. We just received our 4th 2011 shipment of these great reels (we consider them to be the best baitrunners on the market… but they’re rather pricey – each of the 4 sizes running between $150 and $195), along with the favorite Ugly Stick striped bass rods which were also running very low. Our square herring scap nets presently are only available on a day by day basis, as quickly as we can get them altered to our specifications. The fully equipped herring bait tanks are also again in stock – these are the ones with two pumps and inlet and overflow hoses.
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. The top of this page shows two anglers who were fishing the Catskill Bridge Run this morning – Jerry Rowell Sr. and Mike Pavlovich. Their two stripers measured 36 ½ and 28 inches, one being caught on chunk bait and the other on a live herring. The action came at the end of the flood tide, at about 6 a.m. Good luck this weekend!         Tom G
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 RIVER UPDATE - 12:30 p.m., Tuesday April 19, 2011

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Reports are that the boat ramp docks at Bethlehem / Henry Hudson Park are being installed as we write this.      Tom G

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.RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS UPDATE – Tuesday, April 19, 2011.

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No contest entries yet as of noon today.
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.Not surprisingly, our local waters turned high and muddy from this past Saturday night’s rain and also, not surprisingly, there were stalwart striper fishermen who were not about to be turned back by such adverse conditions. Most certainly some just went to check out their equipment and make sure everything was functional after a long winter but yet others went out to do some serious fishing… and did score.
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We had a multitude of reports of stripers being caught all the way from Albany to Kingston. Probably the nicest fish we’re aware of appeared to be in the 40 inch range (cell phone screen) and that was caught on Saturday up in the Troy area. We’ve also had reports of fish up to 34 inches being taken from the Coeymans area below the Thruway Bridge, and then further down at the Coxsackie cliffs section. Four Mile Point has produced for several anglers on a daily basis, as has the area around Stockport Creek. Additional fish were reported having been taken by shore fishermen along the railroad tracks to the north of the city of Hudson. Just about all of these fish were in the 22 to 32 inch range.
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The Catskill area was slow but we are aware of a couple of linesiders being taken from the Catskill Creek. Similar reports came in from the Germantown - Cheviot area. One charter boat captain we know scored a couple of smaller stripers down in the Saugerties – Malden area. The water down in the Rondout Creek was roaring and was even over the stone pier in the middle of the creek at Eddyville – it should be more normal for this weekend.
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.All the condition reports we received were of high, muddy and debris-laden water – but yet fishing, and catching, did take place all over. Anglers were able to get some bait by using “stoolies” or buying herring - the chocolate waters were not conducive for the successful use of Sabiki rigs. A lot of the floating debris we are seeing at present is the result of an unusually high springtime tide this year which has dislodged stuff normally above the high-tide mark but the 3-4 inches of rain we had also shares the responsibility.
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.We did receive word that the Schodack Island State Park launch is open and “fully operational” but as of this past weekend the Henry Hudson Park, Coeymans, and city of Hudson floats had not been installed. As we have previously noted the Germantown ramp is set and the Catskill ramp has one stringer of floats in for launching..The best condition report we had was from up in Menands where Fred  said the water see-thru visibility was 8 to 10 inches and the cormorants and ospreys  were doing their thing.
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.Our River Basin Sports Shop 24th Annual Striped Bass Contest went off with a record number of entrants this year – 698. Be sure to keep checking back here to our River Basin Sports Leader Board at the top of this page where we’ll post the contest standings as they change throughout the course of the event. The 100% payback figures are also listed there at the bottom of the page.       Tom G.

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS UPDATE – Sunday, April 17, 2011

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Just a quick note:.All local waters are high and muddy from last night‘s rain. Creeks will take a few days to improve but the river could be fouled up for a week or two – depends on what kind of water comes in from the upper reaches.
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The unofficial striped bass tournament payback figures are as follows:
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.1)                  $5,759.00
.2)                  $1,780.00
.3)                  $1,361.00
.4)                  $   942.00
.5)                  $    628.00

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS UPDATE – Friday, April 15, 2011

The Hudson’s water temperature at Catskill has been hovering right around the 47 degree mark all this week. The result has been the arrival and gathering of striped bass into our area. The herring made their appearance here on Monday and the stripers were but a day or two behind. They made a very good first push upriver which resulted in some good early-run action, particularly in the Stockport and Coxsackie areas. This morning’s reports also included some stripers being caught at 4 Mile Point but no real big fish (over 40 inches) have been reported from anyplace. Somewhat surprisingly… the action right around Catskill has been slow.

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We’ve also received reports from further upriver - the Albany-Troy area has seen goodly amounts of herring arriving up there, particularly in the Postenkill creek. To the south of us, where the Esopus Creek enters the Hudson at Saugerties, the reports are of the New York City Reservoir system still trying to wipe out all the fish life in the Esopus Creek with their releases of ultra-dirty water and the resulting siltation. Needless to say the Hudson’s water immediately to the south of Saugerties, particularly on the Glasco flats / Saddlebags area can be pretty foul also, depending on the direction of the tide flow. I hope that the herring scappers in the Esopus won’t be completely knocked out of the game by this unbelievable act, ordinarily punishable by the taking of one’s first-born-child.

 .

We know that the stripers and herring are also down in the Rondout Creek / Kingston area but have not as of late received many reports from down there.

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The state launch ramps, both up and down the river, were being readied this week by crews working from south to north. The ramp at Germantown had its floating docks installed this past Monday and I figure that Athens should also be done by now. If you know the situation at Hudson, Coxsackie, Coeymans, Stuyvesant, Bethlehem or Rensselaer you could let us know at TOMGRIVER at YAHOO .COM. Don’t bother to tell us about Albany – we really don’t care how the scullers are doing there - that ramp is perhaps the most fisherman unfriendly on the entire river. The Catskill ramp’s floats were scheduled to be installed (at least partially) today.

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We just received word that SHADY HARBOR marina in New Baltimore will be open this spring to accept striper boats for the early season. The place was just sold to new owners. This was much to the relief of the striper guys who had found refuge there during the past few years.

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Here at the shop we have just received a shipment of sandworms for striper fishing and we are stocked up with local fresh dead, as well as frozen, herring. These fish have been commercially prepared for sale as per ENCON rules and have no transport restrictions on them. If you purchase some just be sure to hold on to the package label which will act as a receipt for their origin.

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This SUNDAY (April 17) is your final day to enter our 24th ANNUAL STRIPED BASS CONTEST. Our official Sunday closing time is 1 p.m. but, as has been our tradition for years, we will extend the closing time for registration and will have the shop open until 5 p.m. At the time of this writing the contest payback amounts were as follows – but of course they will be higher than this by the time registration ends: 1st - $4,331.25; 2nd – $1,338.75; 3rd – $1,023.75; $4th – 708.75; $5th – 472.50. The contest officially starts on Monday, April 18.      Tom G.

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RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS UPDATE – Tuesday, April 12, 2011 

Here’s the news you’ve all been waiting to hear – the striped bass are now not only in our Catskill section of the river but have already passed by Coxsackie and are on their way to the Troy dam.

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Yesterday, Monday, some huge schools of herring pushed past Catskill, Hudson and Stockport - and close behind, on their tails, were the stripers. Today the reports were of plentiful herring at Stockport as well as up past Coxsackie. At the River Basin Sports Shop we presently have this year’s herring now available, either frozen or fresh (not alive) as required by ENCON dictate. These herring come three in a bag, are salt enhanced and work well for fishing either as chunk or whole bait.

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Our area’s first reported stripers were from the Stockport section of the river and we are aware of several fish in the 28 to 35 inch range that were taken there. A little bit further upriver in the Coxsackie area stripers up to 38 inches have been taken… and a few purportedly even larger than that were lost.

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This has been the first push of stripers up past our area this year and bodes well for the arrival of many more of these fish during the time leading up the start of our 24th ANNUAL STRIPED BASS CONTEST. The final time to get your $15 registration in for this year’s event is Sunday (April 17th) at 1 p.m. (closing time). The contest, which presently has 431 entrants, officially starts the next day.       Tom G

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 RIVER BASIN STRIPER REPORT UPDATE - Saturday, April 08, 2011
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       Reports from the Saugerties Esopus Creek area were of a few smaller schoolie stripers being taken there at the mouth of the creek. No reports of anything in the Catskill, Hudson or Stockport areas as of yet, although the odds are good that some stripers are  in these locations now.
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Presently we have over 350 entries in our striper contest. Registration ends Sunday, April 17.
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The River Basin Sports Shop will have fresh prepared legal Hudson River herring baits available tomorrow morning. These were swimming around just two hours ago. No bloodworms until this coming Thursday afternoon . NOW... it begins!       Tom G
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RIVER BASIN STRIPER REPORT UPDATE – Friday, April 08, 2011

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       We assume that you’ve already read the latest update to the “Marine License” boondoggle which we’ve posted up above. It’s pretty much clear cut and doesn’t really need any more explanation. Here’s the good news – the first of the river herring showed up at Catskill this morning. We have also heard of a few being spotted as far upriver as Albany. True, there were very few of t hem caught but from now on their numbers will be increasing each day. Generally we do not consider this first arrival to be large enough for you to go out and pursue… unless you have a gill net. That is how those herring were caught this morning – the nets soaked out there for 2 hours before yielding a total of 5 herring.
      Here at the River Basin Sports Shop we are expecting to have our first shipment of Hudson River fresh, commercially prepared (required by law) herring available for sale late this weekend, probably Sunday. The first of the stripers should be here any day now and, of course, the question for all striper anglers becomes where and how to obtain bait. Obviously the easiest way is to buy it. Sometimes this can be accomplished right at the launch ramp if there are some young entrepreneurs hanging around hawking those they have caught right there. Here at the River Basin Sports Shop we are only allowed to sell commercially prepared stuff, which is actually pretty good. If you want bloodworms you will have to buy them at a bait shop such as ours (we won’t have any until the weekend after the present one).  
      Another alternative is artificial baits – lures such as Bomber 26A and 17A are local favorites, as are the offerings in the Rebel DJ30 series and the Rapala sizes 13 and larger. Bucktail jigs also work well but generally tend to catch smaller fish. One of my favorites is the vibrating blade style such as a Hedon Sonar. This lure can either be cast and reeled in, or just vertically jigged under the boat (I drop down to either 14 lb. test mono or up to 50 lb. braid when fishing any artificials for stripers). 
 .

       Of course, you can always try to catch your own bait. There’s no question that the gill nets are the easiest way to catch your own herring. Usually all it takes is to set the net out for 20 to 30 minutes and you’ll have enough bait to start your fishing day. At this stage what many anglers do, if they need more bait, is to set the net out again while they go and fish in the immediate vicinity. Just remember that you can’t set out the net and then leave it unattended.

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       There is one problem with herring that are gill netted and that is the damage they sustain when you gather them from the net. There is no question that they are pretty well beat up and have a shorter life-span than herring obtained by other means. We have several different sizes of herring gill nets in stock.

 .

       The best (liveliest) herring are usually obtained by “scap” netting. A scap net is just a large umbrella net (aka “lift” net) such as you probably used at one time or another at some stage of your fishing career to gather smaller bait. Basically, with a scap net the herring are just “lifted” out of the water and sustain no real damage unless dumped on the ground or otherwise handled roughly.

 .

       Unlike gill nets, which require you to obtain a special license, the scap nets we sell here at the shop are specially tied for us and their dimensions are such that you do not need a special license to use them - as long as the herring you are netting are for your own use. They come with the central lifting block and eye, and 4 arms that have hooks on their ends to which the net is attached. All of this stuff is individually built to our specifications and, as with all specialty nets, the supply is limited so if you decide you want one don’t delay.

       Of course you shouldn’t forget to try the ever popular “Sabiki” style herring rigs, nor should you forget the use of “stoolies” to lure the herring in so they can be netted. We’ve got all that stuff here as well as herring “pens” and “live well tanks” in which to keep the captured fish.

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       If you do decide to come through the shop be sure to also check out our selection of “baitrunner” style reels for striped bass fishing. Shimano, Okuma, Penn, Daiwa, Tica – presently we have more than TWO DOZEN different models in all sizes and price ranges to choose from including the four new top-of-the-line Shimano BTR models and the Penn live-liner SLAMMER series – at prices better than the big box stores.

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       For anybody that hasn’t done so yet the next week is all that remains to sign up for our 24th annual striped bass contest. 100% of the entry monies are paid back to the winners and first place has a guaranteed minimum payback of $3,000. As of the time of this writing there was over $4,000 dollars in the pot. Usually this final week of registration sees hundreds more sign-ups come in so we won’t know the final payback totals until next Sunday.

       Now, as the first full week of April passes, we appear to be in good shape as far as the striper run goes. Don’t hop in the boat and expect to catch a striper yet – the odds are immensely against you, but as we get into this upcoming week the odds do improve and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the first striper of the year brought in to the River Basin in the next week or week and a half.

PROPOSAL TO END ONEROUS BAIT TRANSPORT REG ALONG THE HUDSON  
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DEC will be looking to remove the herring bait transport restriction in corridors along both sides of the tidal Hudson River. This is NOT in effect yet but rather is proposed – there are hearings scheduled in this regard. Following are some parts of ENCON’s news release:

DEC’s proposed regulations will:

·         Allow the overland motorized transport of uncertified baitfish that are collected for personal use within the identified transportation corridor.  Such baitfish may only be used in the water from which they were collected.

·         Allow the overland motorized transport of uncertified baitfish by anglers purchasing the baitfish from licensed bait dealers located within one of the transportation corridors (provided the seller has obtained a permit from DEC to sell uncertified baitfish).  The seller must provide the purchaser with a receipt that identifies the waterbody from which the bait was collected.  That waterbody is the only place where the baitfish may be used.

·         Impose no restrictions on the number of uncertified baitfish that may be collected or purchased for personal use in the waterbodies associated with the transportation corridors. Also, such fish may be retained or preserved in any manner within the boundaries of the corridors.  They may not be transported outside of the transportation corridors.

·         Continue to subject any commercial sale of uncertified baitfish to a permit issued by the Department.

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            Anglers and other interested persons can provide comments on the proposed rule making during a 45-day public comment period which begins April 6, 2011. Comments on proposed rule making being submitted by e-mail should be forwarded to fishregs@gw.dec.state.ny.us or mailed to Shaun Keeler, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753.

Hope you can make more sense out of all this “in and out” regulation making than I can. I guess we’ll just have to sit back and see which way the wind is blowing today.    Tom G

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RIVER BASIN SPORTS UPDATE – Monday, April 04, 2011

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       This past weekend turned out to be quite pleasant and it was real nice to greet many of you once more, here at the shop. All of us, me included, are just itching to get out there on the river once more to take on the striped bass of the Hudson. Quite a challenge!

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       April is progressing. For the past week or so we’ve been receiving word of a smattering of stripers and herring in the river about 25 miles south of us, but that really wasn’t too much to get excited about since that is to be expected each year. What we want to hear is that some giant schools of herring and alewives have entered our waterway and are starting their run upriver – then we know that the stripers will be right behind them.

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       Well, we received our first report of larger schools of herring having arrived in the lower section of the river this past weekend and want to thank Walt down in the Wappingers / Fishkill area for this early netting report. These fish should be making their way upriver fairly quickly but there is a question as to how far upriver they’ll advance in this first push.

The past three years the herring have arrived in the Catskill area during the first week of April… but the water temp at Catskill during that period those same three years, ranged from the mid 40’s to 50 degrees. This morning the Hudson’s water temperature at the Catskill launch ramp was only 41. Back in 2007 the water temperature during the first week of April was approximately the same as this – and then the stripers and herring didn’t get here until the end of the second week of April.

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       It’ll be interesting to see just what’s in store for us this year. The colder water temperature might hold the stripers back in the lower section of the river for a while. Most certainly this morning’s flood warnings for the Mohawk River do not bode us down here very well. Any heavy rains and Adirondack snow-melt will probably result in a wash-down of dirty water which could further delay the arrival of our stripers. We’ll just play it by ear and see what happens.

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       By the way, the web special on the Okuma Epixor EB65 reel is all sold out. We do still have some of the “Okuma ABF65/ Sea Striker 25 lb. rated, 8 foot 2 piece rod” baitrunner combos left which are priced at $89.97 but, judging from the way they have been selling, those won’t be available much longer either.

       Don’t forget that the registration deadline for our River Basin Sports 24th ANNUAL STRIPED BASS CONTEST is April 17th and that the event starts the following day, the 18th. Last year we had a record number 604 entries in this event which pays back 100% of the entry monies to the largest (length) 5 stripers brought in, and guarantees at least $3,000 to the first place fish. Entry forms are only available at the River Basin Sports Shop so be sure to stop through and pick one up. Time is starting to get short.        Tom G

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RIVER BASIN MARINE LICENSE UPDATE – Friday, April 01, 2011

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 We have now been officially notified by the state regarding the status of New York’s marine license. Their message is as follows: “Here's an update on the status of the Marine License.  You probably know that the budget was approved last night. As soon as it is signed by the Governor, Marine licenses will no longer be necessary and should not be sold.  We are working with Verizon to remove all associated licenses from the catalog.  Customers must register through DECALS however and we will be adding a registry item to the catalog.  It will take some time before the registry is available via DECALS.  There will be no charge for the registry.” 
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What this means is that you will still need to possess the marine license, however it appears they will not be calling it a license, just some type of registration. There will be no monetary charge for it. It will be some days before they can get the change programmed into their computers – just keep in mind that you are still required to possess such an item.
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We realize that this might seem like an April fool’s joke to some of you – but it is true.  The real April fool's joke was the weather service's prediction for today. The big snowstorm they predicted certaily fizzled out here in the Catskill area of the Hudson Valley.      Tom G 

 

 

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RIVER BASIN REPORT – Thursday, March 31, 2011

The final day of March… we’re sitting here anticipating tonight’s “nor’easter” which is supposed to dump anywhere from 6 to 10 inches of fresh snow on us… just in time for the first day of New York’s trout season tomorrow, April 1st… April Fool’s Day… but it’s no joke… just absolutely ridiculous! Good luck to any trouter who ventures out tomorrow.

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In all likelihood this forthcoming snowstorm will also have a deleterious effect on the start of our 2011 striped bass run here in the Catskill section of the Hudson Valley. It’s always been obvious that there can be no valid prediction as to when the stripers will arrive here, at least not until just about the final week of March and that time is now. So, in all likelihood they won’t be arriving here in any number until the very end of the second week of April, and more likely not until sometime in the third week.

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By this time each year we know that the stripers are already in the river, generally the first of them having made it up as far north as the Kingston area. The rain/snow storm we’re expecting tomorrow will result in increased cold water runoff. This will more than likely muddy up the river’s water.  Cold + heavy runoff + muddy river = a NOT early striper run. On the brighter side of things – when those fish finally do make the run upriver it will likely be in a big burst and the fishing will get good very fast..

 

TIME TO CHECK YOUR GEAR

Looking back at the results of our last year’s striper poll we see a myriad of reasons given as to the reason why an angler’s last hooked striper was lost. “Hook turned into bait” was the second most common reason, but the most consistent answer was “line broke.” However, a closer examination of the answers (i.e. straightened hook, fish got off, knot let go etc.)  actually reveals a more likely culprit causing this to happen – the drag.

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All too often when a decent fish is hooked and is running a bolt of fear strikes the fisherman. The fish is stripping line off the spool and the drag is just about smoking – AGHHHH!  How do you stop him – you’ve got to stop him – TIGHTEN THE DRAG!! NOT!!!

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I think most of us have been guilty of this almost unforgiveable “no-no.” I know that I have and that most of the other anglers I’ve talked to have. You’ve got to set that drag properly before you throw the line into the water. You DON’T play with it after the fish is hooked – tighten it and you’re asking for either a broken line or having the hook pull out of the fish.

This happens all too often, especially to those anglers using non-baitrunner style reels. What many of them do while bait fishing is to set the rod down with a closed bail. Then they loosen the drag to a point where a biting striper can take out line and run, but it’s still set tight enough so that the current can’t take out line. The disadvantage here is when the time does come to set the hook - properly setting it and then quickly tightening the drag to play the fish can be a task. That’s why we sell so many baitrunners to striper guys..

 

My personal method for setting the drag is to step on the end of the line while rearing back on the rod. I impart enough pressure on the rod until I’m satisfied with the amount of tension and then set the drag at that point. I know that there are more precise ways to accomplish the same thing but this method gives me the best feel for the equipment I’m using. You’ve just got to remember to leave the drag alone after you hook the fish – do NOT tighten it..

 

How long do you wait before setting the hook on a run and seeing if your drag has been set properly?  39% of the respondents in last year’s survey favored a 10 to 15 second wait before tightening the line. The next favorite time was about 5 seconds (31%) followed, surprisingly, by times ranging from 30 seconds to 1 minute. At both extreme ends were “as soon as possible” and “second run.” Remember not to “set” if you’re using a circle hook, rather just let the fish tighten the line and hook itself.

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Now, before I go back and do some real work at the store I’ll give you an internet special for this week. It is an OKUMA EPIXOR EB65 baitrunner reel – perfect for stripers. This reel comes with an extra graphite spool, has 10 ball bearings, 4.5:1 gearing, and claims to have a spool capacity of 310 yards of 20 lb. test monofilament (I don’t know where they ever got that measurement from, someplace from 230 to 250 yards is more like it). Anyhow, Cabela’s sells this reel for 109.99 and our regular price at the store is $99.97. Our special price, only through April 9 - is $89.97, as long as our supply holds out. This is a non-advertised special so you must ask if you want to take advantage of it.      Tom G

 

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RIVER BASIN REPORT UPDATE – Friday, March 25, 2011

The news is out that the “saltwater license” which our Hudson River striped bass fishermen have been mandated to buy… is dead! Seems that a law suit brought on by certain townships on Long Island has been decided in their favor and the state will likely be dropping this requirement very soon.

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Since no specific details were to be found anywhere as to this reversal of policy on part of ENCON we at the River Basin Sports Shop went right to the top of this chain and there we found… scant additional information. Assemblyman Robert Sweeney is the chairman of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee so we queried his office and, despite receiving confirmation of this decision, we still found… scant additional information. It seems that as of the present time it doesn’t exist.

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The reply we received from Sweeney’s office on Thursday, March 24, 2011 was – “The language to accomplish this will be part of the budget which has not as yet passed – in fact it is not even in print.”

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So, as of right now we are advising our customers to hold off as long as possible from purchasing their saltwater license and seeing what will shake out during the next few weeks. I don’t know what to tell those of you who already paid this additional tax except that the state now has your money and, thanks to the state’s new licensing system, they also have your address should they decide to refund it.       Tom G

 

 

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RIVER BASIN REPORT – Wednesday, March 23, 2011

As I sit here looking out at the falling snowflakes and hear the weatherman tell me that we’ll get 3 to 6 inches of snow tonight my thoughts drift back to March 2006.

 

Yup, the second half of that month was beautiful, much warmer than usual, and the first of that year’s stripers arrived in the Catskill area on March 31, right along with our first sightings of local herring. The water temperature in the Catskill Creek hit 47 degrees that Friday…but believe me it ain’t even gonna be close this year. Presently the creek is still flowing at just about the 39 degree mark.

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That was a great start to a year which saw the second longest striper I’d ever seen brought in the River Basin Sports Shop – a 48 ¼ incher caught by James Provoncha of Stockport – he used cut shad for bait (actually, the fish tied for the second largest ever with a monster taken by John Repko of Germantown in 2004).  Of course, the largest fish of all, a 48 1/2 incher, was taken the following year, 2007, by Jeremy Phillips of Saugerties. Man, those were great fish.

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Hopefully, something in the 48 inch range will be caught this year but in the 33 years we’ve been in business we’ve only had occasion to measure a total of 6 striped bass that large. The other three 48 inchers were taken by Bob Koziol (Pleasant Valley), Charles Graham (Palenville), and Dean Krissler (Alburg, Vt.).

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It’s kind of interesting to note here that three of those giant fish were taken on dead bait, not live herring as is used by, and insisted on, probably 85% of our striper anglers. The fourth was taken on a Mann’s Stretch 25 plug while the two remaining were caught on live herring. It’s also interesting to see that of the top 4 fish brought in to our striped bass contest last year (2010) none were taken on live herring – two were taken on chunk bait, one on a live eel, and yet another on a Rapala. It just might be interesting and worth while for you to remember this.

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From a survey we took of 20 striper fishermen last year we also learned a few other things which might be of interest to you. One of these regards which type of hooks most anglers are using. Of course, the big push during the past 5 years or so has been to get fishermen to use “circle” hooks rather than the standard style “J” hooks, the ones we’ve all been reared on. According to studies, the circle hooks are less likely to deep hook a fish – definitely preferable if you’re going to be releasing the fish anyway. Our survey showed that 30% of the fishermen had made the switch to circle hooks while 50 percent were still using the J style. Of the rest, 10% were using treble hooks and the remainder used artificials.

The most popular hook size used was 6/0 or larger – only 15% used smaller. The most popular sinker size was 3 ounces (in the main river), and 30 pound test line was the one most in use, preferred by 35% of the anglers.

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15% of the striper fishermen used “level wind” baitcasting style reels and another 15% used standard style spinning reels, but 70% used the newer “baitrunner” style equipment.

Here in the shop, during the past 10 years or so,  I think that we’ve only sold a total of 3 or 4 of the older style spinning reels for stripers – and have sold hundreds of the baitrunners. It really is the only way to go if you’re in the market for a new reel for bait fishing, and that is the reason we stock over two dozen different at this time of the year, ranging in price from $49 to $200 – tell me what other retail store gives you such a selection.

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Of course the best way to buy one of these reels is to make the purchase as a combo – rod and reel. At present we’ve set up some great striper combos at rock bottom prices – an 8 foot two-piece striper rod along with the most-popular Okuma ABF65 reel for only $89.97. The supply of these won’t last forever so take advantage of it while you can.

In the meantime, sit back and dream of 45+ degree water that just swarms with herring bait being chased by four foot long stripers.      Tom G.

 

 

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RIVER BASIN REPORT – Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ICE OUT

Here today, gone tomorrow – that was the story of the ice cover on the lower Catskill Creek this year. On Saturday, March 5, the ice shield on the lower Catskill Creek seemed to be holding strong and steady as the daylight came to an end. But, surprise, surprise – when dawn broke the next morning the snow melt, caused by 50 degree temperatures and abetted by several inches of heavy rain, had brought the waterway to a springtime flood stage and sent the ice packing to wherever it goes to each spring. The ice went out with the change of tide on Sunday morning, March 6.

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WALLEYE

Some walleye fishermen were chomping at the bit, anticipating getting in a little early March angling before the season for that species closed on March 15th - but the high, muddy water put a real damper on that right from the git-go. Then a few days later, just as the water was calming down, we had an additional deluge that brought the creek up to flood level once more and negated the possibility of walleye fishing for at least several more days. Finally, the day before the season close, we saw a walleye boat on the creek… but there was no report of any walleye being caught.

WAITING ON THE STRIPERS

We’re just about a month away from the start of our 2011 striped bass contest and things are rapidly improving insofar as the environmental conditions. Sure there’s still snow in the mountains and some additional patches here in the valley but these are now swiftly diminishing. Presently it appears that the start of the striped bass run is going to be right on schedule this year.

We expect the very first of the stripers (we call them “scouts”) to arrive in our area right about the start of April but these fish are so few in number that they are only rarely caught by anglers. By mid-April the number of stripers in our area will be swelling but usually it’s still too early to actually go out and expect to catch any. At just about this same time, perhaps a few days earlier, maybe a few days later, we expect to see the first of the herring arrive here in the Catskill area. Our water temperature should be at just about the 42 – 43 degree range at this time.

Up until then the stripers will generally tend to mill and build up in numbers further south in the river. When the river temperature is just right larger schools of HERRING will start to make their run upriver, seemingly followed a day or three later by greater numbers of stripers. You’ve got to remember that the herring are the prime forage for the stripers at this time of year and, since the stripers follow their food supply, you can’t have many stripers without lots of herring.

If, at this time, the upper tidal river is running muddy and cold the stripers will tend to hold back, usually below Kingston, until conditions improve. But they seemingly can only hold back for just so long before nature forces a further upriver movement. This main migration can occur anytime from mid to the end of April, and THAT’S when the best action up here starts. Captain R.E. Booth of REEL HAPPY CHARTERS, (518) 622-8670, who charters out of Catskill, tells us that this same time period up through the first two weeks of May provides the best action for his clients. If you call him tell him “HI!” from us.

STRIPER TACKLE

The best selling striper gear here at the shop so far this year has been the Okuma ABF series of reels. The popular, economically priced ABF65 model, which has been our BEST SELLING REEL for the past 6 years, is still holding on to that position but the model 50 is running a close second.  Of the two brands considered to be the “cream of the crop,” the Penn Slammer and the Shimano BTR series, the Shimanos have really been impressing the fishermen with their smoothness. The most preferred rods for stripers this year so far have been the heavier action Ugly Stick BWS models in the 7, 8 and 9 foot lengths.

Even though we’ve already had to reorder a few items the store is still all stocked up with striper stuff. Gill and scap nets abound here, as do herring pens and tanks. However these items can, and usually do, sell out in quick order once striper fever strikes. Anyway, we’ve got all the tackle that you might need to catch them - right now! Come on over and stop in for a look, and while here you can sign up for the striper contest. It’s a $15 entry fee and 100% of it is paid back in prizes to the top 5 fish brought in, plus - we guarantee at least a $3,000 payback for first place.     Tom G

 

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RIVER BASIN REPORT – Saturday, March 05, 2011

A NEW YEAR AND BUT ONE CHANGE

 Ahh, March! This is the month that usually signals the end of winter and starts the blood pumping in the hearts of all fishermen. Here at the River Basin Sports Shop we’ve been busy getting all our striped bass gear ready for the upcoming season. As you may or may not have heard, there have been no changes this year in the regulations governing either the use of baitfish (with one exception) or the rules for catching striped bass in our Hudson River waters.

The daily limit for stripers remains one fish measuring 18 inches or longer. Of course this minimum size is rather a joke to river fishermen, many of whom are as likely to look at a fish of this size as bait rather than as their catch. The only change this year is in the total prohibition on the use of American Shad – not only are you not allowed to fish for them but even their mere possession is now illegal. This closes a previous loophole in the regulations which, even though fishing for and keeping a shad was illegal, seemed to allow the purchase the species for use as bait.

Of course, all this pertains only to this year, 2011.   Who knows what someone will come up with for next year to harass the angler. Already the winds of change are blowing in the direction of limiting the use of herring starting in 2012. Reportedly some employees of ENCON are chortling about the number of baitfish any angler will be allowed to possess, and some remarks have also been made that the fishermen had better get ready and learn to use lures only in the future.

To many old-time river anglers this makes as much sense as retaining the present 15 inch size limit on black bass in the river. Gosh, this limitation has probably really hurt the dozen or so anglers along our 120 mile stretch of waterway who used to keep a few bass each year. Just kidding! But who it does really hurt are the small sports shops like ours as well as those tournament bass anglers who USED TO enjoy fishing our waters, returning ALL their bass. Now they can’t even weigh in any of the 80% of fish which had been legally weighable. This ruling has wiped out 75% of our river tournaments so there obviously aren’t that many anglers around anymore to be affected. The whole point is that the number of fish that were being kept previously was miniscule and raising the limit was for naught.

As far as harassment of fishermen goes please keep in mind that the herring transport law is still in effect out there. This prohibits the transport of herring, for fishing use, overland by any motorized vehicle from one location to another. However, you are allowed to transport them to your home – you just are not allowed to bring them back to the river (or any other water) again. No further comment on this stricture is necessary.

SEASON OPENER GETS CLOSER BUT THE ICE IS HOLDING

The Hudson’s striped bass season opens on March 16th this year but, of course, the stripers in our mid-river section will be nowhere to be found so early. This is a fact that seems to be particularly true this year. Even though I have received reports of small schoolie stripers already having entered the Connecticut River, fully two weeks earlier than normal, it certainly appears there will not be an early arrival here. The Hudson River at Catskill is still ice-bound and the stripers are still at least 4 to 5 weeks away from us.

Even though the Catskill Creek is still locked up with ice the longer days are starting to have an effect on this waterway. During the past week here in Catskill I have observed the amount of open water expand from the railroad bridge all the way to the walking bridge (Black Bridge). Yesterday an open swath of water could be seen in the middle of the creek extending several hundred feet downstream from the 9W Bridge, while just upstream a line of open water could be seen at the landmark Pointy Rock location. This melting is just fine but rarely will the ice in the creek disappear from just melting – it takes a good flushing-out to accomplish this and that’s not about to happen as long as the Hudson at the mouth of the Catskill Creek is still locked up with solid ice.

Last year (2010) the ice left the Catskill Creek on February 26th. The latest ice-out date in our 33 years of record keeping was back in 1993 when it did actually “melt out” on March 28. There is no earliest date we have for ice-out since, on a couple of occasions, we have classified the creek to not have frozen over (not enough ice to support an ice fisherman) – those years were 1998 and 2008. Generally a few days of steady March rains bring about the cleansing of ice from our waterways, sometimes accompanied by minor flooding. The flooding is a definite possibility this year since we have lots of snow-cover throughout our region.

It doesn’t appear that we’ll get in much open-water walleye fishing this year. Since the walleye season closes on March 15th the odds are that we’ll still be either ice bound or the creek will be running at flood stage with solid mud at that time.

HUDSON LICENSE FEES STILL IN EFFECT

I don’t want to forget to remind you that the state still wants your money for the special “marine species” license. This $10 (resident) fee entitles you to catch any salt water species (i.e.: stripers, herring, etc.) from ANY water in the state. Do keep in mind that a standard NYS license is now also required to fish for “warm water” species in the Hudson. We sell all New York sporting licenses here at the River Basin Sports shop.

TACKLE REPORT

Last year’s River Basin Sports striped bass contest winning 47 inch fish was taken by Eric Borchert using cut bait. It takes hefty tackle to handle fish of this size with bait. Here at the shop we recommend either a medium-heavy or heavy action salt water rod rated for 30 pound test or stronger line. We have several different ones to choose from, depending on your style of fishing. Your line should be a very abrasion resistant 20 pound or heavier test and the reel a well-built one with a capacity of at least 100 yards of 20 lb. test.

We generally have at least 8 or more BAITRUNNER COMBOS on display that fill such requirements, ranging in price from about $100 to $175. For anyone just wanting to give it a one-shot try we have some weekend warrior combos starting around the $50 range. However, should you want the best stuff you can make up your own outfit. At the time of this writing we have two dozen DIFFERENT reels with the BAITRUNNER feature in stock (this feature really is ideal for striper fishing), including the superb top of the line Penn (560L & 760L) or Shimano (4000D, 6000D, 8000D, 12000D) models.

The displayed combos and reels at the shop are already discounted but if you want to make up your own striper combo we’ll knock off 10% of the final cost on that outfit if you mention you saw it here on our web site. And while you’re here at the shop, have your striper reels filled with premium Trilene Big Game line, 20, 25 or 30 pound test for only $9.00 for up to 200 yards (3 cents for each yard for over 200 yards). This is a great bargain.

Ice fishing is presently in its waning days for this winter. The next two weeks will see it come to an end in our area so if that’s your thing – hit it hard now. The number of ice fishermen coming through the shop is now being overshadowed by striper fishermen itching for their season to start. The 2011 RIVER BASIN STRIPED BASS CONTEST entry forms are here on the counter and most everyone is filling out their application for this year’s event. Lots of time left for that but if you’re coming through you might as well do it – every year we have to turn away anglers who want to sign up after the deadline. Remember that we pay back 100% of the entry monies to the top 5 fish brought in and that we guarantee at least $3,000 payback for first place.     Tom G

 

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RIVER BASIN REPORT – Friday, February 11, 2011

  

 We’re back again after spending January preparing for spring, in particular for the trout and striped bass seasons. We attended several sporting goods shows all along the East coast last month and have ordered gobs of new fishing tackle for the upcoming year. The merchandise has been arriving for a couple of weeks now and will continue to do so for a few more weeks. Unfortunately, THAT was the fun part of the spring, the next couple of months is a real grind as we have to log-in, price and hang all the stuff.

It’s been a mean winter. Lots of snow and lots of cold (it was minus 6 at my house this morning) but it appears that the worse might be over and we might even get into the high 40’s this coming week. Our ice fishermen appear to be having somewhat a tough time indulging in their wintertime hobby. It seems the heavy snowfall has weighted down the ice and there is a layer of slush-water under the snow. This makes it real sloppy and uncomfortable, even requiring the use of rubber boots at some locations.

Of course, here at the River Basin Sports Shop we are really anticipating the upcoming striped bass season. It was kind of a weird run last year (2010) with the fish seemingly becoming smaller and less in number the further upriver from Catskill one ventured. Actually, this seemed to be a continuation of a trend that was set during the preceding two years (2008 and 2009) when we observed the success ratio in the section from New Baltimore to Albany to slightly deteriorate each year. It certainly was in great contrast to the 4 years prior when that upper tidewater section seemingly just teemed with lots of decent fish.

Still, even though it was slower fishing to the north, it certainly appeared that the over-all catch reported to us was better than the year before. From the Stockport area south to Norrie Point it appeared the 2010 take of linesiders over the 40 inch mark was real good. However, what were lacking were the heavier weights. Of the top 7 stripers that were brought in to the shop only 3 went over the 40 pound mark, the heaviest being our contest winner, a 47 inch giant caught by Eric Borchert – it tipped the scale at 47 pounds 1 ounce. It’ll be interesting to see if any such trends continue or fall apart this year.

From the latest reports we’ve received it appears that there will be no changes in either the striped bass or the herring baitfish regulations for this year. For those of you considering netting your own herring baitfish keep in mind that scap nets larger than 36 square feet require a special license. However, a net of that size is strictly a commercial thing - way to large and bulky for any individual to easily use. From many years of experience we can tell you that a four foot square herring scap is the best bet for you… and it requires no special license for non-commercial use.

Anybody contemplating using a gill net to catch their herring bait MUST obtain a commercial license before setting it in the water. There are specific regulations as far as construction, dates of employment, locations of use, as well as specific closure days (escapement periods). The license fee for these nets is actually somewhat minimal and the licenses can be handily obtained from ENCON, but the process can take a couple of weeks so don’t put it off. You are better off to purchase your net first so you will know its dimensions - these are needed on the license application. Yes, we do sell both types of nets here at the River Basin Sports Shop.

Even though we’re just starting to get this year’s striped bass gear out for sale we already have the 2011 STRIPED BASS CONTEST applications available here at the shop. We’ll be discussing the contest rules and regulations here in future updates to this fishing report site. The registration period for the event ends at 5 p.m. on April 17, 2011, the event starts at 12:01 a.m. on April 18, ending at 12 noon on June 5th.

Approximately 1 month to go until ice-out on the lower Catskill Creek - unless mother-nature decides to “flood-wash” it out earlier. We’re waiting… the earlier the better so maybe we can get in some walleye fishing there before the season closes.    Tom G

 

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