The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), recently released their annual young of the year (YOY) report for juvenile striped bass in 2022. If you’re not familiar with how these samples are taken and how the numbers are calculated, DEC officials collect samples over a series of weeks at several predetermined locations using a seine net. The species in each haul are counted and cataloged and then they take the counts for juvenile striped bass, compile them and calculate an average for the entirety of the study. The DEC conducts this survey every single year so that they can monitor the spawning success of striped bass in the Hudson River.
Anglers fishing the Hudson River for striped bass should be aware that this unique fishery has its own set of regulations, a tighter slot limit is imposed north of the George Washington Bridge that was designed to protect spawning-age fish; 1 fish between 18 and 28 inches and the fishery is closed from December 1 through March 31. The goals of the YOY study go beyond just monitoring spawning success and future abundance of adult striped bass, they also monitor the environmental conditions during the spawning and maturation processes in an effort to understand how water conditions, water quality and weather affect spawning success each year.
For the second time in three years and for the fifth time in the last decade, the average haul was at or above the long-term average of 19 fish; this year’s average was slightly above that number. Not much is known about what percentage of the striped bass population originates in the Hudson, but those of us who follow the fishery closely can attest to the fact that these fish certainly make an impact, particularly in the spring when anglers enjoy fantastic action for trophy class fish in Raritan Bay as they stage before running upriver to spawn and then a month later when a large contingent of these fish make a left through the East River, setting off the May run of large stripers in western Long Island Sound. And while we may not know the true contribution the Hudson River fish make to the East Coast stocks of striped bass, a successful spawning year is always great news.
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