Spawning activity is wrapping up in the Chesapeake tributaries, big numbers of schoolies along the Jersey shore, fish to 20 pounds in Raritan Bay, and migrating fish are in Rhode Island and on Martha’s Vineyard.
The stripers have been slow to leave the spawning rivers and re-enter the bay according to the Maryland DNR Fishing Report. The Maryland Spring Trophy Season opened last Friday, but has been slow to start. Although the bulk of spawning activity is finished, stripers were still spawning in several rivers this week. The run appears to be right on time, as the bass usually make their move out of the bay from the last week of April through the first week of May.
Delaware River stripers larger than 40 pounds, heavy with eggs, were reported as far as Trenton over the weekend. Fish were following schools of herring and shad and were taking plugs. Clams and bloodworms continue to catch bass in the lower river and bay.
Note that as of April 1, the striped bass season is closed above a line running east from the South Jetty of the C&D Canal to the Pennsylvania line. Anglers using any type of bait in this area must use non-offset circle hooks even if they are not targeting striped bass.
Keeper stripers are moving along the beaches in Southern New Jersey, along with growing numbers of short fish. The back bays are still the more reliable places to find schoolie stripers. In Barnegat Bay, fishermen have found mixed schools of stripers and blues willing to take topwaters.
In Northern New Jersey, larger stripers have been reported off the beaches of Long Branch, most likely Hudson River spawners making their way into Raritan Bay.
More and larger stripers are arriving in Raritan Bay, and with the water warming, the fish are becoming more active, taking topwaters, giving fishermen another option for hooking up besides trolling and jigging swim shads. Big bluefish have also joined the stripers in the Bay and around Sandy Hook.
According to our Long Island- New York fishing report, fishermen are catching 10- to 20-pound stripers on live bunker in the Metro New York region. Farther out on Long Island, the bays are filling up with school size stripers, with some keeper-size fish beginning to make their way east. On the East End of the island, it’s still all smaller fish, with most under 20 inches.
In the rivers of Connecticut, larger stripers are becoming more active, chasing down the schools of river herring.
More schoolie stripers are hitting the beaches of Rhode Island, with fisherman catching from Charlestown Breachway out to Newport. No keepers reported yet.
Cape Cod/ Massachusetts
Fresh migrating stripers reached Martha’s Vineyard this week, but none have yet been reported on the Cape. With the fish on the Vineyard, however, it’s only a matter of days before sea-lice-laden schoolies turn up in the bays and harbors on the Cape’s South Side and in Buzzards Bay.