If you’re a shad fisherman, reports from Delaware River Shad Fisherman’s website and various Facebook postings indicate the shad run in the upper Delaware River remains productive. In fact, in the lower Delaware, some stripers are also being caught.
Kate Dewaney fished the Zane Grey area from shore between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. and managed to hook 36 and landed 31 plus two doubles on double dart rigs with a quarter once on top and one thirty-second on bottom with three foot of line between them.
Kurt Miller reported last week that he hooked seven, landed five and released five. And he caught them between noon to 4:30 p.m.
Steve Meserve, professional shad fisherman who nets fish in the Delaware, reported last Friday that he managed to net 20 bucks and six roe, 10 catfish, six quillback, four striped bass and one herring.
If you’ve haven’t fished for a while, May 28 (and July 4) has been designated as a Fish for Free Day when you don’t need a Pennsylvania fishing license to fish. So, it’s an opportunity to reconnect to a lifelong sport that can also bring some tasty table fare.
Speaking of stripers, the northern Jersey shore has hot striper action. According to On the Water magazine, rivers and bays are producing jumbo bass that are being caught by boaters on the troll with live eels and bunker. The beaches are yielding stripers on big plugs, clams and sand bugs. Bluefish seem to be everywhere and black bass catches are upbeat.
Rick Hebert at Tackle World in Rochelle Park, says big bass are being caught between the channels on the troll in Raritan Bay. He received reports of jumbo bass at the Shrewsbury Rock falling for live eels.
Danny Stolba, at Fish Tail Bait and Tackle in Carteret, said bass were hitting bunker chunks on the Arthur Kill by Perth Amboy.
Capt. Phil Sciortino, at the Tackle Box in Hazlet, reported the bass bite in Raritan Bay is amazing with a few 50 pounders caught. Fluke are back in the rivers and big blues are with them.
Mike Pinto, at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright, said striper action in local rivers has slowed a bit but is picking up on the beaches. Clams and chunks have been enticing most of the bass while a few are hitting artificials. Anglers are nailing big stripers offshore on metal-lipped swimmers and by trolling eels. Fluking is improving on the Naversink and Shrewsbury rivers by anglers using Gulp and bucktails.
Mike Gleason, at TAK Waterman in Long Branch, said the bass bite in the rivers and out front is still very good. A new body of jumbo stripers moved into the area and they’re hitting big metal-lipped swimmers and wooden plugs off the beach. Stripers are also eating clams and sand bugs off the beaches in Ocean Grove. One regular customer reported picking up two linesiders measuring 37 inches on clams. He added that tuna are here but still a good distance offshore.
As the Memorial Day weekend traditional kicks off the summer boating season and National Safe Boating Week, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission reminds boaters to always wear a life jacket, never boat under the influence, have proper registrations or launch permits, and tell someone where you’re going and plan to return. PFBC Waterways Conservation Officers will be on patrol throughout the holiday weekend to conduct safety checks and look for signs of impairment.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) has set the migratory game bird hunting seasons for 2023-24. As such, there are a few significant changes from last season.
The initial change increases the season length for Canada geese in the Atlantic Population Zone from 30 to 45 days and increases the bag limit from one to three per day. According to PGC Wildlife Operation Division Chief Ian Gregg, “The Population of Canada geese had experienced declines as a result of a decade of below-average reproduction including a nearly complete failure in 2018. However, gosling production more recently has been relatively good and the population has increased accordingly.”
The other significant change increases the mallard duck bag limit from two, to include no more than one hen, to four, which can include no more than two hens. Again, Gregg goes on to say “After a few years of the reduced bag limits, the mallard population increased slightly and a new population model was implemented.”
In addition to these changes, calendar shifts resulted in small changes to the Resident Population Canada Goose season. The Resident Population Canada Goose season saw a week shift from October into January.
The last change was to Atlantic Brant seasons, which saw a reduction in bag limit from two to one, and a reduction in season length to 30 days because of population declines. However, Gregg points out that few brant are harvested in Pennsylvania as most of them are on Lake Erie.
The PGC asks hunters to report banded ducks, geese, doves and woodcock and to do so online at www.reportband.gov. Hunters will be requested to provide information on where, when and what species of migratory birds were taken, in addition to the band number. This information is crucial to the successful management of migratory birds and in setting hunting regulations. Last year, more than 6,000 migratory game birds, including more than 5,000 waterfowl were banded in Pennsylvania.
The PGC in cooperation with other wildlife management agencies monitor migratory bird populations. Reporting banded game birds also allows the opportunity to learn about the bird they harvested says the PGC.
Locally, the duck, coot and merganser hunting seasons in the North Zone will run Oct. 7-21 and Nov. 14-Jan. 6. In the South Zone, the season will run Oct. 7-24 and Nov. 21-Jan. 20.
The bag limits here are 6 daily of any species, except for the following restrictions: daily limit may not include more than 4 mallards including no more than 2 hen mallards, 2 black ducks, 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 1 pintail, 4 sea ducks including no more than 3 eiders and no more than 1 female eider, 3 long-tailed ducks, and 3 scooters.
For Resident Population Goose Zone, all of Pennsylvania except for the Atlantic Population zone, Sept. 1-25 (8 goose daily limit); and Oct. 28 – Nov. Nov. 24, Dec. 11 – Jan. 20, and Feb. 24 (5 goose daily bag limit in latter 3 segments).
For the Atlantic Population Zone that has a long list of boundaries, the seasons are Sept. 1-25 (8 goose daily limit); and Nov. 18-24 and Dec. 7- Jan. 20 (3 goose daily limit).
Light Geese (Snow geese and Ross geese) in the Atlantic Population Zone and regular season will run Oct. 2 – Jan. 27 with 25 daily limit and no possession limit. For the Conservation Order, it’s Jan. 29 – April 26 with a 25 daily limit, no possession limit.
For the Resident Population Zone, the season runs Oct. 24 – Feb. 24 with 25 daily limit, no possession limit. For the Conservation Order. Feb. 26 – April 26 with a 25 daily limit and a no possession limit.
As for dove season, the annual traditional small game season opener, the season will run Sept. 1 – Nov. 24 and from Dec. 19 – Jan. 6.
LEHIGH RIVER TROUT TOURNAMENT
The Lehigh River Stocking Association (LRSA) is hosting a Lehigh River Trout Fishing Tournament from May 20 to June 26, 2023 in a limited section of the Lehigh. LRSA will stock a truck load of big trout many of which will be tagged for prizes at the end of the tournament. The official site is at Riverview Park, East Penn Township boat ramp. For details check www.lrsa.org or call 610-730-9359.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.