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Of the many annual signs of spring, few are as highly-anticipated by striped bass fishermen as the return of herring to their natal rivers and streams of the East Coast.
By Toby Lapinski
Tags: inshore, offshore, surf

There are many sure signs of the arrival of spring from flowers poking their noses up through the earth to the sounds of birds in the pre-dawn hours, but few signs signal the impending arrival of the striped bass than those first few scout river herring as they nose into the local stream as they have done for millennia. While populations of river herring (a collective term for alewife and blueback herring) are way, way down from historic numbers up and down the East Coast, most of the herring runs have at least a few hearty souls who seek to continue the bloodline each year.

The 2007 coast-wide stock assessment determined that river herring stocks were low and in need of recovery. In response, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) passed an amendment prohibiting all recreational and commercial river herring harvest beginning January 1, 2013, unless a state had developed a sustainable fishery management plan approved by ASMFC. Currently, only five Atlantic Coastal states have approved plans that allow directed fisheries for river herring: New York (Hudson River only), Maine, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and North Carolina. River herring fisheries in all other Atlantic coast states and jurisdictions are closed.

As we inch ever-so-closer to the influx of those first fresh striped bass of the year, here is an underwater look at one of the herring runs in Connecticut in recent years, shot by The Fisherman's Toby Lapinski.

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