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By providing information about your fishing trips and the fish you catch, we can better understand and manage the striped bass fishery together.

By NYDEC  |  July 6, 2020
Proper release practices ensure the survival of stripers used to gather data for the Striped Bass Cooperative Angler Program. Photo by Savio Mizzi.

Do you want to have a more active role in the conservation and management of striped bass? By joining the NYS DEC Striped Bass Cooperative Anglers Program (SBCA), you can take part in an effort to help manage and maintain a healthy striped bass population. New York State is required by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to supplement the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) with additional information from our recreational fishery. We satisfy this requirement with the help of New York State volunteer recreational anglers.

We provide volunteer anglers with logbooks to record information about their fishing trips, scale envelopes to take scales from striped bass, and instructions on what information is needed and how to properly collect it. The logbook information helps us determine the catch per unit effort (CPUE= fish caught/hours spent fishing) or fishing success for striped bass in New York waters. Scale samples are used to determine the age of the fish. At the end of the year, all of the data is analyzed and presented in an annual newsletter (PDF) giving you an inside look into how striped bass fishing was that year. In addition to the newsletter, all anglers that send in scale samples will receive a report documenting the ages of those fish.

When catch and release fishing, it’s important to practice safe and ethical fish handling to help release your fish unharmed. Following these tips will help ensure your fish’s survival: Consider environmental conditions. Fighting a fish in warmer water can cause greater stress, and the fish will exhaust itself more quickly. Anglers should use tackle appropriate to the size of the fish you are targeting to avoid long fight times. Avoid treble hooks, barbs, and gaffs. Crush or file off barbs on hooks to reduce de-hooking time and damage to the fish. Do not gaff a fish unless it is legal size and you intend to keep it. Circle hooks are encouraged when fishing with bait. Be prepared. Have all the necessary tools on hand before landing a fish to help reduce the time it’s out of the water during the de-hooking process. If a fish becomes gut-hooked, cut the leader as closely as possible to the hook and leave the hook in place; it will rust out after a short time. Minimize the fish’s exposure to air. Keep fish in the water at all times or as much as possible. If you must handle a fish, make sure your hands are wet, hold it horizontally and firmly, and support its weight under the belly. Never hold a fish by its eyes or gills. If using a landing net, use a “knotless” net to reduce removing slime and scales from the fish. When releasing the fish, maintain control of the fish and orient it headfirst into the current. Gently move the fish in a side-to-side pattern so that water flows through the mouth and over the gills. Do not let the fish go until it is able to swim strongly out of your grasp.

DEC recommends using non-offset circle hooks when fishing with bait for striped bass. Circle hooks are designed to hook the corner of a fish's mouth, which will make it easier to release the fish, reduce deep hooking casualties, and increase survival rates of released fish. Circle hooks will be mandatory when fishing for striped bass with bait starting in 2021.

By providing information about your fishing trips and the fish you catch, we can better understand and manage the striped bass fishery together. If you would like to participate in the Striped Bass Cooperative Angler Program and fish for striped bass in New York waters south of the George Washington Bridge, please contact the Diadromous Fish Unit at sbcaprogram@dec.ny.gov or 631-380-3308.