Tag Archives: Hudson River

5-16-13 – Hudson River Stripers

Looking at pictures and articles from this past year has made us realize how much of our time on the water is dedicated to panfish. Maybe this is because it’s what we know and have locally available for us but when an opportunity to get out of our comfort level presents itself, it is hard to resist.

Two years in a row now, I have had the pleasure of fishing on the Hudson River aboard the Lazy D And Me captained by Dan Lussier. The target species for this destination is the mighty striped bass. Both years, along with Captain Dan and I on the boat has been owner of Fish Hounds Outdoors, James Vladyka and his father Larry.

Striper season on the Hudson River has the potential to produce trophy fish. According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, the Hudson is the main spawning ground for these bass. Stripers are an anadromous fish meaning that they are born in freshwater, spend the majority of their life in salt water, and them return to freshwater to spawn. Timeliness of this transition to freshwater depends on the weather throughout the spring as well as current weather conditions, water temperature, and growing vegetation. When all these factors align, the month of May tends to be prime time with mid month being the best.

Watching the reports roll in throughout the two weeks prior had us pumped up! It was hard to sleep through the nights leading up to the trip with reports of 20, 30, and even 40 pounders being pulled! The season is short and is dependent mainly on the water temperature. As the water warms, the water chestnuts begin to grow. They exhibit extreme growth and can reach lengths of up to 16 feet. When the chestnuts really take hold, the fish are on their way out as the water temperature is past its prime. Of course not all fish move downriver at the same time but the few that still wrapping up their business are hard to target. Trolling through these dense weeds leaves anglers constantly checking their baits.

Although catching these fish doesn’t take a super secret technique, before last year, I had never experienced fishing like this. For a basic set up all you need are downriggers and large stickbaits which makes this fishing possible by many, even those with smaller boats. Sure there are some big water boats out there trolling but we see many “bass boats” and smaller 14′ aluminums.

As we troll along, we see the majority of the other fishermen using the same method. Although productive, it is not the only option. Some of the other techniques are to use dipsy divers, chunked bait, and long-lining. Taken with a grain of salt, keeping tabs on the radio allows anglers to adjust baits, speeds, and depths depending on the fast moving and finicky pods of fish.

Obviously, success comes to those who can piece together the correct sequence of moves. Just like every other species, these striped bass want the bait presented precisely and on most occasions, different every day depending on the water, weather, and their unpredictable movements. Through the years, Captain Dan has put together quite a collection of lures to target these fish. On our outings, we have mainly pulled the 7″ Rapala F18. Color depends on the day, but it seems as though we always have a “hot steel” and “bleeding hot olive” behind the boat.

To put things into perspective, last year the trip that we made had pretty much the same conditions but a little more wind. As we cruised around trying to locate fish with our staggered baits, the number of thumps that we were getting on our downrigger balls was unreal. The balls were brightly colored so we matched our baits. In general we were running out lures 25-45 feet behind the downrigger ball. With no increase in the number of bites, even when large pods of fish were present, we shortened up the distance. Running the baits within a few feet of the downrigger ball increased the number of fish that we hooked up with.

As we work up and down the river, speed is a big factor. Because we are on a river/tidal system, the surface speed is most likely different than whatever depth we are running our baits at. Because of this, the use of a Sub-Troll 900 or similar unit is huge. This allows us to troll the baits at the perfect speed rather than at the speed of boat. The speed the fish seem to prefer hovers right around 3 mph at the ball.

A big upgrade for the Lazy D And Me this year was a kicker motor with remote steering. Not only does it save on some fuel from using the big motor, but it allows Dan to drive the boat without having to sit at the helm. Not to mention, he can really fine tune his speed. At times a tenth of a mile of a mile an hour can make all the difference. Another addition to Dan’s arsenal is the new Lowrance HDS Gen 2 Touch Screen fish finder with structure scan and side imaging. This unit combined with a Navionics chip helps with locating these fast moving fish. It is possible to not only locate these fish using the side scan but you can get a relative idea of their size after looking at and comparing multiple pods.

Although there are constant conversations going on the radios, Captain Dan works with several other fisherman that are out there every day to zero in on fish. Having connections allows him and a few select others to consistently put their clients on more and larger fish. With over 15 years of experience on the Hudson River, it’s hard to trust your time on the water with anyone else!

If you would like to experience exceptional striper fishing on the Hudson River, go to www.lazydandme.com or you can give Captain Dan Lussier a call at 1-802-558-7633.

Check out Striper Fishing On The Hudson River on our YouTube page for some of the action!

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5-17-12 – Striper Fishing The Hudson River

I got an invite Tuesday night from the Fish Hound, James Vladyka, and his father to head down to the Hudson River to fish for striped bass. They had made a trip a little over a week earlier with Captain Dan Lussier of Lazy D & Me Charters with great success. I’ve only had the opportunity to fish for stripers a few times with one of my buddies off the coast of Rhode Island, so I was glad I could make the time to go.

The length of the fishable season on the Hudson is determined mainly by two factors; water temperature and weed growth, mainly the highly invasive water chestnut. We were heading down towards the tail end of the season that usually begins for Captain Dan at the start of May and lasts for about three weeks. Throughout the course of the season, Captain Dan guided trips just about every day. The day before we got there he was pulling up water chestnuts with only short green stubble growing but we found it to be much taller less than a day later. He was concerned with the possibility of the few trips he had remaining. even though there was still piles of fish around.

Here is the nasty water chestnut.

To start the day, we went through an area that commonly holds fish but didn’t see any initially. Because the area normally produces, we started getting the boat ready for first drop. After a quick tutorial on how downriggers work and what to do when we got a fish to strike, I was informed that I was going to get first crack. Oh boy!

It didn’t take us long to get into the fish and it was only shortly after 7 am. When our first downrigger popped it was my turn to grab the rod and start cranking. After a nearly ten minute battle, I landed a 30″ striper that was between 12 and 14 pounds. The two scales we used differed unfortunately… Either way, this was my personal best striper and the biggest among all of us for of this particular trip. Check of the video filmed on a Go Pro on our YouTube page.

We mainly ran stick baits by Rapala and Yo-Zuri in a variety of colors. We didn’t find that any one color worked better than another the entire day but bright tones seemed to give the best consistency. After learning how these stripers feed, I had a feeling that this would be the case for the muddy water of the Hudson. Stripers like to stun their food before they eat it which was evident by the jolting blows that they landed on the 13 pound downrigger ball. Check out this video on our youtube site of the fish slamming the downriggers!

Here is one of Captain Dan’s tackle boxes of baits. He is worse than me with selection… Always necessary to have a variety though (or at least I tell myself that)!

We had a difficult  day overall. We were the first ones on the water Thursday and it paid off in many respects. We got to enjoy the ride out to our spot for the day with undisturbed wildlife such as numerous varieties of  birds, a deer drinking from the river, and a beaver. When I landed my first fish we still had the entire run of river to ourselves. Unfortunately this was when it became fishing. It doesn’t take long for everyone to key on a boat when the land a fish. It’s arguably worse than Champlain when someone lands a crappie!

After the first fish, the water started to get rough as the wind was blowing south and the tide was coming north. We were stuck in the middle of flowing water in 4 foot waves. Still not a problem for the 250 Sport Fisherman Baha Cruiser! When we hooked the second fish, we made circles on it well over a dozen times before the hooks popped loose. Every time we were able to get the line counter down, the fish would make a long run while the boat was not so easily moved without engaging the motor. After each run we were back to square one and frustrated. The same thing happened with the third fish as well! Damn! Both were hogs for sure. The first one that got away was on for about 25 minutes without a sighting…

We were constantly on fish throughout the day. We definitely had times when they bit better than others but that’s fishing. When you fish with electronics, sometimes you get more frustrated than without but they are almost necessary these days; especially when guiding. Most times you can determine what depth fish are active at and what depths they are resting at. This trip had the divide at right around 20 feet. You can see the size of the school we had under the boat for a good portion of the day below!

Captain Dan has very competitive prices and is successful whenever his boat is in the water. He can take you out for a trip on the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, and Lake Ontario if you desire.

If you would like to take a trip with Captain Dan here is his contact information:

1-802-558-7633 (C)
or

Write to Captain Dan Lussier,
818 Stage Rd.
Benson, VT 05743

or

email us at: LlazyD@aol.com

or

Website with more information: Lazy D & Me

Here are some other pictures from the trip.

These guys know how to have some fun!

Fish on for the Fish Hound!

Incoming!