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Delaware Estuary
May 5 - June 3, 2003
Sampling Gear: Daylight Electrofishing


The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission completed its 2003 electrofishing survey of striped bass in the Delaware Estuary on June 3. Striped bass were collected from 21 historic sites between Rancocas Creek, New Jersey and the Commodore Barry Bridge. Biologists began to search for additional striped bass spawning areas upriver as far as Trenton Falls and were successful at collecting fish from some of these new sites.

Fisheries Biologist Aide Sue Spong with her first Delaware Estuary Striped Bass
Fisheries Biologist Aide Sue Spong with her first Delaware Estuary Striped Bass

Fifteen days of electrofishing resulted in the total catch of 416 striped bass between 8 and 45 inches long. The cold and wet spring appeared to prolong the spawning activity as large solitary female striped bass were collected throughout the entire month of May. Pink United States Fish and Wildlife Service tags were inserted into 247 of the striped bass collected during this year's survey. The information gathered from anglers who report catching a tagged striped bass to the toll free phone number listed on the tag allow biologists to monitor striped bass movement and estimate their annual mortality. Some striped bass have traveled incredible distances in a very short time, such as one tagged near the Philadelphia Navy Ship Yard and caught 17 days later by an angler fishing near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Other striped bass have shown little movement and have been caught by anglers 6 months later in the vicinity of where they were tagged. The tagging study has also provided evidence that striped bass show fidelity to specific spawning sites as 11 of 18 striped bass recaptured by the PFBC and the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife were recaptured at the same spawning ground station where they were originally released a year or more before recapture.

Division of Fisheries Management Chief Richard Snyder with Striped Bass
Division of Fisheries Management Chief Richard Snyder with Striped Bass

...Interim report from 5-30-03...The second wave of major striped bass spawning activity on the Delaware Estuary, which began on Wednesday, May 28, continued yesterday. PFBC crews handled 90+ fish on May 28 in the Tacony Palmyra Bridge to Bucks Co. line area. On May 29, our crew captured 72 stripers, 50 of which we tagged. Stripers were particularly abundant along the Philadelphia Navy Yard and if we had had time, we probably could have captured and tagged one hundred fish there. A number of our fish yesterday were large males up to 35 inches long, which is pretty good for males.

Snyder and Area 6 Biologist Dave Miko with Striped Bass
Snyder and Area 6 Biologist Dave Miko with Striped Bass

-- Area 6


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