Striped Bass Tag Recovery Program

What is the Hudson River Foundation Striped Bass Tag Recovery Program?

The Striped Bass Tag Recovery Program was set up in 1984 under an agreement among regulators, environmentalists and Hudson River electrical utility companies. As part of this agreement, the utilities conduct biological monitoring of Hudson River fish stocks, including striped bass. The role of the Hudson River Foundation is to coordinate the recovery of the tags, and to record and analyze the data they provide.

In accordance with this settlement, each winter striped bass are tagged in the Hudson River off Manhattan. Anglers who catch these tagged fish cut off the tags and send them to HRF. In return, HRF will send them a $5 or $10 check and a questionnaire. A check will be issued ONLY if the exterior section of the tag is returned.

What to do if you catch a striped bass with an HRF tag:

  • Cut off the tag
  • Print and fill out the Tag Questionnaire
  • Attach the tag to the questionnaire or note and send to:

Hudson River Foundation
PO Box 1731
Grand Central Station
New York, NY 10163

If you cannot print out the questionnaire, please mail a note with the tag to the Foundation with the following information:

  • Date and location of the fish catch
  • Length of the fish (from the tip of the upper jaw to the tip of the tail)
  • Condition of the tag insertion site
  • Whether or not the fish was released in good condition

Common questions about the Striped Bass Tag Recovery Program.

Locations of striped bass recaptured by anglers from 2002-2017, with earlier years in cool colors and later years in warm colors.

Why are fish tagged?

Fish are tagged to get answers to a wide variety of questions concerning their abundance and behavior. Much has been learned about the migrational patterns of Hudson River striped bass through this program.

Where are tagged fish released?

Tagged striped bass are released at several sites located in the lower Hudson River and New York Harbor.

How long are the fish when they are tagged?

In the HRF program, most striped bass are between 7 and 12 inches when tagged.

How are the fish tagged?

The tag is placed into a small incision made in the area of the fish's belly. The wound is treated with a disinfectant and the fish is quickly placed back into the river.

Can I tag fish for the Hudson River Foundation?

HRF does not have a tagging kit for recreational anglers. Anglers can tag a wide variety of fishes through programs of the American Littoral Society:

    American Littoral Society
    18 Hartshorne Drive, Suite #1
    Highlands, NJ 07732
    Phone: 732-291-0055

Striper Facts

  • Striped bass eggs hatch in about two days and young grow to 6 inches in one year
  • Female striped bass can mature as early as age 4, but do not reach full productivity until age 8. Males reach maturity by age 2 or 3. On average, of the 600,000 eggs a young female may lay, only 600 will hatch. Of those, only 3 will reach age 2. Older females may produce over 3 million eggs.
  • The oldest striped bass ever caught were estimated to be between 31 and 36 years old
  • Striped bass are considered “true” bass. Smallmouth, largemouth, rock and spotted bass are all members of the sunfish family.
  • Although striped bass are found from the Saint Lawrence River to the Gulf of Mexico, only three populations migrate along the Atlantic: Hudson River, Delaware River, and Chesapeake Bay.
  • The all-time angling record is 81.88 lbs, taken off the coast of Connecticut in 2011. The commercial record is 125 lbs, near Edenton, NC in 1891.
  • Angler returns of tags have shown that Hudson River striped bass travel as far north as Nova Scotia, and as far south as North Carolina.
  • The first striped bass fishing clubs were organized just after the Civil War.
  • At one time, striped bass were so plentiful, they were used to fertilize farmer’s fields.
  • According to the Hudson River Foundation’s records of tags returned, some of the most productive fishing spots in the NY area are Liberty Island; South Street Seaport; Coney Island; 69th Street Pier, Brooklyn; and Liberty State Park, NJ.
Hudson River Foundation