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Outdoor Journal: Dredging hurts fishing on Hudson

Outdoor Journal: Dredging hurts fishing on Hudson

I don’t think the fishing is ever going to come back there
Outdoor Journal: Dredging hurts fishing on Hudson
Columnist Ed Noonan with a smallmouth bass caught between Locks 4 and 5 on the Hudson.
Photographer: Sean Noonan

In 1976, fishing was closed in the Hudson River from the Troy dam to Baker Falls in the village of Hudson Falls due to extremely high amounts of PCBs in the fish. But on Aug. 30, 1995, Gov. George Pataki reopened this stretch to catch and release only.

I was invited to the governor’s opening ceremony between Locks 4 and 5 and, before and after his speech, my friend Steve Caporizzo (Guilderland) and I hooked many good-sized large and smallmouth bass. I was extremely impressed and knew I would be fishing this river frequently.

Then 14 years later, the dredging began. And as the cleanup by General Electric continued, I noticed the bite was slowly dwindling, and many of my fishing spots between Locks 4 and 5 did not hold fish.

I don’t think the fishing is ever going to come back as it was before the dredging, and whatever they are doing there now. In addition to the emails I have received, anglers I have met on the water have asked me: “What happened to the fishing?” 

Yes, I believe the dredging has hurt the fishing. This past July I was fishing with two friends on the river and in our seven hours of fishing we had one bite and hooked one 8-inch bass. I would like to hear from some of you who fish the Hudson between Locks 4 (Stillwater) and 5 (Schuylerville) on how you've made out.


The top 16 qualifiers of the Thursday evening bass contest fished the recent six-hour championship. This year’s championship team was Bob Bathel Sr. and Jr. of Clifton Park with five bass totaling 11.53 pounds and they received $750 for their haul. Second place and $400 went to Dave Munger (Saratoga) and John Jenkins (Stillwater) with 11.01 pounds. Finishing in third place and receiving $250 was Tony DiDona (Saratoga) and John Earnst (East Greenbush) with 10.83 pounds. Big bass of the contest was Jim Bubb (Halfmoon) and Mike Maynard (Schaghticoke) with a 3.11 pound largemouth worth $380.

The Mohawk Masters fishing on the Mohawk River Lock 9 launch had some good catches. Vince Manini (Rotterdam) weighed in a five-bass catch of 15.90 pounds worth $260. Larry Andrews (Alplaus) was second with 11.09 pounds and he received $150. Gary Menchen (Copake) was third with 9.13 pounds and received $85. The tournament lunker (4.02 pounds) was won by Tim Longo (Rotterdam), who received $60.


The four-day Bassmaster Elite pro tour held a tournament at Cayuga Lake, with just a 10-ounce difference separating first and second place. A close tournament, but not in the payout. The winner, Jamie Hartman (Arkansas) weighed in a four-day catch of 20 bass totaling 80 pounds, 13 ounces, and earned $100,000. Second place and $25,000 went to Jeff Gustafson (Canada) with 80 pounds 3 ounces. This is definitely the major league of bass tournaments.


Last Thursday, the Canada geese season opened in all upstate areas through Sept. 25. The Central and Eastern Long Island zones didn't begin until the Tuesday following the Labor Day holiday this year and extends through Sept. 30.

This year’s daily bag limits eight to 15 birds/day depending on zone. I have been out looking, but the cornfields haven’t been cut yet. I do have a few areas where I can hunt on the edge of ponds or a boat. However, I prefer the later season.

Don’t forget your 2019-2020 hunting license, poses a 2019-2020 Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP), which can be purchased ($25) at the post office. For more information, go to https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28888.html

Crow hunting opened on Sept. 1 and goes through March 31 and there is no limit. However, you can only hunt them on Friday through Monday.

Years ago, a farmer asked me if I could help him out and shoot some crows. He had an old friend that said he would take them to eat. I did the shooting during the hunting season and that was as far as I went. I don't eat crow!

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