The Hudson River is not what you think. It’s one great big tidal estuary. That means salt water from the ocean pushes up with the tides and combines with fresh water from smaller rivers that come down from the mountains. The Catskills and the Adirondacks feed fresh water through tributaries feeding into the Hudson, flowing south, and the tides pushing in from the Atlantic Ocean mix to make what’s called Brackish water.
You can actually see high and low tides in Albany, NY and other places along the Hudson between Troy and NYC. That’s about 150 miles of river and brackish water. The ebb and flow of the tides means the Hudson River supports a wide diversity of aquatic life, as well as breeding grounds.
Hudson River carp are nonindigenous, and can potentially harm native species and plants in the waters. This is because they are extremely active when spawning. They turn up lots of sediment with all their spawning movement, and also pull up small native plants growing on riverbed bottoms. In fact, carp don’t even like clear fresh water. They like their water to be murky, like the Hudson River. Carp are considered a nuisance fish, and they are not eaten, in general.
It wasn’t always like this, however. From the 1830s to around just after the Civil War, people in the United States farmed and ate carp. US governmental agencies even distributed carp throughout the country and territories for this reason. See our page on Hudson River carp, where are they from? Then it was discovered that carp destroyed native species and habitat, and also they were extremely abundant. This caused people to view carp as a nuisance. It was shortly after that that people gradually stopped eating them.
The fact that scientists find carp to enjoy sewage runoff areas of rivers, as well as waters where there is agricultural runoff, does not add to the palatability of carp!
They destroy breeding grounds of native fish like carpsuckers, buffalos, and Sacramento perch Archoplites interruptus. All in all, the Hudson River carp has a pretty nasty reputation and character, but lots of fun to fish for because of their size.
Hudson river carp fishing is fun because carp can be some of the largest fish in the river. The record caught was just over 50 pounds, back in 1995.
Of course, we all know that carp are not native to the Hudson River, or even to the United States. Hudson River carp are native to Ukraine and Russia, and Caspian and Aral Seas, but carp found in the Hudson were introduced in the early 1800s, from Asia.
What do Carp Like?
Carp like lakes, ponds and slow areas of rivers, which are usually the lower areas of rivers. They also like brackish water, which may explain why there are so many Hudson river carp. Carp also like areas of water where there is either sewage or slaughterhouse runoff. Needless to say, don’t eat the carp!
Back in the Day, They Used to Eat Carp
But in the 1800s carp were originally stocked in farm ponds for food. They would escape during flood events or dam breakages. US agencies throughout the 1800s would regularly stock water areas all over the US, even dropping them out of railroad cars at stream crossings. Nowadays, carp are distributed by the practice of using juvenile carp used as baitfish, who then get away.
Striper is the nickname for striped bass, or Morone saxatilis is the scientific name. They live all along Atlantic coast of North America. The are also found in the Saint Lawrence River in Canada. They are found in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River system in the US south, as well as the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast. They naturally occur in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint rivers and have been introduced into many parts of the country’s river systems in order to preserve the species and to act as predator to nuisance species.
They Even Live on the West Coast
There are large fish hatcheries on the Gulf Coast for anadromous Striped Bass. Anadromous means they are mostly salt water fish but they breed in fresh water i.e. rivers. Hatcheries send stripers out to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana and also work with Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission. Even the Pacific Coast now sees striped bass, as the species has been introduced through reservoir systems. This was intentional, for the purposes of recreational fishing and for controlling the gizzard shad populations out there.
Now They Live in Desert States, Too, and Beyond
Find striped bass in lakes in Arizona, Arkansas, New Mexico, and California due to the intentional introduction by conservation officers. Striped bass have also been intentionally introduced all over the world for recreational purposes, from Ecuador to South Africa.
But the Hudson River is Still the Best Place for Striper Fishing
Even though striped bass can be found in all these places, striper fishing is most popular in the Northeast, where it’s a longstanding tradition to fish rivers for stripers during Spring. The Hudson River is one of four major breeding grounds for the Striped bass. The other three major areas are: Cape Cod, Delaware River, and Chesapeake Bay.
Hudson River fishing can be done from shore, a boat, or from new fishing piers created by the State of New York. One such Hudson River fishing pier is the Madison Street fishing pier in Troy, NY. The city of Troy is working to improve quality of life and to spur development on their beautiful waterfront. The new fishing pier cost $60,000 and the project also included improvements to the boat launch, upgrades to the park on the riverfront, and other improvements. It’s part of a general trend in improving all Hudson River fishing access from Troy to NYC.
It’s called the Madison Street Fishing Pier and it’s at the end of Madison Street. The pier is cantilevered out over the river for great fishing access. There are even cutouts in the railing for wheelchair anglers. There are plans for a kayak and canoe launch. New York State Department of State’s Division of Coastal Resources funded the project in a city where almost none of the seven miles of waterfront are accessible. This Hudson River fishing pier changes that.
Fishing on the Hudson is especially popular during Spring, when the striped bass are biting. Anglers have gathered at the end of Madison Street in Troy for years in early Spring, and now they have a nice new Hudson River fishing pier.
Through Federal, State, local and non profit collaboration and money, the Hudson River Estuary Program’s River Access Project has upgraded and created many shoreline access points from Troy to NYC. There are now almost 10o shoreline access points along the Hudson River, for swimming, fishing, and launching boats. Where the shoreline used to be full of obstacles due to railroad tracks, there are now convenient ways to get to the water to launch a kayak or fish from shore. In New York City, Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties, access over Metro North tracks is also being improved. Almost $10 million has been spent or planned to be spent on shoreline access. From NYC to Troy.
There are 23 new hand launch spots, which means car top boats can be launched, but not trailered boats. This would include kayaks and rowboats and small skiffs that can fit on top of a car. There are three new trailered boat launches, and existing ones have been updated. There are many more Hudson river fishing access spots now: Hudson River Fishing Access has greatly improved for any type of Hudson River fishing people want to do.
Bathroom, Picnic area, and pumpout station as well as concrete boat launch for trailered boats, also in Schodack.
Hannacroix Creek Preserve
No boat launch here but you can fish from shore, located just north of New Baltimore Preserve, on Rte 144.
Located in New Baltimore, there’s a small launch for kayaks and row boats, plus a picnic area.
Stuyvesant Riverview Park
No launch here, but you can park your car in one of over two dozen parking spots, and have a picnic an fish from shore.
Nutten Hook Unique Area
This is managed by Department of Environmental Conservation, and is part of the Greenway Water Trail. You can hand launch boats (not on a trailer) or have a picnic and fish from shore. No bathrooms. Located off 9J in the town of Stuyvesant.
Coxsackie Boat Launch/Riverside Park
There are lots of parking spots for cars and trailers, bathrooms, and a concrete boat launch. Located in town of Coxsackie.
From Troy and Albany to New York City, the Hudson River can be fished from plenty of public boat and fishing access areas. River fishing is open to all, since you don’t necessarily have to own a boat to get some fish. Fishing from shore of the Hudson River is extremely popular and many people are very successful at pulling fish from the river and never stepping into a boat. With that in mind, here are spots designated by New York State as public access points for boat launching and for fishing from shore.
Green Island Riverside Park
This is the first, or northernmost of NY State public access fishing spots on the Hudson River. You can’t launch a boat here, but there’s a public picnic area, parking and you can fish from shore.
Troy Riverside Park
Moving south, we come to Troy Riverside Park. Again, parking and picnic area, but no boat launch.
Hudson Shores Park
parking for 20 cars, located in Watervliet. Take 787 to 23rd St/Watervliet exit and go north on Lower Hidson Ave, and the park will be on your right. This one also has a bathroom.
Rensselaer Boat Launch
Room for trailor parking and cars, there’s a picnic area but no bathrooms. Located on Forbes St in Rensselaer.
Right on the waterfront, of course, where the Corning preserve trial runs by a grand old boat house, there’s lots of car and trailer parking here, as well as bathrooms.
Island Creek Park
This one is also in Albany, but off Broadway street, a little further down the river past the U-Haul building. There are some parking spots here, and also a launch for non-trailered boats.
Papscanee Island Nature Preserve
This is in East Greenbush, there’s a boat launch here for hand launching and under 10 car parking spots. Also a bathroom here.
Henry Hudson Park
This is in Bethlehem, and has bathrooms and picnic area. lots of parking and a place to launch boats from a trailer.
Schodack Island State Park
TONS of car and trailer parking, a concrete launch, bathrooms, picnic area, this was recently renovated.