So this striped bass and the Delaware River thing is interesting, and hard to learn. Striped bass are born here, leave here, and return to spawn here, most likely in the same vicinity where they first kicked their pectoral fins. These are Delaware River fish, not Chesapeake, not Hudson, not any of the other rivers we think may be some kind of auxiliary spawning grounds, the Susqhehana, Maurice, Navesink, Shrewsbury and Raritan Rivers.
In the Delaware the bass can be found, or have been found from the mouth of the Delaware Bay, to mile marker 130 in Trenton, to mile marker 330 where the East and West Branches meet at the Junction Pool in Hancock NY. We hear of fish, it some spots more than others, Easton, PA to be one of them.
I looked into some things and found an older article in Stripers247.com, that states the primary spawning area for the striped bass is from Wilmington Delaware upriver to Marcus Hook, PA, which is a few miles south of the Philadelphia Airport.
These fish are moving, especially if you believe the fish in Hancock NY have started out in the Delaware Bay, and trying to find out where they are and going isn't easy. So I gave it a shot in Lambertville, trying to see if any of those that had the longest commute might be below the Wing Dam. To note, there is talk that those upper river fish might come out of Lake Wallenpaupack. In that lake they stock pure bred and hybrid striped bass, along with alewife herring. To get to the Delaware they would have to make their way there via the Lackawaxen River.
We have seen videos of striped bass on the spawn, you can see one HERE. If you think of the Delaware with its mix of just plain nasty ass water to rapids with a big drop in gradient to long, really long pools, you wonder where they spawn. And then the other question is, are the fish, that are in that tidal, rapid water, depending on the tide, staging there to eat before hitting a more comfortable and romantic body of water to spawn.
There is no doubt these fish will eat with love on their minds. They don't lose that behavior, look at the pre-spawn bass in the Raritan Bay right now. The big difference, I see, well don't see, here in the river are any signs of bass blowing up on bait, either chasing smaller shad or herring. You would think you would. I haven't experienced the top water bite here in the river, but they say it is good, later in the spring. We will see if they'll take a Double Barrel popper like they do those big plugs.
And then there was this cute couple, who had me a tad concerned. Misty rain, at spots a little slippery, taking a walk hand in hand to the end of the dam..... As I watched them approach and then pass and then go the end I really had a bad feeling in my gut. But they reached the end, turned, and walked make saying hi as they passed. Its probably a ritual walk they do everyday. As they made their way to the end I started to think how I would even try to help in some kind of rescue, but on this one I would just have to watch and pray.