I’m exhausted this morning because I was up way past my bed time last night chasing striped bass on the Delaware River. It was a successful outing, and the fish below was the first one I’ve hooked this year big enough to actually rip some drag. Thing is, while we’re picking some fish, by and large the early spring (and lack of winter, really) we’re experiencing in the Northeast is messing with my head and the heads of every other angler I know.


These stripers are, in my opinion, not likely to take up residence at other known hot spots this season, because where there should be flats 5 or 6 feet deep right now, there are flats with a foot of water on them. With no run-off to keep the river in check, and a lack of rain, the Big D is gin-clear and August low. Never in my lifetime have I seen local trout streams barely flowing, ponds full of algae, and the Delaware showing late-summer conditions in April. It would have to pour rain for two weeks straight to even partially remedy the situation.

The Northeast is certainly not the only region getting thrown off by the warm winter and early spring. I’m headed to Lake Eerie to fish pre-spawn smallmouths in a few weeks, but guess what? I doubt they’ll be pre-spawn by the time I get there. So what’s going on in your neck of the woods? Are conditions helping or hurting your fishing? F&S regular contributor Will Brantley just penned a great piece for us on how to catch fish (from bass, to trout, to walleyes and beyond) when an early spring throws you a curve ball. Click here to check it out.