The Spring Striped Bass Migration

Each spring, we learn something new about striped bass and their habits as they migrate north along the Atlantic coast.

striped bass
Photo by Joe Manansala

For a Northeast angler, no event in the year is as highly anticipated as the return of the striped bass. Every season, we talk with tackle shop owners, charter captains, and striper-obsessed fishermen to put together our weekly Striper Migration Map from mid-March to late June. Here’s what we’ve learned from the past 7 years of following the spring striped bass migration, with a week-by-week look at how the 2022 spring run played out.

2015: The migration started after a long winter brought quite a lot of snow to the Northeast. However, by mid-June, striped bass fishing exploded between New Jersey and Maine.

2016: Warm winter weather led to an early kickstart to the migration. Big stripers hunkered down around the New York Bight and Raritan Bay, while migratory schoolies made a surprise mid-April appearance on Cape Cod.

2017: March saw frigid temperatures that delayed the Chesapeake spawn and, subsequently, the first large push of bass up the coast. Interestingly, some 30-pound-class fish hightailed it north to reach Cape Cod by mid-May.

2018: Anglers in southern New England waited patiently for the first push of migratory bass after a long, cold spring. Meanwhile, Long Island’s South Shore enjoyed a prolonged run as stripers lackadaisically cruised toward Cape Cod.

2019: Although stripers are typically more bait oriented during the fall run, acres of menhaden caused bass of all sizes to congregate around northern New Jersey and Long Island before continuing north after a temperate winter.

2020: Late March saw the start of the pandemic while a push of large bass in the 20-pound range hit New Jersey’s shores. Schoolies flooded the coast in the following weeks, and trophy bass were plucked from beneath bunker schools throughout the summer into early autumn.

2021: Large schools of bunker and mild water temperatures nearly mirrored 2020’s spring migration. However, the widespread absence of big bass left many anglers concerned that they were seeing the documented decline of larger stripers in real time.

Striper Migration 3-25-2023

March 25, 2022

In late March, striped bass progressed upstream toward spawning grounds in the Chesapeake Bay tributaries. At the same time, schoolie striped bass moved into the warming backwaters of southern and central New Jersey while fish from the Hudson River stock headed into Raritan Bay to feed.

Striper Migration 4-1-2023

April 1, 2022

Cold temperatures hampered the spawn in Chesapeake tributaries. In New Jersey, schoolie striped bass increased in numbers, congregating in temperate back bays. Long Island’s west end saw the season’s first wave of slot fish.

Week 1 Video: South Jersey Stripers with Captain Brian Williams

Striper Migration 4-8-2023

April 8, 2022

The Raritan Bay lit up with a big push of bass to 40 inches. Heavy rains and dirty water hampered fishing in the Hudson River. There were still no reports of migratory fish in Rhode Island.

Week 2 Video: North Jersey Stripers with John Oswald

Striper Migration 4-15-2023

April 15, 2022

Raritan Bay and the western Long Island Sound produced large stripers while warming temperatures in the Chesapeake sent spawning stripers into the tributaries. The first migratory striped bass of the year reached Martha’s Vineyard.

Week 3 Video: Massachusetts’ First Stripers of the Season with Captain Stavros Viglas

Striper Migration 4-22-2023

April 22, 2022

Warm weather and sunshine ignited the spawn in Chesapeake Bay tributaries. Big bass headed up the Delaware River to spawn while migratory schoolies pushed east into Long Island’s North and South Shore bays.

Week 4 Video: Kayak Stripers in New York City with Kevin Ryan

Striper Migration 4-29-2023

April 29, 2022

The spawn commenced in the Delaware River and big bass progressed up the Hudson River to do the same. Migratory schoolies pushed through Long Island Sound into Rhode Island and the South Shore of Massachusetts.

Week 5 Video: South Fork Stripers with Tim Regan (Long Island)

Striper Migration 5-6-2023

May 6, 2022

Post-spawn striped bass began to leave the Chesapeake tributaries and headed for the ocean. Slot-sized bass reached Montauk in decent numbers, and large quantities of smaller bass reached southern New England.

Week 6 Video: Rhode Island Kayak Stripers with Dustin Stevens

Striper Migration 5-13-2023

May 13, 2022

The appearance of large striped bass in the surf off central New Jersey indicated that post-spawn Chesapeake fish had reached the Northeast. The spawn got underway in the Hudson River, while bass to 30 pounds entered Narragansett Bay to feed on bunker.

Week 7 Video: Stripers on Bucktails with John Skinner (Long Island)

Striper Migration 5-20-2023

May 20, 2022

A few 30-pound striped bass moved through the Cape Cod Canal as part of a big wave of slot-size fish. Connecticut’s tidal rivers had increasing numbers of 30-inch bass; at the same time, spawning continued in the Hudson River.

Week 8 Video: Cape Cod Canal Striped Bass with A.J. Coots 

Striper Migration 5-27-2023

May 27, 2022

Long, skinny bass arrived hungry in New Jersey as another wave of big, post-spawn fish from the Chesapeake arrived to feed on bunker. Large stripers left the Hudson River and entered Long Island Sound; meanwhile, larger stripers reached Boston Harbor.

Week 9 Video: Jersey Striper Fishing and Rod Building with Jenni Ackerman (New Jersey)

Striper Migration 6-3-2023

June 3, 2022

Montauk fishing was on fire as big stripers reached the east end of Long Island. Bass to 40 pounds fed along the Elizabeth Islands and into Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. Fish as large as 40 inches were reported in Casco Bay, Maine.

Week 10 Video: Connecticut Stripers with Captain Joe Diorio

Striper Migration 6-10-2023

June 10, 2022

The South Shore of Long Island had a nice run of large striped bass feeding on bunker. Fish to 50 pounds were reported in Boston Harbor, and Buzzards Bay saw a push of bigger striped bass.

Week 11 Video: Rhode Island Surf and Fly Stripers with Peter Jenkins

Striper Migration 6-17-2023

June 17, 2022

Large stripers settled into Massachusetts’ South Shore, where massive schools of bunker had moved in. In Long Island Sound, there were regular 40-pounders around bunker schools and tidal river mouths. As big bass continued to feed off northern New Jersey’s oceanfront, larger fish vacated Raritan Bay and headed out of the surf.

Week 12 Video: The Cape Cod Baitfish Buffet with Jimmy Fee

Striper Migration 6-24-2023

June 24, 2022

Stripers settled into Montauk, Block Island, and outer Boston Harbor, where many spent the summer. Eastern Long Island Sound continued to fish well for trophy stripers around bunker schools, and 30-pound bass reached Maine in reasonable numbers.

Week 13 Video: Maine Stripers on the Fly with Captain Lou Tirado

Striper Migration 7-1-2023

July 1, 2022

Big bass settled into summer haunts across the coast. As water temperatures climbed, schools of larger fish hunkered down in areas with an abundance of bait, including Long Island, Boston Harbor, and Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Week 14 Video: Spring Run Recap

Related Content

Article: How to Catch Striped Bass

Article: The Striper Migration — When Will the Bass Return?

7 on “The Spring Striped Bass Migration

  1. Herbert Weitmann

    Could you please change the color codes for color blind people like me. Use blue, red, white, yellow, etc? The shades of red orange are hard to see for color blind people like me

  2. Angel

    I am very thankful for the information that you’ve collected to create this report.

    1. Herbert Weitmann

      Read up on the percentage of red and green color blind people. It is significant and just changing green to blue would help everyone read the maps a lot easier.

  3. Jack

    I moved away from Mamaroneck years ago, to California. What I wouldn’t give to be fishing striper on the east coast as I did as a kid. Tight lines to all

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