Here is what I know. Large schools of bunker have been spotted moving up the coast of Virgina heading north. Striped bass are sure to be following. Shad have been in the North Carolina and Virginia area for a few weeks now.
We got our last storm in Febuary, we have warm day time temperatures but we still have cold nights. Warm rain is expected to fall across the Delaware River area. This should help melt the snow to the south, we may see a few degree uptick on the Delaware River but nothing sustainable. We will lose that temperature as fast as we got it. The local fish have yet to move, they are my first indicators. Once I see the suckers move into the creeks it is time to start preparing for the upcoming season. Well start preparing is an understatment, you should have been doing that all winter. What I truly mean is its time to start planning the first shake down trip with the boat or planning the first bank trip to the south. Shortly after the suckers move in the gizzard shad move up the creeks to spawn. Once this happens I know from experience that the American Shad are arriving to the Delaware River in large numbers. The first school of American Shad are either at my fishing location or arriving shortly. The tricky part is getting them to bite in the fridget water. Once the water hits 40 degrees its time to start fishing for Striped Bass. 40 degrees is the temperature that Striped bass will start hitting. It's not easy fishing and often the reward is not there but when you find one of the early runners chasing the shad up the Delaware River hold on!
As the Delaware River water temperature rises, 42 is the number I start to look for, then 45. this window is when my first shad is always caught. 45 is when days of sitting for 6 hours for 2 fish turns in to 10 fish. 50 is my next number, when the water hits 50 I feel super confident every trip will have a catch.
Late winter to early spring is not an easy time to fish the Delaware River, often no rewards but when winter lets go and spring pops, well you better be booked by then. This year may be like 7 years ago. A clear transition to spring and fish all over by March 15th. Lets hope March 2021 is not March 2020, cold and windy!