Great Hudson River Fish Count 2021 – Team Waterford

Contributed by Scott Wells, Posted 8/18/21: For a seventh straight year, DEC’s Region 4 Fisheries organized a productive group effort to collect and display river fishes for this popular public outreach event. Staff from the DEC Region 4 Stamford Fisheries, Central Office Div of Lands and Forests (Invasive Species), Div of Law Enforcement, and Capitol District’s OPRHP (Saratoga) and PRISM—Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management came out to work on a beautiful late July weekend in Waterford.

Three different crews collected fish in two of the four lower branches (tailwaters) of the Mohawk River on July 30. A total of 1.8 hrs of boat electrofishing resulted in the collection of 26 species and 190 individual fish. The 26 fish species is three shy of our record in 2017. Due to the very high and turbid flows, scapping fish off the eboat was challenging on Friday evening. Interesting finds for 2021 included two lone adult blueback herring and two yearling striped bass. It is very atypical for these migrant species to be so far upriver when they usually migrate down to the lower Hudson and/or Atlantic Ocean by mid-summer.

Overall, we counted about 100 attendees, ~50 at each of our stations across the river from one another on Saturday yet very few youth this year. Annual events like the fish count provide a great summer venue to generate public interest about the dynamic Hudson River watershed. For a second straight year, Team Waterford also shared a short live video via DEC Facebook in conjunction with our media staff. We continue to learn much about the aquatic resources of the unique lower Mohawk branches to the upper Hudson while enjoying the collection and showcasing of its robust fish fauna. In cooperation with the HR estuary and MR basin programs, we shall continue to improve on our event planning/performance. Kudos to all the dedicated staff, boat stewards, and our lone volunteer for another successful event.