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Guide to Hudson River Fish and Blue Crab Tags

Tagging Studies on the Hudson River

Many natural resource agencies and researchers use tags or marks as a tool to estimate population statistics (e.g. abundance, growth rates, fishing and natural mortality) and identify migration routes of certain fishes and other aquatic organisms. Recreational and commercial anglers may encounter tagged individuals and are often asked to contact the responsible tagging agency to report specific information. This information can greatly help the management and/or conservation of a species of interest.

What To Report

The NYSDEC in conjunction with other collaborative agencies and organizations routinely tag striped bass, American shad, river herring, Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon, and blue crab.

If you catch a tagged fish or crab, please be sure to record the following information:

  • The tag number
  • The date the fish or crab was caught
  • The specific location where you caught the fish or crab, for instance, "In Rondout Creek near Lou's Boat Basin." If fishing on the main stem of Hudson River, you can identify location by using daymarkers, buoys, a bridge, points of land, a bay location (as listed on the NOAA navigation charts of the Hudson), a town, or other prominent geographic features.
  • The estimated size and/or weight of the fish.

If you catch a largemouth or smallmouth bass, please send the information listed above to the NYSDEC, by e-mail or regular mail. Address the regular mail to Mike Flaherty, NYSDEC, 21 S. Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY 12561. Use the e-mail link in the column to the right to send the information by e-mail.

Pink belly tag in striped bass

Striped Bass

If you catch a striped bass, please record all of the information listed above. Also, note the color and the location of the tag on the body of the fish. The tag will have information on how to report the details about the fish you caught.

USFWS striped bass tag

Pink tag in belly: The tag legend will bear the tag number, USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and 800-448-8322. Please call the toll free phone number to report the catch information for your fish.

Yellow tag in belly: The tag legend will bear the tag number, a reward amount of $5-$1000, and an address: HRF, P.O. Box 1731, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163. Please mail the tag and catch information to this address.

High reward striped bass tag

Yellow tag before tail: The tag legend will have the tag number, ALS, Highlands, NJ 07732. Please mail the tag and catch information to this address.

Green tag in belly: The tag legend will have the tag number, USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and 800-448-8322. There is a reward of $125 for this tag. Please call the toll free phone number to report the catch information for your fish.

Orange tag indicating internal sonic tag is present

Orange tag in belly: The tag legend states "Please call 845-256-3009 HRFU, 000##. Research Fish Please Release". If you catch a fish with an ORANGE tag, we request that you release the fish and call the phone number above to report the catch information for your fish.

Fish with an orange tag have an internal sonic tag that was implanted inside the fish by the Hudson River Fisheries Unit to learn more about movement and migration patterns within the Hudson River, other coastal rivers, and marine waters. If you harvest a fish with an orange tag, please call (845-256-3009) and return the internal sonic tag to the Hudson River Fisheries Unit, 21. S. Putt Corners Rd., New Paltz, NY 12561.

American Shad

American shad tag

Red or orange tag below dorsal fin: The tag is located below the dorsal fin and will either be red or orange. The tag legend will bear the tag number, USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and 800-448-8322. Please call the toll free phone number to report the catch information for your fish.

River Herring

Yellow tag below dorsal fin: The tag legend will have the tag number, USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and 800-448-8322. Please call the toll free phone number to report the catch information for your fish.

Atlantic and Shortnose Sturgeon

Sturgeon Carlin tag

Red tag below the dorsal fin: The tag legend will bear the tag number, USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and 800-448-8322. Please call the toll free phone number and report the information described at the top of the page and return the fish back to the water (possession of Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon is prohibited).

Sturgeon dart tag

Yellow tag below the dorsal fin: The tag legend will bear the tag number, USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and 800-448-8322. Please call the toll free phone number and report the information described at the top of the page and return the fish back to the water (possession of Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon is prohibited).

Blue Crab

A blue crab with an across the back tag and an anchor tag.

There are two types of tags that you may find on a blue crab in the Hudson River. The first is a yellow tag that is located across the back of the crab. The second type is an anchor tag that will be orange or yellow and will be attached at the top of the right swimming leg. The tag legend will have the tag number, NYSDEC research, and 845-256-3009. Please call the phone number to report the catch information for your blue crab.


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  • Hudson River Fisheries Unit
    21 South Putt Corners Road
    New Paltz, NY 12561
    845-256-3182
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