Herrings are Making Love

Atlantic Herring


Early spring is the time when the anadromous Herring schools enter the rivers and tributaries of Maine, Rhode Islands, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and most north eastern states. Off course the timing may vary depending on the climate and temperature. But this is the time when they move from the sea to feed, grow and spawn.

The love making Herring Way

Herrings are orgy lovers. A school of herrings will get together very close to each other, get excited and do the dance. Herrings fertilization is external, as female herrings release over 20,000 eggs per female which can be up to 2,000,000 depending on the size and health of the female, the males release clouds of milt simultaneously. The sperms fertilize the eggs and the fertilized eggs will form a thick layer of eggs in the bottom water. Sometimes the thickness of the layer can be up to 2 centimeter (3/4 inch) The eggs usually hatch in about 7 to 10 days depending on the weather and temperature. Usually these layer of eggs can be seen in waters not deeper than 20 meters.
In early spring they are in the rivers of the North East, they are feeding on the spring blooms of planktons offered by the warmer waters of early spring. They will get bigger and heavier until they are ready to release their eggs. Like Salmons, its not a death penalty for the Herrings. They will complete the process of laying eggs and will get back to the waters they were from and will come back next spring.

Herring Fishing


Here is the best part. Herring fishing is really easy. As they are always in schools, they are always competing for food. For Most Herrings, Sabiki jigs work the best. Sabiki jigs are the ones that have six hooks on one line. You can get them in almost any bait and tackle store, even in Wallmart or Kmart. See the instruction with the jig, use the right weight at the end of the line and enjoy. I caught four herrings at a time with a Sabiki jig. What happens is, when a herring bites one of the baits, the others from the school will compete to get the next one they can see, the result is the ultimate fun for an angler. I have seen angler catching six herring in one cast. Cast masters work for them too. Some people reported catching some big Herrings with crank baits. Usually herring fishing is better during high tide.
Where to go ? Almost all the water bodies connected to the Atlantic. Harbours are really good. Like Shads they are fished in fivers up to 30 miles away from the sea.

The things you need to know when fishing for Herrings

Find out the local regulations about Herring fishing. In different states there are different creel limits. In some states there might be restrictions about methods of angling to be used for Herring fishing. Learn about them before you start. Grab a local fishing guide from any bait and tackle store and check for the do’s and don’ts about herring fishing. If you go fishing for “Land lock Herrings”, you have to pay extra attention to the local regulations as most of the states have specific regulations for them. Land lock Herrings are considered endangered species in many states.

What to do with the Herrings you caught

Herrings taste good if cooked right. Some people doesn’t like the strong fishy smell they have but when cleaned and cooked they taste great. Clean them and just fry them with some salt and they will taste good. For some curry flavor, use just a pinch of turmeric and salt, marinade them for few minutes and fry. You can fry them with bread crumb for an extra crumb and crisp, they will taste great. In fact there are many different ways of cooking Herrings. Check out our recipe section for more Herring recipes.

Don’t like to eat Herrings?

No problem. Herrings makes great bait for Cat fish and they will give phenomenal result for American Eels. To use as bait, just cut them into slices, put them on your hook and cast. Some people reported getting very good result with bass fishing when using smaller Herring as live bait.
Unfortunately Atlantic Herrings are not very tough, so you have to be extremely soft and cautious when handling them if you want to practice catch and release.
A smart angler always goes with the season. This is the season of Herring fishing. Go catch some Herring now.