The first annual Philadelphia Striped Bass Derby is a catch and release fishing tournament on
the banks of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. The event runs from May 1st-June 4th. The goal
of the Derby is to create a fun angling event for Philadelphia residents, raise awareness of the
importance of clean local rivers, and to build community through fishing. The Derby’s focus on
the striped bass is meant to highlight the role that our local rivers play for a fish that migrates
from North Carolina to Maine and back every year!
To learn how the Derby works, see “The Rules” tab. Participants can attend some, all, or none of the events, and still win the Derby (the events will be awesome though, so plan to attend)! The key is to register, get out there and catch fish, and then send us your photo!
The Derby is a non-profit event, with five dollars from every entry going to the Delaware Riverkeepers.
What is a Striped Bass Derby?
Here at Derby HQ, one of the things we are most excited about is introducing the world of striped bass and migratory fish to people who have had little exposure to our local rivers and fishing. There is nothing more thrilling than seeing a child or first time angler catch a striped bass in the Delaware and telling them, “That fish swam here from North Carolina and will be in Maine in just a few months!” Striped bass spend their winters off the coast of North Carolina, then return to their natal rivers each Spring to spawn.
On the East Coast, the majority of striped bass spawn in one of three riversheds: Susquehanna/Chesapeake Bay, Hudson River, and the Delaware. The stripers are in the rivers for one to two months, typically April and May. After spawning, they swim back out to the ocean, then move their way northward to Maine towards cooler waters. Once Fall rolls around and water temperatures get too cold for their liking, they swim southward back towards North Carolina where they will spend the winter. The following Spring, the cycle starts all over again! Summers in Maine, winters in North Carolina, and stopovers in awesome cities like Philly, these fish have a pretty great lifestyle!
The goal of the first annual Philadelphia Striped Bass Derby is to draw attention to these migratory fish that spend two months of the year in the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. The month-long contest format allows people time to explore the rivers, get to know other anglers, and to catch Derby Fever. Derbies like ours occur in other places along the Atlantic coast as the stripers “pass by” on their migration route. Rather than doing a one day fishing contest, the month long Derby allows us to appreciate this fish for the full time that they are living in our local waters!