A Fish Story


Bulletin of the Passaic County Historical Society, February 1953

stur1At the beginning of the 19th century, shad, sea bass, and rockfish were in abundance in the Passaic River.  The falls basin was the favorite fishing place.

The Bergen Express and Paterson Advertiser of September 3, 1817, tells of the capture of a sturgeon by some of the townspeople.

It appears that the fish was first seen in the basin on the 31st of August 1817 and soon a large group of people congregated at the Falls.  Many were armed with stones, sticks, spears, pitchforks and other implements for the kill.

This was not an easy adventure for the beast managed to evade its enemies for a long time.  Then an idea impressed itself upon one of the fishermen.  He managed to get astride the monster while another grabbed the head and fills of the big fish.  It was finally dragged ashore by the two fishermen where it was duly killed, measured, weighed, and carried through the streets of the town for the edification of its inhabitants.

The sturgeon weighed 126 pounds and was seven feet six inches long, and the captors feasted their friends on it at the Passaic Hotel.

When the Dundee Dam was erected in 1858, fishing in the Passaic River in the vicinity of this side of the dam dropped off.