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    Lake Ontario shore line born & raised
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    Fishing--Hunting--all outdoors--business models
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    Sandy Creek, Hamlin N.Y.
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  1. Kaho vessel was at oak orchard yesterday then headed west. Jerry RUNNIN REBEL
  2. Lucky you are correct, it is that larger/spawning populations of alewife in the Lake now that the salmon seem to be searching for in their current diet. The Billions and Billions of 1 year old alewife that are currently in the lake seem to be getting devoured by every species except the mature kings. I will post my last long segment to this when people have caught up on this reading project. Jerry RUNNIN REBEL
  3. Sorry about the "Long read" BUT I want to put out information that points out where we are today, Like how " But not all Pacific salmon follow this three-year plan in their native saltwater. Sometimes a handful of cohos, if conditions are right, will get big enough to sexually mature and return to spawn after just one summer in open water.This is exactly what happened on Lake Michigan in fall 1966. Fishermen pulled hundreds of coho from waters near where they had been planted just several months earlier. Some were already a whopping 7 pounds, approaching full size for an adult coho in its native Pacific waters. More remarkably, in the ocean these early returners, referred to as "jacks," are almost always males." " Tanner and his colleagues always knew Pacific salmon might figure out how to reproduce in Great Lakes tributaries, most likely in the cold, clear streams of Canada. And in the first decades of the stocking program it was known that some salmon had done just that. But nobody knew to what extent." ETC... Jerry RUNNIN REBEL WARNING: I still have more to post on this lesson. .
  4. Great Lakes at a Crossroads Salmon crowned king, but its reign is wobbly Turning the Great Lakes into a haven for chinook created a multibillion-dollar recreational fishery. But the experiment has shown signs of going bust — leading to a boom in native species. Mark Hoffman Rudolph Morris unhooks a chinook salmon caught Oct. 8 by his wife, Wendy, in Port Washington. The couple comes from Columbus, Ohio, every year to fish for salmon. Any doubts Howard Tanner had about whether a hatchery-raised crop of Pacific salmon could find a home in the freshwater of the Great Lakes evaporated just months after the first class of finger-sized cohos were planted in Lake Michigan. The fish began their lives in a Michigan hatchery in the winter of 1965 and were raised by human hands until their release in April 1966. Pacific coho typically have a three-year life cycle — spending the first year and a half in the rivers and streams in which they hatch before descending to the ocean for about 18 months and then returning to those native streams in fall of their third year to spawn and die. This meant the first cohos Tanner planted should spend the summers of 1966 and 1967 in the lake before, hopefully, following their exquisite sense of smell back to the waters in which they were released. The plan was to capture some of those fish upon their return and use the eggs and sperm to continue the hatchery program. But not all Pacific salmon follow this three-year plan in their native saltwater. Sometimes a handful of cohos, if conditions are right, will get big enough to sexually mature and return to spawn after just one summer in open water. This is exactly what happened on Lake Michigan in fall 1966. Fishermen pulled hundreds of coho from waters near where they had been planted just several months earlier. Some were already a whopping 7 pounds, approaching full size for an adult coho in its native Pacific waters. More remarkably, in the ocean these early returners, referred to as "jacks," are almost always males. But Michigan's first jack class included females — a further sign that Lake Michigan was ample salmon habitat indeed. To celebrate the budding salmon makeover of the Great Lakes, Michigan fishery officials decided to hold a banquet at Cobo Hall in Detroit — "the largest meeting place we could think of," the late Wayne Tody, the man who replaced Tanner as chief of Michigan's fish division, wrote in a 2003 self-published history of Michigan's fishery. Tody offered fishery officials from Oregon and Washington an all-expense paid trip to the Great Lakes to thank them for helping to launch what was perhaps the most ambitious fish-stocking program the world had ever known. The Pacific Northwest delegation arrived in Houghton near the northern tip of the Upper Peninsula in September 1966. The group spent the next three days on an aerial tour of the upper Great Lakes, flying first to the eastern end of Lake Superior then down the western Michigan coast, over to Chicago and then back north, over the Straits of Mackinac and down the eastern Michigan coast of Lake Huron to Lake Erie. The Washington state chief of fisheries was flabbergasted by the scope of what he'd only known as blue blobs on a map, remarking that "never had he imagined that much water could exist outside the ocean," Tody wrote. Tanner, who had assumed a professorship at Michigan State University but participated in the festivities, remembers the Westerners' optimism after learning about the huge number of full-grown coho jacks that had returned just months after they were planted. The visiting officials told them this jack run was nothing compared to what they should expect the next year, when the majority of the nearly 1 million planted coho were expected to return to the waters in which they were released. "This is going to be big," they told him. "It's going to be big." Coho fever The fall 1967 coho run on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan was quickly dubbed "coho fever." Tanner said it's hard to understand the excitement of tens of thousands of fish returning to the waters where they had been stocked. Some coho were coming in fat like footballs, approaching 20 pounds. It was as if all the skiers in Michigan awoke one morning to find that their little hills had been replaced by the Rocky Mountains. "Try to imagine a population of avid fishermen ... they might have dreamed of going salmon fishing to the West Coast and spending a lot of money. Or maybe go to Alaska or something like that but very few of them would ever do that," said Tanner. "And suddenly with existing tackle and small boats and motors, they went out and they caught their load of five fish, and their lines got busted, and the fish were leaping out of the water, and they were all around them and the excitement was just explosive. "It was a frenzy." Anglers head out to fish for salmon near the mouth of the Platte River in Michigan in the fall of 1967. The coho run on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan that year was quickly dubbed “coho fever.” Traffic jams at the boat ramps stretched nearly two miles. Many fisherman who had traveled hundreds of miles motored out with neither the gear nor experience to safely navigate big waters. A gale blew in on Sept. 23 and estimates at the time were that some 150 fishermen had to be plucked from the water, many by Coast Guard helicopter. Seven drowned, but the tragedy did nothing to temper the fever. It only prompted further investments in bigger boats and engines that spawned the need for more ramps and marinas — the exact coastal economic boom Tanner had hoped for. Chinook Salmon History Also known as “king salmon,” chinook were brought from the Pacific Ocean to help eliminate invasive alewives and create a recreational fishery. Mass stocking of chinook started in 1967, one year after the first coho stocking. Diet In the Great Lakes, smelt and alewives make up their main diet. Management Stocking has been cut dramatically on Lake Michigan due to the decline in the alewife population. In Lake Huron, chinook are no longer the dominant predator, due to the collapse of the alewife population. Tody, meanwhile, had expanded the stocking program to include chinook salmon, similar to coho but substantially bigger. Chinook, also known as "kings," can grow to more than 100 pounds in their native Pacific waters. Coho, by comparison, typically grow to less than 10 pounds in the ocean, and top out around 35 pounds. But chinook aren't just bigger. They are much cheaper to raise because they can be hatched, reared and planted in six months rather than the 18 months it typically takes to launch a class of coho. So by fall 1967, Lake Michigan was bursting with nearly 2 million planted coho, 1 million chinook and about 1 million native lake trout, which were planted by the federal government. It wasn't long before the other Great Lakes states followed Michigan in developing their own salmon stocking programs. The Great Lakes have been known as a world-class salmon fishery ever since. The audacity of such a huge ecological transformation triggered by Tanner and Tody leaves the biologists of today in awe. "They were real cowboy," said University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee biologist John Janssen, noting it was an enlightened decision at the time, given the understanding of how the Great Lakes' food web worked and the severity of the alewife infestation. "They had nothing to lose. The lakes were so destroyed there was no place to go but up," said Michigan Department of Natural Resources biologist Dave Fielder. "It was a creative, clever, smart shot from the hip, because they didn't know what was going to happen," added Fielder. "But boy, did it sure work out." Nearly 50 years later, Tanner takes particular pride in the idea that he did more than control an alewife population. He took an ecological wasteland and built from it a sport fishery like none other, one that he says benefited more than boat builders, charter operators and the economies of coastal communities. After the salmon arrived, he notes, the public demanded action to make sure the fish they caught were safe to eat. The Great Lakes at the time had been ravaged by more than a century of toxic insults that were still growing annually before the salmon arrived. Tanner cites the salmon as a big reason people demanded action on reducing those pollutants. While salmon consumption limits continue to this day for PCBs and other contaminants, Great Lakes waters are by most measures far cleaner in terms of industrial pollutants than when Tanner arrived on the job in the mid-1960s. "I always point out that we created a constituency for the lakes," said Tanner, who was named Conservationist of the Year in 1968 by the National Wildlife Federation. "There was an awakening." A pest with benefits Tanner dismisses a widely held perception that salmon were primarily brought in to control alewives. "We were fisheries biologists," he said in an interview. "We were not there to solve a beach problem. We were there to build a fishery." He likened his approach to that of a rancher who stumbles upon an island the size of Lake Michigan that is overgrown with grass. "Do you think he'd say, 'I could put some cows on that island and shorten that grass?'" he asked. "That is not what he's going to say. He's going to say, 'My God, I can raise more beef than you ever saw in your life.'" And just like a rancher trying to raise every ounce of beef from a pasture, biologists boosted annual hatchery plantings on Lakes Michigan and Huron in the 1970s and 1980s. Stockings on Lake Michigan peaked in the 1980s with annual plantings of more than 19 million salmon and trout, including nearly 8 million chinook. It was an angler playground. Surveys at the time showed even a boat loaded with inexperienced fishermen could reel in chinook, many weighing 20 pounds or more, at a rate of about one every couple of hours. And then came the crash. It turned out, like cows overgrazing a pasture, there was a limit to the number of salmon the lakes could sustain. Rotting chinook started washing ashore in Lake Michigan in the late 1980s, dead from a bacterial kidney disease induced by a decline in alewives. The chinook catch rate in the early 1990s plunged to just 15% of what it was in the mid-'80s. The salmon famine instantly changed the image of the alewives. No longer were they viewed as a pest. They had morphed into treasured forage fish that were the backbone of the Great Lakes' world-class recreational fishery. Janssen, the UWM biologist, remembers the shift happening even in the scientific community. "You could see it in the research grant proposals in the mid-1980s," he said. "Before that, the proposals were framed as 'Alewife the Nuisance Species.' After that, it was 'Alewife the Resource.'" You also could see it in the priorities of environmental groups whose mission is to protect the ecological health of the lakes. The National Wildlife Federation was among a group that sued a Michigan power company for its fish-killing water intakes on Lake Michigan, citing the toll they were taking on several species, including alewives and smelt, another nonnative forage fish. The lawsuit led to a settlement that created the Great Lakes Fishery Trust that has in the last two decades produced tens of millions of dollars to fund programs that include academic and government fisheries research on the Great Lakes. The alewives' makeover was made complete in 1991, when the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources adopted an order to ban commercial trawling for alewives on Lake Michigan. The fish were being sold as fertilizer and cat food for a penny or two per pound. "The health of the Lake Michigan salmon sport fishery has been strongly dependent on abundant alewife populations," read the March 18, 1991, emergency resolution. "Alewives constitute the primary diet of salmon stocks in Lake Michigan. As alewife stocks declined during the 1980s, salmon health also declined." Citing recent research at the time, the resolution's authors concluded, "alewives need protection to recover from precariously low levels." The protection order worked as expected; alewife numbers rebounded. But numbers of native perch, which had been recovering with the alewives' demise, crashed. Commercial fishing for Lake Michigan perch in Wisconsin was banned in the mid-1990s to try to resuscitate that species. It has never recovered. The chinook catch rate eventually climbed back to pre-crash level. Humans appeared to be back in control — for the moment. Slashing salmon plantings To prevent a salmon collapse on Lake Michigan similar to what happened a decade ago on Lake Huron, fishery managers have cut the annual chinook stocking numbers in half in recent years to 1.7 million – less than a quarter of the peak in the 1980s. Cutting the stocking number is meant to keep the fish from consuming the lake's struggling alewife population. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Salmon collapse hit Lake Huron hard and fast Lake Huron's alewives all but disappeared a decade ago due to a combination of too many salmon feasting upon them and competition with zebra and quagga mussels. Chinook are highly dependent on alewives, and their numbers collapsed soon after. Source: Michigan Department of Natural Resources Lesson in humility Lake Huron was not hit as hard as Lake Michigan in the salmon crash of the late 1980s and early 1990s. But a decade later, it suffered its own devastating chinook demise. And this one looks to be permanent. It has become clearer with each passing year that the salmon-fueled carnival atmosphere in Lake Huron's coastal towns a quarter century ago was but a biological flicker — the brief few decades when humans pulled the levers on the ecological balance of a Great Lake and were able to convert an infestation of trash fish into one of the planet's pre-eminent salmon fisheries. The crash happened in part because the salmon began breeding in the wild at unsustainable numbers — there were simply too many chinook mouths and not enough alewife tails. Tanner and his colleagues always knew Pacific salmon might figure out how to reproduce in Great Lakes tributaries, most likely in the cold, clear streams of Canada. And in the first decades of the stocking program it was known that some salmon had done just that. But nobody knew to what extent. Biologists can tell which fish are stocked and which are "wild" because they clip a fin on each hatchery-raised fish, or mark it in some other manner. They can then estimate how many wild fish are swimming in a lake by comparing the number of fish caught from the hatchery population to the number of wild fish caught. By the time they started doing this ciphering in 2000, they were stunned. They had figured natural reproduction accounted for maybe 15% of Lake Huron's chinook population but learned that, in addition to the 3.5 million hatchery chinook planted annually, nature was churning out as many as 16 million more. In other words, they had their estimates almost completely backward — only about 20% of the lake's chinook population was hatchery raised. Like pilots suddenly realizing their aircraft is loaded with more cargo than physics will allow to stay aloft, fishery managers slashed their chinook plantings. It was too late. The finely calibrated salmon machine the biologists thought they had built had gone wild. It turned out the alewives were not only being decimated by far more salmon in the lake than anyone realized. They also were struggling due to an infestation of zebra and quagga mussels. There are now trillions of the penny-sized mussels smothering the lake bottom, each of which can filter up to a liter of water per day, stripping away the nutrients that alewives depend on. It was another one-two punch; the alewives were both starving and being devoured. The alewife crash started around 2003, but few noticed it at first. The salmon fishing had been as good as ever — record catch rates were recorded just the year before. But it turned out this was not the sign of a healthy salmon fishery. It was a sign the salmon were running out of alewives to eat. "The fish were feeding more aggressively to compensate for the low prey supply," said Jim Johnson, a retired biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Biologists doing netting surveys found empty chinook stomachs only occasionally in 2003, but in 2004 it was common. By 2005, the chinook catch from key ports on Lake Huron had plummeted from over 104,000 just three years earlier to 11,700. By 2010, the harvest crashed to barely 3,000, and it has since shown little sign of rebounding. Few biologists today fault Tanner and Tody for so audaciously reconstituting the Great Lakes — Michigan's new research vessel for Lake Huron will bear Tanner's name. But the lesson many of today's biologists have taken from what happened on Lake Huron is one of humility. "As humans, we always want to be in control, but we can't control the Great Lakes," said John Dettmers, a biologist with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. "We changed it, but we didn't necessarily control it."
  5. Great Lakes at a Crossroads The man with the salmon plan One biologist's radical dream for the Great Lakes came true when millions of salmon were brought in from the Pacific. The world's largest freshwater ecosystem has been a giant science experiment ever since. Harrisville, Mich. — The author of the bumper sticker maxim that "A Bad Day Fishing is Better than a Good Day Working" never sat on the shore of Lake Huron with Jay Hall during the fall salmon run. The 47-year-old mechanic from Flint was perched on a collapsible chair on a windless fall day, hands stuffed in his jacket pockets, fishing pole propped in the crotch of a twig stuck in lakeshore muck. His gear would have been dragged out to sea had a salmon hit, but Hall wasn't much worried about that. He was at the end of a bad fishing trip, one that had yielded not a nibble.It's just — it's just depressing," he said in a voice as flat as the glassy harbor. "Man it is." To grasp the depth of Hall's disappointment, you have to understand where he was coming from: Fall, 1989, the last time he went salmon fishing along the shoreline in Harrisville. Like so many of eastern Michigan's coastal towns back then, Harrisville swarmed each fall with shoreline anglers plucking chinook out of the lake with such regularity it was as if they were coming off a General Motors assembly line. Reeling in "king" salmon back then was blue-collar sport — all you needed was a pole and patch of public shoreline. Hall remembered the carnival of the harbor parking lot. Beer flowed; car radios blared. But what he recalled most vividly was the crisp fall air tinged with the scent of burning hardwood from a nearby salmon smokehouse. And the old guy who filleted mounds of bronze carcasses for a dollar apiece — slicing and slinging fish skins into garbage cans with what seemed to be one fluid motion. Hall and a friend rolled home to Flint that 1989 day, arms sore from fighting the 20-pounders, the back seat of their Geo Metro folded down to make space for coolers loaded with pale-orange fillets. Hall moved away soon after and only recently returned to Michigan to care for his aging mother. He figured one upside to landing back in his home state was that he could once again hit Lake Huron's fall salmon run. But now that the day had finally come, he didn't feel any of the old exhilaration. All he felt was foolish. On the drive up from Flint, Hall had worried aloud to his brother-in-law that the shoreline might be too packed to find a good spot. When they arrived, the sprawling boat-launch parking lots were empty. Not a single angler could be found on the shore. Only a lone pontoon boat puttered about the harbor. The fish fillet station was gone. So was the old bait shop, and the only smoke in the air was from Hall's sad cigarette exhales. "This used to be the hot spot," he kept trying to convince his brother-in-law. "It used to be. It really did!" After less than two hours they grabbed their gear and headed for the parking lot feeling as hollow as the three coolers in the back of the Dodge minivan. The lake of Hall's memory is dead, its salmon all but vanished in the past decade — a collapse so swift that fisheries biologists have likened it to driving off a cliff. For a brief few decades, those biologists had turned this Great Lake into a Pacific chinook factory, taking a wildly popular sport fish from faraway ocean waters and setting it loose to gorge upon the swarms of invasive alewives that had decimated native fish species. In the end, the salmon program proved to be a leaky bandage on a massive biological hemorrhage — the onslaught of invasive species that have infested the Great Lakes since the St. Lawrence Seaway opened the long-isolated freshwater seas to all manner of ecological contagia from around the globe. Yet what's happened on Lake Huron is not just a story about the death of its man-made Pacific salmon fishery. It's also about the rise of something nobody expected — Mother Nature herself. This Great Lake, it turns out, possessed a remarkable ability to heal itself; the salmon and their preferred prey — the alewives — ultimately succumbed to wave after wave of new invasions since the early 1990s. But the lake's native fish species, built to thrive in its frigid and relatively sterile waters, have figured out how to thrive amid all this fresh ecological chaos by feasting on the new intruders. The questions now: Will this resurrection of native fish spread across the Great Lakes? And will it even matter if we fail to close the doors to the next invasion? Turning a lake upside down Perhaps no single person has had a bigger impact on the Great Lakes as we know them than Howard Tanner. Photo Gallery MATTHEW DAE SMITH Photo Gallery: Born on Sept. 4, 1923, the son of a grocer in northern Michigan started fishing on Sunday mornings with his father at age 5. The two chased brook trout near the railroad tracks along the Jordan River in Antrim County — the same region of northwest Michigan fished by a young Ernest Hemingway just several years earlier. Tanner remembers the catch limit at the time was 15 per day, and the Tanners, like everyone else in those days, were not catch-and-release guys. Especially after the country entered the Great Depression, his father lost the store, became sheriff and moved the family into the living quarters of the county jail. "We ate all we caught," the 91-year-old Tanner told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "There was no question about that." By age 15, Tanner had printed up business cards declaring himself a professional fishing guide and was taking wealthy city anglers to inland lakes to chase smallmouth bass, or fly fishing on the Jordan River. By age 23, Tanner was a World War II veteran who had helped carve airstrips out of the jungles of the South Pacific. By age 29, Tanner had acquired a doctorate in fisheries biology from Michigan State University. His first job after graduation was as portentous as it was ambitious. He literally turned life upside down in a little lake in the middle of a Michigan state forest using a generator, a pump and a pipe to suck the water 40 feet up from the bottom to the surface. "The research reason for that was the nutrients would gradually settle to the bottom of the lake, but there was no oxygen down there for biological activity and the question was: What would happen if you pumped that nutrient-rich water back up on the surface where there was sunlight and life?" As the junior scientist in the experiment, it was Tanner's job to maintain the generator that ran around the clock on the shore of West Lost Lake. He still vividly remembers one early summer morning in 1952. "There was a fisherman sitting on the bank with his rod, smoking a pipe as I put gas in and checked the oil, and I went over to say good morning. He said: 'Could you tell me what you're doing?' And I said: 'Yes, we're sucking the water off the bottom of the lake and putting it up on the top.' He looked at me and said: 'That's just exactly what I thought,' and walked away," Tanner said with a wry smile. "I can hear him in the bar saying, 'You know what I saw today?'" The experiment did what was expected — it sparked a bloom of plankton near the surface. But the flicker of life flared out once the scientists turned off the pump. "It probably resumed its normal situation in a week or two," Tanner said, though he did not stick around long enough to find out. At summer's end, he headed with his wife and two young sons to Colorado, where he had landed a job at what is now Colorado State University. Since Michigan's state conservation department paid for his education, Tanner had expected the department would hire him. He was a bit disappointed at the time. But looking back more than a half-century later, he said that move was exactly what was needed for his own professional development — and for the future of the Great Lakes. He found the Western approach to fishery management "totally different, in almost every way" from how biologists approached the job in the Great Lakes region. Perhaps the most important distinction is that so many water bodies out West are vast man-made pools created by concrete and earthen dams. This made them blank canvasses for fishery managers to construct an ecosystem almost from scratch. "When you create new water and there is nothing in it," said Tanner, "you plant something." Hatchery-raised sport fish like trout and bass were planted with abandon, the fish eggs shared in a manner that created bonds between fishery managers and researchers stretching across state lines. This build-it-yourself approach to fishery management, and the friends Tanner made in top state fishery jobs across the West, proved immensely important not long after a phone call came in 1964 from one of his old professors. He told Tanner that his home state needed a fisheries chief. Tanner's career was thriving in Colorado, where he had become chief of fisheries research. But there were lures. His father back in Michigan was battling cancer and his father-in-law also had been ill. The money was better and, perhaps most significantly, there was the vastness of the Great Lakes — the world's largest freshwater system. "I immediately began to think about all the water back there," Tanner said. Colorado's largest lake at the time was 7,200-acre Lake Granby — scarcely a puddle on a Great Lakes scale. "About 50% of the surface freshwater in the 50 states are within the boundaries of Michigan, and the other 49 states shared the rest of it," Tanner said. "It was a big job." And he took it. Inheriting a mess The Great Lakes had undergone a devastating ecological transformation in the 12 years Tanner had been gone, particularly Lakes Michigan and Huron. Both had been overrun by alewives, a herring native to the Atlantic Ocean. Like salmon, alewives have a freshwater and saltwater phase in their life cycle. Both species are born in freshwater and then descend to the sea before returning to their native waters to spawn. Typically. The alewives that had wriggled their way around Niagara Falls via the Welland Canal found life-sustaining zooplankton and baby fish to feast upon in Lakes Michigan and Huron — enough for them serve as surrogate "seas" for their adult lives. The fish first made it into Lake Huron in the 1930s, but their numbers exploded in the late 1950s in the wake of the demise of the Great Lakes' native lake trout. Consider lake trout the wolf of the freshwater deep. The beasts atop the food chain could grow to 80 pounds by feasting upon all the smaller fish below — including the newly arrived alewives. Lake trout might have kept alewife numbers in check. But the king of the lake was toppled by a nearly simultaneous invasion of the Atlantic Ocean sea lamprey, which also slithered into the lakes through the Welland Canal. These eel-like parasites destroy their prey by swimming up alongside and then latching onto the fish with suction-cup mouths. They use a tongue rough as sandpaper to rasp away their host's skin and scales, then suck the life out of the fish. One 18-inch-long, bratwurst-thick lamprey can destroy up to 40 pounds of fish during the 12 to 20 months it lives in open waters. By the time Tanner returned to Michigan in the fall of 1964, decades of commercial overfishing and the lamprey invasion had combined to decimate Huron and Michigan's lake trout population. With the disappearance of this top predator, alewife numbers exploded as they outcompeted the lakes' other smaller fish. Alewives eventually accounted for up to 90% of the fish biomass in Lake Michigan. That means that for every 10 pounds of fish swimming in the lake, nine of those pounds were alewives. Dominant as they were, alewives did not evolve to withstand the Great Lakes' wild temperature swings. That led to frequent die-offs by the billions that plugged city drinking water intakes and smothered beaches under reeking mounds of rotting flesh that had to be cleared with bulldozers and dump trucks. Trying to counter the one-two punch of the alewife and lamprey invasions, Great Lakes biologists seized on a chink in the lamprey life cycle: The parasites don't reproduce in open waters but spawn in a relatively small number of rivers that feed the lakes. This allowed researchers to concoct a lamprey-specific poison that was pumped into key rivers and streams. By the time Tanner returned to Michigan in 1964, biologists were dispensing this "lampricide" — essentially an ecosystem-scale chemotherapy — on tributaries across the Great Lakes. The poisoning program, which continues today, ultimately suppressed lamprey numbers to about 10% of their late 1950s' peak. Despite the initial decline in lamprey, the alewife infestation was raging when Tannerreturned to Michigan because the lakes still lacked enough predators to keep their numbers in check. On one of his first days on the job, Tanner grasped the scope of the trouble he had inherited. He was touring northern Lake Michigan in an airplane west of Beaver Island. There was a massive white blob on the water, which the pilot identified as one of the lake's dead alewife slicks. Tanner asked the pilot to bank the twin-engine plane so he could get a closer look. Amazed by the scale of the alabaster blotch floating upon the vast blue sea, Tanner asked the pilot how big of a mess of alewives he was looking at. The pilot told him it was about seven miles long and two-thirds of a mile across. The surface area of this single slick of dead alewives was nearly the size of Tanner's largest lake in Colorado. "That was the first eyeball experience I had," said Tanner, who has written a soon-to-be-published book on the history of Great Lakes salmon. "That was a very, very impressive sight." While most considered the alewife explosion a natural disaster, Tanner assessed it as an opportunity. His boss, after all, had given him one primary directive: "The fish division hasn't done anything new in 20 years. Get out there and do something big and spectacular Crowning a new king Lake Trout Mark Hoffman History The top native predator in the Great Lakes. Although they all but disappeared around the mid-1950s due to the invasive sea lamprey and commercial over-fishing, lake trout have been stocked for decades and continue to be one the most important native sport species in the lakes. Diet Lake trout have recently adapted to eating invasive round gobies. Unlike alewives, gobies do not appear to cause a thiamine deficiency in lake trout that has stymied efforts to establish a naturally reproducing population. Restoration The lake trout rehabilitation program in Lake Michigan began in the mid-1960s. Since then, federal funding has allowed 2 to 3 million lake trout to be stocked each year. With the decline of alewives, some trout are now naturally reproducing on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The natural choice for a top predator after the lampreys were thinned was the native lake trout, small populations of which continued to hang on in parts of Lake Superior and northern Lake Huron. The torpedo-shaped trout can grow as long as three feet and take the better part of a century doing it. This is important, because the cold waters of the upper Great Lakes were historically prone to booms and busts in prey fish populations. This is not a problem for slow-growing lake trout, which are able to throttle down their metabolism in tough times and wait it out until another bumper crop of little fish arrives. What is a problem for lake trout is that they were never hugely popular with sport fishermen on the deep waters of the Great Lakes. This is because some strains of lake trout can become something of a dead weight on the end of a fishing line if they are hooked in deep water. It's not for lack of heart, but an inability to quickly expel the air in a swim bladder that allows them to adjust buoyancy so they can swim at greatly varying depths. The rapid loss of pressure as one is reeled from the deep can inflate that bladder to the point that some fish pop to the surface after mustering a relatively feeble fight for such a large fish. Licensed to manage with audacity, Tanner thought a better option for the Great Lakes would be Pacific salmon, tailor-made to feast on species like the alewife — prey fish that swim by the thousands in massive schools high up in the water column. Salmon feed with such ferocity that they can grow to 40 pounds during their three-year life cycle. It can take a lumbering lake trout 40 or 50 years to reach that weight, carrying much of it as belly fat. Pacific salmon, on the other hand, are essentially swimming muscles that can chase their prey for thousands of miles before fighting hundreds of miles upstream against tumbling mountain rivers to spawn and die. Salmon also can burp out their swim bladder gas to allow them to take their fight against a fisherman all the way to the deck of a boat, as Tanner had thrillingly learned firsthand from an earlier fishing trip on the Pacific Ocean. Tanner's goal wasn't to just alter the species composition of the lakes; he wanted to change the public's relationship with the lakes themselves. Beyond pier fishing for perch and smallmouth bass, fishing in the lakes primarily had been the domain of relatively few commercial fishing crews using big boats and nets to harvest lake trout, perch, whitefish and chubs for restaurants and stores. But because these commercially fished native species had been so destroyed by overfishing and the lamprey and alewife infestations, Tanner inherited something of a blank slate — almost like a freshly filled reservoir in the West. He had little interest in trying to repaint the same old picture, but wanted instead to turn the waters over to large numbers of sportsmen who fished as much for thrill as fillet. "You manage the resource to produce the greatest good for the greatest number for the longest period of time," Tanner said, borrowing the axiom of the first boss of the U.S. Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot, a champion of squeezing as much economic benefit from the nation's public forests as was sustainable. "And for a century, probably, commercial fishing fit that criteria," Tanner said. "But in 1964 it was long past." 'If I chose to do it, we could do it' There had been dozens of earlier attempts to plant salmon in the lakes dating back to the 1870s. All had flickered and failed, save for one tiny population in Lake Superior. The previous stocking programs failed because they were not sustained year after year, or included salmon species ill-suited for the waters of the Great Lakes, or because the stocking was done in the wrong place or at the wrong time of salmon's life cycle. But, most importantly, those stocking experiments happened before the lakes were bursting with alewives. Tanner thought there was a chance Pacific salmon, like alewives, would reproduce on their own once they got a foothold in the Great Lakes. But he was not banking on it and was prepared to embark on an annual stocking program that could last years, decades, even longer. Coho Salmon Mark Hoffman History The Pacific Ocean natives were introduced into Lake Michigan on April 2, 1966, in a move aimed at controlling invasive alewives and establishing a sport fishery. Diet In the Great Lakes, the adult coho diet is dominated by small alewives. Management Officials have reduced stockings in recent years due to the decline in alewife populations. Coho, which are significantly smaller than chinook, are more expensive to stock, since it can take 18 months – instead of six – to go from fertilized egg to fingerling. He just did not know how to get it started. Tanner had tried for years back in Colorado to acquire coho salmon eggs from colleagues in the Pacific Northwest to plant in Rocky Mountain reservoirs. For years he had been rebuffed. The northwest hatchery workers, trying to bolster wild stocks ravaged by dams that plugged migration routes to the sea, were having a hard time figuring out how to keep hatchery salmon fed. Hatchery workers had to grind things like salmon eggs, liver and spleens each day to feed the baby fish. It was a work-intensive, hit-or-miss process that brought too-little success in raising fish that could actually survive a trip to the ocean — and back to where they were planted. But the emergence in the early 1960s of a vitamin-dosed, pasteurized fish pellet made of things like wheat germ and herring guts suddenly changed that. It could be whipped up in industrial-size batches and dispensed daily. It led to a boom in raising salmon out West and that, eventually, led to a phone call Tanner got barely six weeks after he took the Michigan job. An old colleague said Oregon might have some coho eggs to share, a salmon species similar to chinook, though smaller. "I didn't believe it," Tanner said. "I'm thinking if that was true, then the opportunity was there. It was — it just was crystal clear. I mean, everything would fit. There would be a food supply. The waters were suitable in temperature. ... And if I chose to do it, we could do it." Tanner made a call to Oregon the next day and found biologists really did have salmon eggs to share, due largely to the newly concocted fish food. He went to his bosses at the Michigan Department of Conservation and got their approval almost immediately. In December 1964 — less than four months after he took the job — the first batch of an initial gift from Oregon of 1 million coho eggs was loaded on a plane bound for Michigan. Tanner's push to plant in Michigan waters an exotic fish that could, theoretically, roam from one end of the Great Lakes to the other had obvious ramifications for the other Great Lakes states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York as well as the Province of Ontario. The U.S. government, meanwhile, had its own plan to restore native lake trout to help revive the lakes' commercial fishing industry. But once Tanner got approval from the board overseeing the Michigan conservation department, he and his superiors acted alone — with a focus and purposefulness that reflected their collective war experiences. Tanner had helped carve airstrips from jungles as a member of the Army's Signal Corps. His boss had led Marines ashore. And that guy's boss had been a bomber pilot over Germany. "If something needed to be done, you did it," Tanner said of the battle-hardened group. Coho would be just the first wave of plantings, an enterprise Tanner and his colleagues referred to as "farming" the Great Lakes to create an unmatched recreational fishery. "The ultimate aim is to convert an estimated annual production of 200 million pounds of low-value fishes — mainly alewives — that now teem in the upper Great Lakes into an abundance of sport fishes for recreational fishermen," Tanner and his assistant Wayne Tody wrote in a 1966 report issued just two months before the first salmon crop was planted in Lake Michigan. Just like the experiment on West Lost Lake 14 years earlier, Tanner again set out to turn life upside down in a lake. But now the scope of his ambitions had reached a Great Lakes scale. "All my life I have marveled that one person, that happened to be me, was given the opportunity and the authority to make a decision of this magnitude," he said. 'A hero or a bum' On a snowy April 2, 1966, Tanner, wearing a tie and overcoat, took a microphone on a makeshift stage on the banks of the Platte River flowing into Lake Michigan southwest of Traverse City. Dignitaries sat on card table chairs behind him for a brief ceremony before a state legislator picked up a ceremonial golden bucket and dumped a load of finger-sized cohos into the river. Later that day, Tanner tipped his own bucket of coho into a nearby creek — one of the very creeks where Hemingway had fished for trout a half-century earlier. It was a bittersweet moment; Tanner had already quietly agreed to take a new job as a professor at Michigan State University. "I stood at the banks of Bear Creek and the truck left and the photographers left and I stood there in the snow watching those fish go down to the main stream wondering — how soon and how big?" Would the fish survive to adulthood, and if so would they return to the river and stream in which they were planted? Would they, as some scoffed, swim east instead for the salty allure of the Atlantic Ocean? Would they just become fish food? Or would they alter life in the Great Lakes in a manner no one could predict? Tanner took his worries home and confessed them to his wife as they sipped cocktails. "I remember telling her, I'm going to be either a hero or a bum," he said. "Whichever it is, it's going to be loud and clear. And it's going to reverberate for a long time."
  6. Fisheries History lesson Howard Tanner, right, changed the ecology of the Great Lakes in 1966 when he imported Pacific Ocean salmon in order to control invasive alewives -- and create a salmon fishery like none other on the planet. He is shown here with a group of friends, along with his father (second from left), near the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, with a prized catch at the dawn of the salmon era.
  7. Nice work you guy's and GREAT turnout. I was friends with John McCabe and Francis for many years...... I thought he only yelled at me..... But I was wrong Jerry RUNNIN REBEL
  8. The 2014 plan was and still is a bad Government/Environmentalist Idea. I am glad to see some people and businesses seen how bad this was going to be...3 YEARS AGO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now look at Capt.'s Cove property today.......................... Jerry RUNNIN REBEL
  9. You can fish out of Bald Eagle AND Oak Orchard AND Sandy Creek... Sounds good Jerry RUNNIN REBEL
  10. That is what it is all about..... Thanks Jerry RUNNIN REBEL
  11. BUFFALO, NY-- A warning has been issued for WNY boaters due to the high water levels on Lake Ontario. Customs and Border Protection is suspending some of the videophone stations where small boats can go to report that they've returned from Canada. The Dunkirk, Erie Basin Marina, North Tonawanda, Youngstown, Wilson, Olcott, and Point Breeze videophones are impacted. For now -- boaters returning from Canada will need to call 1-800-827-2851. You will need the following information: 1) Name, Date of Birth, and Citizenship of the master and all passengers 2) Name of the vessel and State-issued registration number 3) Home Port and Current Location *If vessel is 30 feet or longer, U.S. Decal number Jerry RUNNIN REBEL
  12. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United mobile app
  13. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United mobile app
  14. Scott, There is enuff "material at this place, you don't need alcohol, But I believe they have an alcohol permit for their dockside gas shack to sell wine coolers, DIRRECTLY next to the RUNNIN REBEL ....How Ironic, the ONLY non-drinking boat on the lake. Jerry RUNNIN REBEL
  15. I am glad to see the humor is spreading down there now. Me and Katie will rule there with sarcastic humor ALL DAY LONG.................. Jeraldo RUNNIN REBEL