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Sweet Caroline

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Everything posted by Sweet Caroline

  1. To me , logic tells me high catch rates and smaller size are indicative of a lower bait population. Simply put, the fish are more numerous and with less food to share, therefore they will bite your bait more regularly. I believe steelhead, browns and coho sizes are all lower as well on average. Those fish do have a more diverse diet so maybe not as impacted as much as chinook, but still a noticeable difference in weight of those fish compared to past years. Is genetics also affecting the size of browns, steelhead, cohos? I understand there are less 3 year olds, but there still are some, so what is the weight comparison of today’s 3 year olds to those of 20 years ago? If it is not a bait problem, then the size should have stayed about the same. Selecting only the larger, 3 and 4 year old fish at the hatchery certainly wouldn’t hurt. Not sure that is possible to still hit the stocking numbers we need. I don’t think that is the main culprit though. Again, we still have 3 olds, albeit not as many, but I’m pretty sure the size is down for the ones we have compared to the 3 olds of years past. Any genetic reintroduction would have to select for slower maturing fish of 3-5 years instead of the 2-3 we have now. Or a faster growing fish. Not sure if either exists. The chinook we have today I’m certain have evolved. I.e less time staging in warm water, runs later in the fall and probably more natural reproduction then we had when they were first introduced. The Genny is not loaded with floaters anymore in early September like it was in the 80s, early 90s. I’m sure size has evolved a bit too, selecting for smaller and faster maturing fish of only 2 years, rather then 3-4. Also makes for a very unpredictable fisheries management given the variability of natural reproduction from year to year. We have a great fishery, but I’ve pretty much given up on ever catching a 30 plus pound king again. I’m happy with anything over 20 now. I hate to say it but if weights keep going down the thrill is just not going to be there for me anymore regardless of how many salmon I catch in a morning. I know there has to be a balance. Can’t have your cake and eat it too. Don’t want to struggle to catch 5 fish, but don’t need to regularly catch 20 plus either. We seemed to have a decent balance around 2007 or so, when you could catch double digits with some big ones mixed in. DEC has tough job of quantity vs quality for sure.
  2. I always thought it to be curious that gobies didn’t have much of an impact on Lake Erie smallmouth like it did on LO. I believe their smallmouth pop has stayed pretty strong.
  3. We were out this evening. Set up at 25 and screen dried up for us past the 27. Made it out to the 29.5 before turning around and hit fish again around the 26. Wasn’t a great evening. Bite really died once the wind switched to the east.
  4. Little better to the East off Ibay. We dropped in at the 25N and made it to the 31.5N. Temp and fish 100-120 down. Temp came up above 90 around 30N but screen dried up. Best water for us 27N - 28N with a good mix of steelies, 2 year olds and matures. No LOC fish though. We did donate a shark weight as well today!
  5. Spot on about the zebra mussels. IMO the biggest factor causing bait declines. The lake was filthy with bait up until the early 90’s when zebra mussels took hold. Zebra mussels probably have leveled off now, but their continued existence, the low phosphorus loads and general cleaning of the the Great Lakes is making it hard for bait to bounce back to the levels we had. To consistently grow 30 and 40lb fish requires enormous amounts of bait. Fishing would not be as good as it is now if we had the amount of bait we had back then. Michigan has seemed to bounce back a bit with the size of their salmon, with the new Great Lakes record king being caught in recent years.Their salmon have been stocked before LO and have had plenty of time to evolve as our LO have. They experienced a huge decline in size for well over a decade but were able to bounce back. Gives me hope with our LO fish. I do believe there has to be a balance between quantity and quality for that to happen. Quantity is not something many folks are willing to sacrifice though. If I recall, some of the large high 30 and 40lb salmon caught on the Canadian side of LO in recent years were rare 4 yr old fish. Selecting for larger and older size Kings at the hatchery is one thing we can do to keep size up given our current ecosystem. Not much we can do about everything else but that is one thing that is totally in our control. Again, if your parents and grandparents all lived to be 90 years old, it is likely you will live long too. I know, not a guarantee, but the odds are in your favor. Would make a huge difference if even 5% of our Kings could make it to 4 yrs. That said, is there any data on how many returns are 3 and 4 yr olds? Not sure if there is even enough returns of those age structures to get the eggs we need for stocking?
  6. Slow for us today as well. 1 for 3 on the inside for browns. We then worked back and out between 200 and 350 or so off the ledge. Slow pick with a 22 being the biggest. Never had a great screen all morning.
  7. I get it, but more likely that two tall people would have a tall child then two short people, lol. I would think that two large fish would have a better chance of producing large offspring then two small fish.
  8. Just my opinion, but we have a lot of bait, but not nearly as much as we had in the 80s and early 90s. Seems like we have more salmon too, which decimate any good hatches we have pretty quickly. Not scientific, but high catch rates like we have now and smaller size usually indicate lower food supply. Granted we are all better fisherman now then we used to be, but back then it was rare to catch over 10 salmon in a morning. I think the salmon we have now have evolved in many ways to LO, part of it could be smaller size. I’m all for introducing new genetics. At the very least we should be taking eggs from the cream of the crop at the hatchery to help combat smaller size which makes the most sense to me. If a six foot tall man and woman had a baby, the baby most likely will be tall too. Pure logic on that one.
  9. Sandy or Braddocks Bay would be more port of choice most of the year. Browns, Lakers, Kings all great fishing throughout the Summer.
  10. Browns get hammered by just about everything when they are stocked. Cormorants have a field day on them for sure. They don’t move much for days and sometimes weeks after being stocked and are sitting ducks. Barge stocking seems like it would help. Has there ever been any research on barge stocked vs shore stocked survivability? The amount of money thrown out the window when these get stocked is sickening. Such a waste. Surprised we have as good of a brown fishery as we do given what I’ve witnessed.
  11. Nearshore structure are the best holding places for browns. Haven’t fished Oswego much but I believe there is some great shoreline down there. Browns in the lake tend to stay as close to shore as possible, temperature permitting, which is why areas with structure nearshore tend to produce better especially in Summer and Fall. In Spring, any warm water outlet or sometimes beaches can be good that warm faster. Structure areas will produce in Spring too, especially if there is a stream nearby that warms the water slightly. They can travel some long distance in the lake unlike when they are stocked in streams. Tagged browns in Canada have been found on the south shore. I think they settle more in areas with better structure that regularly hold bait around the lake as opposed to offshore salmon and steelhead that travel with the current and bait. Here in ROC, I’m going east or west if targeting browns and have not had great success with anything in between for browns, minus early Spring. In clear water in the Spring, I will target any water that has color no matter where it is. Hope that helps.
  12. I remember docking next to you and Gratson for a few years. Miss those days. Bigger boat now doesn’t allow me to travel around the lake like we used to. I learned a lot from our conversations. Your talent as a lake guy is way under rated compared to your trib fame. I see there are a lot of 2 year olds as expected.
  13. I think the later runs has more to do with evolution and natural selection. All those salmon that ran in the warm water never passed on their genes because they all died before their eggs could be collected. Remember all the floaters in late August and September? The fish that ran later when conditions were better were the ones that made it to the hatchery. Over decades the population selected for fish that ran later and likely didn’t stage as long either. I’m with yankee in that average size is probably a good indication of the bait population. Also, all these 1 and 2 year olds we had this year are absolutely going to destroy what bait we have over the next couple years. The amount of 1 yr olds was insane this year.
  14. Thought I read it on this forum somewhere. Can't find it. Maybe I imagined it:)
  15. Thought I heard water levels were going to be raised 2nd week of Oct to allow boats to be pulled. Anybody know if there is any truth to that?
  16. Was out this afternoon off Ibay and east. Temps 80-90 down now. Decent brown bite with some small salmon mixed in.
  17. Boats at Shumway for a few days. Having issues with port engine so didn’t want to run too far. Fished a couple hours in afternoon. 2 for 4. One nice king and a coho. Temp 80-90 down. 175-200 fow. Hope that helps. Back out tomorrow for tourney. Good luck to all that entered.
  18. My guess is they spread out pretty quick as soon as they hit the lake and end up in the most fertile water where that may be.
  19. Small kings were in with browns I-bay to Webster Park last September. 40-60 fow. They were in the 6 to 8 inch range. Caught a dozen or so throughout the month in that area. All released as gently as possible. Hope that helps.
  20. Last year seemed to be a good year for survival. I started catching these small kings last fall and also caught a ton of small browns. Given that last year was our peak low for king stocking numbers, logically you would think there would be less small salmon around. I feel that the environmental conditions can sometimes be more important then the number of fish stocked when it comes to overall numbers that survive. For instance, last year we had a huge crop of 2020 YOY alewife around which could have helped alleviate predation on our stocked fish by cormorants and other fish. I know in years of clear, cold water in the spring that stocked browns get pretty decimated. Anybody know preliminary results on the bait trawls from this year? Interested to see how last years YOY made out.
  21. For what it’s worth, did a maiden voyage today and fished the ponds to Braddocks for a couple hours in the afternoon. 2 in the boat. Laker and a coho, lost a another decent fish and 1 or 2 knock offs. 10 color and 3 color. Customer pink NK 28 and baby shower with gold back stinger. Fished 50-60 fow. Water looked good. Some bait on bottom. Not a lot of marks.
  22. Just want to check back and see if anybody knows of any updates on when these will be available?
  23. Any updates on when the new saltist will be available. They have been taken off fishusa
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