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King Davy

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  1. A few of us from the Rochester area that sit on the BiNational Stakeholders panel heard the presentation on Monday night with MNR, DEC, and the GLFC. Also had another obligation out of town last night. All who missed it and are interested in “What’s Next” should try to attend or log into the Webex with the call in numbers in the announcement above. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  2. Yeah Bob that’s why I made my original statement to make sure nobody’s effort was left unused. We can debate this till the cows come home. My experiences are different from yours and ours might be different from others. Each of our levels of buying into the science or not are different. For me in this particular situation of forage assessment I believe in the 80/20 rule. I think they are on the 80 side. And in science making a case that usually works. Nobody wants to see stocking cuts. My current position is the regs proposed during this difficult time will help us keep all fisheries flush.
  3. It would be great to have a modem facility in the western basin. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  4. Yeah Gambler it’s been a risk for 50 years. Guys can forget about Caledonia for Salmon they legally can’t knowingly introduce potential viruses into a state hatchery. It’s Why they can’t ever raise rainbows there because of whirling disease. Comes down to having an extra $200 million laying around. I’m all for a nice new hatchery. Every one we have is ancient. Yeah steelhead aren’t fussy when it comes to forage. They’ll eat any bait fish and they love bugs. Used to catch them on a dry fly (bumble bee) in 600 foot of water. Maybe that fish ate bugs cause he couldn’t find any alewives. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  5. I think the 21 inch size on paper was supposed to add maybe 17 to 20% more fish to stay in the system longer for all anglers to get a shot at. I’m not sure I have that number right. We’d have to ask DEC. When we lost the majority of the adult steelhead fall 2014 into Spring of 2015. Then your starting over. There is the class behind them but some of them were affected. Essentially we found fish dying that were say five pounds and greater. I’ve known the DEC guys and some of the USGS folks a long time. I’m from a big data driven career. I believe in the science. Just how I’m wired. Knowing the folks I see no reason they want to make a mistake or make up a problem to end up cutting stocking. Are they willing to error on the safe side ..., yes. I have some friends still up in Michigan in Huron and LM. When those fisheries crashed it was catastrophic for sportsmen, many businesses etc. So three years of cuts and three years of good fishing and many would say epic in the lake. I still think the lake fishery for salmon is going to take a hit unless we have great wild repo success. But I fished through most of the 90’s with no wild fish coming to the rescue. Nobody wants to hear this but I’m fortunate to fish many other places. We are pretty spoiled. The west coast king and steelhead fishery and even more tragic the Alaskan salmon fishery are in serious decline. We have the finest open water fishery in the US for Salmon. Likely the world. We have a destination brown trout fishery west of Sodus to the Niagara. And the most targeted fish over all in the tribs are steelhead and we are recovering from the die off. We are going to have to grind through a few more years in hoping the food web makes a bounce back. And the target of prominence can’t just be the open lake. The trib season is a full 8 months long bringing millions of dollars especially to smaller communities. Imagine if the boats were all tucked away in Sept. and there wasn’t any tourism in places like Pulaski... Oak Orchard... etc for nearly 8 months. Lots of people in those communities would suffer. We need both fisheries to be strong. DEC is trying to keep both those balls in the air despite the environmental issues. I’m in. I trust them. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  6. Spoonfed-1 My buddy fished the Ganny three weeks ago and you could walk across the fish. I think he said over 20k through the counter. Interesting with all these fish around not another angler around. I’m in the camp that believes all South shore tribs produce some wild fish. I fish for steelhead until mid May before I get out on the lake. I see king fry in all the rivers I fish of medium size. So I’m making an assumption that fish in these tribs might be more those fish coming home than fish straying from the Salmon River. This is the first three year return of the shortened stocking of 20%. So that is a factor, high catch rates not sure what the harvest was but it would seem to be higher than long term average. Crappy water.... high lake backing up in my local big river squelching flows at the mouth for weeks. Third week of Sept. fishing off the Genny.... nobody home at the river mouth tons of big hooks in 100 foot. Sooo once again Mother Nature bringing the big hook to the plate. Not many get great wood on a big league curve ball. We’ll never figure this all out. The fish still have the upper hand. That’s what keeps us coming back. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  7. I know that salmon fishing hasn’t been off the chain for the gangs that flock to the more popular rivers but my experience this fall is I’ve found the least “bitey” fish then in a long time . Labor Day weekend most fish were in warp 8 and ran the length of the river in a day or less. They wouldn’t hold even in the pools. Now that you find hens with the boys courting them fighting each other for her affection, you swing a streamer by them and you’ll experience the pure primal instinct that we all love. Especially fun with the rod in your hand when that that moment happens. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  8. Spoonfed-1. Power company ran the river at 750 cfs for the last rafting event of the year on Labor Day weekend. I fished the lower river and had 100’s of salmon come by each day for three solid days. We never had another significant rain event until a week ago. Meanwhile the hatchery was loaded along with beaver dam brook. I might be wrong but I thought I heard DEC collected 4 million eggs. Fishing was slow if you are comparing seeing 2000 fish run at once after Labor Day. I was there last week fishing for steelhead and fished down lots of pocket water as fresh in bows like pockets. Every where I went I had salmon streaming but me. Again not a run you over stampede but then again we are near the end of Oct. This past Wed. I landed three Chinook salmon in a local trib out west. Big bright fish. One was 43 inches. These guys were sitting behind a dime bright silver hen. There were salmon in every pocket I fished looking for bows and browns. I’ve seen this in the past many times where in a low water year which we’ve had everywhere the fish trickle in. In years like this I had bright kings spawning in front of me at Christmas. If the majority of the fish are in fact wild I’ve seen them in a whole different schedule than what we usually expect. Lastly if many of the 237% increase in catch rates last year were in fact heavy on two year olds and A high percent were harvested... they aren’t around anymore to swim in a river. If the salmon harvest was as good as the catching this year... there are a lot of spawners are in freezers I’d guess. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  9. Weave... I can appreciate lake anglers after salmon cuts the last few years being Leary of a creel change in the lake. But if you follow the strategy of a manager and they have to cover all the bases and knowing that the actual creel limit for silvers doesn’t change just one less for a species that gets spread the thinnest for the need to have them in the system for both the lake and tribs, for many of us it makes sense. Again my focus is on 12 months a year overall management of these two key species. There is pain and at the moment in this reg additional pain for the lake, yet each has to be honest on what the real impact is to them. And yes there are risks to all fish including steelhead to be released dead of summer. And that could be the trib pain if it truly manifests itself. And NO reg if it’s truly damaging is cast in stone. If it’s a bad move, they’ll change it back. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  10. So before anybody comes back and says who cares about 1993. I played this out because Steelhead and Chinook salmon are connected at the hip. We need both and we need both to have a healthy full year fishery, and more importantly I want you to understand how many twists and turns fishery managers have to deal with year to year decade to decade in playing against the ultimate casino house. Mother Nature. And what they have to do... to try to keep us all into fish. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  11. This is going to take a few paragraphs so hang in there. This response isn’t trying to lean one way or the other. It’s to take you through what has happened in the past because reading these threads I’m not sure everyone has this intel. 1993- I’m the president of the western Lake Ontario charter boat association and I sit on the NYS sport fishing council. DEC calls a meeting made up truly of Charter Boat Capt’s, USGS and DEC. As a result of lake wide bait trawls Bob O’Gorman then the top alewife scientist, Recommends to DEC we are in serious trouble with bait fish populations. Presents his Data and along with DEC’s data they decide to cut salmon stocking from 2.1 million down to 1 million. Drastic cut. You can imagine the demeanor in that room. KEY to this was the ferc license treaty with Niagara Mowhawk on the Salmon River was still five years away (1998). Without base flows in the salmon river there was no measurable wild fish production out of the salmon river to cushion the stocking cuts. So we Charter Capt’s we’re forced to relay heavily on steelhead to get our folks action. I can tell you that a 5% survival to adult stage of stocked smolts is probably more the norm but say it was 10%. That meant we had 100k of a possible 1M salmon stocked for each year class. Not many fish to find in the giant space that is LO. What happens next Steelhead fishing on the tribs from mid 90’s right to 2000 began to tank alarmingly. Mainly because of the heavy predation from the lake. In 1998 two things happened. The power company agreed to base flows on the salmon river. And DEC started offering at state of the lake meetings and other stakeholder events questionnaires on what folks would like to see from the program. At that time trib anglers started responding in mass to cut the creel limit on the tribs for Steelhead. This wave of interest grew into a tidal wave of support. By then the trib environment was changing. Anglers were more interested in “opportunity” to fish to fish than harvest three a day. At the same time base flows got into gear, DEC started to see more and more wild naturally produced kings in the stream proper. They immediately started to seine 12 locations on the river in May and June to see what the wild fish impact was. To date in a good year they can see as many as 10M wild fish on their annual project to 3 to 5m in a down year. At the same time early 2000’s with many years of low salmon stocking the alewives bounced back and DEC returned to stocking the 2.1 M fish. The returns of steelhead to the hatchery in the late 90’s to 2003 got lower each year, to where once they may see 20k fish in the raceway, they now saw less then 5k. 2003 through discussions with the same style focus group we have today, they decided to cut the tribs from 3 to 1 fish a day. Within two years of the new reg the numbers of steelhead returning to the hatchery easily doubled. In some years tripled. All were happy, Great Lake fishing for salmon again with both wild and hatchery fish, and trib fishing was not only on the raise, the effort on angler hours began to double the lake hours. For all sorts of reasons but not because the lake was poor fishing. In the contrary it was solid to spectacular. Fast forward to 2014. We experience a true polar vortex and not only does it devastate the forage base, adult steelhead are impacted into a massive die off( first time we’ve ever experienced anything like that.) In a race to not topple over the fishery DEC after looking at trawl data finds a couple large holes in the year class make up for bait that more than any other fish needs Chinook salmon and enacts the stocking reductions. Yet with the stocking reductions salmon numbers are padded by wild fish, salmon fishing goes from great to off the chain. In 2018 the success rate for us catching salmon on the lake went up 237%. Crazy. Can’t wait till spring to see what 2019 looked like. Meanwhile 2014,15, and 16 the steelhead fishing during the long 7 to 8 month trib season was gone. We had to wait till the 2015 fish reach at least 3 years old to truly have them back in the tribs in decent fishable numbers. So rational and you have to understand as formulating a management plan for the full 12 month fishing season, DEC is probably trying to spread the wealth. While salmon can get some recruitment from wild fish to the stocking, we don’t have the habitat to reproduce steelhead naturally simply because a rainbow spends over a year in a river before heading to open water. We have very little successful natural recruitment on the US side of LO. For sure not enough to to bolster the 650k annually stocked steelhead. Yes we all have our own interests. Personally I’m always interested in both the lake and the tribs to be viable. I fish both and have since the program started 50 years ago. Can these natural catastrophic issues happen again. You betcha. If you are running your management plan to have to take account of potential risks. You make some stocking, regs changes, etc to mitigate the next big event that could impact the entire fishery either in the open lake or our rivers or both.
  12. We have a different perspective on commenting. I guess you see this as a ballot vote. “Comment” for me is to describe why or why not you agree or disagree with something. Each time you comment it arrives to DEC with what ever your email addy is. I believe they are looking for an individuals personal take on the regs not just a canned response. But if folks want to do that... have at it. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  13. Yankee and I have talked about the new sensation on the tribs which is float fishing with pin outfits. Most perfect presentation and one can catch a lot of fish in a day. We all at one time in our life as fisherman wanted to catch as many fish as we could in a day. Eventually you evolve into trying to catch that fish of a life time.... and ultimately I just want to catch fish the way I want to catch them. So I’ve had dozens of discussions with anglers on tribs who are hammering fish. I leave them with the thought that if I can’t remember something unique about fish # 2, 8, 14, 26.... just maybe I’ve over stayed my welcome. Eventually they”ll come around. Lake trollers especially rec anglers who are dialed in on the fish and hooking and landing way more fish then they could legally keep know they have to successfully release fish and I’ll assume most make an honest effort to do so successfully. It’s simply not impossible. And I can’t have hard feelings for a group of folks who put a hard 40 50 hours in at work and now have a Saturday off to go fishing with their boat and have one of those days to remember. I talked to many rec guys who don’t keep any fish so they obviously figure out how to release them. Again the focus of the 2020 management plan is to have a fishery both open water and tribs that last 12 full months provide ample opportunity to catch fish. In the case of Steelhead for four or five of the up to 8 months they are in our rivers are the only species to reliably fish for. So managing to provide the best opportunity for all is the goal. DEC thinks these regs would improve that opportunity from where we are today. If you agree tell them why, if you disagree tell them why. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  14. For What it’s Worth and for those who are not aware, The Lake Ontario regs and revised management plan is included in the overall fish management plans for the entire state. DEC Bureau Chief of Fisheries Steve Hurst is working with all regions of New York State to revise and update their fish management plans where many haven’t been reviewed and updated for 30 years or more. A huge task in it’s own right. Included in this project is the Lake Ontario Watershed, both in conjunction with Canada for the overall open waters of the Lake Program, as well as specific plans for our New York open waters and tributaries. I can also tell you as management plans have been updated, many of them include regulation changes to align with DEC’s going forward strategies. So this is a state wide initiative. However lets boil down the Regulation proposals for LO and it’s tribs. To start lets remember the going forward management strategy. And BTW the Steelhead part of this was originally put in place by Bill Pearce, then Fisheries manager back in the late 60’s. The Lake was to be managed for Chinook Salmon as the marquee species in the lake, and Steelhead were to be managed as the marquee species in the tribs. That Coho Salmon, and brown trout along with Lake trout would be a staple to the open water fishery, and icing on the cake in the tribs, and Steelhead would be icing on the cake in the open waters of the Lake. Anyone who has been to the state of the lake meetings or on the DEC site should have already heard or read this. Simply…The Goal is managing the LO watershed for the 12 month a year fishery that it actually is. Which includes a huge stakeholder usage on the tribs. 1) Extending the season on Lake Trout fishing on the Niagara river on the NYS side to align with the Canadian regs. Doesn’t seem to be little if any push back to this. 2) Reduce Brown Trout harvest in the tribs from 3 to 1. NYS DEC from creel census on the tribs that includes harvest and C&R percentages have come to realize that LO and its tribs is now a world class brown trout destination fishery. We grow the biggest brown trout in the US on average. And we have a unique trib fishery that now entertains anglers from as far west as Oregon, and includes outfitters from Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming putting together excursions to come to our rivers and streams. Then add in the out of state anglers from states within a day’s drive of here, and we have a horde of anglers here from Oct. thru Dec when these fish are in the system. This reg could provide maximum opportunity for anglers targeting them. Also recent trib creel surveys suggest more and more anglers are releasing a higher percentage of brown trout. BTW this is a reg that has been proposed several times since 2003. It’s never made it to the docket until now, but in DEC management strategy knowing the high use of our tribs and the very long September to end of April trib season has included it this year. 3) Increase harvest size limit of Steelhead on the tribs from 21 to 25 inches: Also a regulation that was proposed back in 2003 when the tribs went from 3 to 1 fish per day. The rational back then as it is today comes from 1983 thru 2018 data where DEC sizes every fish they handle for spawning at Altmar. The data shows that 98.2 percent of spawning Steelhead are 25 inches or greater. Or true three year olds. The rational today as it was back in 2003, Steelhead anglers would like to see a fish survive the system as at least a 1 salt fish. The term used for migrating steelhead out west. In other words a fish is in the system for at least one spawning cycle. Then open for harvest by anyone anywhere (Lake or Tribs) after that. This was proposed at the Stakeholders meeting for both lake and tribs. Through conversation by the panel it was turned down for the lake and would remain 21 inches as it is today in the lake and only be changed in the tribs. The interest from trib anglers especially after the massive adult die off of our Steelhead in 2014-2015 is to get back to the Trophy fishery we enjoyed back in the 90’s and early 2000’s of having a chance to catch a fish in the 15 to 20 pound range. When steelhead get past that three year 1 salt stage they can grow big and fast. 4) Reduce the lake creel for Steelhead from 3 to 2: This was the result from DEC after turning down the overall 25 inch size limit. Again the rational is managing in this case Steelhead for the long trib fishery in which for close to four months or more, they are the only species in our rivers in any numbers to fish for. OK this is my personal rational for this 2020 management plan and why I’m in favor of it. Steelhead can be and are fished for 12 months a year. They can be accessed by anglers every month and day of the year. Many who aren’t died in the wool trib anglers might say nobody is fishing in Dec through Feb. And that would be a huge misconception. While many smaller water ways may be inaccessible, any tail water fishery is alive an active all winter long with tons of anglers…seven days a week. We have the finest foul weather gear you can imagine to stand in and fish rivers all winter long. WE don’t take that time off….and so either are the fish left alone. Meanwhile Salmon who are not spawning age enjoy nearly six months of solitude, and brown trout who are heavily fished for at least get a short reprieve from angling pressure normally Jan through mid March before the boats start getting dunked again. But not Steelhead they are available year round to either a troller or a trib angler. High dead loss of lake caught steelhead. 2019 was my 48th year fishing the open waters of LO. 22 of those years as a licensed Charter Capt. It simply was never my experience of huge dead loss of any species caught on my boat if the fish wasn’t mortally wounded from fishing hooks. Even in the more dangerous months of July and August. I employed handling techniques to successfully release a fish either rec fishing or guiding if not intending to keep a fish. It is the responsibility of every angler to learn how to and execute proper fish handling techniques. I did everything from releasing fish alongside the boat which many can do with a low profile freeboard boat. To having a 110 qt cooler as a resuscitation chamber in which to carefully place the fish with lake water, and adding ice to keep the temps in the mid 50’s range. That was me….can’t dictate what anyone else does, but I’ve been doing those things since the early 80’s after a few years of guiding when it was evident my clients wanted to pick and choose the fish they wanted to harvest. From my boat to being on others, more harm was done to fish who were kept out of the water too long, allowed to bang around the deck of a boat…or the ever popular hero shot with an anglers fingers through a fishes gills. If that’s going on….yeah box em up. There must be a large population of anglers who know how to properly C&R fish on their boat since on these web boards many share their score card for the day….posts like we were 18 for 24, 25, for 31 etc. I’ll end with this: To Be Fair to all…. I would recommend you don’t simply copy and paste anyone’s personal comment. I know that DEC is looking for YOUR comment. I can tell you if somebody writes in and says I agree, or disagree (a one line yes or no) with any of these regs it will not get counted. If they get dozens of responses with the exact same wording that were obviously copied….they likely won’t count them. They want to hear from you. What your thoughts and experiences are. These regs will be approved or not from you the stakeholder who has his or her own thoughts on what you experience out on the lake or in the tribs or both. This truly isn’t a ballot race. It’s rational thoughts on your experiences and what you’d like to see as management of the LO watershed for April of 2020.
  15. Actually HB2 is correct. Especially in years where we have higher water and a cold spring like the past two. I fished all the local streams into Mid May because there were steelhead in those systems. You couldn't take a step in Oak Orchard or Sandy in several good spawning areas without a cloud of Chinook fry following you chomping on stream invertebrates you dug up with each foot step. I even saw King Fry in very small tribs to the east of Rochester in April. In most cases these fry will head to the lake in April, and May, and as late as June if stream temps stay lower then lethal Mid 60's. The seining effort on the salmon river this spring will show a huge bumper crop of Kings, as well as other salmonids. Streams like Irondequoit has Kings all the way to Fishers and above with plenty of cold spring water added into the flow, and the IRON absolutely produces wild fish. Several years ago DEC did shore line seining off Sandy Creek and Oak Orchard and found wild fish. Now having said all this, it's anybody's guess how many of these fish survive to become adults. Remember if numbers at the salmon river hatchery during the clipping program said over half the fish they handled were wild...understand most of the wild fish, don't descend the hatchery. They are spawning naturally in the 11 miles of river they have access to. Personally I'd like to see DEC and MNR clip stocked kings again for at least two generations of fish and develop a program with Rec and Pro anglers to report their Stocked to Natural repo catches. Good data is King....Otherwise very difficult to manage the lake for Chinooks VIA the forage base if you have that big ? mark. However every year in all other streams outside of the Salmon River is a crap shoot because they don't have a base flow rate plan. The Salmon has a treaty to maintain base flows year round, thus why it is so prolific in hatching millions of wild fry.
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