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King Davy

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  1. This thread is in the “General Discussion “ section. So we have folks who are interested in the entire fishery reading and responding. This isn’t a lake fishing only message board. Two of the three regs we’ve been discussing are trib only related yet we have threads in here to kill the 1 brown trout limit in the tribs from lake anglers because your afraid it will affect the lake fishery. Seems Misdemeanor that lake folks are doing exactly what you are accusing trib stakeholders of doing. What’s it going to take for everyone to understand this fishery isn’t for lake... or Trib ONLY interests. And more importantly that DEC intends to manage for all stakeholders. They are listening to anyone who takes the time to explain their own personal rational on why or why not these regs are good for overall management of the entire watershed. And when we gathered some volunteers to help with pens we had several people, TU members imagine that ... that have been helping at both Sandy and the Genny for years. They just didn’t have to wear a sign “I trib fish” when helping. Members of LOTAC, TU, and LOSA since 2007 have planted over 60,000 trees and stream bank erosion barrier willows around King Salmon spawning gravel on the Salmon River to keep those rich spawning grounds viable that for sure has been a boom for lake fishing the last 10 years. We did have a few river guides help out. Rest were rec trib anglers. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  2. Yup was asked to present the regs proposals and how to respond. Was also asked to walk through the information that USGS presented at the STATE OF THE LAKE meetings ... what were there three at different sites with also a call in and the BI National meeting. Many of the folks in the room fish LO and the tribs but don’t live near enough to go to a meeting at the locations they were held at. Or were able to call in. It was an information presentation. Passing along information to those asking for it is a problem? So if people responded before or after this meeting or encouraged other members to do so, seems no different then putting threads on this board, for lake anglers to vote this down, or videos telling people to respond from lake anglers. Bob I think it was you that said this is still a democracy ... and you couldn’t be more right. Everyone has a right to know what’s going on and if they choose to get involved they will. However Trout Unlimited did not send a formal statement to DEC on the regs. It’s up to individual stakeholders who decide they want to because it’s important to them to get involved. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  3. And BTW these regs haven’t been passed. The comment period still goes for another two weeks. I have no idea after 12/14 when the comment period closes will DEC decide to accept them or not. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  4. I’m sure trib anglers that may be a member of a trout unlimited chapter have written in to respond to the regs along with trib anglers who aren’t a member of TU or any other organization. If your asking did TU as an organization officially submit responses to DEC the answer is no. So did professional charter boat associations respond in an official capacity? Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  5. The one thing we all hope for is that we get the predator prey balance we need whether it’s as bad as it looks or not so we can all enjoy this world class fishery in its truest form. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  6. Once again Bob I don’t discount your experience and hopefully you don’t discount mine. As a serious steelhead angler if I didn’t have the experiences of catching and releasing steelhead any time of the year and the many others I fish with and have fished with for decades having similar success I couldn’t possibly support the reg. I do because of what I’ve experienced since the mid 70’s on the lake and in our rivers. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  7. The meeting at the hatchery in Feb of 2017 was and invite by DEC, and there were Charter Boat capt’s. In attendance that fished the river and the lake. The meeting minutes were printed out and available at the state of the lake meetings the following month. Anybody could pick them up and read them. Not one word was mentioned about lake anglers killing too many fish etc etc etc. I have no idea where you folks come up with this stuff, but the end all is TU paying the DEC? Really. Paying for what? And if you are accusing somebody of something , then put the names, dates, times on the table. Don’t just spew the same old garbage time after time with no proof or facts to back it up. Rick the young lady steward who stopped by Sandy Creek last week said she’d already done 800 interviews on that stream alone. This weekend on the salmon river it was jam packed with people. Easily 500 or more people fishing. The Genny last week had 50 anglers in high water on a Wednesday. Our tribs are and will be busy right till the end of April next year. I’m in them an average of four days a week so I’m seeing it first hand. Steelhead get caught in the lake and rivers over and over and survive. Any fish released and swims away doesn’t carry a guarantee it’s still alive a day... a week , or a month later. And I’m happy to show you close up shots of steelhead with their gums roughed up from multiple hookings. I’ve heard from Charter Boat capts as well as recreational anglers that they successfully release steelhead on the lake all the time. Maybe they are simply better at handling fish. We’ve all got a better story these days. What ever DEC decides to do about stocking, any regs changes etc is about them making a management decision that best fits their strategy to keep the entire fishery viable for all year round stake holders. There are way more serious issues than a creel limit change, size limit change, extending a season etc. if our predator to pray ratio is out of whack and gets worse, we’ll all be fishing for perch. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  8. My stomping ground is both the lake and the tribs. I fish both along with 100’s of others that do as well. Interested in an effective fishery for all. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  9. For the record and the Charter Boat Captains in the room can confirm at these panel discussions, trib anglers never asked for creel reductions on the lake. We asked for a size limit increase. It got turned down. The rest of the things we asked for were trib related only. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  10. You can’t hide dead decaying fish in a river. They are right there at your feet for months. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  11. I have a hard time thinking the tough fishing is because of mismanaging when you look at USGS data. I think there are plenty of trout but two weeks ago we had river temps in the mid 30’s ... WAY earlier then usual. That never lends to hot fishing. I talked to some folks from Brookfield this weekend. On the same Labor Day weekend when I saw hundreds of fish run the Salmon they said they have never had so many salmon at the gates of the dam. Guy I talked to said you could walk across them and not get your feet wet. I would imagine they were a huge slug of wild fish to run way past the hatchery. I certainly expected soon or later with catch rates at 237% above the highest success rates ever in 2018, what we experienced this year with similar results of spectacular salmon fishing. I would imagine higher harvest rates with all these fish being caught and a 20/20/40% cut over 3 years somethings gonna give. I had good fishing but I’m not lining or snagging fish. I’m actually fishing for them so while numbers of fish caught isn’t anything unusual, I had plenty of fun. But yes we are going to feel an impact with cuts and high catch and harvest. Maybe folks should have let a few more fish go. One thing for sure they ain’t swimming into a river once in a cooler. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  12. Any serious steelhead angler is extremely in favor of a healthy king salmon fishery and a stable forage base and food web. Kings and steelhead are attached at the hip. They swim in the same off shore waters. But the true impact of a solid king salmon fishery is the fall runs. Steelhead have as sharp a sense of smell as the best bird dogs. If a good run of salmon have ascended a river, once their eggs are dropped and even more the rotting carcasses that we smell when walking into these rivers all that scent brings waves of spawning age and younger rainbows into any flow that provides those scents out to the lake. I’m averaging 4 days a week on rivers and smaller streams from the west to the east end of the lake. Fishing has been off. And I know the brown trout and steelhead population haven’t been severely impacted in 2018 and 2019 because the lake salmon fishing was sensational for most of the seasons. So many of us didn’t target the other staple species or steelhead. So why is the trout fishing off? Poor returns of salmon to almost all the rivers I’ve fished. The trout are not attracted up these rivers in flushes of fish. Rather they are trickling in. My humble opinion is between the high angler success rate on the lake the last two years. Actually since 2017, in conjunction with three years of stocking cuts, less then stellar wild success impact we are entering the hole we are probably going to have over the next couple years. And it’s going to impact the entire 12 month a year seasons both lake and tribs. Why is the 25 inch steelhead limit important on the tribs? Because we have both spawning and non spawning fish in. Trib anglers know those younger fish while fun to catch are more valuable to everyone if they aren’t harvested at 21-24 inches will return to the lake and those that aren’t caught in the lake will return as spawners the next year and can be very nice 10 to 12 pound fish.. maybe even larger. Trib anglers like any fisherman would like to catch lots of fish but a large majority would also like to get back to seeing some bigger fish. From a management perspective I believe DEC is anticipating this hole in salmon fishing, more pressure on other species and hoping to find a viable balancing of effort to success of all anglers either in the lake or in our rivers. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  13. The highest angler effort hours are not the summer months. The tributaries angler hour effort has been double the lake effort for many years. That’s not because one is necessarily more popular than the other. The trib season is a full 8 months long. The economic value to these small lake side communities is essential during the fall and winter months when many of these rivers are in full use 7 days a week. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  14. Actually the reduction to steelhead in the tribs was worked on with DEC in 2002 and 2003 and went into effect in Oct 2004. Candidly anglers wanted the entire lake and trib size to be 25 inches back then. The DEC management initiative has been since the start and remains today that the marquee target fish in the Lake are Chinook salmon, and the marquee fish in the tribs are steelhead. That coho salmon lake trout and brown trout are staple species for the lake fishing and purely icing on the cake in the tribs. Steelhead that actually spend more time in a river than in the lake in a given year are simply icing on the cake for the lake fishery. We even have non spawning steelhead in our rivers now along with adult spawners. They ascend a river and return to the lake even though they are not going to spawn. We have been looking for a creel reduction in browns for a long time in the tribs because we have the highest use for brown trout fishing in the US in the short period of time they are in our rivers. You should actually be excited we want to keep more of those fish off stringers because they are coming back to lake anglers over the winter. I can tell you if we ever asked for a reduction in the lake of a staple lake species we would always be turned down by DEC. Brown trout are meant to be a staple fish for the lake, and for a short time a nice to have in the tribs. Don’t have to believe me. Ask the DEC if they’d reduce brown trout on the lake just for advantage in the tribs you’ll get the same answer. Again in 1993 salmon stocks were cut in half. Lake anglers including charter boat operators for which I was one harvested many more steelhead due to the spotty salmon fishing especially in the summer months. By 2000 if you caught a steelhead in a trib it was a “happening”. I actually talked to some folks at the hatchery who said in the early 2000’s they struggled to handle enough steelhead to get the allotment of eggs each spring. Once the 1 steelhead limit went in the fish returned in droves. BUT that’s not the whole story. By the early 2000’s salmon stocking had returned to full production, and because of the base flow rate treaty at the salmon river with the power company we started to get millions of wild salmon hatching in the river. Fast forward to today. Let’s all be straight, the news on the forage base isn’t good. We’ve had salmon stocking cuts for the past three years and does anybody truly think it will go back to full production with what we’ve seen. If it doesn’t we are going to start to see tougher salmon fishing on the lake the next couple years. What does that mean? Likely lake anglers will put more pressure on the other staple species in the lake as well as steelhead. These reg changes are looking to get ahead of that and hopefully keep a viable fishery for everyone. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. It would be great to have a modem facility in the western basin. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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.
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