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Kinghunter

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  1. I believe its because coho's spend more time in the streams than Chinook before migrating to the lake. I think the young parr are exposed to warmer water due to them spending almost up to a year in the river.which may cause mortality. But like SK8man said; I would defer to the research biologists to confirm this or not.
  2. There are documented naturalized runs of Coho in both Bowmanville and Wilmot creeks on the north shore. Not huge numbers but have been returning for over 15 years.
  3. The reliance on fish finding technology to indicate fish and bait below the boat is indicative of the current culture of "if its on my screen" it must be real! In combination with good technology and experience the odds can be turned in your favor. After 40 years chasing salmon on lake Ontario I can only think about 15 times that a fish appearing on a screen actually became a hit. Most of these were 'streakers' which started above my lures and came down on them with an instantaneous hit. I believe most hits come quickly from the side where if your unit is fast enough may show up as a slash or partial line; pure 'hooks' are something I've never really understood compared to lines, slashes, streaks, etc. At least these indicate the fish are on the move. One of my most successful techniques when 15 miles offshore is to mark every bait ball and every hit on my GPS, if the bite is on simply repeating and zigging and zagging back through these schools will increase my hook ups. Relying on your fish finder to find fish that you could entice to hit your lure is a sure fire way to frustration, as a tool to narrow the odds a bit makes it useful. They still have to be enticed to hit your lure.
  4. You mentioned Lake Trout; really on our side of the lake these are not considered for sport by the vast number of 'salmon' fisherman. They are rarely targeted, incidentally caught at a 'HUGE' expense to the forage base. I never understood stocking a fish that could live 30+ years, most of it being sterile, eat a lot of bait, generally accumulate contaminates to the point where they are almost toxic, are really only 'good' sport on light tackle (not the type we use for salmon), don't really spawn naturally and seem to be heavier scarred with Lamprey marks than most of the other trout and salmon. Reduce the numbers of Lake Trout stocking and alewife numbers will react; most likely to higher numbers.
  5. Here on the Ontario side we've been documenting naturalized Chinook for at least 10 years. Most of the north shore rivers and creeks get a run of salmon; some of them produce naturals. Like in the movie Jurrasic Park................."if it can...mother nature will find a way". This has been happening for 100's of years that non-native rainbow, brown, coho, Chinook, pink and even altlantic salmon have been stocked into Lake Ontario. During our trout opener in April, most years I catch small Chinook getting ready to leave the river. Up in Lake Huron there have been naturalized runs of chinook for at least 30 years; there are self-sustaining runs up rivers that have never been stocked. If there is a draw-back to naturalized Chinook; I believe the average size over time will be smaller as the species adjusts to its birth river and the lake which have propogated them. Nature will always try to balance in some way. A good example of this is the Nottawasaga River flowing into Georgian Bay, the run of Chinook now starts as early as early August with fish in the 6 to 12 pound range being matures. Very few in the 15 to 20 pound range. They run up all the tributaries without any dams, right into the headwaters which are always cold, clean and flowing; I believe the size of these salmon have become naturalized based on the native creek they were born in. Some of the creeks are 5 feet across; nature can't fit a 20 pound fish too easily in this water body, but it can fit many 8 to 10 pound ones! To be honest on the Canadian side and in the Western Basin of Lake Ontario the adult Chinook fishery has been dismal. We've been plagued with very cold water all summer; little bait and a lot fewer adults. I think your side of the lake has benefitted from this; they move where the bait and temperature is, as long as they are happy they have no reason to move until nature calls them to come back to spawn and pass.
  6. This is what our side of the Lake is doing to keep "their" program alive. Yes, I agree that millions has been spent and obviously more is going to be due to politics. I'm more concerned that Steelhead are being shunted out for the Atlantics. To me they are very similar fish, the main difference is the steelhead have been here now over 150 years and are a natural fish. The Atlantics not since the 1800's. Given the number they've stocked I've only caught about 5 in the Lake over the past 20 years. Hi Frank, I apologize it took a while to put this together, we're in the midst of field season and this weather has thrown us a few complications. I'm borrowing a lot of what follows from a FAQ we're putting together with MNRF as they've also had questions come in over the last year about the Ganaraska River stocking and we've decided to collect them in one place. I've matched up your questions with what is in the FAQ and added a bit more content where you were a bit more specific. I re-arranged your questions a bit so we could start with the goals, and some questions were grouped where I had an answer that could address both. Q - What are the goals for the stocking of Atlantic Salmon in the Ganaraska River? The Ganaraska River strategy fits into the overall goal of the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program in the binational Fish Community Objectives for the lake: Restore naturally-produced populations of Atlantic Salmon to levels supporting sustainable recreational fisheries in the lake and selected tributaries and also provide recreational fisheries, where appropriate, through stocking. To help achieve this goal we are going to try and develop a catch and release Atlantic Salmon fishery in the Ganaraska River. The Ganaraska River watershed provides good habitat, an excellent fish-way for both public viewing and fish assessment and the river is of sufficient size to support a recreational tributary fishery. The stocking strategy for the Ganaraska River is based on the success observed in the Salmon River in NYS and comments received from the public during a consultation for the province's stocking plan for the Ontario waters of Lake Ontario. We are focused on stocking 50-70 thousand large yearling Atlantic Salmon up high in the watershed to encourage imprinting. The priority strain is Sebago Lake however we will include other strains. All the fish stocked in the Ganaraska River will be adipose fin clipped for future identification by anglers or with photos (we can also identify them with their genetics). Q - How long will they spend in the river until the move out into Lake Ontario? We have observed stocked yearlings leaving (smolting out) of the river within a week of stocking. Based on assessment in the Credit River, most of the stocked yearlings are at a size that encourages smolting that year. Some smaller stocked fish may remain in the river longer. We conducted some assessment in the fall of 2016 and observed a few Atlantics were still in the river. Based on smolt catches from the Credit River (we've had a smolt trap in the river for about five years, through 2016), yearlings that do not out-migrate the year they are stocked (year 1) but instead smolt out the following year (year 2) make up less than 1% of the catch at the smolt trap. Of the 50,000 yearlings stocked – fewer than 1,000 (conservatively) may remain in the river for an additional year. Q - How will the newly born steelhead compete for food if not preyed upon by the Atlantic Salmon smolts once they emerge? Q - Has the science been done to understand the inter-relationships between the various salmonids during early stages of life and the potential impacts for the Ganaraska River? The Atlantic Salmon stocked into the Ganaraska River are stocked as yearlings and prior to the spring Rainbow Trout spawning run. As mentioned above these stocked fish have been observed out-migrating both over the Corbett Dam and through the Ganaraska fishway via the new video fish counter as quickly as five days post-stocking. Out-migration soon after yearling stocking has also been documented on the Credit River. Given the brief stream residency time post-stocking, the stocked Atlantic Salmon should not have a noticeable impact on Rainbow Trout fry. Outside of that specific interaction, It is hard to predict the impact of Atlantic Salmon on Rainbow Trout. As you noted in your e-mail, the Ganaraska River wild migratory fish community is currently comprised of multiple salmon and trout species, and these are able to coexist within the Ganaraska River, appear healthy and are able to produce strong spawning runs each year. It is expected that Atlantic Salmon will also find their place in the fish community. There are a multitude of factors that contribute to the success or failure of a species in the natural environment, specifically, environmental variables, such as water temperature and discharge and flow (e.g., 2016 was a drought year). As another example, although we did not see significant mortalities and sick Rainbow Trout in our rivers, Rainbow Trout were also affected by a thiamine deficiency in the fall of 2014 (at least) that was observed in NY rivers with their fall run fish. It may have affected the Ontario fish but was not observed because they weren't in the rivers at the time the problem peaked, but would have affected subsequent spring runs. Recent research has shown juvenile Atlantic Salmon do not impact survival and fitness-related traits of juvenile Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Chinook Salmon and Coho Salmon in laboratory studies. Atlantic Salmon tend to be less aggressive than Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout, but just as aggressive as Chinook Salmon and Coho Salmon; species are unlikely to be negatively impacted by competition with other species of lower or similar competitive ability. Diet studies of both juvenile Atlantic Salmon and Rainbow Trout have been conducted in several New York streams. Research found that there is dietary overlap, however, juvenile steelhead subtly alter their feeding behavior (selecting more terrestrial insects) in the presence of Atlantic Salmon. This behavioral adaptation may reduce competitive interactions between these species. One of the reasons for our extensive habitat work on the restoration rivers is that research in the 1990s found that with sufficient quality habitat, both Atlantic Salmon and Rainbow Trout could thrive, so the more habitat we can restore, the better for both species individually and in terms of competition; the benefits will also extend to other species where they overlap. With regard to some of the other species, research has also shown juvenile Atlantic Salmon do tend to select, and are adapted for, different habitats than Pacific salmon and Brown Trout. The former selecting higher gradient habitats with stronger stream velocities, whereas the latter prefers slower deeper habitats (pools and runs) as juveniles. Q - Will the river have enough food for all the competing trout and salmon? Q - How much can one river sustain? Stocking yearling Atlantic Salmon into the Ganaraska River could increase juvenile density but the impact depends on how long the stocked fish remain in the river and how many wild fish are also present. It is difficult to predict the year to year fish densities a river can support as it depends on the availability of resources (e.g. food and habitat) and the availability of these resources is in part, dependent on broader environmental conditions (i.e., water temperatures, water levels, water flow, invertebrate hatch timings, etc). If the maximum juvenile density that the river can support is exceeded, it is likely that stocked Atlantic Salmon would not do as well as Rainbow Trout (and Brown Trout). The naturalized Rainbow Trout population should have the competitive advantage over the stocked Atlantic Salmon. Given Rainbow Trout can outcompete Atlantic Salmon when resources are limited, and knowing the stocked Atlantic Salmon leave the river system shortly after the stocking event, Rainbow Trout natural production still should not be limited if the maximum juvenile densities are reached/exceeded; i.e. they would hold the upper hand in such situations. Q - Will this lead to the eventual extinction of the Ganaraska Steelhead run due to the introduction of another 'invasive' species - the Atlantic Salmon? Q - The steelhead of the Ganaraska are a 'naturalized' species; is there an attempt to establish a naturally reproducing strain of Atlantic Salmon in the Ganaraska River at the expense of the reproducing steelhead? Elimination Rainbow Trout from the Ganaraska or other rivers is definitely not a policy position at the binational level or within MNRF (or one that would be supported by OFAH). Atlantic Salmon and Rainbow Trout seem to be figuring it out on the Salmon River using a very similar approach to stocking. The Binational Fish Community Objectives are here: http://www.glfc.org/lakecom/loc/LO-FCO-2013-Final.pdf Ontario's Lake Ontario stocking plan is here: http://apps.mnr.gov.on.ca/public/files/er/stocking-strategy-for-the-ontario-waters-of-lake-ontario.pdf Broader provincial direction is in the Provincial Fish Strategy: http://apps.mnr.gov.on.ca/public/files/er/ontarios-provincial-fish-strategy.pdf But just so you know, definitions like "native" are almost always viewed at the species level - going down further than that nothing extirpated - including wild turkeys, elk, peregrine falcons etc. - could be restored. And "invasive" also has its own definition used by the invasive species folks and new provincial legistation. Q - Realistically, since they run in the summer and spawn in the fall what likelihood do anglers really have in angling for them? With the problems on the Ganaraska River in the recent falls during salmon runs, due to some 'morons' and the over-zealous reaction by Municipalities to simply take away opportunity to fish for returning salmonids, how could the Atlantic Salmon should they return to the Ganaraska be considered for angling? We will need to wait and see how this fishery develops. With the new video fish counter on the Ganaraska River (and hopefully the Credit in the near future) we should see the fish returning and anglers will know there are fish in the river. Fishing for summer run migratory salmonids will be a unique opportunity and a new challenge for anglers. There are concerns over summer angling mortality, but we will have a better sense of the issue of that once the fishery is established and then we can work with anglers to reduce the risk. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the new fish counter that has been installed on the Ganaraska River - it uses infrared technology to count fish and take a silhouette of them, and then a video camera (which switches to IR in low light) which takes a film clip to help confirm species if the silhouette can't (Chinook for instance are pretty identifiable just from their silhouette). The unit also takes stream temperature, flow, and gets a length estimate for every fish. The data will eventually be public and in real-time; or at least near-real-time, things like species ID will have to wait for an evaluation by a human. The counter will help improve management and understanding for all species on the river, but primarily the migratory ones. The unit was bought with MNRF capital funding made available because it was being used for Atlantic Salmon assessment, and the ongoing operation of it is being covered for the same reason. The unit was tested last fall and this spring, it was imported from Iceland and there was a learning curve to it and we needed to fit it into the existing infrastructure at the dam. It's only the second such unit in Canada, and the first in the Great Lakes (I think all the US ones are in California). I expect the counter will be "live" next fall. I've attached an example video clip and silhouette from the counter (different fish). Sorry for the long e-mail, please let me know if you have any follow-up questions or comments. Yours in Conservation, Chris Chris Robinson, M.Sc. OFAH Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program Coordinator Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters 4601 Guthrie Drive, PO Box 2800 Peterborough ON, K9J 8L5 Phone: (705) 748-6324 Ext. 237 E-mail: [email protected] Web: http://www.bringbackthesalmon.ca Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ontariosalmon (ontariosalmon) Twitter: http://twitter.com/ontariosalmon (@ontariosalmon) If you have not already done so, please visit www.ofah.org/enews and sign up for our email list to stay connected with the OFAH. Visit us online at www.ofah.org Follow us on Twitter @ofah Find us on Facebook - Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
  7. Not a Lake Ontario fish but one I caught in the Restigouche River in New Brunswick..............31.5 pounds! If they get this big in Lake O we'll be in Salmon heaven.........30 plus Pacific Salmon and maybe 30 plus Atlantic Salmon as well. Hope they take.
  8. If you ask me, most of the shaker Chinook look pretty healthy to me; none looked starved to me this summer.
  9. If I can add some information regarding the late really warm and low water. Chinook have never been stocked in the Nottawasaga River in Ontario yet it boasts a pretty good run for the last 20 years. I believe all naturals. The first run is always in mid to late August. This year it was a little later but a small run did go up...........to their demise, low clear, warm water and a great many of these fish have expired before they had a chance to mature and attempt at spawning. I would say from observation at least 75% of this first run have died. We need a good amount of RAIN! Even with cooler temps the rivers are as low as I have ever seen in mid September. I really think the spawning this year could be in jeopardy. How can 20 lb plus fish make it up 3" of water? They could be stranded in the lower stretches, mature, try to spawn but most likely die by running out of time. I hope not!
  10. We went off the Island at 6:30 p.m. fished till 9:30. Caught 3 shaker Chinooks and missed one big fish which hit a white/white SD with white jons fly on wire dispsy set 250 feet back on #2 setting. The fish snapped my leader between dipsy and flasher! I'm switching to 30 flouro from now on rather that my usual 25 lb. Marked some good numbers of hooks from about 40 feet down to bottom at 150. Bait seemed to be between 30 and 80 feet. Surface temp 61 deg. at 70 feet was 50.8 deg. 1 mile per hour current between top to ball at 70' out of the East. This was my first 'shaking out' trip after getting my 'old' boat painted, plus the first time I used my new Fish Hawk...........awesome! Prepping for the Port Credit Pen Derby on Saturday. "Long live the King!"
  11. Like to introduce myself to my American neigbour and fellow Canadian salmon and trout fisherman. My 'handle' is "Kinghunter" because I consider myself a hunter of one of the greatest sportfish in the World...............the KING salmon! I've been fishing for salmon since 1977 during the early days of the Coho stocking program, followed by Chinook a few years later. Been at it continuous since then. I fish out of a modified 21 1/2 foot Sylvan Offshore. Mostly out of the North shore ports of Ashbridges, Port Credit, Humber Bay and occasionally Dalhousie. I do fish New York state in the fall for steelhead. Largest lake salmon to date is a 37 1/4 pounder I caught 4 years ago during the Sun Derby........................no ticket! Cost me a boat/motor/trailer as it would have been the big fish of the week. That was the first time in 25 years I didn't have 'time' to buy a ticket before I went fishing, sure enough as luck would have it. Look forward to this year. Regards to all.
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