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This seems a bit alarmist and premature IMO


Tim Bromund

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I was wondering when the discussions where going to start on lake O ;( . You CANNOT paint all lakes with the same brush. Ontario gets influx of alewives from the seaway, and has plenty of green water. The bait along Niagara and Orleans county is there all year. I would be interested to know from some of the older fishermen how the bait is holding up on the east end and north shore. I can attest that the lake has gotten warmer and the bait may be condensing in the cooler waters on the west end where I fish, therefore, giving me a false sense of security on the state of the lake. Maybe some others can chime in about the "state of the lake" in other ports.

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If you read anouther post reguarding the three rod rule there are arguements that three rods would contribute to the decline of salmon. Now this says there is too many salmon for the food chain so which is better three rods or a reduction in stocking levels? IMHO give us three rods and keep stocking levels where they are :yes::yes:

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In 2008, the estimated number of alewives was 69% of the last 10 yrs average. In 2007, there was a good spike in the number of yoy alewives due to the mild winter & early spring. However in 08 & 09 the yoy numbers went back down. They live 6-7 yrs.

The biggest factor, IMO, reguarding future stocking numbers is the numbers that the DEC arrives at for natural reproduction. They've never had a really good database for that. There have been studies, based on scale sampling (& sponsored by the DEC & ESF), that over 1/2 of the Kings out there for a few years have been naturals. These studies also show there is great variation from one year to the next. This is why the fin-clipping trailer is so important.

Another factor to consider is that a couple years ago, stocking was greatly affected by the eye-up problem at the hatcheries.

Absolutely correct that Ontario & Huron are different ecosystems.

Tom B.

(LongLine)

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Guys, unfortunately we will have to fight to protect Salmon populations in Lake Ontario for as long as we fish. Some of us have seen with our own eyes "inside" memos stating that it is a goal of Great Lakes fisheries managers to "reduce the dependency" of anglers on stocked fish. This is one of the reasons why we are seeing all the interest in natural reproduction of Salmon , as of late. It will be a convenient excuse to reduce stocking in the future, despite the fact that you cannot count on consecutive good hatches of wild fish in this system. Angler harassment, low water, temperature fluctuations are all unpredictable in the tribs. Most of the tribs have been forever altered with dams. Not to mention that predation by resident fish in downstream estuaries, and of course burgeoning bird populations, will take an extreme toll.

Any natural complement to the population should be looked at as a bonus, never a partial replacement. It is so tiresome to always have to defend the "preponderance of pacific salmon" (this was an actual statement used by a former coldwater fisheries chief) , when they are the single biggest reason the Great Lakes are GREAT again. Not only have they brought about a tremendous shot-in-the arm to the upstates stagnant economy, they are the reason that any rebound in yellow perch and walleye fishing has occurred. Alewife predation on the eggs and hatch of perch and walleye is well documented. Lakeshore water front is beautiful again. Many of us remember the decaying stench and the "pop" underfoot of all the dead alewives. It is poorly promoted that the pacific salmon, although a stocked "exotic", is truly a savior of the Great Lakes and has improved the quality of life in the Great Lakes after man altered it by building the seaway.

History books document that Lake Ontario was a top producer for its size, when the large commercial netting operations were here. Probably because it is downstream from the shallow/warm Lake Erie, it produced incredible amounts of cold water fish for the worlds consumption. As some of you have stated, the Lakes are all different, and cycle differently.

The stakeholders around the lake have grown weary of the "doom and gloom" forecasts, almost as if there are many "rooting" for it. Of course it is possible the Lake will change in the future requiring adjustments to be made. Before that becomes necessary, there are two dramatic things that will give it away and be indicators. These MUST happen several years in a row: average size of 3yr old mature salmon will be significantly smaller.(taking data only at hatchery can be misleading as "fatness" can be drastically affected by amount of time Salmon have to wait in warm water. This burns up fat stores rapidly) The second dead giveaway would be sky-rocketing catch rates. Plain and simple, if they are starving they will hit more readily. This did in fact happen in Michigan. Reports of hooking 50 in a day came from there. They adjusted their stocking numbers(which were much greater than ours per acre anyway), and the size rebounded and so did the alewives. No lasting damage. While the alewives were suppressed though, native species hatches were excellent. Everybody wins. The bottom line is, if we stress the alewives with solid Chinook populations, we will catch the heck out of 'em and tourism will increase. We need to curtail all these damaging press releases, especially when the fact is, the alewives will be out there longer than we will be here on earth. (As told to me by one respected fishery biologist) They are amazingly resilient. Now if Asian carp infest us, all bets are off.

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Thanks Paul. This issue is very important to me, even if I didn't own and operate a charter business. Even though I have never lived more than 8 miles from Lake Ontario, between the ages of 4 and 14, we traveled AWAY from the lake to fish. When we visited my gandparents cottage near Wautoma shoals, I would spend hour after hour fishing off the dock, even though everyone said it wasn't worth it. I was too young to understand that my baited hook had no chance to entice one of the very few gamefish that were present amongst the millions of twirling alewives. Swimming was even more dismal, as you would have to wade through a 100yds of dead alewives rotting in the summer sun.

Today, lucky people who live in that same Wautoma shoal area(like our friend Runnin' Rebel Jerry Felluca) can troll for trophy Salmon within sight of their homes, and cast from their breakwalls for big Brown trout. What a comeback!

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A very simple check on bait conditions is to look at thr Terns [seagulls] flying at Lewiston over the Niagara River. A few years ago the biologists listed them as an endangered species. Now that the bait, mainly emerald shiners are back, the Terns are back. I think that all the natural reproduction in the streams of Lake Ontario results in good forage for the larger hatchery produced salmonids.

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I have patient who worked for the sanitation department in Buffalo. He stated because much of the pipes in the facility on the river is PVC, so they can't treat the sewage in the winter due to freezing condtions. The result is direct dumping into the river during the winter. If you had seen the overhead modis of Lake Erie before the freezing, you could theorize that most municipalities up-lake are doing the same by the turbidity of the water. Toronto and Hamilton are growing by leaps and bounds. Nutrient loading is not a problem going foward in Lake O. I wonder if the Canadians could put up an electric barrier in the Welland canal to prevent the asian carp from entering Lake O?

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Vince – you have some very interesting points there.

I think there are some things that we as fishermen-stakeholders need to think about in the “off-seasonâ€:

1. The 2009 L.O. annual report states that from 2002 thru 2007, the weights of Kings from the boat surveys sequentially decreased. In 2008, they went up slightly. (Hopefully it is a start of a good trend) The report also shows both catch & harvest rates from the same 5 yr period (02-07) to be above that 1987-2001 period. In 2008, it’s lower than the previous 5 yrs.

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2. Studies have shown there is indeed a positive correlation between license sales in the Lake Ontario counties and the number of fish stocked in Lake Ontario. More license sales equates to more fishing trips so indeed the more fish stocked, the better it is for the local economies and businesses with a financial stake in it.

3. Long term trends are now evident in the biomonitoring dataset for Lake Ontario. Unfortunately zooplankton levels have decreased by approximately 15% per year since the late 90’s and are now estimated at 1% of the level of 30 years ago. Alewives feed on zooplankton. Although Alewives do eat water fleas, their numbers are not enough to keep the flea population in check.

4. Alewife survival “success†depends a great deal upon nearshore water temperature for the 1st few months after they hatch. Long cold winters are very detrimental.

5. Not just the NYSDEC but also the GLFC, USGS, USF&WS, OMNR and every other organization involved with the Great Lakes have it in their objectives to restore native species to self-sustaining levels as a priority. They all list Lake Trout, Lake Sturgeon, Burbot, Northern Pike, Bass, Perch, Walleye & Eel. None of them have referred to, or specifically named a salmon.

I’m not gloom & doom as I definitely see some positives when I look at the lake and the data, but in thinking about these points, I can’t help wondering:

1. What do we accept as “significant†changes in the numbers? We have had 5 year trends. (Unfortunately more negative than positive trends.) I’m not aware of any published criteria. I can do stats as well as anyone in the DEC but statistical significance and “reality on the water†can be two different things.

2. Would it be a long term boost or a short term boost? I have no financial stake in this. I just want to be able to catch fish & see that my kids & their families do also.

3 & 4. Alewives can be stressed from both ends. From the lower end, there has been increasing stress every year. Can they withstand additional stress from the predator end? If we are wrong, should we error on the side of caution? I would think that if we’re low on the stocked numbers that alewife die-offs would be apparent & we could simply stock more the following year. But if we “overstockâ€, it’ll take years (as it has on Huron) for recovery. As resilient as they are, (more so than the alewife) the rainbow smelt population did not rebound as many thought it would.

5. We need the “powers that be†to name a salmon. Now that natural repro has been recognized, is the King now a “native species�

Just food for thought – Go Colts!

Tom B.

(LongLine)

Ps. If Obama really wanted to create jobs he’d put people to work (as Hoover did after ‘29) by hiring them to fill in the sanitary canal with concrete then hire truckers to do the hauling. i.e make it a highway not a waterway.

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Folks,

I wrote the article at the beginning of this thread and have since been following the discussion here, which has been pretty great.

Mike Connerton, a DEC biologist that co-authored this research and is quoted in the story, sent along some clarifications on a few points like catch rates that have come up here. Without going quite that far, he basically suggested that what I had written was alarmist and premature.

Connerton's responses are now included in the article. None of them refute their claim that “predation pressure on the Lake Ontario alewife population may be high enough to raise concerns about long-term stability of this predator–prey system,†a statement which appeared in he and Murry's original research report.

But his comments do put more emphasis on the "may" in that quote than my article originally did. His point is that there is a lot of uncertainty involved with the science and that more research needs to happen before any stocking changes happen based on this line of thinking. At this point I doubt I'm telling you anything you don't already know.

Jeff

[email protected]

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What I want to know is, who sets policy? I think it is apparent that we are fighting the agendas of all the mentioned governing bodies. Nice try, perhaps a new and challenging undertaking for these guys. Salmon are old news. Someone else got the atta-boys and recognition. What they don't want to acknowledge is PACIFIC SALMON MADE THEIR DREAMS POSSIBLE! Without bringing the alewife numbers down, native species would have no chance to be restored.

We have had to deal with the damage that occured when the seaway was built, letting alewives and lamprey in. Do the users get a say now? I asked a fishery biologist where the big out-cry was coming from to restore Eels. He wasn't sure, just that they were "mandated". Lets face the fact that the Lakes have been forever altered. Any plans for the future must include Salmon, even if they were the brainchild of long since retired fishery managers.

Some things that are never mentioned when stocking numbers come up:1) We know, especially since we have not hit target stocking numbers of Lake trout in several years, that Lamprey wounding/predation is up. Why haven't we stocked MORE Salmon to take pressure off the remaining Lake trout(sacred cow), and offset the population losses that lamprey predation has surely exacted on Salmon populations? 2) if fishermen are at all to be considered, and not just for their ever escalating dollars spent on licenses, why weren't more inexpensive fingerling Kings stocked to offset the shortfalls in Lake trout and more recently Brown trout target stocking numbers? 3) why isn't INCREASING the number of Salmon to be stocked ever a consideration even though we know there are more predators at stocking sites than ever before?

Of course there are changes happening in the low end of the food-web. We just don't know to what extent the alewife surplus was to begin with. Years ago no one wanted to eat the Salmon, not due to contaminents but due to the "fatty" composition. Now that we are closer to having it right, the fillets are a better color and in high demand at all the tournaments. In some of our opinions, the Salmon are even stronger fighters. Those of us that have fished Salmon around the Lake and other Great Lakes, recognize that the behavior of the Kings in Lake Ontario is not that of under-nourished fish. They often spread out, and don't have to be "glued" to the school of bait they happen upon. Distribution inshore and offshore of Salmon populations is well represented in both cases.

The sad truth is, if we agreed to any less Salmon stocked, we would lose them forever because the wishes of the anglers and stakeholders would not be taken into account. Keep your eyes on this. Our fishery is worth it.

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Vince welcome to L.O.U.

This is starting to look the old days, the D.E.C./ Bruce Schupp & the "SUPER COMPUTER MODEL" were we could input different data in to get what ever stocking results we wanted at that time. Unfortunately I believe we are going to get the same results 25 years later from NYS/DEC & government mentality in general. I have fought hard at various meetings to get salmon stockings INCREASED due to the forever occurring loss of our lake trout-brown trout stocking numbers(various reasons hatcheries etc.) Steelhead/bow/skamania numbers lost (again various reasons-whirling disease-fisherman pressure lake & streams were 21"/limits had to be put in) and the failure of years and years of atlantic stockings were large numbers over years failed to show signifigant returns in our creel census. MY ARGUMENT is based on THE FACT pacific salmon have an average life span of 3.5 to 4.5 years and half that time for cohos. So stocking these fish has a 3-4 year effect on lake ontario ecosystem at WORST!!! If things/balances change as they are GUARANTEED TO CHANGE the negative effect of stocking pacific salmon is minimized to a 2-3 year lag then the "problem stocking number" is gone. Stocking lake trout- brown trout- rainbows/all strains and atlantic salmon has an impact on the lake ontario ecosystem for 5 to 10 years YES. how about a life span of 20 +++ years on some of those species stocked. Now the REDUCTION in our salmon stocking numbers is going to come because of information and facts (all collected/interpreted and implimented) by DEC & NYS. Lake Ontario holds/ability to produce bait fish every year .that is measured on trawls (part 1 of data) Salmon stocking numbers are based on this and other data i know THIS IS THE QUICK VERSION. So a stocking number is come up with-lets say EXAMPLE ONLY 2.5 million stocked each year based on constant data showing what the bait levels could with stand of that 2.5 million stocked annually. NOW with the salmon clipping/tagging trailer the state will now know the UNKNOWN variable of natural produced salmon in the lake threw fin clips and nose tags. This added number of predators will most likely be considered against the 2.5 million stocked fish that the lake bait fish can only support. So if the state can show a reduction in stocking numbers is needed and save money by combining stocking trips(less man power etc) they will surely cut budget. We also lose by natural born salmon spend most of their 1st year life in the stream they were hatched. Being preyed on daily and feeding on what ever they can find. STOCKED salmon especially pen reared are put in controlled/ideal conditions (PENS) were they are feed HIGH NUTRITION food every hour ever day THUS their great size and body condition upon release and much higher survival chances. PEN REARED/STOCKED salmon are a much better product than the natural occuring salmon we are soon to hear about. SORRY ABOUT THE RANT but this one goes deep with me.

JERRY

RUNNIN REBEL

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The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) was a treaty between the US & Canada in order “to restore and maintain the chemical, biological and physical ecosystem of the Great Lakes.†It has much earlier roots (50’s) but was formally ratified in 1972. It established the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The USEPA & Environment Canada are the respective lead gov’t agencies. They are supported by the USF&WS, USGS and in the background NOAA.

The GLWQA’s aim was really to reduce pollution and increase research on the lakes with the goal of reducing that pollution. Faced with the question of “how to measure†the effects of whatever they did, they decided that tissue samples from wildlife would be a good indicator. Unfortunately they had no established population of deep water offshore fish. In 1974 the USF&WS began production of Lake Trout, at the then recently completed Allegheny Hatchery, specifically for introduction into Lake Ontario & Erie. Our “forefathers†decided that tissue from fatty, bottom dwelling, and deep water fish would be a really good indicator of the pollution levels in the lake.

The fact that it was “native†was a “nicety†and would probably make obtaining funding easier. (Funding was recognized as a hurdle ever since talks began) They figured that if the Lake Trout population took off and their tissue contamination reduced then obviously they were successful as lake would be returning to its original condition w.r.t. pollution.

What does the Lake Trout stocking have to do with Alewives? Answer --- Nothing. (Alewives & LTs for the most part are usually found in different parts of the water column.)

Along about this same time period, alewives were piling up on the shorelines with objectionable sight & smell. The NYSDEC looked west and saw what Michigan was doing with Pacific Salmon so they decided to also stock Pacific Salmon and other trout specie to reduce alewife numbers. No one really believed that the salmon fishing would take off like it did. It had potential for a decent fishery & some people hoped, but that claim was really to help make funding easier. (Remember the 1st ESLO was won with a 5Lb salmon - who would have dreamed that a 40Lb'r would win some years later?)

What does Salmon stocking have to do with pollution? Answer --- Nothing. (When alewives are offshore, salmon will get them. When they come in shallow to spawn, Browns will get them, additionally Steelheads will chase over all over the lake.)

The GLWQA has been amended a couple times and the GLFC updated. In the 80’s, the GLFC set up individual committees for each lake and they drew in the state/local gov’t agencies for the individual lakes. Each lake committee is charged with developing a Lakewide Management Plan. (LaMP) NYSDEC is a key player with Big-O. (Fisheries, Habitat & Wildlife). In one of the earlier revisions, the Lamprey was named as an “enemy†of restoration & needed control.

One of the GLFC updates included a clause requiring “stakeholder involvement.†The LaMP for Lake Ontario also contains that clause; hence the DEC conducts State of the Lake Meetings and goes to various sportfishing organizations throughout the year. This is the document that does not name any specific salmon as the top pelagic predator in Lake Ontario.

Back to LT’s & salmon – LT’s are a federal program, Salmon are a state program. In politics – you scratch my back & I’ll scratch yours. The DEC helps the Feds stock & monitor Lake Trout. The Feds supply all kinds of research, data, test facilities etc in return.

No question in my mind, I’d prefer to catch Kings than Lake Trout. However Lakers are here to stay. Last year’s Lake Ontario Annual Report says:

Restoration of a naturally reproducing population of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) is the focus of a major international effort in Lake Ontario. Coordinated through the Lake Ontario Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, representatives from cooperating agencies (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [NYSDEC], United States Geological Survey [uSGS], United States Fish and Wildlife Service [uSFWS], and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources [OMNR]) developed the Joint Plan for Rehabilitation of Lake Trout in Lake Ontario (Schneider et al. 1983, 1997), identifying a goal, interim objectives, and strategies. The present report documents progress towards restoration through 2008.

As for missing stocking target levels, that only occurred for a couple years. Even though Allegheny has been shut down since 2005, LT’s have come from other USF&WS hatcheries (Pitsford & White River – Vermont I think)

scan0002-1.jpg

We probably will have to fight to keep salmon stocking going, if what I've been reading about Nat Repro is correct. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Kings in Lake Ontario. I personally think that they have earned their “naturalizationâ€. They are naturally reproducing and should be treated as a native species and should be named that way in the LaMP. I think we should all bring it up at the State of the lake meetings.

Tom B.

(LongLine)

ps the low salmon number in the table is due to the eye-up problem from 2007 - not a stocking reduction. Also note stocking numbers of Kings for the 3 years prior to that was up.

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Thanks Tom, for some of that behind the scenes stuff. As for that first derby being won by a 5lber(a Coho, I believe), that was because the bigger ones were cracking everyone off!!!! I know we fished it from piers with 8lb "Royal Bonnyl" line, made by Garcia! Great casting line but a stiff breeze broke it. It was a Coho shoot-out for the most part, because everyone was casting from piers or trolling flat lines in less than 10' of water.

I don't think anyone here is asking to quit the restoration effort of Lake trout. For one thing, the Brownies are going to need all the help they can get trying to control goby numbers. The Lakers here in the Spring gorge on them almost exclusively. Restoring Lakers is noble indeed, but the Kings controlling the Alewives make natural hatches of Lake trout possible. What I do think needs a second(or third) look, is any money or effort spent on restoring Eels.

People have to understand that there are more than a few anglers around the lake that know the "deal". Hard to deal with the fact that under no circumstances could we plant a few more Chinooks the season after the shortfall, even though we had a surplus egg take. Wouldn't it have made sense to bolster that weak year class both in reality and perception-wise with some additional low percentage fingerlings? Doesn't it make you wonder when the skills of the average Salmon angler get better every year, and that is never taken in to account? They are now under seige, April---Oct, on both the North and South shores. With more and more contests in both countries popping up, increasing effort(which is a good thing) how can the same number be appropriate year after year?

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Vince – I know what you mean about the Royal Bonnyl. I have fond memories with it on my 6 1/2 ft cherrywood and Mitchell 300. (Abu spinners really made a mess out of it, especially with bead chains, after about 20 casts – used to love the yellow one. Remember wooden flatfish?)

I’m not sure what’s going on with eels, other than they’re on the endangered list worldwide or very close to being on it. I read someplace that they do return to the ocean (Sargasso Sea – maybe?) then come back to spawn. I’m guessing USF&WS & other habitat/ocean type organizations are pushing for them. They used to be very popular down NYC way.

The DEC bios & USGS guys that most of us have had contact with are very Data driven. The annual report is loaded with stats & numbers. I think we as stakeholders should keep up our log books, take pictures, make reports etc and make our voices heard to the DEC & USGS. A few guys are doing the later but we need more. We need more than the once per year meeting. A couple years ago, guys raised the smallmouth issue from I-bay & east. The DEC jumped on it, set up a gill-net operation & reported on it. Looks like this issue has come up again & I wouldn’t be surprised if they do something again.

As to the skill of the anglers, some of us learn and some of us take up golf. I think if the fishing “sucksâ€, we need to make that known to the guys that take the creel surveys, because what their bosses are seeing is a drop in license sales and that hurts us.

For anyone reading this: Don’t be afraid to send the regional offices or Lake Unit an email. They will answer questions & they want to hear how it’s going out there. It also gives them documentation and data to take to the upper-echelons for the policy decision making meetings.

As to stocking policy, the policy makers look at all kinds of numerical indicators plus, by law, they must listen and take into account the stakeholders. They did raise the King stocking slightly a couple years back because we wanted it.

One last point. The DEC & USGS knows about this site. They do occasionally view it to see what’s going on.

Tom B.

(LongLine)

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Ok woow there are alot of good points in this discussion. Capt Vince Pierleoni you have made some exalent pionts. I would like to say first and formost the big message here is we all need to stick together to support salmon in the lake. Also I can tell you from personal experence that there isn't the number of salmon returning to spawn in the creeks because i know many charter captians that don't even like taking clents down on the niagara river for salmon anymore, but us boaters in have suffered far less in the numbers we catch AKA greater info on how to and where to catch salmon is diffently cutting down there numbers alone with the decrease in the stocking for back in the day. But one big point that was brought up is the lower population of lake trout over the last couple of years has brought greater predidation by lamprays on salmon I would have to say we have all seen the scares on the salmon we have cought in reasent years and thought man it seems like alot of these fish are getting hit my lampreys which needs to be taken into concideration like Capt vince siad, and i agree to greater stocking of salmon to offset this.

Walleyes, bass and such yea they do have there place, but even though i myself and father have won our fare share of walleye contests we both would much rather fish for and catch salmon, and i'm sure from what all you charter captians have seen so would most clients, and with saying that salmon bring in more far more money then walleyes and bass could ever bring in. So that kinda goes back to my first and MAJOR point we all need to stick together and fight for these fish, cause unfortunatly the people that run our goverment really don't care about what has become our lives aka salmon fishing, which has been shown by the riesent asian carp contraversity.

Ps. yea i'm never going to say get rid of lake trout but really at the end of the day, but if i had to couse between them and the pacific salmon i couse pacific salmon by a long shot!! cause really lake trout are pain in the [email protected]# they don't fight very good off down riggers, and they damn near make you throw up if you try to eat them.

O and well i'm at it our govermental bodys are to buzy doing drugs, womenizing, paying for prositues and really at the end of the day don't want to use the money that we are giving them through our licences to stock fish cause they just want to line there pockets.

Yea sorry about the rant all just to say we all have to stick together and fight for the stocking of salmon but fishing for salmon is my life and I can't begin to imagine what I would do without it.

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Salmon Boy, thank you for your interest in these issues. Continue to educate yourself, we will need people like you in the future.

Compared to Salmon, Lake trout don't fare well. They do however, belong in the Great Lakes. Their flesh as table fare would improve if they grew slower, and were leaner. They also have the capability to attain incredible weights because of their long life span. The NYS DEC gets cooperation with the feds because they are working together along with Canada to restore Lake trout. This is important because this is why we get all the effort and funding for Lamprey treatment. Although it looks like they don't do much, with all the new wounding we are seeing, it is a great effort. The Lamprey adapt and become more and more resistant to the lampricide, and thankfully, our watershed is becoming cleaner all the time. This creates new habitat that is suitable for Lamprey reproduction, that wasn't suitable a few years ago. Lake trout just don't "do" warm water well. When hooked in cold water and pulled into warm water, they fizzle out quick. Catch them in 33 to 41 degree water and they have incredible stamina.

In regards to Niagara river Salmon fishing, there are several factors at work there. The Fall water temps have been very warm, as that rivers water comes directly from lake Erie. The Salmon can only wait for it to cool so long, with length of daylight part of the equation. They run the river but are much tougher to get to "bite", with river temps in the high 60's/low 70's. The Canadians don't plant as many as they used to(although the dedication of their clubs to stock what they do is admired and appreciated) as Ontario province discontinued it through the OMNR. It is felt that in years past the Mighty Niagara "sucked" in many strays because of the strong flow into the western end. Lastly, the amount of predators has increased big-time in the lower river. There are fishable numbers of Walleyes in the Lower Niagara now, they are voracious predators of stocked Salmon and Trout. In Michigan and west coast states, many holding pen projects were implemented to try and protect the Salmon from the Walleyes. This is being addressed as a pen project will be tried again this spring with Chinooks(Kings), in the Lower Niagara.

You are right, Salmon fishermen in the Great Lakes must stick together and protect Salmon fishing into the future.

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yea I've cought way more lake trout then I ever care to admitt and fish from them alot sometimes in the fall in the river. I didn't know that the lampaside was starting to lose its effectiveness, i do know that one time i fished the Catt in may and them things where coming up it to spawn like crazy never seen so many of them and there where some seriously big ones to.

I didn't know that Ontario stoped stocking salmon in the lake, how long ago did that happen and why? I also know that if you catch a salmon look for a yellow dot somewhere on its stomach if it has one is a canadian fish. I know all about the ideal temp to catch salmon in the niagara river but I also know a bunch of charter captians fish the river and say the same thing i do, that you don't see as many salmon down there as you used to so i would say that the walleyes probably have something to do with that. Also how long has the pen rearing been going on? and how many salmon are being riased in them because i think i remember reading something where it was only like 25% of what was to be stocked.

I have also noticed a decreas the last 3 years in the number of steelhead in the area creeks like say 18 mile, like 07 was i noticed there numbers where down but then in 08 it was really bad, seemed like they made a rebound in last spring though anyone know what thats about?

O and last question is there anything that isn't doom and gloom like maybe a bright side or something?

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yea I've cought way more lake trout then I ever care to admitt and fish from them alot sometimes in the fall in the river. I didn't know that the lampaside was starting to lose its effectiveness, i do know that one time i fished the Catt in may and them things where coming up it to spawn like crazy never seen so many of them and there where some seriously big ones to.

I didn't know that Ontario stoped stocking salmon in the lake, how long ago did that happen and why? I also know that if you catch a salmon look for a yellow dot somewhere on its stomach if it has one is a canadian fish. I know all about the ideal temp to catch salmon in the niagara river but I also know a bunch of charter captians fish the river and say the same thing i do, that you don't see as many salmon down there as you used to so i would say that the walleyes probably have something to do with that. Also how long has the pen rearing been going on? and how many salmon are being riased in them because i think i remember reading something where it was only like 25% of what was to be stocked.

I have also noticed a decreas the last 3 years in the number of steelhead in the area creeks like say 18 mile, like 07 was i noticed there numbers where down but then in 08 it was really bad, seemed like they made a rebound in last spring though anyone know what thats about?

O and last question is there anything that isn't doom and gloom like maybe a bright side or something?

salmonboy,

need to clarify a couple points, First, the Province of Ontario stopped stocking salmon but that effort was taken over by private groups, Primarily the Metro East Anglers (MEA) and through totally volunteer efforts, the still collect, raise and stock the 500,000 plus kings that Ministry of Natural Resources used to.

The yellow dots on mature kings are a natural collection of pigment, similar to a birthmark on humans. it is not an indication that that is a Canadian stocked fish. That is a popular myth that floats around every fall, and the opposite is said on the north shore, that those are NYS stocked fish.

Pen rearing has been gong on since the late 90's on the NY side, more recently in some Canadian Ports.

The Lower Niagara was part of a 4 year study between the River and Oak Orchard Creek where they fin clipped 3 separate lots of 40,000 kings each year, alternating the fin clipping between the two sites so they could track year classes for the study, Each site had 3 lots of 40K Salmon River Hatchery Direct Stocked Kings, Salmon River Hatchery Pen Reared Kings and Caledonia Hatchery Direct Stocked Kings.

That study showed that at warm water tribs like the Oak, pen rearing saw a 4:1 return over direct stocking. At the Lower Niagara River, in that study, the salmon river direct stocked group showed the best returns, and pen rearing seemed to not be an advantage at that site, so for a number of years now, kings have not been pen reared in the Lower river, only steelhead. However, despite what that study seemed to sugggest, once they stopped pen rearing kings in the Lower River, we stopped seeing the large numbers of staging fish at the bar like we used to and the runs have been pretty weak in the river. Hopefully with the return of pen reared kings in the river, the fall runs will pick back up.

Tim

No doom and gloom, the summer king fishing has been out of this world for the past number of years. I don't forsee it changing any time soon.

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Yes Salmon Boy, as Tim said there is ALOT to be excited about and grateful for. Don't judge the success of the Salmon fishery entirely on the returns to the tribs. It is the goal that these be lake caught, after all, whether it be out in open water or off a pier. The trib fishery is a by-product, as they are on borrowed time. The warm water in our tribs causes them to decline quickly. As long as we get enough back to recover surplus eggs for the hatcheries, it is mission accomplished.

More people are successful at targeting Salmon now than only a few years ago. They get to enjoy them in their prime fighting condition. This is a good thing, as the program wouldn't be justified for just a handful of successful anglers.

The size of the adult kings last year returned to the best in many seasons, and is the best on the Great Lakes. Lake Ontario currently holds the WORLD RECORD Coho Salmon. Several Browns and Lake trout have been caught over 30lbs. in recent years. ANY time you drop a line in Lake Ontario you could break a WORLD RECORD, and have the opportunity to enjoy some of the best fishing on the planet for the fraction of the cost of a far-away destination. So keep your chin up and concern yourself with PROTECTING the type of fishery we do have.

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