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OK, I want to get this rolling because I'm getting very busy starting tomorrow. Many of you know how I feel about this. REGARDLESS of what the total biomass is doing, the Lake is under stocked Salmon-wise. Years and years of fishing Lake Ontario, and a fair amount of experience fishing Lake Michigan and observing Salmon behavior on both Lakes has brought me to this conclusion. This season will provide further proof.

Last summer in a period of two weeks, we participated in Tournaments in Oswego, Sodus, and Bluffers Ont.(Toronto). In all areas bait densities were excellent. During a June Scotty tournament in Whitby Ont, we were snagging huge, fat(wide across the back) alewives. Anglers all along the south shore reported Salmon and trout foraging on Smelt, which we have been told, were dangerously in peril.

This season brings emerald shiners so thick in the harbors you can walk on them. Smelt are found in any cleaned fish from the Niagara river or Lake shoreline. Smelt dippers are seeing runs like the "good ole days". Already, despite the peak spawning season being weeks away, trollers are already dealing with snagging alewives up and down the south shore, in the U.S. and Canada. Big fish should be increasingly common.

So whats the problem, am I afraid of a little challenging fishing? No, it actually keeps the game challenging and rewarding. The problem is, it isn't healthy for the system. When the Alewives and Smelt reach the sizes they are this year, in the numbers they are at, they canabilize the young-o-the year much more than normal. This is what creates the huge spikes and valleys in the population charts , for whatever accuracy level they are in the first place. It is much more stable for the fishery and predator/prey balance if we utilize this surplus with greater numbers of targets. Of course more angling opportunity and angling success is a winner , especially if it is keeping the system healthier in the process.

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I would have to agree with you Vince on the need for more stocking especially with all the tournaments that take place now on the lake and there being much more "taking fish" than in past years. There certainly seems to be plenty of healthy young fish being caught and the clouds of bait that seem to be showing up on the screens on boats is unreal at times :yes:

I know I personally talked with a gentlemen about 2 weeks ago that went up to the Niagara to do some smelting and said they were so thick and the water was "black" with them :o. He had 2 buckets full and was gone in less than 10 minutes :o and watched others doing the same.

Vince your a guy that can get this rolling :clap:

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A friend of mine is a "smelt dipper" and he fishes the niagara every spring. He said that this year was the best year he could remember in 15-20 years and he was in absolute awe over how impressive this years run was. One of those "walk across the river on their backs" type run.

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The smelt will decimate all the cold water fry and fingerlings like Lake Trout, White Fish, Ciscoes, Emerald Shiners, even May Flies and other nymphs. They are the worst critter out there. We need to keep their numbers down.

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Dear Vince P,

Thank you for the bait update! I remember the emerald shiners coming into the Wilson Harbor during the "boom years"!! Absolutely dynamite Chinook fishing during these runs! And yes, we DO NEED INCREASED STOCKING LEVELS!!! I would VOTE YES!

Sincerely,

Jet Boat Bill..................P.S. Dear Ray K, Smelting Tips!! Swing your "Speed Net" at the top of the falls in knee deep water dressed in your Ray K. suit and you will be on TV instantly!! The "Homeland Security" boys will even help you out of the water!! Go for it!!

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I couldnt agree more with you. Here off of the genesee river the alewives are early, plentiful, and very large. Not to mention the biggest gobies i ever seen. I am talking about 8.5 inches long and the diameter of a golf ball. The juvinile smelt in the atlantics that have been captured seem to be doing quite well. Bottom line is there is PLENTY of all types of forage fish to be chewed on, by ALOT more predators then what is swimming around in the big pond.

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i have to agree with the idea of increasing stocking numbers. I diped smelt this year once WHICH was all that was needed cause it was totally ridiculas, i think two dips and I had a full bucket. If anything they should atleast increase the brown trout stocking cause like brucehookedup there are alot of gobys which from what i have read and heard are eaten like crazy by the browns, plus all of the fish i've been catching this year have been just as fat as they are long so there seems to be no sorta of bait. I'd have to say one thing from what i've seen so far this year looks like 30 plus pound kings may be very common this year and into the future.

Honsitly I think alot of what you hear about them not wanting to increase stocking now may come from what the money factor of rasing all the fish.

Also this makes me wounder if maybe the bait population is going to keep growing and stay strong like it was years ago, maybe the bait fish are adapting to ever changing lake?

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Will smelt eat y-o-y Asian Carp??? I don't believe that they are a cold water species but maybe smelt will be useful at "Carp Control", as well as fattening up trout and salmon, and serving as a vehicle to get cocktail sauce into my mouth.

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in my opinion, we should stock more lakers and atlantics. keep the kings browns and steelhead the same. that would be my opinion but either way the stocking has been cut here and there over the last 10 years and it hasnt been replaced by anything else. it is time for something.

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Last summer not only did I see significant amounts of smelt in fishs' stomachs, the condition of the alewives were the best I can ever remember, and I've been fishing for trout and salmon since I was 4 years old (1978). I had a couple of alewives that were closing in 9 inches.

I also remember during the "Boom" years it was a complete waste of time to go perch fishing and Walleyes were non existant. As Capt. Vince has pointed out, in previous posts, if it were not for the stocking of Pacific Salmon to contol alewives, those fisheries would still be non-existant. My uncle, a retired fisheries biologist, has said that the reduction in salmon stocking in Lake Ontario to thier past, and current, levels is a mistake. He has always stood by his research that Alewives will always do their own thing regardless of predation. Also a reduction in stocking would produce an increase in lamprey wounding rates, another trend that we have all seen in the past 10-15 years on the lake.

With the reports that I've been reading on the smelt, niagaras, and alewives, I would expect to see a change in their body condition, seeing thinner, unhealthy looking alewives this season, and next season, until a big die off occurs where they will "right size" the population themselves. Not too mention that we may see a couple of poor year classes of perch and walleyes.

Of course the DEC could increase stocking rates of salmon, and there by still maintain a great all around fishery, a WORLD CLASS FISHERY. But we all know that a lot of this is driven by politics, and not good sound biology. My not increase the stocking numbers to 3.5 million chinooks a year, but somthing like 30% increase from the current would be prudent. Especially to add to the wild population that is in the lake, whatever that number is.

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The trend has been upward since we had that huge algae bloom two summers ago. Think about how Toronto and Hamilton have expanded in population......hey that means more poop in the system. Due to the poor spawning runs from poor stream levels and warm temps in Sept. and October in '06-'08, there are fewer fish in the system. Some back to back to back to back (hey a trend!) easy winters and there you have it........an explosion. I would not be suprised if the baitfish are actually feeding on the spiny water flea. Two thumbs up for stocking more Kings and Browns. There are plenty of Steelhead in the system out in the blue zone. The south shore is filthy with lakers right now......I don't want anymore Lakers thank you.

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