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CreditRiverAnglers

Please release Atlantic salmon to assist reintroduction prog

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Hi all,

The fishing has been nothing short of fantastic accros the lake. This includes by for the most and largest Atlantic salmon being caught that I have every heard about in 25 years.

I run one of the lead groups in the Atlantic salmon reintroduction program in Ontario and have little doubt the showing of more fish is a result of significant stocking to re-establish the specie in Ontario in addition to NY's stocking at Salmon River.

So I ask you to consider releasing any Atlantic salmon you catch until they have a chance to get a foot hold and begin reproducing and to grow larger. I am aware of 3 over 20 pounds so far this year and well over 100 others over 10 pounds, plus lots of younger fish. Atlantic salmon can live to age 8-10 and if the 5-6 year olds are hitting 15-20 pounds it bodes well for bigger fish in a few years. We need to give them a chance to get bigger and come back to spawn several times to spawn.

Unless a salmon or trout is hooked deeply (in gills or throat), post release survival is very good. CRAA tags our steelhead and every summer I have at least 50 reported by NY lake anglers. Of the fish released, most have returned to spawn the following fall or spring to the Credit River proving releasing fish works just fine. And keep in mind fish stray all over the lake for feeding. Many of our tagged fish are caught off Rochester and Mexico Bay in July-August, but they migrate to the west end to spawn. In fact, 75% of our lake tag returns come from NY waters. Maybe you guys are better at catching the bows than us Canadian guys, but I think it has more to do with deep water habitat and more angler effort.

A pic of one I landed on June 25 off Port Credit...released of course. Report is in the north shore section of LOU.

AP6250146B.jpg

Thank you for your help!

Tight lines,

John Kendell

President, CRAA

http://www.craa.on.ca

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Thank you up north I'm shure lots of atlantic salmon get released (I hope),as you can see on the post here many down here have had the fight and thrill of the atlantic salmon.

I (we) have noticed by the reports posted that what you guys are doing is working well.

and if you dont mind i might keep one for the table i im lucky enuf to get a keeper..ok ok if its hooked bad,,,,most of us are very carefull to handle fish and release in a good maner...Now a nice 8lb king or coho will get released in my cooler a few times a year :lol: ....

So I close with another Thank You !!! And Im shure their are a few thousand others that have noticed you great efforts ..................and success ...who thank you...

Ray K.

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Just a reminder - NYS regulations: 1 fish daily limit. 25" minimum.

Slightly forked tail, white mouth, Two rows of poorly developed teeth top of mouth

I don't & won't "preach" C & R, but when I'm lucky enough to get 1, it's going back, after a couple photos.

Tom B.

(LongLine)

Keep up the great work John. You guys have done lot of good for the fishery.

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I both respect and admire the success that you guys have had keeping the stocking programs up and running during these tough fiscal times.

Keep up the good work!

I think I speak for the LOU community when I say that we appreciate your efforts (especially when they seem to be paying dividends on this side of the Big O!) and, speaking solely for myself and the Nothin' But Net...C&R Atlantics, all the way.

Gator

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Keep up the good work. However, I have heard the returns in the fall up north have been horrific. I am wondering if the atlantics are spawning elsewhere, waiting until they achieved larger size, or maybe the piss warm/low water fall flows have had an effect? For the millions of fish stocked, only to have a few fish return in the fall tells me you guys are missing something that is happening in the lifecycle of Lake O fish. Maybe now that those fish you stocked years ago have reached a size to make a serious run in the fall. Here to hoping :yes::yes:

PS: Can you tweak the fertilization/egg development date to push back the lifecycle of the atlantics so they don't run in September when streams are too warm?

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In one of my posts earlier this season I had mentioned that I have reservations on keeping these fish after catching one. They are on the endangered species list with NOAA as a wild salmon in the Atlantic. There is a recovery plan in place there for them. Supposedly they have a two season spawn, one in spring and one in fall but that is in the ocean environment as a wild salmon. They do prefer to have cold waters to spawn in and I think that alone would be the signal that drives them to enter the streams at the right time to spawn. Unlike pacific salmon that die in fall after a once in a lifetime event, the Atlantic enjoys the event with a little more time on their fins to accomplish what they are doing. So it is not a hurried spawn time as the pacifics are on a time clock so to speak. Just like a steelhead they can spawn all through the late winter into very early spring under more ideal water temps and levels. Also The Atlantic will live to 10 years and begin their spawn cycles after being in open water over the course of two winters.

Another great advantage to Atlantics in Lake Ontario is that the juveniles eat mostly krill and small crustaceans which could be a great advantage to reducing the sea flea problem.

Mark

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Thank You to our northern neighbors for assisting in bringing back atlantics. We have had the pleasure of catching a few this year. All of which have been returned. The first thing I Tell clients is...We can keep any legal fish You want,but all atlantics get cpr'ed. Great fighters and I hope to see more in the upper teens. Thanks again

[ Post made via Mobile Device ] mobile.png

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If I want to eat atlantics a take a few LL out of Seneca it is loaded and easier to catch them. :lol:

I do want to thank you for supporting the ontario fishery. Anyone who puts that much effort in preserving our sport deserves our respect. I too would love to see these salmon thrive for the next generations.

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I respect all efforts from any group on any water for trying to improve the fishery. However, should I feel guilty for keeping a fish that was legal to take?

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Boo shadster Boo shadster, no ,ya dont need to feel guilty In MY opinion. like i said i plan on keeping 1 a year im shure many are taken as cohos or kings by many who cant tell the diff. which is too bad ,but not everyone is as schooled as most on this site..

The size difference and quanity this year compaired to previous years is a great sign that they might be "taking a hold" again in lake ontario..

hopefully in a few years they will become a neusance like steelhead in a king spread :clap: with the help up north and some reasonable conservation and education on the southern border the Atlantic Population should (could) be flourshing.

.

.

.

.,

Just in time for the asian carp invasion :(

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Fastastic job stocking these Atlantics guys!

Thanks to you all who have played a role in the return of this awesome fish to our Lake O!

JAM

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Thanks for bringing me in off the ledge, Ray!

To be honest, at the time I put the fish in the bucket I knew I had a big Atlantic. I had just caught one on Ray's boat the previous Friday at Point Breeze. At the launch in Oswego there was a guy saying it was a brown. Just before there was some controversy on just what identifies an Atlantic here on this website. I took the fish over to Fat Nancy's where Captain Andy Bliss looked at the fish and yep it was an Atlantic. To make sure he looked it up on the computer. Along with where the jaw ends the difference between a brown was the little fin on top between the dorsal and the tail. On a brown trout it always has spots.

I thank the CRAA for their efforts to establish these wonderful fish in Lake O. For me it is the fish of a lifetime. If I am ever so fortunate to catch another of this size it will be going back to swim another day.

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Thank you all for the support and kind words. Our group (and all partners here in Ontario) hope the day comes when an Atlantic is not a surprise, but another chromer and 20 lb fish are not once in a life time, but slightly more common place.

The biggest recorded from Lake O was 48 lbs from Salmon River way back in the 1840's. Not sure of that will happen again, but it would be pretty sweet.

To answer a few questions,

They do live up to 10 years and can start spawning at age 3 (1 lake year) and spawn up to 4-7 times. Very similar to steelhead. I know a study stream on Lake Superior that has a few steelhead spawning 8-9 times now (no harvest stream).

Run times vary with these fish from April to November, but all spawning occurs in late fall (Oct-November). There have been a few fish running one river on each side of the lake since April. Runs in Ontario have been small, but stocking is just starting to kick in. About 80 back to the Credit last fall. Which is why I encourage release (we need all the spawners we can get)! But that is up from 50 in 2008 and 1 in 2007 (zero in 2001-2006). So the trend is good. Ask me in November this year!

Tight lines,

John

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John....thanks for all the work the CRAA is doing....and associated groups in Canada....and I enjoyed fishing with you last week on the SR. One thing everybody should realize...that the high teens ...and 20+ pound fish you are seeing...are most likely NY stocked fish from the salmon river do to the timing of the Canada program....their fish ....are more then likely the low teens...and cookie cutter fish. We have seen significant arrivals of big Atlantic Salmon in NY waters this season.....

Jim Johnson of the USGS is the program leader for the NY side and works in conjunction with DEC on our program. Jim has been awarded some pretty lucreative grant money to expand his reserach facilities...These fish are doing very well in river elements right to the low 70's in water temps.....and while not advised to fish to them when the water is that warm.....they can survive. We've enjoyed fishing for them from May through this time frame...with decent success...in river systems.

An example of a fishery that has made it is the Hurion program where only 25K Salmon are stocked by lake Superior State University...and they have now since about 2004...enjoyed a return of adult fish in several year classes...in the range of 5K to 7000 fish to the St Mary's river. So in some systems....it isn't necessary to stock a huge amount of fish to get a very fishable return. In Huron...they now have both a lake trolling fishery and river fishery where anglers can actually target these fish. This program took nearly 20 years to finally get running....with how difficult it is to raise a strain in captivity that will respond to the present Great lakes systems.

Finally.....last year...for the first time in over 100 years DEC in their spring netting of wild kings in the Salmon River...found several dozen WILD Atlantic salmon. With the base flow treaty ....not only is there tons of success with king salmon...but it seems the Atlantic Salmon returning to spawn through the summer and fall...are having some limited success.

I'm not a total C&R angler....but rather a selected harvest angler. As a lake fisher for over 40 years....I'm well aware of fish being mortally wounded in catching...and also believe that part of the herritage of fishing is to choose to harvest some of your catch. In the case of Steelhead and Atlantic salmon...and brown trout.,..these are fish that support the fishery 12 months a year.....with Sept. through April...having many of those fish located in river systems....and in the case of Atlantic salmon they can be found in river systems 12 months a year.

Steelhead were brought to the Great lakes in the late 1880's...and actually were still flurishing in some systems on LO before the stocking programs started. A very good friend of mine ...who is now with the DEC...was cathcing steelhead in the salmon river in the early 60's as a nine year old.

Atlantic salmon are our herritage....and while all the fish we fish for have their place....I hope we can all get behind supporting the return of these great fish.

Personally...catching them on a fly in a river....has been my greatest thrill in fresh water.....they fight like no other fish ....and they are THE most challenging....and why people pay a kings ransom to fish for them in Iceland and Russia...let alone the Maritimes and Europe. And we have them here....for pennies on the dollar. As John has asked.....let's get behind our herritage....where LO had the greatest Atlantic salmon fresh water fishery on the planet at one time.

I along with John....would like to thank all of you who have posted with support of this effort.

Tight Lines.

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Best way to protect the A.S. is not to fish for them this time of year. Stay out of the shallows and go beat up on the Kings and Cohos (in unusual numbers this year). These fish only live 4 years and then die.

The science behind releasing the fish so it can spawn is flawed(google atlantic salmon and thiamine), but one thing for sure if you put it in your box no one will ever catch it again!!!

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Self Censored,

I don't believe anyone is targeting them, all of the atlantics caught have been incidental bycatches while people are doing exactly what you are suggesting.

Tim

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I am curious, and another LOU member is the one who pointed this out to me. I'd like to hear you opinions on it.

Take a Chinook. It lives 3-4 years and then dies. When is it really into the Lake O food source? 2-3rd or 4th year.

An Atlantic lives 7 or 8 years. They seem to be way more aggressive than a Chinook. They will be into the food source on Lake O for a much longer period and possible eat much more due to their high energy levels during that period.

I know we have seen a lot of bait in Lake O this year, and the fish seem to be huge. Is the Atlantic really something we want in Lake O? Don't get me wrong catching one is a treat at this point, and they are beautiful fish. But looking long term is this something we want to strive in Lake O?

I know Trout like the BT and Steelhead live for an equal amount of time in Lake O. So there is that argument against my point. However, BT aren't nearly as aggressive as an Atlantic. I hope I don't get beat up on this one!

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YT....Atlantic Salmon...like steelhead are way more diverse in their forage habbits. There are many study results...that show adult Atlantic Salmon still target on a daily basis aquatic insects. The fish we see in the rivers right now...have plenty of prey fish to eat...yet they are locked in to insects....and on a daily basis are eating Duns.....probably spinners when they fall after dark...and emergers all day long.

The big lake is a huge food source for acquatic prey....and remember Atlantic salmon are also able to handle a wider band of temps in the lake...and will forage on not only smelt and Aliwife, but other forage prey fish in warmer temp zones. In both Huron and Michigan where forage crashes greatly affected the Pacific salmon ....Steelhead still survived and even flurished because they will eat a bug as easily as eating a prey fish. Atlantic salmon are a very similar animal.

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Thanks YT...Ray.....I love King Salmon.....and have fished for them from here to Alaska.....but for me...there is no fish that fights like an Atlantic salmon. Now having said that....I've caught plenty of them on the lake up to about 18 pounds...way back in the late 80's early 90's...and they were explosive.....up in the air...and reel screaming runs...but if you ever get a mid teens of bigger fish to grab a fly or a lure with the rod in your hand......I dare say you will never forget it.

Two years ago...on the St Mary's river.....at 7 PM in the evening ...on what was a hot July Day...in the mid 80's.....now cooling as the SUN got lower in the sky...the neat thing about that place is the water from Superior is dumping down past you...which never warms up ...past the high 50's.......I walked down to this pool...nobody around...just me and this piece of water....that was about 150 foot wide....it cascaded over a boulder field....with frothy energy....and widened into a pool that was like a plate of maple syrup. Ray I know you do some trib fishing...it's one of those places...that you know as you walk up holds a fish...or two. This water required me to work my way across it...because there were a couple nice holding seams close to me....before this pool ran mid river. I'm using a 14 foot English style two handed fly rod (Spey Rod) ....and a fly I designed to look like a smelt...which is the chief forage prey in Huron...as far as bait fish go......I made three or four casts covering the near shore water.....and then it was time to cover the pool's far side.....

I uncorked a 120 foot cast to catch the frothy water just outside the smooth seam...and on this cast the hair raised on the back of my neck...as I truly envisioned that when my fly reached the Apex of this swing...it was going to happen.....envision the last ditch throw at the end of the football game...the wide reciever comes open deep...the QB has time to uncork the throw,.....the crowd raises to their feet with the ball in the air as they anticipate the TD...and KAAAAABOOOM !!!!! this beast of a fish in the 20 pound range grabs the fly so hard that even though I anticipated the take.....he jerked me forward.....I quick set up on him...and he came out 8 FEET in the air....way over my head...he screams out of the pool and deep into my backing.....

Now Atlantic salmon don't really like to leave the pool....so i took some tension off him...and he turned around and ran right back at me.....we slugged it out for a few more minutes...with him going airborn twice more........but I stay connected.....now I have him like a puppy dog on a leash...leading him to the shallows....I'm by myself...but this is a pure silver mint dime fresh 20 pound fish from the lake...and I need to get a pic...against my rod for scale...to show my buddies...who are a mile down stream.......

I pick this little channel to lead him into...this fish is mine...the guys are going to be silly with envy when they see this fish pic......Ahhh...but Mr. Atlantic Salmon had other idea's...like Rocky....turning to Mick...."I ain't go'in down no more Mick" ....this fish decides to run UP river...burying my shooting head on the Scandi line I was throwing into that frothy water that is running at about 7 MPH....and up he comes...Not once....but four times ....8 feet over my head......he was out of the water the milisecond he'd finished each jump......on the fourth jump with me still struggling to get the head out of the current he snapped 20 pound test like silly string...and was GONE!

My fly line is flapping in the cool evening breeze....down stream....I'm in shock....as to the power of this fish.....I sat on a rock for about 30 minutes.....and just started smiling and laughing like a fool all by myself...talking to nobody. As I walked back to the truck...my buddies were back as well...they took one look at me...and from 100 feet away...they knew something special had happened to me...as I was babbling like an idiot.....and white as a ghost.......

That's what these fish are.....and I hope we can all work together to help them have our place in this fishery...

Thanks for the opportunity to tell my story....

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And a great story at that :clap: ...Thanks for the reading :yes: Rich, great question, I think the Atlantics are not much of a threat in their younger stages of life to the food chain. As mentioned they love the insects and they also feed almost entirely on krill (sea fleas) and other tiny crustaceans as they reach maturity. They might actually help in a very small way to reduce some of the flea problem. I hope.

Mark

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Is the Atlantic really something we want in Lake O? Don't get me wrong catching one is a treat at this point, and they are beautiful fish. But looking long term is this something we want to strive in Lake O?

They are a native species to Lake Ontario, so - yes we want them!

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Just because something is "native" doesn't mean we "want" them. Why did they go away for so long? Did they deplete the bait-fish population? Were they over fished? Did the lake change enough so that they couldn't sustain life?

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YT....the last native fishable populations of Atlantic Salmon went away in the mid to later 1800's. The biggest culprite was the loss of habitat. Many of our rivers were used for Grist and flower mills along with the true start of the industrial reveloution. There was also evidence of over harvest by commercial and native fishhermen.

I've never read any research that suggested a lack of forage was also at play. Atlantic Salmon are very susceptible to pollution and habitat changes.....which has been the biggest issue along with over harvest for the Ocean running fish. Once habitat has been compromised in a negative way....it's been very difficult to reverse the environment to where Salmon can flurish again.

It's way to early to tell what increased populations of A salmon will do to the food web.....but we've had since the late 90's when the summer flows treaty was enacted on the Salmon River.....millions of wild kings inroducted through successful hatching from the base flows. Yet the food web continues in it's ebbs and flows....that seems to sustain an extra loading of fish to the system.

Each step I take in the Salmon river in May and June....riles dozens of baby king salmon they are every where. We'll know soon enough what the mix is of wild and stocked fish.....this will be some of the most valuable research data collected in some time.

Everybody has their own thoughts on the species of fish we have. IMHO....I hope we can start to retain fishable populations of a legacy species....this effort needs cooporation ...from Sport fishing anglers.....giving them a chance...and the essence of John's Note to start this thread. There are groups of anglers...that have done some unbelieveable things to support wild Atlantic and Steelhead programs. CRAA....has planted close to 500,000 trees on the credit river in the western basin....and led a movement with 50,000 home owners whose property borders the river to divert their rain water to their lawns...instead of storm sewers that empty into the river causing silt formations that plug up spawning gravel....

On the Salmon River we've begun to plant 1000's of trees the last several years ourselves to promote habitat improvements to erroding stream banks...and hopefully someday create shading that will lower water temps...that will promote wild repo. This will help not only steelhead and A Salmon...but King salmon...and there has even been success found of Coho salmon in this environment.

Only Man can turn things around for all these fish. It's truly not as simple as put and take. Budgets are slim and getting slimmer....we better look for ways to not only have to rely on Gov't funded fish.

Not trying to sound corny ....but this is a 12 month a year fishery....and hands down again IMHO.....the best fresh water year round fishery on the planet.....all anglers both lake and trib fishermen need to work together to maintain that year round world class environment. Take care of the fish.....and they will take care of you.

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