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Any smelt left in Seneca or Cayuga


pokepole39

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One pair of smelt can produce 12,000 to 50,000 offspring. Baby smelt eat zooplankton which now exists in greatly reduced numbers due to competition from Zebra and Quagga mussels. So, the fisheries just can NOT produce the numbers of smelt they once did. In lakes where the zebra mussel populations have exploded and then crashed, smelt populations have improved after the crash.

In the old days, smelting was only allowed until (as I recall) 1:00AM, so they had better chances to spawn undisturbed than they do now.

I think the theory that the lampracide treatments had something to do with the decline in the smelt populations doesn't hold water. In the Finger Lakes, only Seneca and Cayuga have had lampracide treatments. But, smelt populations have also declined during the same time period in other lakes- such as Keuka and Canandaigua (these lakes have never had lampreys and haven't needed to be treated).

Maybe we should be stocking sturgeon to reduce the number of mussels and restore the food chain........

:yes::yes: When the Zebra mussels took off the smelt went down hill. The lampracide treatment was not put in most areas that had smelt spawning and it was not put in at the same time of year. On a side note the lampreys are back in full force in Seneca most of all the fish we have been catching the last few weeks have had five inch lampreys on them :(. I don't know what year class a five to six inch lamprey would be? (they do spend time in the creek before they hit the lake). I don't know how Cayuga looks but we will soon find out. Sean

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Thats bad news Bill, These Lamprey had just hit these fish most of them had not even broke the skin yet. Every Brown we caught had them, one had two and another Brown had three. It could be a bad two or three years with this new bunch of Lampreys. Last year the number were down and looking good with just a few big Lampreys, this year looks bad. Sean

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Took 8 fish Sunday mostly dinks but the larger fish (2.5lbs & up) all had them attached with one 6lb LL towing 3 along with it into the boat. It's far worse than last year I'm affraid.

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I do not know why numbers of smelt have declined. I have heard several plausible theories (no comment). I do not spend a lot of time on Seneca lake but I have seen them occassionally in the spring. When I was a kid, my Dad and Grandpa would go get them in 5 gal pals and we (the whole family) would spend the next day cleaning them. Scissors and old tooth brushes. Some got Frozen, Some got Canned. I kinda miss it. I don't want 5gallons. Maybe a doz or 2. Homemade tartar...

The lampreys run the creeks in May. A few years ago I took some time to Snag some and put my boot on them. I have not met a person yet who has caught a salmonoid or even a bass that said it was cute to see their game fish with a hole in the side. A guy I work with tries to get a group together every year to go after them on Catherine. He really hates them. I don't know how the DEC feels about targeting them. They generally want all the control of our fisheries left up to them - because they are experts in the field. I do not mind killing them when the opportunity presents itself. ;)

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Most smelt you buy are commercially harvested from saltwater. Seems to me that I see more lampreys during the winter fishing. Don't have any.science to back it up, just my observations during the winter trolling for many years.

RR

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I agree... see many into about may then they are mostly found on lake trout in my opinion.. must have something to do with preferred water temperature..

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I'm certain overfishing does not help the smelt situation, but if I'm not mistaken zebra mussels and quaga mussels have decimated the microscopic plankton food base and has caused great damage to the entire food chain. These animal and plant micro organisms are eaten by bait species and young fry. No food base, no smelt. Notice how clear many of the finger lakes are now?

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yea. in the spring b4 the rollover and mudlines start moving out I can see the bottom clear out to 60 foot or more some days!.....THE QUAGGAS are the new threat now...some spots u cant even find the smaller zebras anymore, the shoals are completly taken over by quaggas. We can thank our commercial vessels and Big Boats and Yachts that travel the intercoastal for that one!.....whatashame8(...

We still have alot of shiners and Alewives in Seneca...springtime laker and perch fishing i pull them up with minnows falling out of their mouths and their stomachs are stretched out cuz they are so full.

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Most smelt you buy are commercially harvested from saltwater. Seems to me that I see more lampreys during the winter fishing. Don't have any.science to back it up, just my observations during the winter trolling for many years.

RR

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My guess is the salmon and trout arn't as active in the real cold water. Making it easier for the lampreys to sneak up on them. Watching a lamprey swim away when if falls off at the net, you can see that they couldn't get on in open water. They must come up on the fish when they are inactive near the bottom. But I am just guessing

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