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Havent posted on here in a while thought id post a report of my summer on the niagara!

Got to work under Dr. Kevin Kapuscinski doing fisheries work helping with his Rudd and Muskie research on the upper river and buffalo harbor and got to learn a lot of new things about a water ive always wondered about but never knew anything about. It was also nice to fish it after work many days.

It was definitely different going from staind lakes to the gin clear waters of the niagara (most days you're able to see fish 25 ft down and make out the bottom perfectly) but it was a very cool place to get to learn. We spent a lot of time emptying trap nets and electrofishing in the harbor bays, at strawberry island, northwest GI, and grasse island...if there is one thing I can take away from this summer is that theres too many god damned rudd in there haha but hopefully they can atleast fatten up the muskies.

Another thing I was impressed by were the numbers of wild tigers I got to see out there as well...and some of them were BIG fish. They're awesome looking fish but in a system where the muskie and pike populations are entirely maintained by natural reproduction Dr. K and other DEC biologists say there is concern regarding the higher numbers of hybrids.

I attached a few pics from the summer, some are mine but the pics of the young of year muskies/tiger are from Dr. K.

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YOY Muskies

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The top is a YOY tiger and the bottom is a pure strain, real impressive how fast the hybrids outgrow the naturals

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Dr. K with a nice 44" river fish

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Lots of smallmouth in there as well

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Dr. K took this pic on one of our evening outings, you can see the mist of the falls it was cool being right above them and fishing

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Mike,Dr. Kevin & You and others that have helped have done a great job helping us understand the river & harbor ecosystems.Hopefully from these studies we can get funding to improve habitat and bring the river & harbor muskie poulations back to prior years greatness.

Last night I went for walleye in the harbor,was going to be to hot today to fish,I did very well!

Capt. Larry

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Awesome report Mike - thanks for sharing! Can't wait to get out there again.... won't be long now and the fall musky hunt will be starting. Nights are feeling cooler already.

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Chad,The nights are colder,should get some rain storms soon as well to help bring the temps down.I registered 75 degrees in the Buffalo Harbor last night.I hear that Chautauqua Lake is now down to 74 degrees down south and 75 degrees up north,but under a full algae bloom,pushing pea soup! Lunge Lumber Lapa will be out soon!

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Larry,

It was cool to hear some of Kevin and Derek's ideas (thats all they are as of now, another thing ive learned from working out there is that its impossible to ever get any legislative assistance for restoration efforst) especially for the harbor. A lot of guys have voiced the opinion that it should be stocked but in my opinion that wouldnt make a difference at all because A.) its lake erie....those fish would be gone the second they found their way through the gaps, B.) Theyre not great lakes strain, and C.) There is nothing for fingerlings to eat in there! Kevin and Derek's ideas revolve around restoring from the bottom up ecologically in the food chain and creating more spawning habitat/nursery....definitely some smart dudes to talk to and learn from.

Those behemoths you guys used to see are still out there I would imagine, theres just nothing drawing them in the harbor as much anymore (industrial warm water discharge --> shad school up --> predators follow) but I bet there are a lot of them around the shoals and humps throughout the eastern erie basin. There are billions of emeralds though so there is plenty of big perch for those pigs to eat. If i were to fish the harbor id just follow the perch boats all over haha.

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Mike,The Niagara Muskie Assoc Inc. has a conservation fund with some money and they could have fund raising to get more dollars.You can start small by building a couple small spawning habitats in key areas in the Buffalo Harbor.To sit back and do nothing the fishery will never improve.

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I agree Gill-T they would have plenty to eat with all of the emeralds...but they wouldnt be the same strain of musky at all. One would be naturally reproducing great lakes strain the other would be hatchery reared ohio strain...not a good mix. Plus in the spring time most of those hatchery reared fish would be bass food anyways, thats why most are stocked in the fall when bass metabolism tends to slow.

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Mike,Where did Green Bay get the Great Lakes Strain muskie fingerlings they stocked? Could we shock young of the year muskie fingerlings in the Niagara river,catpture them then raise them in a holding pen till late November before release.Maybe get 12 to 13"ers out of a small number of fish.I know its hard to get numbers of young of the year,but would a 1 week project of shocking get enough to raise in a pen?Then they might be big enough to live off gobies as a food base.

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Some excellent head work here and exciting biology experiences Ronix 51...Frankly I'm jealous! :D....I don't target musky as some of you guys, but all fish, fishing and fisheries interest me. Obviously the fly fishing trouting purists have nothing over you musky guys as far as "getting into it" (the entire scope of the fishery) is concerned. Could you please tell why high hybrid musky numbers would be an issue with other Esocidae members in the same waters?? :wondering:

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Larry, I believe there is a great strain hatchery in green bay i believe. Im not sure how well that shocking plan would work btu its definitely an idea to look into.

Panfisher- those hybrids are sterile and they grow much faster than pure strains so they can quickley out-compete them and do not reproduce....and from what Dr. K explained to me its also a cause for concern because it can be indicitive of habitat degradation since pike and muskie usually use different spawning areas but are being forced to spawn closer to one another now.

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Thanx for that insight. Guess there is more than loose natural gas resourcing techniques and Asian carp Great Lakes infestation to worry about as far as our waters are concerned! Please keep posting on any new researching of musky habitation you may be involved with....

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