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Ivan

Unusual Chautauqua fish

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I remember seeing a bunch of these swimming on the surface at chq several years back. I knew somebody would snag one eventually. My buddy Ed sent me this pic today of a paddlefish he snagged in the bill with a perchbait in the north end today. Cool fish!

post-150846-13804077505409_thumb.jpg

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My buddy caught a long nose gar pike there but that way cooler.

Edited by eviltroll

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Thats an impressive sized specimen!

They are stocking them in chautauqua and the river system in an effort to repopulate, as they were naturally occurring there in the past (primarily the rivers rather than the lake proper).

I figured someone else would have pointed this out by now, but its a completely closed season for paddle fish. Cant target and as with all fish caught during closed season, its illegal to being them in the boat let alone pose for pics. There are signs at the kinzua launches describing this and the restocking efforts.

Not trying to preach, just pointing out for others who may come across a paddlefish, since a lot of folks are unfamiliar with them.

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If you can't catch them, what purpose does it serve to have them in there?

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they are restocking to restore native fish that were wiped out from mans pollution of the river system, not expressly to provide sport fishing opportunities. I have no idea whether they will ultimately have an open season, but they are trying to establish a self sustaining population which is still a work in progress, thus closed season for at least the forseeable future.

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Nitro:

Any idea on the long-term benefits?

Just hadn't seen anything on this...kind of a bit curious.

Thanks.

John

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Hi John,

Not to be flippant about it but i guess it depends on how you define benefit. I don't claim to be an expert on them, so just my opinion... i know Paddlefish are filter feeder, eating zooplankton. So as far as fishing goes, i dont personally see a direct benefit since even in an open season, im not sure how one would target these beasts. However in the long run, returning the waters to 'the way they were' before the collective 'we' caused their demise, for our kids and grandkids generations to somehow enjoy would be considered by many to be a benefit.

I guess reestablishing the natural balance of the ecosystem is also a good thing fir the health of the fishery

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in some areas of the country they are fished commercially for the eggs apparently there very marketable and have to be managed very carefully as there is a lot of poaching

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Paddlefish in New York....Awesome and excellent! Who cares if you don't eat or catch them. They are an awesome looking and cool fish! I've heard they have had issues in the Mississippi and elsewhere in their native range, again for the usual ham handed human stuff. It's good to know they are successfully being restored to native waters here. Now, where are the Alligator Gar (not Longnose; there's tons of them) that are supposed to be native and present in that Chautauqua area (or is it the Alleghany river)?

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Thanks for the insight Nitro.  I figured somebody may bring that up.  I'm not so sure I totally agree though.  I read the regulations after your post and see that you are not supposed to "target" or "possess" endangered species like paddlefish and sturgeon in NY.  If you read under their definitions section, catch and release is defined as :  

 

Catch and release means catching and immediately releasing the 

caught fish without harm. Measuring, weighing and photographing of 
the fish are permitted as long as the fish is not removed from the water 
for an extended period or handled in a manner that could cause it harm. 
Fish may not be placed in a bucket, tub, livewell, on a string or any other 
holding device. Catch and release angling is only permitted during the open 
season for a particular fish species. Catch and release angling during the 

closed season, or for endangered or threatened fish species is prohibited 

 

My friend was not targeting paddlefish. He snagged one trolling for muskies. IMO if you have an incidental or accidental catch (which is outside your control) you have already broken the law the way it is written. Catch and release angling for endangered species is prohibited, but what are you supposed to do if you accidently catch one?  You wouldn't want to cut you line and leave a 9in muskie bait stuck in the fish.  IMO, my buddy did nothing different than I would have...probably most anglers.  He netted the fish, unhooked it, took a couple pics and released it.

 

Also, my friend has since been in touch with a NY state biologist that stocks paddlefish and he was excited to hear from him. The biologist discussed when the fish may have been stocked, how fast it grew, etc, and was glad to have a picture of the fish.

 

What should he have done Nitro?  What would you have done?  According to the way the regulations are written, as soon as that fish was accidently hooked, the law was broken because catch and release is not even legal for paddlefish.  Even if you got that fish to the boat, realized it was a pddlefish, unhooked it without removing it from the water, you were still catch and release fishing for a paddlefish, which is illegal.  I think the DEC might want to re-look at the way their law is written.  Or, perhaps there are more regulations around this that I missed.

 

Nothing personal either Nitro.  I'm am somewhat interested on what's legal here, although it doesn't seem like there is a "right" answer to me.

Edited by Ivan

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Panfisher...I've caught a couple gar in Chautauqua. I got one as recently as two weeks ago while muskie fishing.  The gar like DeWittville Bay for some reason. 

 

Nevermind...I see now you said Alligator Gar.  I've never seen or caught one of those.

Edited by Ivan

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The part of the law the DEC would write a ticket on is the photo graphing of the fish out of the water. This happens every winter on a musky lake and someone posts it on the internet and the dec tracks them down. I think last year it was Chaumont Bay and the year before it was Waneta. Would I have taken a pic out of the water? You bet. Would I have posted it on the internet? Not a chance.

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I'll be curious to see if you are right Gambler.  Not my fish/catch, and I asked my buddy if he would mind if I posted the picture on this site before doing so.  I'll be shocked if the DEC tracks him down and writes him a ticket.  Like I said above, my friend has already discussed the catch with a NY DEC biologist.  I guess if they want to fine him for photographing that fish, they won't have any difficulty tracking him down.  I'll let you know if anything happens.

 

When you say it happens every year are you referring to muskies being photographed out of season or paddlefish being photographed?  I guess there is really no difference, but I haven't seen the photos you are referring to.  I guess I remember a big muskie being photographed by a couple bass fisherman in the spring on Lake O somewhere around the St Lawrence last year or the year before.  That was probably out of season.

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This was the one posted last winter on mud bay....post-148205-13806417238854_thumb.jpg

Sent from my C771 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Ivan, Here is my take on the regs.

 

I beleive what they mean by catch and release angling is purposly fishing for said species. I think there would have to be very clear evidence of intent. I think they are planing to reword the regs a little to avoid confusion. The main intention here is that if you unintentionally catch a fish out of season or a protected species, you must release it without causing any unnecessary stress or harm. This would include not bringing it in the boat unless, for some reason, you have to in order to release the fish safely. That technically would mean not taking a poto while holding the fish out of the water. Even if there was a valid reason to remove the fish from the water, that type of photo would increase the amount of time the fish was out of the water beyond what would be considered necessary.

 

You should be very careful if you take a photo like that about who you show it to and not posting it on line. I believe there have been some people prosecuted from photos but in this case, I don't think it would happen. A boatside picture is probably the safest for you and the fish.

 

Steve

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I agree Steve/Muskiedreams

 

I just thought it was a cool and unusual fish that you don't see very often around here and it's obvious by the views and replies that other people agree.  I did ask my friend if he minded if I posted it, but maybe that wasn't the best decision...we'll see.  To be honest, I wasn't sure if the fish was protected or endangered anyway, but I am confident it was released without harm.

 

By the numbers of small paddlefish I saw several years ago at Chautauqua, I expect these incidental/accidental catches to happen more there, depending on their survival rates.  I'm surprised it actually took this long for someone I know to catch one.

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Eye Spy,

 

I think they need to show a little leniency. I can see if there is someone who is continually violating the rule, even after they have been informed and educated. Obviosly it is not good to hold a fish like that but pike fisherman who normally keep pike, might not be aware of the potential of causing harm. I don't know if he could have sucessfully released the fish without removing it from the water or if he even knew it was a musky until after he removed it. The best thing here might be to try to educate the angler and appeal to him to try to be more carefull in the future.

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