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flyrod2

Owasco Owasco Survey

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Just wanted to start this thread for and FYI. Many may know there is a survey out from DEC to look at fish preferences for Owasco. I saw no need for the survey, but some wanted it to see if they could get support back for walleye in the lake. DEC said they will not manage lake for both walleye and brown/rainbow(it would be an either/or). The survey to date has shown a poor response rate, but those that have come in is a greater than 65% support for trout fishery. One way or another we can hope this will end the debate so we can move foward and try to get the once great fishery back. We need to understand that the 15+ mile long inlet, with lots of public fishing rights, is part of that fishery as well. An inlet that used to team with very large rainbows. I for one would hope we can come up with positive ideas and solution to get the lake back, even if just modestly, to what it once was. Everyone has seen how fragile the lake near them can be, all the finger lakes have gone through challenging times.

I could go on and but, that is my thought for what little it is worth.

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I can't believe it's not higher then 65%. Like you, I'm a trout fishermen and only landed one brown this season. We Hooked two large rainbows but lost both... Mine and my father's survey have both been submitted.!

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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If my memory serves me correctly there were walleyes in Owasco at one time and they didn't fare well at all. One serious look at a map of the lake should answer the question.....especially the west side.... steep rocky sides with vertical drop off near shore little if any submerged vegetation, not much holding structure, few if any bays, lack of decent spawning habitat....great for migratiing rainbows and ranging browns but crappy for walleyes.The only potentially viable grass beds of note are at the very ends of the lake with little else between them to hold walleyes. I know that probably nobody will like my suggestion of no stream trout fishing for 3 consecutive years following a robust stocking effort followed by a DEC biologist evaluation for further adjustments and hopefully resumption of stream fishing....could take more like 5 years to really do what is necessary. The main thrust at this would be aimed at keeping yahoos out of the streams that trample the redds and it would make enforcement of night poaching a little more effective too.

Edited by Sk8man

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Sk8man, I could add more to your accurate observations of the lake, enough to write a graduate thesis. I don't think the inlet gets the pressure to damage the redds etc. at least enough to close it. One thing they could do right away would be to clean up the mess in the inlet from the lake to Moravia. Also there is no reason to have a 9" /3fish rainbow limit for the trib. There is no "upstream barrier" on the inlet so these fish can and used to go past Groton. A 1 rainbow 15" would at least give some relief and allow those 9" ones to head to the lake. This past spring we caught and released a few spawned out rainbow females which I have not seen in 13 years so there have been baby step since the ending of stocking walleye in 2006. People need to let DEC know their concerns and ideas, so thanks for the input.

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Good info flyrod2 thanks. I sure hope things work out it can be (and was) a wonderful fishery and lake.

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I would disagree with the idea that there is not enough shallow weedbed area on the west side. There are long narrow stretches along the west side and the south end is one big solid weedbed. That said, I much prefer trout fishing to walleye log hauling. The inlet can be a great flyfishing spot. just think of where the two streams join in Moravia with all the currents ,holes,riffs and eddies. I fished it 30 years ago with my son who was 2 years old at the time and although he does not really remember this, he always wants to go for walks in the heron rookery or along the stream as it goes up into the hills.

It will be interesting to see how the competition between the lakers and the other trout will take shape.

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I would like to participate in the survey. Is the survey on the DEC web site. I would like to see Owasco developed into a trout fishery. Heard there was a survey out there, but didn't know where. Maybe that is why there has not been much participation.

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I had signed up to receive this survey at one of the state of the eastern Finger Lakes meetings last Winter. I was very disappointed that DEC didn't send me a survey.......

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Fella's , all said dont wage this war. I am a Walleye hard core fisherman in that lake and a fish biologist graduate out of the Cornell program. I love all fish but you all pointing at walleye, when your missing the over stocking , over balance of adult lake trout in that lake. As you all know, they are vicious predators that have had their own impact on rainbow and Browns. Want Fact: One, Read Dan Bishop's Thesis on the impact of too many adult lake trout and how they negatively affect recruitment of other salmonids in a system. was conducted on Cayuga lake back in the day. Second, those alewife which we all love are not only great at making fish fat, but they are high in thiamase, which affects reproduction, and they stay in shore all summer into august spawning, and eating everything up to 16mm. I believe this was the size supported in the Tunison study of alewife predation based on Owasco alewife samples. Thats alot of fry consumed and alot of fish that are rendured infertile after a life on the alewife feedbag. Third, stocking sites, other than the outlet, which has its own predator balance of Northerns, Largmouths, Rockbass and Perch along with walleye that fry have to get through, stocked fish have a tough time surviving being dumped off Ensenore, where the highest volume of lakers are thought to be, and those rainbow getting stocked in the outlet are really helping the lake. Four, for you old timers out there, when was the last time you caught 10-12 pound lakers out of the lake on average? Yeah there are alot of lakers and you can always bend a rod but...... Are walleyes at fault for this? or is there just too many lakers.  I have caught a large number of walleye on that lake in the spring and fall, only found alewife and perch in their bellys, never a trout.  Am I saying Walleye will not eat trout?  No  Can walleye compete? the answer is yes. When prey species like smelt and alewife are down, too many predators is not a good thing. but I have experienced great smelt runs the last 4 years there and the alewifes Boil in large numbers all summer long since ive been there in 2005. additionally as long as the nutrient load is high, their will be enough phyto-and zooplankton to support smelt, alewife, asian clam, zebra muscle, quaga muscle, spinny water flea, etc.  Have walleye been stocked since 2007?  No.  Has the Rainbow and Brown fishing rebounded in the past six years? No

 

So ask yourself,  were Walleye really the problem or were they just a small part of the overall mismanagement of the fishery that are taking all the blame. Remember, Walleye never were really thought to be a problem until the state put the blame on them in public making the walleye their scapegoat.

 

As stated in the beginning, I love all fish guys, and the crew from the state.... there doing their best, however, .That lake can support walleye and trout, it just needs to be managed for it.

 

 

I haven't been doing enough looking cause I can't find that survey anywhere, will relook at the state sight.

 

My 2 cents supported by some experience and research fact.

 

Kevin

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Kevin great insight! I would like to see more posts from you on LOU....  I believe strongly that nature will balance itself no matter what types of fish we stock.  Also I believe that our fingerlakes ecosystems are truly unique and deserve to be studied in depth.  Therefore I will do my best to catch as many walleye and trout as possible, and even invite a few to dinner :)  Good fishing guys merry christmas!

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New member here.  Had to post on this one and throw my support behind the trout.  I fish Owasco exclusively and am alittle concerned about the reported 65% / 35% preference for trout.  (Wishing it was much greater!)

 

DEC screwed up when they stocked surplus Lakers AND Walleyes on top.  Those fish ate all the bait, then started eating each other.  So it wasn't just the Walleyes fault.  Owasco could be a fine Walleye fishery, but they tend to suspend offshore and eat at night.  Not great for a recreational fishing experience.  Trout are easier to catch, run the tribs providing an oppurtunity to all, and with no lamprey can get HUGE in Owasco. 

 

I think that excess of fish is ending.  I have noticed all species coming from Owasco lately looking very fat and healthly, plus marking alot of bait this past season.  Now that the bait is back I expect to see the trout fishing improve.  But this stuff takes time, Walleye and Lakers live long and there are still a heck of alot of Walleye left.

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Kevin has made some great technical points. I too care about fish in general and have fished for walleyes on the Finger Lakes  for many years as well as the trout and salmon and when Seneca Lake was midstream in it's stocking and lamprey problems in the 1970's though early eighties I heavily fished Owasco for trout and it was a great fishery with nice fat trout. I guess my comments were geared more to the physical suitability characteristics of the habitat itself for an ongoing naturally sustaIned  walleye fishery rather than the competitive aspects of the species and predation factors. It is encouraging to hear that the rainbow smelt are alive and well there now because they appear to be nearly extinct on Canandaigua Lake, Seneca, and Cayuga. It is too bad the DEC can't stock a bunch of Cisco back in the lake as they are a far better food source whether walleyes or trout are the predators.  I think that the invasive introduction of the Zebra mussels and Quagga mussels (and preference for deeper water penetration) have been more of a factor in the deterioration of the fishery than folks realize. The phytoplankton and zooplankton (that baitfish and smaller fish feed on) have been strained out of the water to very high levels. I have noticed a huge difference in each of the Finger Lakes over the past ten plus years especially in terms of the  lack of presence of minnows, small fish like perch, sunfish, bluegills, and immature bass in the shallow periphery of the lakes. In short it would appear that shallow water spawners and feeders are "screwed".  Years ago they were all over the place near docks, along shorelines and quite visible populations of them. Currently most of the lakes I fish are nearly devoid of populations of small fish  but everything is covered by the Zebras and the Quaggas extend the range out to the greater depths.

Edited by Sk8man

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Apparently to survey was selected at random from the following groups: 1) angler diary cooperators 2) licensed fishermen in Cayuga and immediately surrounding counties, and 3) people who had previously participated in surveys and indicated  a willingness to take part in future surveys.

 

I belong to all three groups and still wasn't selected.

 

I have noticed that the lake is rebounding. When the FLTA fished there this fall, 10 boats caught at least 7 legal rainbows with several over 5 pounds and one tipping the scales at 8-6.

 

IMHO the worst tasting walleye you will ever eat is one that has been on a steady diet of sawbellies !!!!

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Take this for what it is worth,  Heard it from a real reliable source today who saw the survey.

 

2000 random surveys went out.

 

of the questions asked,  #8 wanted you to make a clear choice,  either Rainbow/Brown or Walleye

 

If this question was not answered the survey was nullified.

 

there was no comment section on the survey.

 

heard of the 2000, they were in reciept of around 70 responces.

 

I heard the survey results closed today.

 

 

 

this could be speculation rumor, i have no difinitive fact other than someone who is very involved.

 

 

 

if true, all I gotta say is WOW!!!!!!!

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So with all this talk about stocking trout in my lake, is the DEC also planning to put some ciscos back in the water?

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Excellent posts and very informative. Food for thought.... There are 11 finger lakes!

1)How many have a walleye fisheries?

2)How many have a salmonoid fisheries?

Answer's

1) Four (soon to be 3) hold walleyes.

2) All eleven have a salmonoid fisheries.

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Never really fished Owasco but I guarantee Walleye are not the problem.  It seems more like balance of fishery issue.  I like Kevin's analysis.  Good luck to those passionate about the lake.  I hope it works out.

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I would like to see both species thrive.  Maybe they should be looking into dealing with the alewives and the reproduction issues they cause in the food chain above them rather than choosing which beautiful game fish they should eliminate?  Just a thought. 

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