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Capt Vince Pierleoni

Time for the NYSDEC and OMNR to increase Chinook numbers

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The reason for the increase in lake trout stocking is to increase natural reproduction. The percentage is low but the more they stock the more natural reproduction they will get.

Plus with the fish being Fed Fish, the count is what they give us, not what we want to release. And yes there is a movement to restore the native species to Lake Ontario, and encourage natural reproduction... 

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Plus with the fish being Fed Fish, the count is what they give us, not what we want to release. And yes there is a movement to restore the native species to Lake Ontario, and encourage natural reproduction...

I bought my boat because of the Pacific species in Lake Ontario. Without them.....I would sell it. My guess is you would lose 3/4 of the charter business as well. Atlantics are never going to make it and Lake Trout in Lake Ontario are not fit for human consumption. I would love to pick the brain of some of our biologists to find out just what their vision of the future looks like.

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Looking at the annual reports, LT target has been 500K fish since 1992.  There were nine years that they were under target. (4 yrs way under)  Until 2012 the highest had been 511K LTs in 2009.  In 2013 they released 522K.  I don't see the big jump.(?)  Is something going on in 2014 not publicized?

 

On the other hand DEC is supposed to be putting in 155K surplus Kings in spring of 2014 to make up for the 30-50K shortage of Coho.  I believe the target # for Kings is 1.7 Million. 

 

Tom B.

(LongLine)

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Tom,

 

At the state of the lake meeting, they announced that they are increasing lake trout stocking to 800,000. 

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I bought my boat because of the Pacific species in Lake Ontario. Without them.....I would sell it. My guess is you would lose 3/4 of the charter business as well. Atlantics are never going to make it and Lake Trout in Lake Ontario are not fit for human consumption. I would love to pick the brain of some of our biologists to find out just what their vision of the future looks like.

 Gill-t A private study was done as a college project by a group of "to be" biologist" and the results came back and the lake trout had equal to or less than the same parts per million. 

Before you comment ...yes yankee troller i defended lake trout....lol

 

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yes yankee troller i defended lake trout....lol

Don't let him fool you Steve.  He is a closet lake trout fishermen. 

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Too funny Brian..... I have heard rumors that he is migrating to the "dark side" lmao.

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Too funny Brian..... I have heard rumors that he is migrating to the "dark side" lmao.

He was seen ordering cowbells and spin n glows in Greece! 

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I never intended this post to be a Lake trout bashing thread. I've had many clients that have spent many thousands chasing Lakers all over the world, and I intend to make it to Superior one day for those "power forkies"(grey wolves, LOL). They are great fish--UNLESS you are comparing them to Pacific Salmon. King Salmon are mentally stimulating for rec anglers, charter captains, and charter clients alike. Kings in particular, are absolutely insane on the end of a line, and if you've never been on a boat thats "under seige" by an active pack of Chinnys you owe it to yourself to experience it.

I just don't like the trend on both sides of the fence of advancing agendas without taxpayer input. Seems foolish to ignore the economic ramifications as well.  Long live the King!  

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The trend in all the great lakes has been to restore them to a natural state as best as possible. Lakers, Atlantics, Walleye. It makes sense economically and it makes sense ecologically. 

 

http://cida.usgs.gov/glri/projects/habitat_and_wildlife/fish_culture_facility.html

some of these links are interesting as I believe Lake Michigan leads the way on policy applied to other lakes

http://www.miseagrant.umich.edu/explore/fisheries/the-future-of-salmon-and-trout-stocking-in-lake-michigan/

 

The bonus is the Walleye and Lakers seem to eat goby like it is their job. 

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Yodamage, with all due respect how is it going to make sense economically? The return in investment on the Pacific species pays for itself many times over in economic stimulus.

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If they turn Lake Ontario back into a walleye, laker and Atlantic salmon fishery, the alewive population will explode. Atlantics can't seem to do well anymore in Lake Ontario, lakers and walleye seem to prefer gobies. The Canadians stock 600,000 Atlantics a year and get very very low numbers of adult fish that return ( most years less than twenty)!!!!!! With the success of Lake Ontario they would be stupid to change it. But it seems that how this state and country are being run lately.

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If they turn Lake Ontario back into a walleye, laker and Atlantic salmon fishery, the alewive population will explode. Atlantics can't seem to do well anymore in Lake Ontario, lakers and walleye seem to prefer gobies. The Canadians stock 600,000 Atlantics a year and get very very low numbers of adult fish that return ( most years less than twenty)!!!!!! With the success of Lake Ontario they would be stupid to change it. But it seems that how this state and country are being run lately.

The thiamine issue has been figured out, and there are more and more Atlantics that are returning every year for the past few year. The goal is to continually release native fish back to Lake Ontario, but there has never been a move to cancel the Pacific stockings. It is true that they do very well in the food chain in following the alewives, but at the same time there is a push to re-introduce deepwater Ciscoes as well. Those are the bait fish that everything in the food chain does the best when feeding. The alewives that are in LO. are controlled mostly by the silver and king salmon, Steelhead and Atlantics seem to be more opportunistic feeders, and not keying in on the alewive, but from a health perspective, the alewive is basically a stick of pepperoni vs the Cisco which is like a protein enhanced chicken breast. The oil content that is in the alewive is not the best for large predators like the kings and cohos, but they eat a ton of them. If these fish were to feed on the ciscos they would all be much bigger and healtier as compared to a diet based off of alewives. Will we ever get there, not in my lifetime, but potentially in my grand-kids lifetime. 

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Sounds to me like the MNR and NYDEC are setting the stage to re-introduce deepwater Cisco so they can eventually crash the alewife population and shift the lake to a native species only fishery - long term.

 

Once the alternative food source is there and the thiamine deficiency isn't effecting the atlantics and lake trout then they can move on to eliminating steelhead, browns and pacific salmon from the lake.  I have to ask who is pushing this and who wants this to be the future of the great lakes???

 

It makes no sense to me when the fishing community pays the bills and supports the MNR and NYDEC that these initiatives can go ahead without the support of the community.  Things are already well underway in Ontario with proposals to eliminate brown trout stocking in the credit river if they are found to interfere with native baitfish, also a new provincial fishery management strategy that puts the priority on native species over existing successful non-native sport fisheries.

 

Stocking of steelhead has already been stopped in the east end of the lake on the Canadian side because some Ganaraska strain steelhead were found down river in the St.lawerence.  The MNR is afraid these fish will interfere with native stocks of Atlantic salmon on the east coast, the same study also found Salmon River strain steelhead on the east coast, somthing to think about there...  There was also no mention of the potential impacts that non-native strains of Atlantic salmon being stocked into Lake Ontario will have on the native east coast atlantics if/when they also escape the lake and migrate downstream.

 

Some scary things are going on in Ontario and the Great Lakes these days, just hope they don't decide to destroy a successful fishery for a theoretical one

Edited by ut_falcon

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The thiamine issue has been figured out, and there are more and more Atlantics that are returning every year for the past few year. The goal is to continually release native fish back to Lake Ontario, but there has never been a move to cancel the Pacific stockings. It is true that they do very well in the food chain in following the alewives, but at the same time there is a push to re-introduce deepwater Ciscoes as well. Those are the bait fish that everything in the food chain does the best when feeding. The alewives that are in LO. are controlled mostly by the silver and king salmon, Steelhead and Atlantics seem to be more opportunistic feeders, and not keying in on the alewive, but from a health perspective, the alewive is basically a stick of pepperoni vs the Cisco which is like a protein enhanced chicken breast. The oil content that is in the alewive is not the best for large predators like the kings and cohos, but they eat a ton of them. If these fish were to feed on the ciscos they would all be much bigger and healtier as compared to a diet based off of alewives. Will we ever get there, not in my lifetime, but potentially in my grand-kids lifetime. 

The returns of Atlantics compared to the number that are stocked is DISMAL.  The numbers are less than 50 returns for 600,000 stocked (less than 1%).  I would not call that more and more every year.   The atlantics that are stocked on the North shore are not surviving and returning to the tribs to spawn.  The genetics of the Atlantics that used to be in Lake Ontario are gone.  Thiamine or not, the wrong strain of Atlantics WILL NOT thrive in Lake Ontario.  Go to spoonpullers.com and PM a guy named kwikfish.  He will give you facts about Atlantics.  While you are on the site, read the post about the canadian governments legislation to STOP stocking non-native species (ie Kings, Coho, Browns and Steelhead). 

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DNRoch, I assume from your handle you might be a biologist?  If so, maybe you could identify yourself?  It would be really beneficial to have a dialogue on this forum with a biologist working on the Great Lakes project.

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Nope I am not a biologist. I just read the publications that are made from cover to cover on the LO stats and attend every great lakes fishery forum that I can. I wish that I was a biologist and not in the IT security industry on some days. The information that I type on here is straight from the State of the Lake meetings or from biologist papers that are published via Cornell, ESF or from the DEC themselves.

 

I am really hoping that the deep water cisco program is successful but the numbers that are being put into the lake are still really small in the grand scope of things.

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No one is calling for a decrease in the numbers of Kings because the Atlantics and lakers are being stocked. The Feds are just looking to make the species viable.. I will still hope for the day that the majority of the bait in LO is the Cisco, then you will see real trophy fish, until then the 40 lber will be few and far between...

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No one is calling for a decrease in the numbers of Kings because the Atlantics and lakers are being stocked. The Feds are just looking to make the species viable.. I will still hope for the day that the majority of the bait in LO is the Cisco, then you will see real trophy fish, until then the 40 lber will be few and far between...

 

Could you provide some information about the benefits of Cisco vs Alewife? The kings seem to be doing pretty good feeding on Alewife but I’m interested to see how much of a difference the switch to Cisco could make.  One thing to consider is that these deepwater Cisco were extirpated from the lake at one time so what makes the biologists think that they can be re-introduced?  They went extinct in the lake for a reason, was it because of competition with Alewife or a change in water quality or foodbase?  Same thing with the Atlantics, the lake has changed so much since the 1800's, just because the species could thrive then doesn't mean they can do it now.

 

I support trying to re-introduce these species but not at the expense of what we have now, If you look at what's going on in the MNR I’m not so sure they would agree with me.  Things are going on in Canada already to reduce steelhead populations and that is fact.  The MNR mandate is to restore all lakes to their "natural" state, and that means to eventually eliminate all of the introduced species (Chinook, Coho, Browns, Steelhead) from the lake.  This is now the goal of the Ontario government, their own management documents clearly say this.

 

Unfortunately the Ontario government is no longer managing the fisheries with priority for the recreational angler and this will impact all Great Lakes that share a border with Canada.  My hope is that American anglers can put pressure on their own government to stop this from happening, it’s sad but I think that the Canadian government will listen to the American government before their own citizens.  There are many concerned fishermen in Canada trying to put a stop to this before it happens.

 

Key thing here is no one is calling for a reduction in Kings YET, but the pieces are starting to fall into place to allow that to happen in the future.  For some of the other non-natives it’s already happening and with inconclusive science to back it up. Let’s put an end to this before it gets a chance to snowball. Put an agreement in place on the great lakes that prevents population reductions of kings, browns and steelhead in order to re-introduce native species.  Allow the native restoration programs to continue as long as they aren’t negatively effecting the more popular sport fish that the vast majority of Great Lakes anglers are catching.

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It’s all about giving the big fish in Lake Ontario something else to feed on, and in the process increasing the success rate of their spawning.


That’s the reasoning behind a stocking effort that began this past week of stocking deepwater cisco, a baitfish, offshore from Oswego. It’s the result of a collaborative effort between state, federal and Canadian agencies. Deepwater cisco haven’t been seen in Lake Ontario in nearly 30 years. The last known fish was collected in 1983. This stocking program is a first in the Great Lakes. The baitfish grow up to 10-12 inches. They feed primarily on plankton and invertebrates in water depths from 180 feet to 650 feet. They once were an important food source for native lake trout, Atlantic salmon and burbot in Lake Ontario, said Jim Johnson, lab director for the USGS Tunison Laboratory of Aquatic Science in Cortland. By the mid-20th century, though, populations took a nose dive because of over-harvesting by anglers, along with competition from populations of invasive alewife and rainbow smelt.


The downside of the deepwater cisco’s disappearance has been that lake trout and salmon that feed primarily on alewife can experience reproductive failure due to a vitamin B deficiency, caused by the chemical thiamanase in that baitfish. Fish that feed on native species like deepwater cisco, though, are less likely to experience problems with their eggs and fry, Johnson said.


Chinook and coho salmon currently being raised at the state Department of Environmental Conservation hatchery in Altmar often have a B-1 deficiency and have to be bathed in Vitamin B-1 solution, he said. The new deepwater cisco stocking program is a cooperative, effort between the DEC, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.


The juvenile fish (about 5 inches long) stocked this past week originated from eggs collected by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service staff on Lake Michigan during January and February of this year. Eggs were hatched and juveniles reared at the Tunison Lab in Cortland, and the White Lake Fish Culture Station run by Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.


This year, a total of 21,000 will be stocked and the effort is expected to be long term, Johnson said.


"This is unique. There’s nobody anywhere in the world, at any time, that’s tried to restore a forage species in a lake the size of Lake Ontario in order to restore the resilience of the native fish community," Johnson said. "If this is successful, it will make it more difficult for other invasive species to get a foothold on this part of the lake."  This is taken from an article/interview from the Syracuse post on  Nov. 11th 2012


 


The big thing to note is that Cisco and Alewives are in direct competition with one another. With Alewives being a shallower prey and the Cisco being a deep water prey that basically allows for the potential of blocking another introduced prey fish in the lake. The major benefits are that the B-1/Thiamine issue is not seen in Cisco, and if that is the prey of the Atlantics, Kings, Coho, Steelhead and Lakers that will help phase that deficiency out over time. The other part is that they have a different makeup to the oils found in their body giving it more of a bang for the buck from a nutritional side as I have stated before. Better oil = better ability to eat and grow healthier predators.... 


 


Here is another press release from the DEC from Nov. 8th 2012.


The "bloater" fish, a deepwater cisco, was re-introduced into Lake Ontario offshore of Oswego, bringing the fish back to the lake for the first time in nearly thirty years, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and partner agencies announced today. This historic action is the first of its kind in the Great Lakes and is the culmination of several years of collaborative laboratory, hatchery and field research conducted by federal, state, and provincial agencies. The last known fish was collected in 1983.


"Lake Ontario's sport fisheries are a significant economic driver in New York State, and were valued at more than $113 million in 2007," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "Re-establishing bloaters in Lake Ontario will diversify the fish community, adding stability to the lake's ecosystem and sport fisheries."


Re-establishing self-sustaining populations of bloater in Lake Ontario is the focus of a cooperative, international effort between DEC, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to restore native fish populations in Lake Ontario. This program will improve food web stability and mitigate negative impacts of invasive species; however, it will require a long-term stocking program.


Today's event, at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, also highlighted the new USGS Research Vessel (R/V) Kaho (see USGS link in the right column and put in Kaho as search word), which is stationed at the USGS Lake Ontario Biological Station in Oswego. The new vessel will be used to transport the bloaters offshore for stocking over deep water.


Russ Strach, Director of the USGS Great Lakes Science Center, said, "The capital investment in the new research vessel demonstrates USGS' commitment to cutting-edge deepwater science in Lake Ontario. The new vessel greatly enhances our ability to conduct ecosystem-based fishery research to address management questions important to our partner agencies. I'm proud to see the platform used by the partnership working to restore this important native species."


Deepwater ciscoes, a diverse group of species including bloater, kiyi, blackfin cisco, and shortnose cisco, were once the most abundant prey fish in the lake and supported important commercial fisheries. Members of the whitefish family, bloaters feed primarily on invertebrates in water depths from 180 feet to 650 feet, spawning in winter at great depth, and were an important food source for native lake trout and burbot.


By the mid-20th century, populations declined dramatically in association with over-harvest and expanding populations of invasive alewife and rainbow smelt. Re-introducing bloaters will provide more food choices for predators, such as lake trout and salmon, and diversify the Lake Ontario fish community. Lake trout and salmon that feed primarily on alewife can experience reproductive failure due to a vitamin B deficiency. Predators that feed on native species like bloater are less likely to experience reproductive failure.


The juvenile bloaters stocked today originated from eggs collected by USFWS staff on Lake Michigan during January and February, 2012. Bloater eggs were hatched and juveniles reared at the USGS Tunison Laboratory of Aquatic Sciences and the OMNR's White Lake Fish Culture Station.


USFWS Midwest Assistant Regional Director for Fisheries Todd Turner said, "Restoring native prey fish to Lake Ontario and all the Great Lakes is a priority for the Service. The Midwest Region's Fisheries Program is pleased that the bloater eggs we collected and fertilized from Lake Michigan will contribute to this historic reintroduction event for the Great Lakes."


Jaime Geiger, Northeast Assistant Regional Director for Fisheries said, "We support the efforts of this great partnership and look forward to promoting long term success for the fishery of Lake Ontario."


Michael Morencie, Director of the Fish and Wildlife Services Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, said, "Ontario has a strong commitment to restoring native species in Lake Ontario. This stocking event is an important step in achieving our shared goal to restore native species diversity in the lake."


"Lake Ontario's food web has been devastated by repeated invasive species introductions," said Dr. Chris Goddard, Executive Secretary of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. "Re-establishing deepwater ciscoes in the lake will reduce opportunities for new invasive species to colonize the offshore, deepwater zone and fill the niche that bloaters are most suited to fill."


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A great discussion, lots of interesting posts.

 

One point I would add is there is not an abundance of data that suggests Chinook will consume large portions of bloater if they become reestablished in Lake Ontario. Information from Lake Michigan in the 2000's suggests bloater are a very small portion of Chinook diets (attached picture).  Across this time both alewife and bloater biomass density in LakeMichigan ranged from 10 to 1 kg/ha...so similar amount of each in the lake...yet in the picture, Chinook diets had very few bloater (red) relative to alewife (dashed green).

 

Link to Jacobs Chinook feeding paper: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/fisherycenter/pdfs/Jacobs%20et%20al%202013.pdf

 

Link to L.Mi. Prey fish report: http://www.glsc.usgs.gov/sites/default/files/product_files/2012LakeMichiganPreyfish.pdf

 

 

post-145516-0-33698100-1400859604_thumb.jpg

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Those preyfish reports are already outdated with the recent changes to the food web dynamics on Lake Ontario.  The LOLA report from Lake Ontario shows the zooplankton community is changing almost year to year.  What we knew four years ago is already obsolete.  Bloaters will probably find todays environment suitable as there is plenty of food in the deeper layers of the DCL.  My only concern is during the winter when alewives have to drop down 200' to find food they will be in direct competition with the bloaters.  My guess is many of the dying alewives we are seeing are not the result of severe temp changes but more likely shows that the stress of a long winter has put them in poor shape (they were starving) and they are having trouble handling the rigors of the spawn.  We need some warmer temps to jump start the spring food web season.  If my theory that alewives are in fact starving, it shows that there are not enough apex predators to keep the bait levels inline with available food over the winter stretch.  This goes back to the original premise of this thread.......we need more Kings at a time when Canada is trying to get out of the game.

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 My only concern is during the winter when alewives have to drop down 200' to find food they will be in direct competition with the bloaters.  My guess is many of the dying alewives we are seeing are not the result of severe temp changes but more likely shows that the stress of a long winter has put them in poor shape (they were starving) and they are having trouble handling the rigors of the spawn. 

 

I wonder if the OMNR and NYDEC considered the potential consequences of introducing yet another species into the lake?  Like you pointed out there could be direct competition with alewifes which could lead to a decline in chinook size and population.

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They are not introducing another species in the lake, they are increasing a very minute population that is in the lake that will be beneficial to the predators already in the lake. I believe that their goal is giving the Salmon and Trout another food source which does not expound on the fact that the current food source is lacking in providing Vitamin B to the populations. The kings are much more adaptive than you are giving them credit for, and if there is a ton of Cisco around and a lack of Alewives, I will bet the house that the kings will eat the Ciscoes. 

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