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LAKE ONTARIO MEETING with D.E.C/Sea Grant Tue Oct .7th


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Meeting Tue October 7 th at 6;30 pm at the Irondequoit fish and game club.


 Genesee Charter Boat Association and  Lake Ontario Charter Boat  Association are in the process of merging together. ( STRENGTH IN NUMBERS ). Genesee  Charter Boat Assoc. is holding this meeting at our monthly meeting place.  ALL are invited and encouraged to come and at least listen.


Guest/Speakers that night will be Steve LaPan -Great Lakes Fisheries/Lake Ontario....Dave MacNeill-Sea Grant fisheries speacialist.....Webb Pearsall-D.E.C. region 8 fisheries......and hatchery personnel.  Possible others too.


PLEASE ask/supply any questions/concerns on this post so they can be forwarded to proper people in that field/expertise.



This is a 2014 State of the lake type meeting. EXCEPT it is much more personal and straight to the concerns of Lake Ontario subjects.


THIS IS NOT A **** FEST...... I wanted OPEN dialog with the decision makers involved here, and wanted this DURING fishing season.



PLEASE list Questions you may have or PM me direct.




REBEL CHARTERS 585-964-2106



TO BE CONTINUED................................................

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Excellent. Long overdue. Unfortunately, this is too late for any real corrections to be made as egg taking will be about to begin.

Just a few questions that come to mind:

1) Has the NYDEC had any real discussions with the OMNR as to increasing the number of "Alewife controllers" (Chinook Salmon) in Lake Ontario? We are headed into what looks like another tough Winter, the Alewife population is out of control, another tough winter could produce dieoffs. Huge numbers of adult alewives crop off "young of the year" alewives--creating an imbalance an shorting valuable food sources for young fish. I feel this has already begun, due to the number of skippers hooked all season on large lures. The excessive adult alewife population also hurts the natural reproduction of Lake trout, Walleye, and Yellow Perch.  

An increase in Chinook could be addressed in several ways:1) increased stocking,2) holding more in holding pens(DEC's own data shows a 2:1 ratio of returning adults of penfish vs direct stocked, 3) Protecting spawning Chinook in rivers where they actually successfully spawn. Currently Chinook are blocked at beaverdam brook by a gate, and stream law enforcement is minimal everywhere but the SR.

2) Now that the DEC's own data has shown a 2:1 ratio of returning Chinook in favor of pen held fingerlings over direct stocked fingerlings, can we increase the number held in pens? This is especially important in the western basin where no natural reproduction is contributing to the returns.

3) What measures have been put into place to prevent egg "eye up" problems and water issues at Altmar hatchery?

4) Since the Caledonia hatchery was discontinued as a Chinook hatchery, returns to the Niagara river have dwindled considerably. What plans are being made to bring the returns back to the Niagara river?

Edited by Capt Vince Pierleoni
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ALL good points/questions you bring up. And will be forwarded. I know you will fill this questionnaire with more insight from your experience alone !.. Yes , this meeting is late for this year but EARLY and often i hope for next years planning.  It is a hands on / direct contact state of the lake style meeting without the wait. And YOU can ask as many questions as you can fit on this post.


Keep in touch and THANKS for ALWAYS taking/finding the time to post on ALL subjects that come up on L.O.U.



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Hey Dave,

LONG time, hope all is well.  YES all are welcome for this meeting. And  as Vince pointed out, there needs to be  discussion on stream law enforcement and pen rearing Salmon and BOWS.

Both topics you have as many years experience  in as me and Vince.

Post some questions here Dave ( gives DEC personal chance to answer more questions at meeting) and attend meeting for hopeful answers,




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Thanks Jerry.... I'll think of some questions. 


On the topic of stream law enforcement, yes we'll all agree that we need to see much more presence, of CO's on the tribs, and I know other factions in DEC have taken the Law enforcement folks to task on this already.


The bigger issue is the fact that the penalty for law breakers is a slap on the wrist. If I cross the border into Canada, and do something illegal, I'm going to jail, losing my truck and all my gear. Most states out west and Alaska same thing. So when it comes to making the penalty a  deterrant to the crime, Sportsman have to work that through their elected officials and the State of New York court systems.  


One year CO's wrote 117 tickets just on the Genny. they went to a particular judge in Rochester, and only TWO were fined. We pressured the political system to get this particular Judge off that bench, and we did, but the legal system has a hard time worrying about a guy who snagged a fish, when on the same docket, they have rapists and murderers. The poor CO's who did all this work were a tad insulted to say the least. 


Thanks again Jerry.

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You are welcome, Jer.  King Davy, released a 27" Atlantic last week just for you! Only our 3rd of the season. 

A couple other points for the guests to consider:

1) There will be many small matures returning. This in no way is an indicator of any kind of bait shortage. Perhaps due to the excessive Alewife population, many Chinooks have matured early this year.  I know in years past one of the evaluators of Chinook growth was size of returning adults. This will be lower on average this year due to all the early maturing Kings. The few 4 yr olds around are brutes.

2) I understand there is concern once again about getting enough eggs at the hatchery. Can the timing of the artificial water releases(white water races) be adjusted to prevent the loss of the valuable returning Chinooks? These huge releases bring Chinook in too early, and many perish. If this yearly concern of getting enough eggs isn't addressed, then other collection points will have to be established.    

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Should be a great meeting! I hope people attend. 


1. The stream scene needs attention. I've heard the state budget wont allow for more boots on the ground, but I feel these salaries could be paid for with the shenanigans that takes place specifically during Salmon season all along the South shore. I've already been told about Russians utilizing illegal tactics in local tribs for the Salmon.


2. The tagging trailer was a great tool that provided some valuable info. Specifically, that pen raised Chinnys had a survival rate of 2:1. I'd like to see a study done with Canadian Salmon not raised in Salmon River water showing their straying compared to the straying of Salmon River fish. We fish all the Canadian tourneys, and we feel the Salmon we are catching there still act like Salmon of the past. Stagging fish! Not ones that show up one day at the mouth and run the next day. Or fish that disappear at some point in mid August headed to the Salmon River leaving us with next to no Salmon population. What I am getting at is stocking Canadian fry on the  South shores West end of Lake O to see if we can extend the Chinny fishing back into September.

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Hey Vince....always nice when sport fishermen. Help each other out. However I'm a realist when it comes to the Atlantic Salmon Efforts. And I know in the US and actually in Canada the current study is to see if there is a natural returning match of AS strain to the environments that we are left with. Candidly Bill Gates wouldn't have enough money to create a stocking only program for any of the great lakes.


Best and only chance is to find a strain that fits and can be successful from fry to Adult returner. While letting go the AS absolutely at least gives the fish a chance to retrun to a river to maybe help measure success...as a former Charter Boat Capt. I'm personally fine if your client thinks this is a fish of a life time and wants ot harvest it.


But I will lobby to let as many chrome steelhead go boyz....just hit a couple really hot fish this week in the SR.....6 times in the air and into my backing on the tug.


best wishes

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  • 3 weeks later...

Meeting Tuesday Oct. 7th at Irondequoite fish & game club. 6:30 PM  


Open to all/anyone who has an interest in Lake Ontario Salmonoids..


This will be a "State of the lake " style meeting.  With a more direct personal interaction with people who manage Lake Ontario fisheries,  AND NO WAITING for next year to have a meeting on how this year is finishing up. With egg collections to begin in just days, its great to discuss REAL TIME the progress/expectations and contingencies.  


How could you not want to hear first hand Therories and questions on subjects like with the huge amount of baitfish in the lake this year the salmon returning are lake Huron/Superior in size/age ?  


And the INCREDIBLE amounts of Salmon showing up now after most boats are put away.


Weather and $$$$$$ are the biggest CURRENT factors in 2014 .


Hope to see a good turn out/interest in this meeting as it would be easier to set up other meetings.  





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Shout out to Jerry and Sam.....and any others that put last nights event together with the DEC. Nicely done guys and good to see you folks....and many others that we haven't seen in awhile.  

What was discussed?  I wish I could have attended this meeting. 

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Gambler...you missed it they gave away several sets of cow bells and spinners in all kinds of colors.....rods reels etc.


Was well attended....room seemed pretty full.


DEC Co LT Matt kicked off the meeting to talk about the hibitual issues on our tribs with foul play. He delivered a message that I know I've written about on these sites. CO's write tickets, and Judges toss the tickets out without a conviction. as stated by some of us...this has to be taken up with our elected officials, to do two things, Make the fines"Hurt" $250 Max fine doesn't hurt enough, and get the judges who hear these cases to lay the hammer down. Neither going to be an easy task. DEC can write Fish and Game laws but penalty for these cases has to be changed in the State Legislature. The folks attending cited several smaller tribs especially during the brown trout migration that his officers should target.  


Dave McNeil (Sea Grant) showed off an engineering modeling that can capture not only surface temps but through a set of algorithms of water temp densities can also graph for the open water fishery subsurface temps as well. I guess this info is available to the public now, but you can only get a point in time update. Others will chime in.


Steve LePan had the floor for most of the meeting. He had several data sets available on bait fish assessments, creels for April through Sept, Also had the weekly seining results for the infamous flood spring where some feel we lost most of that's years wild stock in the salmon river.


Now I'm taking the risk of delivering to you what I thought I heard. Others may have a different take and that's fine, but let's keep it civil.  


Where are the salmon? At best ....both Anglers and DEC/Scientist can only speculate. Salmon are starting to show up in good numbers at the Salmon river, and likely plenty of fish to get their egg take. Other tribs are starting to see migations of fish, but it's easily evident that arrivals are at least a month late, if not more. to me the most obvious logical reason is the result of fish being late this spring to the inshore waters, cold summer eastly weather, possibly/probably displacing fish from normal routes. DEC thinks they will come. Will it be as many as we are used to....don't know. Egg take at the Hatchery should begin next Tuesday.


Over Abundance of Alewifes - DEC and many in attendance are at odds over this....as has been the position since 1993 when DEC decided to reduce king stocking due to their estimates of lower Alewife levels to stocking levels. Key is the Spring Trawls by USGS. We had a near or record hatch in 2013 of Alewifes. This spring the most important target is how those fish survived the winter to become a new generation of bait fish. the results of the netting after the brutal long cold winter of those fish to finish their first full year in the lake was a sizable HIT from most likely winter stress. However if you take the over all populations of YOY through say age six, while the chart showed a drop from over all alewife strength for 2014, it wasn't overly alarming. Yet this 2013 hatch took a pretty deep hit. This is the first big hit after years 2009-2013 of above avg. successful hatches. While many in the room debated those findings because of their own personal experiences....DEC reminded everyone in the room of the Audit that was done by a team of Forage base scientists from around the globe back in the early 2000's to asses the USGS and DEC process for the netting operation, and the results of the audit maintained that the process to collect this data was sound.  DEC and USGS stands by the 2014 forage survey. Confirmed there was a spring/early summer die off....which they expected due to the coldest longest winter in over 100 years. and that they have no evidence to state there is an over abundance of Alewife in LO.


Salmon - While everybody scratches their heads on where these fish are, DEC also stated that the weight and size of the fish sampled so far this year are at or slighly below avg. Further dispensing the notion  (for DEC)  there are too many bait fish. They would have expeced this data to be pointing in the other direction of more and larger fish. Again not alarming, yet not a tell tale sign to them a condition has changed.


Wild Salmon - Understand that the seining results only states a number of eggs that sucessfuly hatched, and not the survival to adult stages of these fish, the data for the flood year clearly showed a highly successful hatch of fish. While the mid June to early July data showed a slight decrease in the fish netted from the long term avg. The week after the high water netting showed the largest amount of fish netted of the entire netting season. But wild fry to returning adult is much harder to determine now with the marking study for Chinooks complete three years ago.


MORE Pen Reared Fish: DEC confirmed the first years data showed promise that pen reared fish sucessfully find their way back to the river of origin of where they were penned. However, DEC stands firm on gathering a full three years worth of data before making any changes. .


Creel results: Clearly King Salmon catch rates were lower for the April Through Sept time frame. for me two notable results. Salmon catch still above the long term avg. and the Sept. results spiked much higher as those fishing had much better success since the fish are arriving late. Over all another strong year well above the long term avg. as anglers turned their attention to other Salmoid species (Browns, Steelhead and Lake trout).


Marking Trailor - Future project is Coho clipping of fall stocks VS those held for over a year to hopefuly see what stocking method works better. Clipping of Erie Steelhead to asses the current stocking method of putting those fish in a few miles up rivers VS near the mouth of the lake stocking. Also a Lake Trout clipping project on the horizon.

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What was discussed?  I wish I could have attended this meeting. 

I will try to give a quick stab at the highlights.


1.) Lt. Lochen DEC Enforcement

     a.)Discussed short terms enforcement plans for the next month or so around tribs.  Basically a lot of two man teams covering area tribs looking for gross violations.

     b.)Discussed Convictions rates vs tickets.  Rochester is dismal at best, other towns and counties in Region 8 better.

     c.)Discussed the fact that we need to lobby our government reps for better court follow through and upping penalties to a true deterrence.

     d.)Discussed how he and his officers need our help point out of the way lesser know places being abused by snaggers

     e.)Discussed that reporting of incidents to DEC need to be immediate any time of the day vs complaining next day or later.  He gave his work Cell but I can't find it right now.

     f.) Discussed using some peer pressure and gentle tlaks to try to turn some people away from illegal practices but warned of Fisherman harassment laws doing it.


2.) NY State Sea Grant

   a.) Talked about how out of place Lake temperatures were this spring and up till mid summer.

   b.)  Showed animated lake maps of surface and subsurface temperature compared to "Normal years"

   c.) Talked about some possible new weather information NOAA maybe coming out with and possible water temperature prediction as potentially part of that.


3.) DEC Great Lakes Dept.

  a.)  Large discussion on bait fish population and condition (Condition being fish health and weight) this year.  There official stance based upon the netting is this years had less mature alewives being produced and the condition was not as good as previous years that have been on a large upswing.

 b.)Another Large discussion on creel data with this year being another above average year as a whole.  This number reflects the whole lake and not any specific ports and reflects all samoniod species not any one in particular.  Individual species were somewhat broken down with Kings being a center of attention.  The said there were gigantic swings of Kings catch rates based on time periods and again size class was not really broken down.  In all cases this was considered above average compared to historic data.

c.) Discussed survival rates of year classes.  (Maybe someone could better use there memory for this portion)

d.)Discussed a study from Canada this year mapping surface temp the last number of years verse size of winning fish in Tourneys.  This study shows a correlation were surface water temperature affects winning fish size.  Colder water = smaller fish.

e.)Discussed Salmon River Water issues.  New wells have been more a less a bust, pipe from reservoir needs to be cleaned as buildup is causing decreased flow to the hatchery and that it can only be done in June as it's the only time that the decreased water availability caused by the cleaning could be tolerated by the hatchery.  Plans are to hopefully do it this year.  I beleive the numbers bear out that currently the Hatchery is only getting about 50% of what it ideally wants flowing through it right now.  Realistically they are now looking at recirculation systems as the potential big stick to up this number but at best that is 2 years away.

f.)Pen projects were discussed, especially in concerns with possible late deliveries next spring because of possible late egg collection because this years runs and the lake system seemingly a consistent one month behind.

g.)Fish clipping and tagging studies.   Studies of Steelhead in Erie tribs regarding size of stockings in relation to release at trib mouth verse miles upstream and return rates of adults.  Limitations of tagging being used in steelhead studies due to limited data being able to be collected because fish heads needed and release rates being so high in tribs for steelhead.  Studies for Steelies relies on fin and wand activated tags.   Studies of Coho's when there stocking gets back on track.  

h.)Asian Carp update.  NYState has the abilty to test water samples for presence of carp in that water area, all samples negative so far and that NY state is taking part in drills and communications with states closer to problem.



That's my brain dump, please feel free to correct any wrong information due to bad memory or elaborate more.  I apologize for typos and spelling.

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To some it up real quick. They said the Bait population is right at the average mark this year. WRONG! Also the Chinook numbers were a little above average the year! WRONG. O yea Cormorants just hang for a week or so and they are gone! WRONG

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