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Now that the kings have run...opinions, please.

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Okay, so there was a long thread this summer on where the kings had disappeared to. Some of our members seemed to be whacking them offshore (>20 miles out), and there were a few ports that seemed to turn on here and there for a few days, but for the most part they were MIA. 

 

Now that the runs are pretty much over, what's the general consensus on the status of matures last year? Did we have lots of kings playing hide and seek because of the crazy winter? Were they deep over deep? Or were they just not there? I'd love to hear from folks at the Niagara all the way up to the Salmon River for this admittedly unscientific survey. 

 

I know that me and my crew struggled at times, and maybe I just want to hear that we don't suck so bad... :rofl:

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The run up Burt Dam on Eighteen Mile was poor to horrible from people I talked to.  The Canadians I have talked to said there were strong runs on their tribs but dominated by naturals.  Best non-scientific guess is something may have happened to much of the American year- 3 stockers.  Combine that with the changes in the lake from the cold previous winter and abnormal amount of East winds or daily changing winds and I think you have the recipe for a tough year.  I would like to know the final count at the Salmon River.  Yes there was supposedly a good late run, but there was poor fishing most of the early season. 

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We didn't do a lot of salmon fishing this year, however in early August, out of O-town we found them in 600+ fow. Then during the loc derby there were plenty to go around in shallow 90-170 fow. And neither were super deep in the water column. Flasher/fly worked but it was mostly a spoon bite for us. Weather dictates where they are. That's until they start to get ready to spawn

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i only have a couple of weeks  to  get to the big  O in the summer   last year  I was  there the last 2 weeks of July  first couple days were ok then   the fish seemed to have vanished  we fished  to 350 feet of  of water. Soon i will have to pick  dates  for this year  I would like to  fish for silver feeding  kings I guess  im going to put off picking weeks for as long as I can.  Ultimately would like to have  two weeks of good fishing with none  of those fleas  they can really be a hassle  

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I fished the lake and river as hard as normal and, caught less than 10% of last year's catch. In 30+ days on the lake, I caught fewer than 30 mature kings. I thought they would eventually show up in the SR but, I caught fewer in the whole season than I did last year in a normal day. I had to go to smaller streams to find good numbers of kings this year. Don't know what happened - flood of 2010, cold winter, invasive species??????? Maybe we have a well hidden population of seals eating all the fish.

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It would be interesting  to hear from the river drift-charters and guides on the Salmon River.

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I mainly fish out of Olcott. It was slow for the kings. I heard the spring was hot, then it died right out. You don't suck. We all sucked. Not many good reports all year. All year, it was mainly a deep water bite. 400+ fow all year.A lot of searching. Good steelies while searching for kings made it exciting. The run at Olcott and Burt was average/good. It didn't suck. A lot of fish around the piers and harbor and up at the dam from mid Sept to end of Oct. The norm. I've seen better and worse. I agree though, the question still remains! Where were the kings all year. I also heard there was a ton of bait. We always marked a ton. Hard to compete with the real thing! We watched the kings on the graph come up in our sets, and dive back down. Some streaked from 200+ fow to rigs at 60-80 down, then go back down.

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Keith's question is a great one.  I think no matter how you slice it the accurate answer will be complicated and complex and should take into consideration the Canadian side of the pond also to get a good handle on it. The data numbers from the Salmon river and egg collection effort would be important information  for the equation too. It did seem to be a rather unusual year from the standpoint of the apparent migration pattern and the expected numbers at various points along the way but many variables affect that anyway (bait locations, currents, water temps, weather/wind.  If there was a true shortage I should think that the Salmon River results should be a pretty good general index of things. It seemed that there were a lot of smaller fish this year trolling in the lake at least with a weak display of fish in the high 20's through 30 lb range from the reports here anyway. I can't help but think something affected the upper year class somewhere along the line.

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Great Spring for kings during the LOC for me . Water temps & clarity forced them into water  less than 25',fishing like the old days. The few times I got out in the summer, lake/weather was not great .  Sept  off the Pierhed was good but not like last year.

 

 Some years are better than others  for a lot of reasons.Every year can't be great.  Pretty simple to me. See what happens next year.

Edited by Has Been

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Funny thing is the exact same thing here on Lake Michigan.  Put 900 miles on water this year trying to track down fish - the kings just werent there.  I think we caught maybe a total of 12 4-year-old kings.  Most of the year was dominated by steelhead, small kings, and dragging bottom for lakers.  In Milwaukee a thermalcline never set up until late August.  Then it was around for 1 week and then the lake went back to being one temp from top to bottom again.  I cant even count the number of lakers that I caught on leadcore....and Im not talking 10 colors - Im talking 2 to 5 colors. 

 

Fishing the run here in the marina and river were also slower than normal.  Personally, I think something happened to that stock.  I know they cut back on stocking a few years ago, but it just seemed like a ton less fish returning this year.

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My opinion is that there was a large bait fish kill off from the cold temps this past winter.  The lake didn't have enough bait to keep those 3 year old turning 4 years old kings alive.  I based this purely on how the walleye season was in May.  There wasn't any bait in the bays and we slammed the walleye because they were just so hungry they had to bite my bait.  All the walleye anglers will agree it was a stellar year for those old marble eyes.

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I would say this past seasons size (in general) was smaller than the past 2 seasons. We caught fish from the spring till September. We tried different patterns and adapted as we fished. And had (in the back of our minds) the mindset that mother nature was a few weeks behind from past years...due to a cold winter and a late spring. Spoons were hot all season! Especially on junk lines. A lot of the flasher/fly combos that were productive in the past didn't fire this year. Dipseys took fish. But the rigger bite was equally as productive. We stacked spoons with flasher flys towards the end of the summer. And we slammed them! June was null as usual. But the steelhead bite was red-hot!! It was catching (not fishing) a few of the days. I never fished deeper than high 300's in my boat. 90-350 was my best water.

Edited by BAZOOKAJOE

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Chas I think that the distribution of the bait may have been screwed up because many folks including me saw hoards of bait out there this season and a lot of it without fish appearing to be nearby.

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My opinion is that there was a large bait fish kill off from the cold temps this past winter. The lake didn't have enough bait to keep those 3 year old turning 4 years old kings alive. I based this purely on how the walleye season was in May. There wasn't any bait in the bays and we slammed the walleye because they were just so hungry they had to bite my bait. All the walleye anglers will agree it was a stellar year for those old marble eyes.

Were you on the same lake? I never heard anyone say that their was not much bait. It was thick from west to east.

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We had a OK year for catching fish, spoons worked best. Most common salmon size was 8-12lbs, not to many over 20lbs.

Steelhead where a lot of fun. Mid August was not as good as usual. We where off the lake 3rd week in August for the year and just thought, bite was late and we missed it.

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Chas I think that the distribution of the bait may have been screwed up because many folks including me saw hoards of bait out there this season and a lot of it without fish appearing to be nearby.

 
I was just the opposite.

 

 

Were you on the same lake? I never heard anyone say that their was not much bait. It was thick from west to east.

I was on the east end St. Lawrence/Henderson area and there wasn't much bait I had lots of arcs. Nothing compared to previous seasons.  Early spring bait was non existent.  At least for me.

Edited by Chas0218

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I was just the opposite.

I was on the east end St. Lawrence/Henderson area and there wasn't much bait I had lots of arcs. Nothing compared to previous seasons. Early spring bait was non existent. At least for me.

Gotcha.

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I fished west of Rochester a few times and the bait was over-abundant to say the least. 80-100 fow in the summer. Lower 1/2 column was loaded!!

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We fished from Rochester West. South and North shore. Bait was ridiculous at times. The Salmon fishing was weak most of the season. I had a chance to chat with a very good Salmon angler on the North shore last weekend. He averages 15-20 30lb+ Salmon a Summer. He had 2 this Summer. Returns to the Salmon River were weak as well. 

 

My guess is we lost a class out there, or we are gonna have a nice 4yr old school swimming out there come 2015 (highly doubtful)

 

The good news is we saw a lot of 1 and 2 yr olds in the system most of the year. So the future looks promising.

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This year was not good for matures.  There was a small bite off Olcott in the spring and that disappeared fast.  We had to fish long and hard to catch a 20 lb salmon in the spring near the Bar.  There were no salmon caught to speak of from May to early August.  The regulars had to switch to trout tactics in order to catch fish.   Even charters stuggled on the west end.  This change could be noticed in 2013.  We were catching a lot of matures or 1st year salmon during the 2013 year and we were talking about less and less teenagers being caught.  The teenagers were not there in the amounts that we were use to catching in 2013.  What ever change happened, it was not caused from the hard winter in our minds but from something before the hard winter we had.  Lots of small salmon caught this year with 1 year olds beating out the 2 year olds by a 2 -1 ratio.  It is going to be interesting to see what the spring holds for 2015.

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