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Finders Keepers

Largest Pike this winter?

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I agree with some of the comments on what is a frustrating topic to me. It's funny that I don't see these types of comments regarding other derbies / tournaments that catch a bunch of fish, heck for that matter I still see negative comments on local Bass tournaments and they are catch and release...... Your gonna have to settle on your not going to make everyone happy. Kudos to you and the supporters for having a state wide event. I hope that it grows In participation, fun, and gets more and more kids, people in the outdoors.

It's funny, a guy told me why are you releasing that laker back into the lake (12br) one derby, I said to keep some balance for the breeders. He tells me that the lake is not a breeding lake and that its a stock only lake, and that there's too many lakers in the lake yet that same person complained about people fishing for lakers on the pier during the spawning last fall. Uggggg.

Let's not loose sight of the big picture, we need more sportsman in our world gang, if we're concerned about depleting the pike population due to 55? fisherman? Who's asking the question to DEC that we need more pike fingerlings to stock? Isn't that a good thing?

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As someone who has caught over a 100 pike this year on fresh water, with only a handful above 35", and one over 40", I agree with catch and release, no kill tourneys. Although I will not fault anyone for keeping a legal catch, I feel big pike are a rarer commodity then most people think, on most waters.

I feel it's easier to kill a 140 class buck with a bow then it is to catch a true trophy northern in New York. Maybe I'm better at hunting then targeting big pike though.

Also, suprised no one has mentioned the Cranberry Lake derby and it's effect on that pike fishery.

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Frogger, Your missing the point all together, only so many Northern pike ever make it above 40"! If all the bigger northern pike all get killed for Tournament Entry you end up with hammer handles. Conesus Lake is getting to the hammer handle stage now, if you do not believe me go to the Inlet in late March and look at the northern pike and you will see mostly small ones compared to some that we use to see from 45 to 48"! These same big northern pike thin down the numbers of smaller ones and keep the whole northern pike population in check.Without the bigger northern pike you end up with s large number of smaller hammer handles all competing for the same forage.

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Definitely a great conversation we have going here, and I appreciate the info you guys are providing. It could be the anglers we have spoken to who fish Conesus over-exaggerated their catch of larger pike and have skewed our perception of that waterway. The Cranberry Tourney is C&R (not sure if it started that way) but overfishing the waterway has diminished the pike population as a whole there (large and small pike). 

 

What do you all think of this: a General Pike division within a limited slot (like 25"-35") plus a Trophy Pike division that is C&R for pike over 35" with stress/lie detector tests for the top 3 to ensure no foul play? 

 

As for the question about the photo analysis software, the national tournament (something Bounty I think) that started a few years ago uses the software to detect photoshop edits/adjustments as well as other photo-editing software marks in photos. I don't recall how much they said it was, but it was in the multiples of thousands. Plus, with a statewide event, we won't have the time to run such tests. It need to be streamlined and as simple as possible for us on our end. Managing 29 weigh-in stations is going to be challenging enough, not to mention everything else we do. 

 

I don't know how many larger pike out tournament will take out of the waterways that wouldn't have been taken otherwise. But this is a good year to get an idea, as most likely we won't have an overabundance of anglers (10,000+) - we are expecting to top out in the 2,000-5,000 range, despite the slow start likely due to the main mode of exposure this year being the tackle shops which have not been frequented yet with the lack of ice.

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there is an angler survey (year long) on conesus lake asking for target (bass walleye pike muskies ect) size # anglers and hours
it will be interesting to see the results which I think will be way down from 5 -10 years ago no lake can take the presure that we are now putting on them

it is going to get worse in the future  try launching a boat on the weekend from 5am -7am at conesus

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Mostly Muskie, I'm not sure I missed the point, I read several posts not supporting a fishing event for worry of removing larger size pike from NYS waterways?... If this is not the issue, I apologize, if this is in fact the point, then I think I'm understanding it correctly. I won't get into a never ending dispute about it so if you feel Conesus is endangered so be it. I just get frazzled when some are more worried about the fish than the lack of sportsman that help put them there in the first place.

Sent from my iPad using Lake Ontario United

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I don't think Frogger missed the point ....he was looking at the situation from an "overall" standpoint statewide and was not narrowly focusing on one body of water which many folks agree has its share of problems right now. 

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Esocidae are definitely more durable than salmonids. And maybe not as tough as bass as far as catching and handling. That being said, ham handed handling methods ("it's just a d*** "pickle"...) need to be learned and practiced with any tournament fish. We still have plenty of people who think that fish and other stuff on our planet are an endless resource and through some magic of god and nature no matter what they do there will always be more. How many more dead ends in that regard do we have to experience before we totally understand that we as humans can have an overpowering and negative affect on existing things around us. After reading about and seeing how fish are judged and handled in some tournaments in Europe, I am sure tournaments here can be continually and successfully done without negatively impacting fish populations. Tough and exacting handling and releasing rules need to be applied, with all participants educated and tested before hand on how to handle the fish. Solid musky fisherman already practice these. Also, selected waters, with the emphasis on the health of the fishery, should be used. Fish populations, like any other living populations, can and do go through ups and downs from environmental changes. Some waters are so stable in environment over time they can handle a regular event. Others could not handle it. Same goes for the inhabitants of those waters. It would be up to sponsors and administrators to make sure stable and healthy waters and their populations are somehow monitored and selected. It is, in the end, all about if we care about what we do and how we do it when interacting with others. Does freedom = carelessness? I don't think so......OOPS....There I go ranting. Sorry.... :dull:  I just think a great fishing tournament can be held for a long time if we do it with thought and learning, rather than blindly taking and having a "carefree" time of it. I know how good the fishing for whatever used to be in several waters around the state....jack perch and crappies in Conesus....smallies along the south shore of Ontario.....all fish in Hempstead Lake in Nassau county on Long Island.....for examples. Some downturns were caused by miss handling of the waters. And others not sure about. Could be invasive species or some natural non man caused regular changes that may come back around in time. It would be a testament to our mastery of our environment to be able to have a good and fun and long term statewide fishing tournament that may actually enhance the fishery.... :thinking: 

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Nice insights Panfisher, and I agree (as other have also mentioned) that balance in necessary. And you are right, some waterways can handle fishing pressure better than others due to the many variables that make up the waterway, and education should always be in every angler's arsenal.  :)  Our vision for the Winter Classic is to make it substantial enough to draw anglers from across the country, which will in turn draw-in big name sponsors (already underway), resulting in an increase in the NY economy where it needs it most - in and around many of the waterways where businesses struggle in the wintertime. 

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Instead of trying to ruin pike tournaments across the state and bring it in front of the NYS Conservation Council wouldn't it be a better idea to bring to the conservation council why the state doesn't raise Pike/Musky for stocking But instead they are wasting money raising sturgeon and stocking a fish you can't legally fish for. Just my 2 cents

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nasc620, I believe the DEC is trying to restore many native species,such as sturgen and also some native baitfish. With many of them they are hoping to see them get to a point where there will be naturaly sustainable populations. The theory being that in the longrun, a better and more geneticly resillient population will develop that way. Sturgen will take a while for their numbers to expand into a sustainable population due to their slow very growth rate. They can live to over 100 years. There has been success in other states. Once that happens, they will probably open the species to limited angling. Hopefully we will eventually have some exciting angling opportunities for sturgen.

 

I think the promotion of catch and release and raising the legal limit for northerns makes a lot of sense. With muskies, if the size limits were not raised and catch and release was not promoted, our musky fisheries would be in very poor shape right now. Northers do grow faster and have the potential to produce trophy size fish again. If nothing is done, eventually it will be tough to even catch a 25 incher. We have to decide if we want to catch big ones or if we just want to eat them.

Edited by muskiedreams

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There is one thing I would like to bring up that may be worth considering. I have heard that on very cold days in the winter, a fish that is caught through the ice and exposed to the cold air, may not survive if released. Maybe it depends on how long they are exposed. Maybe there are things that can be done in the release process to increrase their chances of survival. Maybe it is best not to target them if the air temprature is below a certain level.

 

If this is an issue that needs to be taken into consideration, what can be done to minimize this type of mortality. Maybe not allowing entries when air temps are below a certain level. Maybe promoting techniques in the release process to maximize likelyhood of survival. Maybe have a limit on the number days an angler can submit fish during the course of the tournament. They would have to register at the start of the day as one of their alloted days.

 

Catch and release will not provide any benefit if there is limited survival after release.

 

Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences on this?

Edited by muskiedreams

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We have caught and released fish in pretty brutal conditions with no problems. Obviously the trick is not having them exposed to the cold for very long. Pike are a very hardy species (unlike musky from what I've heard). The idea of allotted days would be a logistical and tracking nightmare on our end. Promo videos showing the proper way(s) to C&R the fish is a good idea, but there are already a ton and from what we've seen, anglers who are concerned will do it properly, others will not regardless what we do to promote it. 

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"Promo videos showing the proper way(s) to C&R the fish is a good idea, but there are already a ton and from what we've seen, anglers who are concerned will do it properly, others will not regardless what we do to promote it." ......Finders Keepers ... Any of those vids on YouTube..? Specifically winter time ice and/or no ice cold weather catch and release for northerns? If so, if they were concise and good enough, maybe required by contestants to watch them as a prerequisite for entry. This would be moving it to a whole new.....and improved.....level. I know....$money$...But don't think that first. Think what could be and needs to be done and then how to best afford and deliver it.....

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An updated online leader board in real time to show the leading fish is a must or fishermen will be killing fish with the thinking they have the winner, only to find out after the fact they do not and they could have released the fish.

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FK wrote  The idea of allotted days would be a logistical and tracking nightmare on our end. Promo videos showing the proper way(s) to C&R the fish is a good idea, but there are already a ton and from what we've seen, anglers who are concerned will do it properly, others will not regardless what we do to promote it. 

these are just apart of the responsibility of running a tournament. you should talk to other tournament organizers. Larry would ,be a good place to start. look into how muskie ink run theirs

this is not just a local tournament I think there maybe a need for more planing. the concerns here are legitimate. 

 

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All Muskies Inc tournaments are C&R tournaments. Most are only one or two days on a specific body of water. I'm not sure if any of them involve substantial prizes but some are several hundred $ but less than $1000. Fish are varified by witness and photo of the fish on a bump board. Many of them follow the MI points system. Fish Must be 30" or larger. 4 points for 30" and one point for every inch over 30". A 35" fish would be 9 points. 35.5" would be rounded up to 36" (so 10 pts.). Between 35" but less than 35.5" would be rounded down to 35" (so 9 pts.). Winners would be determined by total points. Tiebreakers are largest fish, then second largest and so on. Multiple day tournaments can be determined by total points over the entire period or best day's catch per angler (this way an angler does not have to fish all days to be in contention). Sometimes there is a longest fish prize or a longest fish pool which you have to enter separately to be considered. You can have other prizes such as for youth which may be more for recognition.

 

If it is not a catch and release tournament, having a minimum lengh to enter and keeping an updated leader board, as Larry mentioned, are probably the most effective ways to keep the number of fish killed to a minimum. It would probably be best to not have daily, weekly or monthly prizes for pike unless they are just for catch and release and drawn from all releases for that period of time. Maybe there are other rules you could use to minimize number of fish killed. If you want to have them brought to weigh station for entry, maybe you could use length instead of weight to determine leaders. That way, anglers would be able to determing quickly if they have a contender. You could use weight as a tiebreaker only.

 

Just some thoughts to consider.

 

Steve

 

VP MI Chapter 69

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Is there such a contraption as a length ruler combined with digital scale that allows the fish to actually be cradled lengthwise while the weight is set? I know this is an old idea, but allowing for fish to be lying on it's side, by the side (inside or outside the boat), in a secure and cradled fashion would be nice. Say a half of a good sized cylinder for the fish, instead of hanging it by the head. In or out of water, on boat or shore, such a device would be far less stressful for the fish. If well made, for the fisherman too. Backed up by camera with all the usual recorded digital data stamps, and with real time info transfer to tourney weigh station(s), it would bring any fishing tournament regardless of species or waters out of the stone ages. The device can be made well and with off the shelf stuff and sold for lower or higher prices depending on options and relative greed factors. Any Rube Goldbergs out there?  $$$ to be made...! And millions of fish to be saved (alive and well!). And for those who would "put a finger on the scale"  :bandit: .....in some way... :smoke: ...that could be dealt with too.   ;)

Edited by panfisher

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Panfisher, Everything you say would be nice but the added expense to purchase the measuring / weighing instrument would not be what the regular guy would spend money on just to fish a tournament, they would just not get in.See I'm not anti tournament either, I believe tournaments promote fishing and make more eyes see what we have for all to enjoy.But at the same time one must look at long term effects on certain fish species to see what may be detrimental to that fishes survival.Catch & Release for Northern Pike with signed witness and lie - detector test for winners at the end is all that is needed to insure that we have big northern pike available for all to enjoy catching again in the future.The promoter of this state wide tourney has said he will be open to discussion to make changes for 2016 Tourney, I'm OK with that and will follow up with them on that comittment they made. In the meantime I will avoid entering this Tourney as the northern pike rules are now.I would ask those who do enter participate by entering all species but northern pike!

Edited by mostlymuskies

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The DEC needs to change the regs by a lake to lake basis.  5 pike any size is way too much for some waters.  The issue with pike in Conesus might not be just a catch and take issue.  In the older days, pike used to have a healthy population of perch to eat.  Now they are eating more alewives and no perch. 

 

Ice derbies offer too many oppuritunites for cheating.  Catch and release tournies would only make it easier.  This derby catch and keep or catch and release, will be easy to bring a fish to the scales that was not caught by the rules.Last thing,  What is the payout going to be with only 55 entrants with an overhead of $15,000 :o ? 

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 Anybody........Where'd that 55 entrants number come from?

Read page 1. 

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They are only paying out the first 3 Places in 7 categories also! They will most likely give you donated merchandise in place of cash!

If they do not get good numbers of entrants they will not be around very long!

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To answer a few of the recent posts (I've been busy making sure the tournament kicked-off ok), we do have an updated leader board online, that is managed throughout the day to help reduce the number of fish being brought in to the stations across all species. Our made mode of advertising (to keep costs down) has been via word of mouth, online, and tackle shops. Since the ice season is just getting going, not too many anglers have been in the shops, so a majority of anglers haven't heard about the event yet. With a bunch of anglers (not mentioning any names) who won't enter until there are a ton of anglers, also prevents the tourney from becoming bigger, but whatever. Now that the ice season is going to set in, we should see a surge of registrations over the next couple weeks, followed by continued growth as more anglers fishing the events across the state visit the shops. The initial costs will hold the payouts lower up to 500 anglers, after which it ramps up. I don't think it will be an issue to get over 500 in the tourney. Even if not, you can look at it this way: those in the event will have a much better shot at the $2200+ in door prizes we have with an average value of $80 each, and we'll just be in the red for this year's event.

 

As for my responsibility running the tournament, I am doing a lot more with our event than most other tournament directors I know, or have spoken with, across the country. Again, this event is 5 years in the making, it's not just an idea our committee woke up with one morning and threw it together. Believe me when I say we will take concerns and comments into consideration, but I will not jeopardize my family, main profession, or way of life by adjusting the tournament in an unrealistic way. 

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They are only paying out the first 3 Places in 7 categories also! They will most likely give you donated merchandise in place of cash!

If they do not get good numbers of entrants they will not be around very long!

The IPA Series is packed with product, this event is all cash, except for the door prizes. We were going to start with 5 places, but decided to drop to 3 to keep the values as high as possible. We'll drop it back to 5 when we get to 500 anglers.

 

By the way, we aren't going anywhere any time soon. All the expense for this event is in the front end - there will be little cost to run this event next year (and the years following) and the network will remain in place. 

Edited by Finders Keepers

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