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John Kelley

Questions about Atlantic Salmon for my NY friends.

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I didn't really know the best section to ask these questions, but I figured this area would work.  As some of you know, I live in South Dakota, where the Walleye is king, and we don't have very many opportunities to fish for salmon and trout, like you guys in NY do.  One of our best cold water resources is the Oahe reservoir on the Missouri River.  It is a 231 mile long reservoir, that runs from Pierre all the way up to Bismarck, ND, and it has some nice deep and cold water.  The state already stocks Chinook salmon in the reservoir, to give us the chance to fish for Kings.  The areas I fish, from the face of the dam, to 20 miles upstream, have over 150' of water in the main channel, and there is an area of just over 200' of water near the dam itself.  It is mostly known as a Walleye lake, and also has some enormous Pike, and great smallmouth fishing.  The forage base consists of smelt, gizzard shad, and lake whitefish.  I just took part in a statewide vote to add Atlantic Salmon(Salmo Salar) to the mix on Lake Oahe, to add another cold water fishing opportunity for South Dakota anglers and visitors alike.  Apparently a ton of other people voted on these stockings as well, as the Game, Fish and Parks people here(same as your DEC) decided to go ahead with Atlantic Salmon stocking in Lake Oahe, starting in 2016.  I am pretty excited about this, because that will give us salmon addicts out here another species to target.  In my two years of working and fishing in NY, I only had the opportunity to catch one Atlantic Salmon out of the Oak, and was awed at it's fighting ability, and it's beautiful appearance.  It was a 30" male with a hooked jaw, and I released it back into Lake O.  I realize that you people of NY and all over the  North eastern and mid Atlantic states have stocked them into several lakes, and call them Land Locked Salmon.  My first question is how many years does it usually take for the stocked fish to become catchable sized, like as in 2-3 pounds or so.  Also, what is considered a nice sized keeper, what is considered large, and what is generally considered a trophy sized Land Locked Salmon.  Do they act more like kings, cohos, steelhead or brown trout in their feeding habits.  Thanks ahead of time for any answers and or corrections. :)  :)  :yes:  :yes:

Edited by John Kelley

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I have caught a bunch of Atlantics over the years and half gave up a good fight and the the other half did not fight much at all.  They do not get as big as kings (a big one is a high teens fish). 

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The taste like kings.  What is the baitfish in the water you are fishing.  If it is alewives, they will not do that great. 

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The taste like kings.  What is the baitfish in the water you are fishing.  If it is alewives, they will not do that great. 

Mostly smelt, with some gizzard shad and Lake whitefish.  Shiners and fatheads as well.  No alewives at all.  I love the taste of Kings, so that will be good.!!

Edited by John Kelley

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There are lots of Landlocks in the finger lakes as well.  Pound for pound they are the hardest fighting salmonid in the finger lakes IMHO.  They are beautiful and they taste pretty good as well.  My home lake is Cayuga and they must be 18" to be legal. 

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There are lots of Landlocks in the finger lakes as well.  Pound for pound they are the hardest fighting salmonid in the finger lakes IMHO.  They are beautiful and they taste pretty good as well.  My home lake is Cayuga and they must be 18" to be legal. 

Thanks DJ717.  Do they cruise high in the water column like steelhead?

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I fish the finger lakes,

You can catch landlocks in shallow or very deep. During the winter months when the bait is very deep I caught one in 260 fow down 135 on a flasher fly, but when alewives are shallow you catch em there. If you catch one over 8lbs in the finger lakes I would call that a trophy and they fight great, had one hit a rigger down 55 come straight to the surface and launch itself airborne, also really great eating IMO. They like small spoons and a fast presentations. Not sure how fast they mature but smaller fish are viscous eaters.

Sent from my C771 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

Edited by Nautitroller

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Aggressive , caught this little guy a few year back in Cayuga

Sent from my SCH-I435 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

post-149480-14250756327312_thumb.jpg

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Like Gambler said, half fight ok the others not so. My personal best was 19lbs and fought like a bag of dog doo. The are a another fish in our lake you can't really target, like coho salmon. Maybe you can develop a program for them in smaller waters. I would have them stock more kings or browns.

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The landlocks are a strain of the Alantics and they are a handfull when the get some size to them.  Hooked a 8# down 70'  It came up and jumped twice and sounded back to the bottom.  Did that a second time before running through the rest of the lines.  They like the temp in the top to the thermocline and orange colored spoons , flasher/flies. usual stuff.  Haven't got one on Ontario yet

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It is my sense that the atlantic stocking program in LO has some issues in terms of it's rate of return on investment. For what I assume is a number of factors, the atlantics do not seem to compete well in LO and from what i understand the number of sizable adults/ stocked juveniles is lower than for the pacific salmonids.

Even in the fingerlakes, where the atlantics are not competing with pacifics, the number of sizable adults seems low compared with the number of juvenile class fish. Perhaps someone with some fisheries knowledge will chime in on this thread but I have always assumed that the atlantics grow slower than the laketrout in the fingers and the kings in LO. I am thinking that this is why we don't see the stocking program for the atlantics work like other stocking programs.

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I'm not a fisheries biologist but I.m sure lakers are the SLOWEST growing trout in the Finger Lakes by far and they have the longest life span as well. One of the things I've been wondering about the Atlantic stockings in Lake O is the fact that they (Atlantics) are originally Anadromous (live adult part of their life cycle in salt water) and if the stocked adults in Lake O leave the fresh water as adults and may take the Hudson to the Atlantic via the St. Lawrence as a possible explanation for the relatively poor numbers of adults in the lake from stocking. I've never had an Atlantic that didn't fight like H or that didn't go airborne several times but on the other hand I've had Coho salmon that came right in without doing much of anything.....who knows what is responsible for those individual differences..... maybe the fish was just having a bad day.... :lol: I've felt like that recently after trudging through the snow ice fishing :)

Edited by Sk8man

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In the finger lakes they are relentless fighters to a fault.  Sometimes it is very hard to revive the small ones that hit spoons half their size due to the fact that they exert so much energy and sometimes they are dragged for awhile without even knowing they are there.  Makes you sick to work at reviving a little guy and watch him swim down only to go belly up 100 yds behind the boat and get  nailed by a damn seagull. 

 

I have had good luck catching them on small copper spoons as well.

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Any time I fish Cayuga I hope for at least 1 nice landlock for the grill.  They are my favorite salmonid to eat and therefore my favorite to catch.  I think they fight great pound for pound. 

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