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ReelPower

The start of Lake Ontario's King fishery - who was there?

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I remember the 80's quite well.

 

1.) Lot's of full time charter captains who made a run at making a living from charters.

2.) Rolling out of the river in the spring with alewives jumping behind the boats thinking how am I going to get a fish to bite with all the food in here.

3.) Loran C was the expensive mans GPS and being with 100 feet of mark was just awesome.

4.) Like mentioned before if it wasn't spring it was all about riggers.  Stacking was just the norm and the idea of down speed and temp were just a small possibility and very unreliable.

5.) Russels Station was the bomb for fishing.  Warm water discharge in spring made it the place to troll in front of.  Warm water made late runs of kings, coho's and steelhead compared to rest of tribs so the "good season" lasted longer.

6.)VHF radio was LOU back then.  What information you got was from listening on the radio and some people clamped up, some talked and you could only believe a little of what you heard.

7.)Paper graphs.  Old boat still has a Sitex with some used rolls on it, but what a pain running out of paper when your out there fishing, thinking you had another roll and were wrong.

8.)Lack of Internet and smart phones to keep track of pop up storms.  Never fun when your out in 500 feet of water look back at port and see black clouds on a forecasted clear and sunny day.

9.) "Power trolling" with number 5 J-Plugs in the Genny almost all the way up to the Veterans bridge in hopes of snagging a fall kings making it's run.

10.)The industry down at the Genny george of small businesses.  Cricket sellers, egg buyers and kids with wagons, bikes and ropes offering to bring you catch up the gorge to you car for a couple of bucks.

11.) Not a lot of people Steelhead fishing in the dead of winter.  Lot of days with me and two other guys to the whole genny.

12.) ESLO main prize always including a new boat, Grady White I believe.

13.) Fishing Regulations that were actually understandable to read now matter where you where or what time it was.

Awesome post!!!!! Brings back great memories!! As a kid,I remember wanting to win the boat prize so bad, and I remember my dad always talking on the VHF......and the paper graphs......holy mackerel!!!!

I remember our old Penn reels with no line counters and my dad always asking me "how many passes did you count" and I'd always forget and just make up a number. I remember purple and black squids behind Luhr Jensen dodgers, 85,000 broken rubber bands always on the boat from all of our homemade releases and other uses, glo sticks in the J-plugs and I'd always lose the cap part.......and on and on and on......

Thanks for sharing,

Chris

Edited by momay4000

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DandyGlows, Michigan squids with license plates, north port mailers, tiger plugs..... And the list goes on.... Anyone have the fish hawk hand held wheel with cable and a temp probe you rubberbanded to a herbie weight? Lol

Sent from my VS980 4G using Lake Ontario United mobile app

 

Missdemeanor, I've still got the Mac-Jac hand held temp. probe and still use it, same as fish hawk.

I remember trolling next to Misty blue out of Oswego, for some reason most every time we past

 

each other I'd hit a double solo of corse,he was good luck for me. Boy it was a night mare fishing Oswego back then in Aug. Sept. that was real combat fishing,if you never fished it in the early days you don't know what a crowd is.

I fished the pro am at Willson with Screw Louie back when that was the only pro-am, we even took home money,we may have done a better place if we hadn't gone out that night, boy was I in bad shape the next day. Wow those were good times.

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M-80 "bait checks".  Evil Eyes.  A spoon always at 50' down.  People so ga-ga over salmon they died during tournaments on Lake Michigan when small boats would risk going out in 12' seas.

Edited by Gill-T

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Missdemeanor, I've still got the Mac-Jac hand held temp. probe and still use it, same as fish hawk.

I remember trolling next to Misty blue out of Oswego, for some reason most every time we past

 

each other I'd hit a double solo of corse,he was good luck for me. Boy it was a night mare fishing Oswego back then in Aug. Sept. that was real combat fishing,if you never fished it in the early days you don't know what a crowd is.

I fished the pro am at Willson with Screw Louie back when that was the only pro-am, we even took home money,we may have done a better place if we hadn't gone out that night, boy was I in bad shape the next day. Wow those were good times.

Hey guys don't forget the C-B radios, they were the thing before the boats got bigger and we went to VFH.

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Me & my brother fished 1st ESLO derby out of Port bay.  Dick Schyer (RIP) was a city then county employee that started it.  We only caught one small lake trout but caught some great smallmouths.

 

Only 5 or 6 salmon caught in that first derby. No one knew how to catch them.  Rev. Modish from Rochester won it with a 5 Lb'r.  He won a 14 ft aluminum boat which he gave to his church.  Little Cleos (with the mermaid) were the hot lures back then, especially the chartreuse ones.

 

I can remember taking brother & father out of Rochester for one of the early derbies.  We counted over 350 boats off Rochester alone.  It was combat fishing in the spring!  This was well before the city/county had a launch and way before the I-bay launch. (even small boats had to duck to get under the I-bay bridge)  We had to go way up river to the marina near the turnaround in order to launch.  One trip, we waited nearly 2 hours to launch!  Weigh in stations gave away a door prize to anyone that weighed in a fish.  If it was legal, it could be weighed in.  I won a great cooler and we got many lures with ESLO written across the tape job for 2 to 5 Lb fish. Rochester weigh in station was at an old building where the ferry terminal now stands.  Parking lot was all gravel & wide open.

 

Oak orchard was a dirt road & Sandy wasn't any better.  Riviera downriggers were a popular choice.  Yellowbird donut & spring releases were very popular.  Black's were new on the market & pinch pads didn't exist. Temp probes were manually lowered on an independent cable.  Digital stuff didn't exist.  CB radios were popular.  Only the largest boats had loran systems.  I had an MKII Black & white fish finder.  Cost 2 weeks pay but was a great unit - cathode ray tube.  Bigger boats had graph units that required scrolls of paper.

 

Tom B.

(LongLine)

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 WOW...... Brings me back.....   The up and comers now are totally spoiled with forums like this. Back in the day, getting info out of guys was like pulling teeth out of a lion. The learning curves are definely shortened these days.       Years ago, before dipseys, copper, leadcores... Down riggers reigned supreme.  Now with the cleaner water, difference in forage and invasive species, the tactics of old tend not to work like they used to.... Not to mention the Salmon being raised at the Caledonia Hatchery.... The fish were monsters and numerous....

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Careful Matt! I got the third degree once about mentioning how spoiled everyone is now......late 80's a 36# king on an Andy Reeker. Lol.

silverfoxcharters.net

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I almost forgot about our first sortie into high tech  The "Combinator " first temp probe we heard of  came from a company in NC . Even worked sometimes . But what a pain in the azz .Fredon's brought back memories , bought my first rivieras from them ,great tackle shop . We would fish the "boil" at Nine Mile in the very early spring (March) ,Slide a 16 ft aluminum boat down the ice covered ramp at Wright's landing and run down to the nuke plant . Back then you could run right tight to shore at Nine mile , no exclusion bouys and no terrorists . We always caught fish flatlining through the outfalls at NM1 and Fitzpatrick . On a side note , anybody remember duck hunting in Oswego Harbor  ? We used to hunt for divers the second half of duck season. Bluebills ,Whistlers , lots of mergansers , even shot a Woodie off the West wall one day . Coasties used to have a heart attack , we were out there in -10 degree weather in a 14 ft mirrocraft with a 7 1/2 horse Honda motor . Ah ,the good old days .

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Vince, I hate to tell you my friend, but the "label" comes quicker than you think!!! Good luck this week at Sodus.

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I remember being 9 or 10 and not being able to sleep the night before I finally got to go with my dad and his buddy to Mexico Bay in his 16 ft blue fin.  Just riggers stacked with black and purple NK-28s, and silver dodgers and blue squids.  Also remember my dad HATING boat traffic to the point where we would be fishing miles away from it just because. After asking all day if we could try "Over where all the boats are" we doubled up on a 26 and 28# king in the first ten minutes! I learned a lesson that day.  Traffic is a P.I.T.A but you have to drag lures where the fish are! 

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Waiting in line all the way around the corner to launch at the Mexico Point state launch hoping the lot wasn't filled up so you had to unhitch the trailer and park in the single car spots.  Miss the Grady and money prize that the old ELSO had. 

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This is great stuff fella's I'm just 50 and remember when the whole lake was like pea soup, never needed to get below 50ft to catch much bigger fish than today's standards, snagging salmon at the end of the Perch River one after another, you could literally walk across them, that's no BS. We had property on the Perch River, I think it was 1975, I was 9 when dad bought the property with a trailer house on it. Opening day of walleye season you could limit out in a few hours over in the Black River Bay Area in between the bouys, 5,6,7, pounders were the norm!! We had a 16ft tri hull with a Evinrude out board, maybe 50hp but it got us around the lake. Keep the stories coming this is great stuff.

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Flat lining Cleo's and Fireplugs out of a 12ft tinny for the early Coho stocks in the seventies with a Mitchell 300 spinning reel and have a King burn and blow up the reel. Andy Reekers , Alpena diamonds , South Port slammers , Dr Hooks , North Port Nailers , Manistees, Badgers, Dandy Glows , Lindy Poptails, Sitexpaper graph Micrologic loran C and big kings in the eighties and lots of them never had to fish and didn't know how to fish deep back then and 8lb cannonballs were the norm.

Edited by bigblue

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We fished out of Kent in the '70's on  the " Producer"  with captain Marty Coon, Great Capt! .....anybody else remember him?

 At the time I believe there were over 300 charter captains on the south shore of Lake Ontario!

 

 

 

 

*-snagging at the Genesee lower falls ruled, bring it back!

 

*-night fishing Russell Station in the fall and running out of sponge so we used cigarette buts instead.

 

*-casting Cleo's at the I.Bay outlet ( before the bridge)!

 

*-Never any clear water in the lake.

 

*-combat fishing during the ESLO

Edited by devoknevo

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We fished out of Kent in the '70's on the " Producer" with captain Marty Coon, Great Capt! .....anybody else remember him?

At the time I believe there were over 300 charter captains on the south shore of Lake Ontario!

*-snagging at the Genesee lower falls ruled, bring it back!

*-night fishing Russell Station in the fall and running out of sponge so we used cigarette buts instead.

*-casting Cleo's at the I.Bay outlet ( before the bridge)!

*-Never any clear water in the lake.

*-combat fishing during the ESLO

Go down to the Genny in the fall and you will start to think snagging is still legal!

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In the late 60's early 70's my best Buddy Dan and I would go fishing every single day after we delivered over 100 papers a day on our route. Most times we'd hit the Braddocks bay ponds, and especially Russell Station out flow. In 1971, we were tossing Roster Tail spinners in the flow wading in ...in our cloths. We used to just clobber the Silver Bass and White Perch on these spinners. All of a sudden Dan hooks this bright silver fish that explodes out of the water over and over. We never heard our drags on our cheap Zebco reels ever chirp, but his was doing that "Zat Zat Zat" those old reels did with their drags. He beached the fish, about a six seven pound beauty. Of course we knew it was some sort of Salmon but had never seen one before. Turns out it was a beautiful Coho.  

 

Mid 70's fishing out of a Classic 21 foot Lyman wood boat on the Flats just east of Oak Orchard, I landed my first King Salmon (24 pounds)  on a Sutton 88 spoon. I got my USCG license in Fall of 1980, and guided on the lake through 2000. Late 70's and 80's were wonderful fishing, and then things got interesting and challenging in the Mid to late 90's. I was off to many other adventures in the Salt and fresh water on wonderful bucket list rivers oceans and lakes around North and South America since then. I get to fish on LO once in awhile and have mostly missed the resurgence of the Salmon fishing we've had for the most part in the 2000's. Of all the places I've been fortunate to fish, I can say we still have the greatest fishing in our back year for pure opportunity to catch world class fish 12 months a year.

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http://www.seagrant.sunysb.edu/glsportfish/pdfs/LOntFishing-Report0609.pdf

 

Here's a link to some historcial data on the lake.

 

Also, anyone remember the "Sonic Wave" huge box like depth finders? We never had one as they were expensive and our boat was too small but they were huge.

 

Man - I love this post and would love to keep hearing stories from the folks who fished in the 80's.

 

Chris

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I remember a trip to Mexico bay back in the early eighties, I was still in high school and just got a job at a local bait and tackle shop. I purchased some new canvas hodgkin waders, a garcia conlon ultralight fishing rod and mitchell garcia 300 spinning reel. We drove my 1979 ford truck to Pulaski where we stayed at the Steelhead lodge. We fished off of nine mile point. The first morning while making my way down over the bank in the dark, I fell and ripped a big hole in my new waders, not having anything else to wear I decided to "wet wade" in the 40 degree water. As far as I can remember, I was the first one in my group to catch a brown while casting little cleos from shore. I caught a few fish that day and was hooked ever since. Fishing has changed a lot since and friends have come and gone...but I still really enjoy getting out fishing for salmon...we are truly lucky to have such a great pacific salmon fishery on the east coast!

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To Chris's post I remember those units. In 1972, I took my meager earnings working at the Woolworth Co. and for my Dad's birthday I bought him a Rivera Solid Steel short Arm Downrigger. We had a 1971 Pen Yan Avenger 22 footer. Tri Hull. I think that boat was the only tri hull boat they ever made, with the Tunnel drive. (We owned many Pen Yan's over the years).

 

These also used to be a Heath kit store on Jefferson Rd in Henrietta (Rochester). Dad and I had bought and built a Depth finder with one of those kits. Reading in magazine in the early 70's we started to understand Salmonids had preferred temperatures. So back to the Heath kit store to purchase their handheld temp gauge. We'd drop the probe over the side, marked the footage on the cable and would pick best temps for these fish.

 

The very first trout or salmon we caught on a downrigger trolling off Rosey's Marsh just West of Braddocks , I had a rod down about 40 feet hoping to catch anything, but targeting brown trout. dad's taking a leak over the side of the boat and the rod pops. I had never seen a rod pop on a rigger before....caught plenty of fish in the spring long lining, but now we had a RELEASE...and Got to Yell...FISH ON! I wanted Dad to get this first fish on his new downrigger, we were puling a yellow Manistee Spoon (remember them?). Dad fumbles to put his short rod away to grab the bucking fishing rod, and he's tight to the fish.

 

Our of the deep green water of the day comes this June colored up Brown trout in that seven eight pound range...I mean this fish was magnificent. The smile on my fathers face was priceless....He swings the fish in...and I KNOCKED IT OFF WITH THE NET!!!!!

Oh my GOD I was ready to kill myself....here it was fish number one on the little Blue steel downrigger, and I booted the netting job. I felt about two inches tall....but as my dad always was....he just laughed patted me on the back and we kept fishing.

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Remember fishing Charlotte pier for the first run of salmon. We got in the paper for that using orange rooster tails . Been hooked ever since.

Sent from my iPad using Lake Ontario United

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Look at the hair on this guy!  (2yrs out of school w/ a stint in the USMC. 1975. 1st salomids I ever caught.  Had to go to the library to figure out they were 2 Browns & a Coho.

1st%20salmonids%2075_zpsvuuewy1r.jpeg

 

1979 – 15 Lb Coho off the Genny with the old ’66 PennYan

79%20-%2015%20coho_zps6xrpdfmg.jpeg

 

80-81.  This little guy served in Iraq & can bench close to 450 Lbs now

1980%20Shawn%20001_zpstxfi7k2v.jpg

 

 

Tom B.

(LongLine)

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Ahhh!  I remember catching my first Lake Ontario salmonid, a coho, in the warm current of Russel's Station.. I get a tear in my eye every time I drive past that closed plant that use to have fishermen there 365 days a year. When the samonid fishery took off; each spring 1000's of boats (99% 18' and under) caught plenty of football browns, cohos,  lakers and steelhead.  Catching of chinooks was spotty. A trip with 2 kings was unheard of until September came around and people caught them at the pier heads. Dick Schleyer came up with an idea to have a fishing derby in the spring where the grand prize was a boat bigger than 99% the boats out there. On those four days each morning had vehicles with trailers lined up onto Rt 18 at Olcott, onto the parkway waiting to launch at Black North Inn, A couple marina launches at Rochester and Sodus. But where where those kings.Everybody those other species and took them in to the weigh stations to get those door prizes. I think it was Ed Rowan that won the first boat and he caught it out of Bald eagle. That port also got winners the next few years. There was something about that west end and catching kings. So much so that a rift formed between the east end and the west end. Henderson (Bill Saiff) even went to have a derby with NO king category.  The early years no one could catch kings consistently. I remember even going out with Vinnie off shore in the night to see if we could catch kings in the summer. The real turning point in king fishing came when Northern King developed the NK 28. The rest is history. Catches of 100's of pounds of kings in the summer was common until the crash. The crash that started with an ocean boat dumping his ballast tanks and releasing the zebra mussel. Those were the days   

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Look at the hair on this guy!  (2yrs out of school w/ a stint in the USMC. 1975. 1st salomids I ever caught.  Had to go to the library to figure out they were 2 Browns & a Coho.

1st%20salmonids%2075_zpsvuuewy1r.jpeg

 

1979 – 15 Lb Coho off the Genny with the old ’66 PennYan

79%20-%2015%20coho_zps6xrpdfmg.jpeg

 

80-81.  This little guy served in Iraq & can bench close to 450 Lbs now

1980%20Shawn%20001_zpstxfi7k2v.jpg

 

 

Tom B.

(LongLine)

Awesome stuff Tom!!!

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I fished Lake O and many other places like the Clyde River and May's Point even as a real young kid for 2 weeks during the summer every year starting in the early 50's with a retired guy who was like a grandfather to me (my own died 2 years before I was born) We mainly fished Sodus Point and Chimney Bluffs and the bay for bass and pike and anything else we could get (Sheeps head, bullheads, catfish, sunnys etc.). I fished the Finger Lakes and streams near there mainly up through 1963 when I went in the military  about 1973 or so I started fishing Lake O again on breaks from college etc. and in 1975 first fished for salmon out of Sodus Point. I didn't have a boat yet so went with two friends who were experienced fishing but who had never fished for salmon. After nearly wiping out our prop on the sandbar to the southwest of the channel in the bay we made it out about a couple hundred yards trolling all the way out the channel and one of my friends says I think I'll try this thing (yellow Manistee wobbler which looked like a miniature manta ray to me :) ). He no longer set the rod in the holder when the drag goes screaming out and he yells" I think I'm snagged on bottom" He instinctively places his thumb on the spool of the reel and all of a sudden the line zips out like there is no tomorrow.....and his thumb actually started smoking from the friction and he dropped the rod with the line still whizzing out. My other buddy picked up the rod and after about a half hour boated a 20 plus king. We had to put cream from the emergency kit on the other friends thumb which had a bunch of skin burned right off it and a couple weeks later he still had it bandaged :lol: Lesson #1: "Don't try to "thumb" a king". After seeing that fight and the fish I was hooked on kings and salmon fishing for life and have been doing it ever since including fishing solo in my first boat  for steelies and salmon in the shipping lanes far from visible shore where the dingies on the big boats and cargo vessels passing by were ten foot longer than my little 13 ft.Whaler with its two 4 ft boom manual Riveria downriggers :lol:  In 1982 my son caught his first salmon and it was 32 lbs and on 12 lb test line andf that was his initiation to salmon fishing and one of the best bonding moments a father and son could ever have

post-145411-0-18400700-1437101446_thumb.jpg

Edited by Sk8man

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http://www.seagrant.sunysb.edu/glsportfish/pdfs/LOntFishing-Report0609.pdf

 

Here's a link to some historcial data on the lake.

 

Also, anyone remember the "Sonic Wave" huge box like depth finders? We never had one as they were expensive and our boat was too small but they were huge.

 

Man - I love this post and would love to keep hearing stories from the folks who fished in the 80's.

 

Chris

After reading and studying all that data.....It seems this is obviously a dying business...  :( 

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