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Well said by everyone. Alot of opinions and facts in this forum. If we only had the concrete answer. Speculations at the least. I believe we are fine. Salmon will resurface. Samething last year. No salmon around then all of a sudden they popped up. Late. We are human, they are fish. Sometimes we feel we have it figured out. Then we dont. Of course we want salmon fishing to produce like our evening bass trips. Happy fishing and See You Out There.

Sent from my SM-N900V using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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I'm not hanging my hat on "assuming" everything will be fine. If it was the past 2 winters then we have 4 year classes of fish it affected.

silverfoxcharters.net

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I'm not hanging my hat on "assuming" everything will be fine. If it was the past 2 winters then we have 4 year classes of fish it affected.

silverfoxcharters.net[/quote....

Yeah thats what concerns me! its not like u can stock mature kings! it almost seems no matter what the cause it might be 2-3 years or more before we r spoiled again!!

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I don't imagine Taking all Spring and Summer months the Juvenile Kings is helping at all! The charter captains are the biggest problem out there! They need to produce for clients so they run out to the deep water and put them on the age class Kings that should be put back! The clients all want to bring fillets home ! And its tough to blame them considering what they are paying per pound! 

Why not change size limits around or put a slot in place! At least control all the Juvenile fish being caught and killed! This of course is just my Opinion

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News flash! Its not the captains! Unless you think we all come back with limits ALL the time! 4,000 tournies a year on the lake and its the captains fault.......I never would believe it possibly could have anything to do with tournies, but I may now be up to 20% believing it. Again, I mostly don't think so.

silverfoxcharters.net

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Been fishing the lake for a long time. This August seemed similar to what was typical in the mid 90s to mid 2000s…. 1-3 matures per trip albeit smaller than what they were back then. Been a little spoiled the last 10 years with insane catch rates on matures. The past two winters took their toll on the fishery in many ways….abnormal migratory patterns, consistently changing conditions, reduced growth weights of both salmon and alewife, just to name a few. Caught tons of skippys and teenagers this year (95% C&R btw) so I’m not concerned about overall numbers of fish. Slower growth rates could potentially have produced more 3 &4 yr olds for next year as many salmon may have a delay in maturity.  A little concerned about the reduction in steelhead at least with my catches. Also, despite a strong belief by many I feel alewives populations are struggling in both health and numbers. Can’t help but refer to the 80’s and early 90s when we talk about too much bait. Granted I found bait just about every trip but most schools I marked were tightly bunched most likely as a result of being hammered by predators. Also, why hardly any 30+lb fish this year if there is so much bait?  I’m in this fishery for the long haul with two young boys that I want to experience the great fishery as much as I have. I do not want this to end up like Lake Michigan and experience a crash because of all the pressure we are putting on the DEC to keep catch rates high. Catch rates will be high until they fall off a cliff and then you are fu$#*%

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I am surprised that no one thinks they are just running late. With the cold winter they may stage in massive numbers in 2 more weeks and the hords of fishermen won't be out there to show it because they will have put their boats away. I don't know if this is the case but maybe it could be part of it. What do ya think?

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Fishing on the west end is tough. It has been tough from spring through to the end of summer. I even know a Charter Captain that packed it in this year. Still fishing here and looking for the fall run in numbers. We will know soon enough.

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Could it be that water temps influence fish behavior and location and even which streams they are likely to run? A week ago, the lake was setting up beautifully for staging kings, and we were taking kings in 60 - 120 fow with meat rigs..... another week of W wind, and I think we'd have seen a "normal" late summer pattern, but instead the East wind blew for 2 1/2 days, and temps went to hell, and the fish scattered. As bad as the lake fishing was last year, last fall was my best season ever in the creeks for kings. I think there's a lot of "luck" and weather that goes into where the fish are.........

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They are out there. 175 fow the screen at night is just awesome on the sounder. I don't know where or how they show so quick after sundown but it makes me wonder if they just are tolerating much colder water and deep over 175 feet or more near bottom.

They don't feed down there so what else?

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News flash! Its not the captains! Unless you think we all come back with limits ALL the time! 4,000 tournies a year on the lake and its the captains fault.......I never would believe it possibly could have anything to do with tournies, but I may now be up to 20% believing it. Again, I mostly don't think so.

silverfoxcharters.net

http://www.lakeontariounited.com/fishing-hunting/index.php?/topic/23154-A-Pro-Am-thought...

Agreed....from 4 years ago...any affect today?...all the other factors considered as mentioned make up the other 80%.

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I guess it is human nature and maybe the way our brains organize information to look for the "silver bullet" or one thing or cause that explains it all but it is seldom that complex problems or situations are solved in that manner.  It is also commonplace to place blame on things or people we either don't fully understand or are angry with or resentful toward or perhaps even jealous of. One of the major dangers in this current situation is something that also plagues life's problems in general and that is loss of perspective.

It is something that appears to be potentially present in this current situation. We all have varying opinions about what exactly is going on out there but none of us actually knows that any one particular thing is to blame for the "alleged" decreased numbers of kings caught  or that may or may not have shown up on our depth finders in a particular area of the lake or at a particular time of the season.  So in short nobody truly has a firm handle on this including the DEC or the charter captains or the recreational sport fishermen so getting into the blame game and fostering extreme emotions will do absolutely nothing to help this situation. To air our views and opinions is important in gaining a better understanding of the problem  here and a lot of good information in this regard has been offered.....but again it is only conjecture, opinion, and personal views we are dealing with...not hard solid research data so keeping that in proper perspective is important as we go along in time. Some of this may become clearer as the end of the season soon hits, and the pier fishermen and stream guys, and the Salmon River hatchery folks get a better look at the numbers showing up. In comparison to most other places we still have a wonderful viable and diverse fishery on Lake Ontario despite the many concerns.

Edited by Sk8man

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Been watching this all from the bleachers. Wind and weather are always a huge factor on the migration and summer movement of especially King Salmon. But so many other factors are involved. As much as it seems there are a lot of fishermen on the lake, it's nothing like 20 years ago. So less anglers, on scattered fish from the conditions harder to locate, but almost every other post is a group having a tough day, while another group had a good day. And good and bad are all relative. I was told a Guy came into the hatchery the other day, landed five mature kings, a 15 pound Atlantic, and a double digit steelhead in four hours of fishing and complained the fishing sucked.

 

Not meaning to take a shot, but at this time of year...I'd clear the pier heads at 4:30 AM, and I'd never pass up 15 to 30 foot of water for the first 2 hours, and then once the sun was high I'd work my way out, but never deeper then 100 foot of water IF I was targeting migrating fish. I walk the Charlotte pier every weekend, and for the past three weeks I've watched salmon after salmon proposing all over the river mouth and along the west wall....and not a single boat in sight...and that's at 9 AM.  

 

Expectations: Salmon will turn on an off like a light switch....and it can happen many times during a 24 hour day. But in the fall that light switch on and off cycle is greatly reduced. Most of these fish are no longer taking nourishment. They can't their stomachs have shriveled up as their metabolism has pushed them into seeking a spawning red. Salmon will never lose that aggressive trigger but it's much tougher to trigger it. Case in point one time in a river, I swung a time tested streamer past at least 2-3 hundred fish as they migrated up the Salmon river, and I never had a single take. Not even a turn on my fly. But I've had days where swinging the same streamer, I've hooked several fish who had to choose to come kill  it as I use no weight and swim the fly just as a bait fish would present itself. They are one of the most moodiest fish that swims this time of year.

 

Locations to Troll: As successful as the Pen projects have been, it's been known for a long time that some of those pen reared fish do in fact travel back to the Salmon river. But if not there, tributaries with the best out flows to draw them in. Places like Sodus Bay, while you can catch a horde of fish passing through normally isn't the last stop on their migration. So timing is essential. 

 

Timing: All up to the fish. Two years with similar weather patterns. We'll see what happens this fall, but last year, I had fresh spawning kings (dozens) in front of me in  small tribs throughout Dec. right through Christmas. In my 40 years of doing this...that is the latest I've ever seen fresh salmon in a river ...in those numbers.  

 

How was last year's natural spawn in the SR? When you go to the SOTL meeting next spring, you'll be surprised that the natural hatch was near or at record high levels....WHAT? Everybody complained about the Salmon run last year...but obviously fish were there and were very successful at reproducing.

 

Better Fishermen: ...do we have too many tournaments.. I get it ...they are fun, but you attract the very best top of the line anglers both Pro and Rec to these and over a summer 1000's of fish are vacuumed up. Yeah but natural repo, and stocking must be millions of fish out there. I've never heard of survival to adult stage of any of these species greater then 10%. Most time the estimates are half that. There are way less fish out there then most people envision. May seem like a ton, in a normal year, when most of them all species are penned up on the South shore boundaries.... Anybody having trouble catching lake Trout? Sure there are a lot out there, but they are over the same rock year after year no matter what the weather does. They are not a long range migrator. The avg Pacific species including Steelhead travel up to 15,000 miles a year. If they get scattered like I think everybody who has been fishing all over the place and caught them from 50 foot to 600 foot can attest to, it for sure seems like we've lost a lot of fish.

 

Maybe we have, but I would bet that the avg. 5 to 10% survival of adults is pretty much intact.

 

I'll get a lot of push back on this....but I used to run the junk rods...in the finger lakes in the 60's and LO all my life. I believe they kill fish. 600 Coppers and a 5 pound fish, even released what you think is unharmed, has built up more toxins in their body then against a normal rod and mono line. They won't give up no matter what, but they stress themselves to the point of recovery takes too long and they die. Even big fish that are released can be stressed past survival stage on that heavy tackle.  

 

A study just arrived from BC from a team of biologists who were capturing and tagging wild steelhead in those famed rivers, and putting homing devices on them. They get them into the bank. The fish would struggle a bit many times bumping their body and head against a rock. But not acting hurt. They swam back in the river after the gps device was attached like nothing happened. Then the biologists started tracking...but many of the fish weren't moving staying in the same place hours after release. WHY??? cause they were dead. And the only thing they could point to were fish that had banged their bodies on the rocks. They did autopsies on the fish and found extensive brain and internal organ damage. So how do you handle a fish once it's on the deck? Or landed along a river bank. These fish swam away as if they had been just released into the wild for the first time....as if nothing happened.

 

There are so many factors in where the fish are, what mood are they in, if being returned, how they survive the encounter with us. After reading this I can here it now this is a catch and kill fishery. I have no issue if you are going to eat the fish. There are many who either don't care to eat them, but enjoy the sport of catching them. We have to be ultra careful and experienced in handling these fish. But with survival rates probably in the norm, and if you kill your limit every time you have the chance ...or every fish you can legally take, we are going to see a reduced population YOY and the fishing will continue to get tougher. Couple that with any other factor, weather, disease, accidents, sub production because of issues, then that reduction in success is accelerated. 

 

WELL STOCK MORE!!!  Not that easy. Hatchery capacity and space is needed, that's not available. What are you willing to give up?This is NYS now, not Lake trout, or A salmon those are the Feds programs. And there are a lot of other high use in land fisheries in NYS that have the right to be healthy as well and also have high investment returns. BUILD MORE HATCHEYS!!!! Yeah with what money??? State is dead broke and any available funds will be slated for 100's of other programs before this one...even though there is a significant return on the investment. So these are all valid questions and concerns,. .that by now those of us who've been around a long time understand the mountain of red tape to overcome.....So what can be done??? On us....and not to just complain to the DEC, but sharpen your skills, volunteer for programs like Pen programs, come help us with habitat restoration to create more natural repo in some rivers and tribs that actually do produce.  Be sound in handling of fish, make good decisions on truly only keeping what you need. Is there a better tasting fish then a spring two three pound Coho? But If I have 10 in the cooler or freezer do I need number 11,12,or 13. All personal choice, but think about your choice for just a sec. before making it. That 3 pounder will be 12 to 15 pounds next time around.

 

As usual...long winded....sorry for that.

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Certainly no need for an "apology" about length Davy.....you make some great points to ponder. :yes:

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Good read all....i understand fishing is off but this year was my first trips on Ontario and honestly the fishing didnt seem nearly as tough as i read about. I think most are spoiled and forgot how good we have it....how can we expect AMAZING fishing every year...seems as though fishing has always had ups and downs

King Davy

I especially like your comments on releasing fish. 2 years ago a guest on my boat took me for steelhead in the SR and I caught a nice one put it on a stringer and quit. A couple guys said i really should release it. I then sat and watched the guys catch 20 or so and release them all...i figure they all killed at least one or more, but i got the dirty looks carrying out the ONE fish i came for...i havent been back.

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Exactly Rod, I have seen this type of attitude in the S R now for the past 6-8 years. Last year we had some issues and if guys were not catching double digit fish they cried. We are very spoiled!!!! Like your buddy said, they are glad to get 1 fish a trip!!! We have world class fishing right here, and as everything else in life it goes through cycles. We have to take the good with the bad, and not expect to crush fish every time we go out. We will see good years again soon, just need to ride the coaster till we get there. Get out, enjoy the scenery and the company of whom ever you take fishing and be happy we are able to do that!!

Capt Rich

NY Guide Service

Lake Ontario Charters

Salmon River Drift Boat trips

Waterfowl Hunting.

I agree Rich. Enjoy the moment

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I don't imagine Taking all Spring and Summer months the Juvenile Kings is helping at all! The charter captains are the biggest problem out there! They need to produce for clients so they run out to the deep water and put them on the age class Kings that should be put back! The clients all want to bring fillets home ! And its tough to blame them considering what they are paying per pound! 

Why not change size limits around or put a slot in place! At least control all the Juvenile fish being caught and killed! This of course is just my Opinion

I suggested the same, just a few weeks ago. Slot

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King Davy, in my corespondance with Steve LePan he has stated money is not an issue.  He has more than enough money to do what needs to be done.

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King Davy, in my corespondance with Steve LePan he has stated money is not an issue. He has more than enough money to do what needs to be done.

That's funny, we've had them from time to time come to the GCBA meetings and they said money IS the problem. They talk out their [email protected]$

silverfoxcharters.net

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Seems many folks are blaming the last 2 winters for the dismal fishing. Look back into the seventies and eighties winters - many were the same and the fishing was incredible. In my humble opinion diseases of various kinds are the main problem. Look at the steelhead at the river mouths last year dead and dyeing . Many of the 2 and 3 year old salmon suffered the same fate imo , just that no-one saw them as they were not running the rivers, and dyed in 400/500 feet of water. On my side of the lake there has been a noticeable lack of 2 year classes

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They say natural reproduction is at about 40%. Instead of building more hatcheries, why not add fish ladders to rivers and streams, like the Oswego river? There was talk about it several years back but that went away as soon as it was mentioned

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King Davy,

Even if you are full of BS, your points are very logical and you make me think everytime I read one of your posts.  I appreciate your insight.  I am sure you will annoy somebody because they do not want to believe or even consider it but I hope you continue to chime in.  Thank you,

 

Justin, there is a definite split in the tribs for anglers.  If you harvest a steelhead in some tribs you will be looked down on worse than if you are snagging salmon.  I don't eat LO trout/salmon anymore but I still get smug looks and comments from the C&R guys because I wear camo.  Not all but a fair number of these guys absolutely abuse the Browns and kings for their "eggs".  A lot of these fish end up thrown in the bushes or back into the water dead (hypocrisy?).  Just another motivation to chase eyes in October and November.  Fortunately for us walleye are not a good enough fish for C n R fisherman to immortalize.

 

About Money...  I was told that cost was the determining factor more than once regarding stocking efforts.  I believe there is a big potential for NY to increase its revenue with appropriate investment.  NYC doesn't agree.

 

About the weather...  My feeling is that spring and fall have shrunk in duration.  It seems like I go from shoveling snow to mowing lawn in a couple of weeks.  I am not looking forward to hunting in my t-shirt this year either.  I do not know how the fish react to this since photoperiodism is also a factor but I like to think that if we had a tropical storm dump 3-5 inches of rain in the Ontario basin, that runs would happen now.  Snaggers have never been happier because they can stalk their prey easier because October is now a dry month.  I was with a guy that caught a fresh King Jan 1st @ the Oak this year.  Not a mark on it.  I have heard about these happening in the past but I had heard many similar stories this past year.  The sky may be falling - I am 0% certain that this may or may not be true.   I am 100% certain that change is a constant.

 

"Improvise, Adapt, Overcome"

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Ahh Come on Full of BS...I do that in my job ...but talking about fishing. BS is what gets us off on dead end road discussions. Gill...the Hatchery at Altmar cost between 10 and $20 m over 30 years ago. That "nut' today is in the neighborhood of $50 to $75M....or more You...I and Steve knows there isn't that kind of money floating around...but Gill here's an idea, we should sponsor a telethon...we have a better shot at raising that kind of money.

Those that know me know I don't care to kill trout and salmon, simply because I don't like to eat them. But I do love to fish for them and return my catch, which ultimately and arguably makes me more dangerous to the health of the fishery because it's on me to keep the fish safe if I intend and am fortunate enough to catch several. And I had to learn a lot of good solid release practices over the years to feel confident that the highest percentage of the time I can execute a safe release. Otherwise I shouldn't be fishing if the bigger picture of being a responsible stakeholder to the overall fishery is my goal. And it is.

Spoiled!!! I had many fishermen from the west coast that I used to guide and Charter and all told me the same thing as mentioned before....we are spoiled. The GL fisheries are managed much differently then the west coast. They for the most part hate seeing stocked fish put into a still valid wild fishery. And in many places around the US and the world, where habitat is still viable, fishery managers don't stock fish where wild fish either do, of can thrive. The GL is different. We don't have to apologize if we have a sport fishery that provides a lot of action, but we have to also realize we have a "man made fishery" that can't sustain it's self to that world class standard. So just like any business that produces and maintains it's product there are many many factors both "man made" and natural that can topple it over. And like it or not the finger can't be pointed at just one group or entity on the man made side.

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