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pro-fish-n-c

Unhappy with tiger muskie stocking techniques

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Returned to the launch in the dark from a tiger fishing trip to see the DEC had just made the yearly stocking of tigers for the location I was at. Unhappy to see 750 to 1000 tigers , dumped off at a boat launch over 20 feet of water at the waters edge, with no cover and no where to go due to current , hugging the shoreline. While we checked them out, we noticed that smallmouths and big tigers were having a feast since the baby tigers were pinned against the shore due to the current.

200 yards from the launch where they were stocked are two different weedy shallow bays, that would seem would be much more ideal then dumping in 20 feet of water in current .

Would have gladly donated my time and boat to shuttle them to more appropriate locations to be stocked if had known.

Was tempted to net them and shuttle them to cover to avoid the feeding frenzy.

Going to contact region 7 tomorrow and offer to volunteer my time and boat if necessary now or in the future. Hard to believe they would just be dumped off like this in such a bad spot, can't imagine the survival rate is very high .

As someone who has put in more then 50 trips for tigers this year I find this distressing .

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Cute little guys and gals. Too bad they wont have much of a chance to grow up. It would be nice if they would accept your offer to help. It might be in violation of some state regulation for them to accept your help but it seems like a waste to toss them in like that. Just very expensive fish food.

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They do some scatter stocking on conesus, but there is no place to put them where they dont get hammered. Gulls, herons, eagles, cormorants, lmb, smb, walleye, tigers, pike all do their share and where can you put them in water where these predators dont exist. Ive watched this extensively and plain in simple they are dumb and sit high in the column. Putting them in weeds keeps em together and thats not good and they refuse to hide in the weeds. For whatever reason they are doing well in otisco even tho most dont last a week.

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I watched them loading up tigers to stock at Conesus a few years ago. They filled tanks on a couple boats and took them to wherever they were released. In the process of loading a LOT of them got spilled out at the launch. They seemed disoriented and just kind of hung out there. I was tempted to net a bunch of them for our pond but didn't want to get arrested. A week later i saw a bunch of them in shallow weeds well up in the inlet. So i assume some were released in the shallow south end slop. From what i saw i'd say they spread them around pretty good. At least that day at that lake.

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I think a lot of it depends on available manpower (laziness could also be a factor as well). As far as I know they will gladly accept volunteers. I think a lot of it comes back to how they are reared in the hatchery...there is an abundance of research indicating that pellet-fed tank reared fish have a much less survival rate than fish raised on minnows and in ponds. But since pellets are cheap and tigers will take to them NYS hatcheries will always go the cheaper route and raise as many as they can, throw as many as they can into a body of water and see what sticks. If you do it long enough you there is obviously some success (i.e. Conesus and Otisco) but there are far better ways they could be managing hybrid muskie fisheries.

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The Muskies Inc chapter I belong to has float stocked for years. Three Rivers MI members donate their time and boats to float stock western PA lakes and rivers.

I think float stocking should increase survival rates, but I haven't seen any studies around it. The other side of the argument would say the additional handling of fish associated with float stocking increases stress in the fingerlings and can decrease survival rates.

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I agree with Mike that the size and quality of fingerlings stocked has the biggest impact on survival rates. I gather that the pellet fed hatchery tigers are pretty dumb, for lack of a better term.

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Just got off phone with DEC. They agreed baby tigers are dumb and ride high in the water column, easily predated, etc.

When I pointed out they were dumping them in current , no weeds around , over deep water, etc they stated that's how it's always been done at that spot and survival rates are adequate.

Pointed out that there are several shallow 4 to 7ft deep weedy bays very close by that would be much better spots, and volunteered to boat them there in the future, biologist was open to the idea for next year and took my name and number.

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I think a lot of it depends on available manpower (laziness could also be a factor as well). As far as I know they will gladly accept volunteers. I think a lot of it comes back to how they are reared in the hatchery...there is an abundance of research indicating that pellet-fed tank reared fish have a much less survival rate than fish raised on minnows and in ponds. But since pellets are cheap and tigers will take to them NYS hatcheries will always go the cheaper route and raise as many as they can, throw as many as they can into a body of water and see what sticks. If you do it long enough you there is obviously some success (i.e. Conesus and Otisco) but there are far better ways they could be managing hybrid muskie fisheries.

Mike, Do you know of any method that was done and studied to have more positive and/or economic results or any projects that are currently being researched. I was wondering if putting them in pens for a couple weeks in the body of water and trapping and feeding them native baitfish could be a viable practice. Then float release them with boats. Maybe pens could be constructed in natural weed beds to help them acclimate to hiding in the weeds and hunting their food in the weeds. And then when it is time to release them, just remove the pen.

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Like i said they scatter stock conesus up to last year with boats and i dont think it helps....you cant put them anywhere except maybe a pen. They will literally float on the surface for hours even days....middle of the lake is no better....the go in to weeds on Otisco and that works but they get hammered there too.

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In my mind scattering them over a larger area seems like it would lessen the opportunity for a localized feeding frenzy though. A couple here and couple there would be harder for the terns and gulls to spot too maybe . But I see now they are easy pickings no matter what when they are floating around on the surface.

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Steve those are great ideas but when it comes down to feasibility it could get tricky...raising them would require a lot of time and supervision (all of it would have to be volunteer too) plus transporting them from a hatchery holding tank to a civilian-made pen in a lake would probably require additional clearance to assure no diseases are spread.

 

Just my opinion, the most ideal method for stocking would be to stock fewer but larger fingerlings/yearlings. They throw thousands upon thousands of them all over the state (many of which are wasted in waters that receive hardly any angling effort - if any at all). If they cut back on the number of fish they try to produce and focus on feeding fewer fish a higher quality forage diet and transport them to outside earthing ponds before release I think it would increase survival. Good luck conveying that to the hatcheries though. I tried having this conversation with Dave Lemon a few years ago and he was all for making changes but the hatcheries are where I recalled the most resistance.

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Steve those are great ideas but when it comes down to feasibility it could get tricky...raising them would require a lot of time and supervision (all of it would have to be volunteer too) 

 

It's too bad we don't know anybody that lives 15 minutes from the hatchery...

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Im all for making things better, but honestly at Otisco its working....we dont need ANY more fish just bigger! Id hate to see too much change at once in Otisco at least as we have a good fishery now. That being said i could prob take care of some fish in a pen for a while till they become a bit wilder as a test....good excuse to spend a couple weeks at the lake! Im sure we could put a pen right in an empty boat slip near mine....we would get free bait to feed everynight from the baitshop's daily die offs....and i could easily raise bait money...the pen is actually easy if they let us do it!

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It sure would be nice to know why the tigers just aren't being caught as much in Conesus as in Otisco. Is it the size of the lake? Is it survival rate and could it be because there are pike there too? Or is it just that there is a lot of food for them in the open waters? If it is poor survival, it sure would be nice if a solution could be found. I wonder if the DEC has analyzed the program there to try and identify any reasons and/or come up with some possible solutions. Maybe stocking them at a larger size would help. Or changing stocking dates or locations. I am under the impression that the DEC just does not have enough data to make a determination on survival rate.

 

Maybe it could be a good college research project. Does anyone know if there is a fisheries studies program at SUNY Geneseo? If so maybe they would be interested in working on a project there. They already have lake access at Long Point. Maybe they could even help try a pen raising project there. If extra help is needed, I think some Chapter 69 members and local anglers would be willing to help.

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Are steelheads and salmon still in pens ( ontario) at the different tribs for implanting on each trib they were held for 2 weeks would not be much different

why not a bait fish fund from mi 69 like chautauqua

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It sure would be nice to know why the tigers just aren't being caught as much in Conesus as in Otisco. Is it the size of the lake? Is it survival rate and could it be because there are pike there too? Or is it just that there is a lot of food for them in the open waters? If it is poor survival, it sure would be nice if a solution could be found. I wonder if the DEC has analyzed the program there to try and identify any reasons and/or come up with some possible solutions. Maybe stocking them at a larger size would help. Or changing stocking dates or locations. I am under the impression that the DEC just does not have enough data to make a determination on survival rate.

Maybe it could be a good college research project. Does anyone know if there is a fisheries studies program at SUNY Geneseo? If so maybe they would be interested in working on a project there. They already have lake access at Long Point. Maybe they could even help try a pen raising project there. If extra help is needed, I think some Chapter 69 members and local anglers would be willing to help.

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It sure would be nice to know why the tigers just aren't being caught as much in Conesus as in Otisco. Is it the size of the lake? Is it survival rate and could it be because there are pike there too? Or is it just that there is a lot of food for them in the open waters? If it is poor survival, it sure would be nice if a solution could be found. I wonder if the DEC has analyzed the program there to try and identify any reasons and/or come up with some possible solutions. Maybe stocking them at a larger size would help. Or changing stocking dates or locations. I am under the impression that the DEC just does not have enough data to make a determination on survival rate.

Maybe it could be a good college research project. Does anyone know if there is a fisheries studies program at SUNY Geneseo? If so maybe they would be interested in working on a project there. They already have lake access at Long Point. Maybe they could even help try a pen raising project there. If extra help is needed, I think some Chapter 69 members and local anglers would be willing to help.

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The only real difference between conesus and otisco is the pike population. No doubt the northerns chow down hard on the little tigers.

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NY State needs to trap Tiger Muskies from Lime Lake and move them to Conesus Lake.Almost impossible to fish for Tigers on Lime Lake unless you have a carry boat or canoe since the Trailered Boat launch is only open to Lake Association Members Only.There are other waters in NY State that have large numbers of 25 to 30" Tigers that do not get bigger due to over population,trap and move some of those as well.PA does the trap netting of purebred muskies from their brute stock lakes and move them to other lakes a lot.

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