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Same story on Lake MI as Lake O


Yankee Troller

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Can't wait to see what next year brings. All this could be for nothing. We have had terrible years in the past ,only to have banner fishing the next. Crazy weather the last few years ..

 

So Capt Vince , what were the results of the clipping studies that you participated in . I''d  like to know that . Could shine a lot of light on the subject.

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It is my understanding that the clipping study will go on another 2 years. Returning to streams this year are 2 yr old clipped Kings and 4 yr old clipped Kings. There are also 3 yr old mature Kings that will not provide any data as the clipping was skipped that year. 

Many of us are looking forward to next year.  Based on all the young fish out there if they make it through the winter it should be better. Keep in mind that many of these could be the result of strong natural hatches and does not resolve any of the concerns we have with the hatchery or stocking practices. 

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On spoonpullers there was a photo of HUNDREDS of cormorants off the Toronto island.  The photo was unreal.  There has been a big group of cormorants on Long Pond in Greece.  They have been roosting in a dead tree along the parkway.  Sad to see!

 

Vince and Jerry can attest to this, but until you fish off the Toronto Islands you have never seen Cormorants like they have up there! You will see the same flock flying by your boat for 5 maybe 10 minutes. That's how many of them are up there. When that bait is pushed up on top of that ledge it's game on and they know how to work it! 

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I remember large flocks of the winged rats (cormorants) flying past for over an hour in Mexico bay 10 to 15 years ago! Around the time the guides in Henderson got busted for offing over 1,000 winged rats near Stoney & Galoo Islands.

John

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Okay, so I see how trying to eradicate an invasive fish or mussel could in turn decimate a fishery. Such as poisoning a lake or what not. But if there is truly belief that cormorants are hurting the salmon/trout species as well as warm water fish, bait etc it seems that that would be an easier problem to contain by just poppin off the things or a hunting season perhaps (probably taste nasty). Then again the anti hunting/fishing voices would be heard and we all know how much of a headache that can be.  

 

Also I agree with the fact that people come here for steel head and Salmon and increased Lake Trout stocking makes no sense. I would truly prefer more silver fish as would the majority on this board. Anyways, I remember 10+ years ago I could go out of my home port at Port Bay and catch as many small mouth as I wanted. My father and I would catch our limit and be home by 8 am. Now a good day seems to be catching one or two. This seems to be mainly blamed on the gobies for eating the fry and what not. Even the pan fish population in the bay has decreased dramatically. So here's the question. Lake Trout I have been told feed on gobies. But what I don't know is do these gobies travel as far out to where Lake Trout are in the summer months to where an increased stocking number of Lake trout could be used to help control the goby population? 

 

Just a thought.

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Okay, so I see how trying to eradicate an invasive fish or mussel could in turn decimate a fishery. Such as poisoning a lake or what not. But if there is truly belief that cormorants are hurting the salmon/trout species as well as warm water fish, bait etc it seems that that would be an easier problem to contain by just poppin off the things or a hunting season perhaps (probably taste nasty). Then again the anti hunting/fishing voices would be heard and we all know how much of a headache that can be.  

 

Also I agree with the fact that people come here for steel head and Salmon and increased Lake Trout stocking makes no sense. I would truly prefer more silver fish as would the majority on this board. Anyways, I remember 10+ years ago I could go out of my home port at Port Bay and catch as many small mouth as I wanted. My father and I would catch our limit and be home by 8 am. Now a good day seems to be catching one or two. This seems to be mainly blamed on the gobies for eating the fry and what not. Even the pan fish population in the bay has decreased dramatically. So here's the question. Lake Trout I have been told feed on gobies. But what I don't know is do these gobies travel as far out to where Lake Trout are in the summer months to where an increased stocking number of Lake trout could be used to help control the goby population? 

 

Just a thought.

Lucas, Lake trout are opportunists above and beyond anything else. Yes, they love gobies but they also love the taste and texture of tube jigs. They are eating a ton of gobies but many anglers noticed Lakers higher in the column during Summer months in some locations due to the abundance of adult alewife. There are many periods of time when gobies and Lakers are in the same locations but the reason for the additional Lake trout stocking is "just because." You weren't asked and neither was I. It is not to control goby populations, it is a federal initiative to restore a self sustaining population of Lake trout to the Great Lakes. Although this isn't all bad( lamprey control occurs mainly to protect Lake trout & huge Lakers are kinda cool) it is the opinion of many that it is too much of a priority and the other species management is suffering.    

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Their reason for increasing laker stocking was to have more natural reproduction. If the lakers eat so many gobies, thiamine deficiency should not be an issue and natural reproduction should be a lot higher. They are eating gobies in early spring before the bait comes back from wintering on the bottom of the lake out deep. I see hundreds of lakers a year and spent many years filleting lakers aboard the Advocate for years. I only see lakers spitting or partially digested gobies a lot in April and early May. Once the bait shows up, gobies and smelt seem to be an afterthought as a meal to a laker.

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I'm always interested in Vince's view of things and I believe he is on the "bulls eye" on the lake situation. On another note  I've seen the effects of the cormorants on the fresh water lakes at Cape Cod for over the last 30 years (in-laws place Mid-Cape) and they not only decimate the fish and bait populations but they are also carriers of disease and seriously pollute the waters they inhabit with their feces. Thankfully Lake O is large and the water is "flushed" fairly rapidly compared with the other Great Lakes and most other fresh water bodies in general or they would also be a health hazard. To expand a bit on Brian"s comments lakers are not only "opportunists" but they have a very diversified diet compared with some other species and they are also bottom oriented much of the time and that is where the gobies spend much of their time and in the Spring they both inhabit the same area of the water making it much more likely they will be "targets" at that time of the season. The lakers move to the depths when the temps increase (when the sawbellies also generally move out and down deeper) and they hunt the suspended pods of alewives then and seem to "rest" near bottom under the schools of bait and it used to be also the rainbow smelt then they were available.

Edited by Sk8man
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Exactly Les. This summer off of Sandy, the lakers were not on the usually structure I fish. They were sitting under bait schools all summer. My lake trout weigh points were useless the last two seasons. All I had to do is find bait and I found lakers. I was watching lakers streak from high bait schools to the bottom and then follow the cowbells on the fish finder. They are not eating gobies 40' down over 120-130'!

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The lake invironment changes all the time. Yesteryears invasive species are todays main weapons in the fight against todays invaders. A few years ago we were advised to kill and destroy the gobie. Today it is the invader that is capable of controlling the zebra and the quaga invaders while at the same time being the preferred food of bass and brown. Before too long the entire Lake Ontario ecosystem will have morphed into the Caspian sea ecosystem with pacific salmon on top of the piramid.Maybe we should ask the Iranians and Russians to come populate the shore and fish for Asian carp

It seems to me that we completely screwed up our lake

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Their reason for increasing laker stocking was to have more natural reproduction. If the lakers eat so many gobies, thiamine deficiency should not be an issue and natural reproduction should be a lot higher. They are eating gobies in early spring before the bait comes back from wintering on the bottom of the lake out deep. I see hundreds of lakers a year and spent many years filleting lakers aboard the Advocate for years. I only see lakers spitting or partially digested gobies a lot in April and early May. Once the bait shows up, gobies and smelt seem to be an afterthought as a meal to a laker.

Questions:

1. Was / is the lake trout stockings everyone is throwing out an increase or a return to what has been a normal stocking level ? It is my understanding there was a decrease in lake trout stocking for many years due to federal funding so I'm curious.

2. Do the goby inhabit the same deep waters that lake trout do ?

Thanks :

Rich

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The laker stocking increase is in addition to the 500,000 they were stocking. Gobies are all over the lak bottom out to 200+ according to the reports.

Ok thanks :

It was brought to me by someone in the agency that said there was a reduction for quite some time and now this was to off set.

Was there a reduction in lake trout stocking ?

Rich

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Years ago when they reduced salmon stocking

This person is saying there was problems with the federal hatchery and funding in more recently 5 years or so ago.

Personally I don't know and have no reason not to believe him.

I know you guys are always watch and attending the SOL meeting and such so I just wondered .

Thanks

Rich

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They had hatchery issues a couple years back but that is not the reason for the increase. They are trying to increase natural reproduction by increasing the number of spawning lakers. With alewives as a big part of their diet, they will have thiamine deficiency issues.

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Rick, are you telling me you have not seen the 10 plus minute flock form ibay???? Must have been to busy scooping.

 

I'm not in Rochester enough to see that, and I haven't, but the flock on the North shore around the Toronto Islands is about the worse flock I;ve ever seen.

 

Ok thanks :

It was brought to me by someone in the agency that said there was a reduction for quite some time and now this was to off set.

Was there a reduction in lake trout stocking ?

Rich

 

The reduction was due to them not being able to hit their target stocking numbers due to the Vermont hatchery getting a "slimy rock" (don't quote explanation of this) organism in there hatchery system during a flooding period. It had to be closed down for a period of a few years. So, we scratched for different Lake Trout breeds all over the NE and Canada to put in what we could. Stocking target levels for Lake Trout are 500,000. They have increased that to 800,000 in an attempt to try to get a better natural reproducing effort from the Lake Trout. 

 

Again, my argument is if they found room for 300,000 more LTs, why not use that space in the stocking program for Kings or Steelbows considering that's what drives this fishery 12mos out of the year.

Edited by Yankee Troller
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