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muskiedreams

Why is Tiger Musky Fishing more productive in Otisco than in Conesus?

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Mr.Esox,What answer do you want to hear?As a stated come up with a resolution of any changes you would like to see we will run it by NY Chapter 69 and then send it off through the Federation of Sportsmen's Club's to get resoultion to New York Conservation Council,then to NY State Legislature. I will return from Guyana the first week of March.Last Internet connection at Rewa Eco Lodge,will be 97 miles up river with no communication this afternoon.

Capt Larry D Jones

M.I.Chapter 69 Regional Representative

Erie County Fishery Advisory Board

Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Club's Director

Edited by mostlymuskies

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Thinking about this from a different angle.

 

If the lake is out of balance - which I think it is, then look for ways to manipulate it back to balance or quasi balance. 

 

Logic for me is that lakes with healthy musky populations also have a very healthy panfish and perch population - something Conesus does not.  What would help with this? 

 

Since small lakes with stunted panfish populations get a stocking of tigers to alleviate the over crowding.  If a lake has poor panfish numbers, then what would you enter into the system?  Based on my 1st premise - Not more tigers, Not more Pike.  Walleye is irrellevant but always with such high growth rates.  A fish better designed to chase down the alewives in open water (alewives blamed for poor panfish/perch growth rates and numbers).  I have always advocated for hybrid bass (but don't hold your breath)  A hybrid trout perhaps.  Throwing more tigers into the system is analogous to the government throwing more money into everything that they do that is wasteful - which is basically everything.  I don't think this lake would have natural trout reproduction so utilizing a hybrid to get faster growth would be a better option.

 

If doing the same thing repeatedly isn't working then trying something new should always be considered.

 

My rambling is done. 

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Conesus perch population is poor but the sunfish / bluegill population is far from poor.  Most are stunted and not over 6". 

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Conesus had the best perch fishing around until it was attempted at making it into a trout lake. All the trout died and the bait food (alewives) exploded and took over.

Don't try to play Mother Nature, End of story.

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Thinking about this from a different angle.

 

If the lake is out of balance - which I think it is, then look for ways to manipulate it back to balance or quasi balance. 

 

Logic for me is that lakes with healthy musky populations also have a very healthy panfish and perch population - something Conesus does not.  What would help with this? 

 

Since small lakes with stunted panfish populations get a stocking of tigers to alleviate the over crowding.  If a lake has poor panfish numbers, then what would you enter into the system?  Based on my 1st premise - Not more tigers, Not more Pike.  Walleye is irrellevant but always with such high growth rates.  A fish better designed to chase down the alewives in open water (alewives blamed for poor panfish/perch growth rates and numbers).  I have always advocated for hybrid bass (but don't hold your breath)  A hybrid trout perhaps.  Throwing more tigers into the system is analogous to the government throwing more money into everything that they do that is wasteful - which is basically everything.  I don't think this lake would have natural trout reproduction so utilizing a hybrid to get faster growth would be a better option.

 

If doing the same thing repeatedly isn't working then trying something new should always be considered.

 

My rambling is done. 

 

Panfish numbers are likely not a problem in Conesus...the biomass is huge and it is a very productive system. I am not familiar with the status of perch however. Survival rates of stocked tigers (as they are currently stocked) is very poor...regardless of which water body you are talking about the mortality rates of stocked tigers is very high so keep in mind that just because the state is stocking tigers continuously, the population isn't continuously exploding.

 

Additionally, esocidae prefer with less-spiney and more linear profiled forage species like sucker, shiner, etc. so generally speaking northern pike and tiger muskie aren't going to prey specifically on centrarchids when given other available forage - of course they do eat them but so do bass and walleye which occur at a much higher density comparatively. You should also note that in the absence of pelagic shad/alewife, hybrid bass very readily select other species like perch, sunfish, and crappie to feed on and they would occur in much higher densities than tiger muskie would...just a thought

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The idea of the use of hybrids is to maintain the level of forage.  The icing is the added sport fishing.  I am not thinking about it as replacing but balancing.  I never bothered to wet any of my boats in conesus this year.  I am not happy with the way it has been fishing lately and I like the lake a lot.  I don't know the answer with absolute certainty but I thought looking at the lake from a different angle would help the conversation.  It use to be considered a very good panfish/perch lake but I doubt anyone is hanging onto that description anymore.  Most of you know more about the history than do I so I appreciate your feedback. 

 

Thanks,

Joe

 

 

Conesus had the best perch fishing around until it was attempted at making it into a trout lake. All the trout died and the bait food (alewives) exploded and took over.
Don't try to play Mother Nature, End of story.

Man manipulates nature.  He can't help himself.

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The tigers dont do much to keep the alewife population in check. The problem with tigers is it takes 10 years for them to get big enough to really move off shore and suspend on bait and most never get that size. Any small lake with tons of alewives is gonna fish hard...the fish just arent hungry. In addition, the alewife predation on perch and walleye fry isnt helping either. Im of the opinion that the DEC is trying to manage Conesus similarly to Otisco as of late.

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I think 5 is too many for anything other than panfish. Properly managed for pike, ny could have many trophy waters at NO cost to anyone. The fish are there and don't even need to be stocked just change some rules...no brainer and something about everyone should want and support.

amen to that x10

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post-142867-14529121475425_thumb.jpgthis is the kind of bs that prevents a true trophy pike fishery here. None of those pike would even get out of the water on my boat

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I couldn't agree more, Old Man, there's absolutely no reason to take 5 pike a day, Just like the Muskie guys they pulled together and got what they want. Why can't the pike regs be similar, but not to extent of the size, or put a slot on them but surly not 5. 2 in the slot. I also will say that the PA. Fish comm totally screwed up our home lake, we had walleye galore and trout pan fish of ever species, then somehow the alewives came to town they are by the tens of thousands, so they stocked the hell out of it with Muskie, exactly what Justin mentioned they did nothing. Time went by they then stocked more Browns and it was a slaughter fest for the muskies, they fed on the trout & walleyes, so what did the knot heads do but stock stripers to clean up the alewives. The guys secret weapon for the stripers was to go up to the trout hatchery and buy 4-6" trout and fish them. This didn't work because Beltzville lake is one tough lake to fish, why they still don't have the alewives under control, don't let this happen on Conesus. I don't know the answers but I do know what doesn't work.

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Personally I think the ice fisherman hacks who kill virtually all Pike and Tigers are to blame. You can also blame the tackle shop who sponsors the yearly ice kill contest at Conesus. No excuse for that in this day and age. Also looking at the big picture, Conesus is probably the #2 Tiger lake in the state even though there really arent that many good lakes in the state for tigers. The DEC stocks many lakes and only a very small percentage of them have a fishable Tiger fishery. Other than Otisco and Conesus and maybe a lake or 2 in the Adirondaks where can you actually fish for them and have a chance at getting one? Count em on 1 hand. For some reason, Tigers are just not catching on. They are probably too small when stocked would be my guess. At least you have a chance at getting a big one at Conesus. Too bad about the Pike there, I agree its not what it was 5 yrs ago. I'd like to see NYS put forth a new minimum Pike size of 28" -30" instead of an 18" dink thats maybe only 2 yrs old and 5 per day is way too many, 2 sounds alot better to me.

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Im all for all types of fishing, but from a selfish standpoint im real happy with the open water in mid january on Otisco. Kill derbies have to stop on fish that take over a decade to grow. We have several too, but getting the limit up to 36" has helped. Many lakes in the Adirondacks are stock with tigers and ll salmon and they dont get a return in most situations.

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These things are all easier said than done but having discussions is the first step. Solutions might be more complicated than it seems.

 

Even if more hard water anglers start releasing their fish or if increasing legal size makes them release more, if there is a lot of delayed mortality there may not be much positive impact. It is harder to determine if the fish swims away strong when you drop it into a hole in the ice. So releasing fish in ice fishing might not be as positive of a practice as it is with open water fishing.

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I agree steve but if the ice anglers dont try to release some they definitely wont survive. The best solution for the fish is no safe ice! Lol. But seriously though...educating anglers on how to handle big fish so they can be released is the key. After that it takes practice to do it quickly. A page in the fishing guide stressing these handling guidelines and signage at access points is the goal.

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Correct me if Im wrong but wasnt the NYS Tiger record taken from Otisco through the ice a few yrs ago and if my memory serves me correct there were actually 2 huge ice fish from there that year. Im assuming both were kept to weigh? Im with you justtracytrolling, Im all for a mild winter so the ice hacks cant get out. Sorry but true.

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It was actually a world record on a tip up. I have no problem with keeping a fish like that....though ive released a couple that size...fish around 20 pounds are fairly common trolling and every year a real big fish or two are caught.

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We should make ice fishing illegal so those dang hacks don't go and ruin your lake son.

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Get the limit down to 2 and in the slot 26"-30" those are the best size eating anyway, if we keep any when my dad was still with us he loved to eat a pike that's the size he would keep otherwise they went back. All the shows on tv want you to practice catch and release, the Linders, Joe Butcher, Mark Romanack, there guys are trying to set an example of what it take to keep a lake in sinc. Maybe get the New York fish and game to take a few lessens from Maine's fish and game program. We go to Maine every year to ice fish, all holes must be drilled by hand no live bait and 2 trout per person, and someone is always watching. I play chief cook and bottle washer and wood stove tender. No way in hell am I leaving the cabin with the temp -30*F for 2 trout. I think the no powered ice augers make a huge difference that would be a thought?

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Correct me if Im wrong but wasnt the NYS Tiger record taken from Otisco through the ice a few yrs ago and if my memory serves me correct there were actually 2 huge ice fish from there that year. Im assuming both were kept to weigh? Im with you justtracytrolling, Im all for a mild winter so the ice hacks cant get out. Sorry but true.

 

Those fish were kept for the wall, not to weigh. That tournament had live weigh-in on the ice. If they chose to release them , they could have.

 

There are far more tigers killed on otisco in the bass tournaments EVERY weekend than there are ice fishing.

 

Out of the 3 ice fishing derbies last year, I think they were 3 tigers caught that were over 36".

 

I know one that was safely released, 37"   

 

A 41" went on the wall.

 

The other one, I don't know.

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Before the 36" limit it was a different matter....im not sure the bass guy's do much damage as they really have no way to get them in the boat. The causeway definitely is the place where most are killed either by accident or on purpose. In any case if the size limit is closer to maturity we will have a lot more big fish for all anglers to share. The state doesnt view these fish as table fare. They are viewed as a sportfish and where is the sport in not letting them at least grow up a little. Even a 40 inch tiger is not a BIG tiger yet...Tim is right about the fact that ice guys arent all hacks and boat guys arent all conservationists.

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I fished 1 of these ice events with tim... as we werent forced to keep the fish i participated. I personally havent even removed one from the water that I reeled in from otisco. I take a bad pic in the net and goodbye...i even ask paying customers do you NEED a pic of the fish as id rather not handle em. The fun should be getting out and landing the fish...not the hero shot...and this is in regards to sportfish not table fare.

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This is all interesting  and worth discussing but I would like to get back to the original topic and my intention of this discussion.

 

My intention for this discussion was:

 

1) To try to identify possible reasons why the Conesus Lake tiger fishery has not shaped up as well as that at Otisco. This includes discussions of observations and thoughts as to why and if more data needs to be gathered.

 

2) Discussion of ideas that could practically be proposed and implemented to help improve the Conesus Lake tiger fishery.

 

3) Ultimately having the same discussions with regional DEC Fisheries Managers and to find ways to bring the angling and local communities together to work with them to help create a trophy tiger fishery at Conesus. This might include learning about details of current stocking, monitoring and other relevent management activities, bringing volunteers together to help with research and other field activities, raising funds, seeking donations and soliciting help from SUNY Universities for research and management expertise.

 

This discussion is just the first step. I want to take the ideas and thoughts I gather here to regional DEC Fisheries Managers to have a discussion about if this is a goal they are willing to support and how Muskies Inc. Chapter 69 can help to reach this goal. For those of you who are not members of Muskies Inc. Chapter 69 and are interested in becoming involved in an effort to improve the Conesus tiger musky fishery, I invite you to join us and pitch in to help us make it a reality.

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Since that limit came into effect the Tigers in ice derbies are way down and the boat catching seems up IMO. I don't think tiger anglers have much to worry about at the moment

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Since that limit came into effect the Tigers in ice derbies are way down and the boat catching seems up IMO. I don't think tiger anglers have much to worry about at the moment

What limit are you referring to? The only recent change for tigers that I am familiar with is the 2012 size increase on Otisco to 36" from 30". Since 2012 do you think that had a significant impact there? And in waters that have tigers and purebreds, size limits for tiger was made the same as that for pures. The statewide limit for tigers is 30". So the min size at Conesus is 30". I think it would be good if they make the statewide limit 36" and maybe eventually 40", depending on future assessments. But I also want to talk to the DEC about current Conesus Lake stocking sizes and methods to see if changes could be made to help reduce early mortality.

 

I am not an ice fisherman but I am wondering about best catch and release practices dos and don'ts for ice fishing including tackle, hooks, tools and concerns about protecting fish from sub freezing air exposure.

Edited by muskiedreams

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