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RUNNIN REBEL

Lake Ontario Bait compared to Lake Huron & Lake Michigan

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WOW!!!!......Great info.... thank you

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I suspect we are destined for the same fate. Perch are limited bass smallmouth way down,, no walleye ... meanwhile gobies and muscles destroying and eating the food for bait,,,

No balance...

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The real question is, Is there anything the average fisherman can do to help?

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Lots of walleye in the lake the last two year classes were near record due to the cold winters that supressed the alewifes. These things are cyclical,don't forget the last two winters were the coldest since Pacific's were introduced to the lake.

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Very interesting read. I also listened to the audio.

Was there any mention of the impact of the spiney water flea on Alewife diet? It is my understanding that Alewife have adapted to feeding on them which should provide a plentiful food source for most of the summer. I always thought the arrival of these was somewhat of a saving grace as an alternative and plentiful food source for Alewife. Not sure if there has been much research done on this dynamic or not.

We really need to get to the point with our stocking efforts that we can follow the Alewife hatches. High hatch, stock more, low hatch stock less. You see this with just about any other natural population i.e when food sources are low, reproduction is decreased and when it is high reproduction is increased. Stocking the same amount year after year regardless of the previous year alewife hatch is not a healthy way to manage a fishery. We are doing the bait trawls now. The results of the YOY alewife findings should determine the Spring 2017 Salmon stocking. According to the Huron study one of the biggest factors leading to a crash is missing bait year classes. By continuing to stock the same amount of salmon after two years of poor alewife hatches doesn’t make a lot of sense. We very well could decimate those two year classes making it all the more difficult for the alewife population to recover as there won’t be a sizable breeding population of Alewife 2-3 years from now. Add in a bad winter in one of those future years and a bait crash is very is very possible.

Out of everything mentioned in this report, the most concerning factor is the additional efforts that will be done in the future to decrease nutrient load in Lake Erie. A highly productive Lake Erie feeding Lake Ontario clearly is what separates us from Huron and Michigan as the more productive lake. The balancing act that will follow is not allowing the adult Alewife population to get so high that the lake cannot support a good hatch.  This is what happened in 2003 in Huron. A record high Alewife hatch was followed by a total crash of the whole population. Basically they ate themselves out of house and home and nothing survived the winter. The other side to that is that if the Adult Alewife population is lowered and has a couple bad years of YOY hatches and the predator population remains high the Alewife population could be decimated. To be honest, I’m not sure we can control any of this and we may just have to deal with the cards we are handed, much like Huron is doing now.

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Last research I saw was from 1995 Lake Michigan that showed spiny fleas made up 30% of alewife diet. Spiny fleas are not a godsend as they are zooplankton predators responsible for a huge decline in the upper water level zooplankton community.

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I don't know what the right answer is, but I do know trolling the last 2 years, we have still seen the huge bait clouds on the fish finder, but unlike years past there weren't any hooks hanging around the clouds. I find it hard to believe there is a significant lack of bait out there...

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Not worried

How are you not worried?

Or you a LT fisherman ?

Edited by Ryno23

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I went to the symposium and heard Frank's presentation. Frank had not reviewed the current LOLA lower food web assessment so his presentation was more of "what could happen" not what actually is happening. Phosphorus levels this decade on Erie have been too high for water quality. Last year they passed a bill in Ohio that is meant to decrease farm runoff by mandating that fertilizer is not spread prior to a rain event and manure spreading when the ground is frozen. Since there are no manure police out there I think this will amount to a whole lotta nothing. Lake Erie turns over completely every 3.5 years so we on Ontario get all her goodies in rapid turn over quickly nullifying the effects of bad winters. Frank's figures on phosphorus levels in the spring of 2014 are misleading. Because of the prolonged cold winter farmers in Ohio were not out spreading fertilizer so of course downstream values are going to be less. Summer phosphorus and more-so fall phosphorus levels are where they should be. Remember how warm we were trending prior to the 2013-2014 winters. We were growing too many alewives and gizzard shad numbers exploded. Sechi disk readings were trending towards the lake getting MORE eutrophic. Remember the phytoplankton blooms we were having? Look we just came off two of the worst back to back winters in history....followed by one of the warmest on record. Everyone take a deep breath

Edited by Gill-T

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Good insight Gill-T. I started reading a little bit about Lake Erie phosphorus problems. Doesn't appear that there is a quick and easy solution to the phosphorus load from agriculture going in to Lake Erie. Lake Erie has actually been getting worse in recent years. Seems the same struggles have been going in other parts of the country for decades with little progress i.e dead zones in Gulf and Chesapeake Bay as prime examples. One man's trash (Erie) is another mans treasure (Ontario) I guess.

 

Good read for those that are interested  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/05/us/lifting-ban-toledo-says-its-water-is-safe-to-drink-again.html

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Lake Erie perch regurgitate a lot of spiny fleas. What is the nutrient value of these creatures compared to other zoo plankton species?

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Spiny fleas are not as rich as the Mysis Shrimp and Copepods that alewives start targeting deep in the fall and winter. During late fall Copepods begin to store lipids in sacs to gear up for reproduction cycle. Alewives get there grease-on by feeding on these large zooplankton and then pass it on to the salmon that eat them. You know that white stuff bubbling up from salmon meat on the grill? Thank the copepod. YOY alewives have difficulty with all the sticky projections and tend to eat more palatable zooplankton

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Even on good years, they make things sound horrible.  Some issues bother me but some is the same old gloom and doom they have been spewing for decades.  If the lake was on a collision coarse with a crash, why would they dump 300,000 more long living lake trout into the system? 

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How about dumping more bait? See also Bloater Chub. A conspiracy theorist might say that king fishing was off target on purpose to protect the new pet project. But that is just crazy talk ......

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Even on good years, they make things sound horrible. Some issues bother me but some is the same old gloom and doom they have been spewing for decades. If the lake was on a collision coarse with a crash, why would they dump 300,000 more long living lake trout into the system?

I thought it was the initiative to get the natural species numbers back up. Edited by Ryno23

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I thought it was the initiative to get the natural species numbers back up.

They did it to boost natural reproduction.  Either way, they tell us things are not good with bait numbers yet they stock more lakers.  If things were as bad as they say with the bait, wouldn't stocking more fish be the last thing on your agenda?

Edited by GAMBLER

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For Lake Michigan, I still dont buy it.  There are bait clouds everywhere.  They just arent in the same places that they used to be when the lake was green and they were doing surveys with nets.  Any fisherman with will tell you that there are clouds of bait hunkered to the bottom once the sun comes up.  They are at the bottom for safety since the water in gin clear.  Once the sun hits the horizon, they come up off the bottom and your fish finder looks like a christmas tree.  Last year it was hard to even catch fish during the power hour since there was so much natural bait.  

 

So other personal observations:

4 years ago there were so many alewives that if you went for a cruise up the Milwaukee river a pack of 20 gulls would follow you because you were chopping them up with your prop.

2 summers ago, they go to the point where they almost had to start sweeping the beaches again due to them washing up on shore

last summer, it often looked like a minefield of floating alewives on a calm day 

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They did it to boost natural reproduction. Either way, they tell us things are not good with bait numbers yet they stock more lakers. If things were as bad as they say with the bait, wouldn't stocking more fish be the last thing on your agenda?

I agree with what you are saying. It seems counterproductive to stock more mouths to feed.

Aren't they saying the LT are eating the gobies? Are they trying to control the gobies?

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