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Sk8man

&-17-16 Out of Hughes- Sure looks like a bait problem.....

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Brian makes some great points about the lakers and he knows them very well. There are huge differences in the feeding habits of lakers vs. chinooks and lakers may live at least 10 to 15 times as long as a chinook. A very critical difference in their feeding habits in addition to diversity of diet is that chinook are thought be be nearly entirely suspended prey feeders (they are pelagics and in their native ocean environment this makes good sense but with a shift to gobies and others in diet that are bottom dwelling they are screwed by their genetics). They do not heavily feed on the bottom structure like the lakers so when the bait goes deeper the lakers are right with them down there while the chinook are ranging throughout the water column looking for suspended bait. Yes they do go deep looking for them but they are not bottom feeders like the lakers. This can make a huge difference in their survival rate during "hard times". 

Edited by Sk8man

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Are we going to see a little dip in the adult alewife population within the next two years? Probably.  Was there too much bait prior to the '13 + '14 winters? Yep.  Did we have a mild winter? Yep.  Are the fish healthy looking? Yep.  To me it is a wash.  If anything we needed a reduction in alewives from 2012 levels to get things back in balance.  The lake has not lost it's fertility and won't any time soon......I don't care what regulations they enacted on farmers in Ohio.  It is a wash.  Keep current stocking levels the same and REDUCE Lake Trout stocking numbers.  The goal of the Lake Trout restoration project was to have a naturally reproducing population.  This has already been proven on the Niagara spawners.  A decision needs to be made to see if the species will make it on it's own.  If PERMENANT conditions such as pollution or gobies eating eggs or thiaminase toxicity are not allowing natural reproduction then why keep cramming long-lived chemically laden fish down our throats for public consumption?.........the problem will always persist, stop the madness. You need money DEC for King stocking programs?....put out a Great Lakes $10.00 stamp requirement for us fishermen and I will gladly pay it!

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There will be conference phone calls with Lake Ontario stake holders this week and meetings next week. I will post the 2016 Alewife status reports ( including the bait trawls in Ontario waters). This information will help answers;

on why only 10 min trolls= because what if an occasional bait haul of 10's of thousands bait fish did happen in a 10 min trawl ??????

answer preferred alewife temps and bait locations at trawl dates = it is a science= focusing Ontario trawls on west end of lake(Niagara river spring time draw) in spring instead of eastern parts of Canadian waters. and  northeast end of US waters.

TOO much info to list................

BUT I am happy to be in the fold/mix or whatever you guy's call it, and be involved with every meeting possible on every subject to do with Lake Ontario. I will deliver as much info as I can and then you can decide.

 

Jerry

RUNNIN REBEL

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There will be conference phone calls with Lake Ontario stake holders this week and meetings next week. I will post the 2016 Alewife status reports ( including the bait trawls in Ontario waters). This information will help answers;

on why only 10 min trolls= because what if an occasional bait haul of 10's of thousands bait fish did happen in a 10 min trawl ??????

answer preferred alewife temps and bait locations at trawl dates = it is a science= focusing Ontario trawls on west end of lake(Niagara river spring time draw) in spring instead of eastern parts of Canadian waters. and  northeast end of US waters.

TOO much info to list................

BUT I am happy to be in the fold/mix or whatever you guy's call it, and be involved with every meeting possible on every subject to do with Lake Ontario. I will deliver as much info as I can and then you can decide.

 

Jerry

RUNNIN REBEL

We can "decide" what Jerry? You and I both know the decision has been made. Yeah, and the "conference call", convenient how its strategically scheduled during the prime time of the final day of the RNC. This all politics and all about the current admins in power.

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In the mean time , people SHOULD care about what the Federal Government has done already and is planning on for near future of Lake Ontario

Please look up

Clean Waters act 1972 and see what our EPA government arm wants with current revisions due.

 

And look at the PLAN 2014 lake Ontario/St Lawrence river a  plan that has been studied for 14 years and is going to prepare us for climate change ????????

These are 2 major plans that will effect our water quality forever............A domino effect on base of food pyramid starting at the base ( which scientist told me "the lower the pyramid base effected, the worse the problem"

 

NOT caring what regulations they (government) enact on farmers (which my wife's family has done for generations)  gets us the likes of New York State " GUN SAFE LAW "  enacted down our throats because people don't care.

 

Sorry but I would not be able to hunt deer much if I did not stick up for the Farmers from Sodus to Niagara county.........

 

Jerry

RUNNIN REBEL

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Vince ,

I did not think about the call timing........And yes the fishing has been incredible for weeks ,   that's timing

 

 

I just want to get as much information as I can out here, and when people question things I can go to several different sources (governments-USA/Canada & scientists/biologist & professors and students and Sea Grant ETC) for multiple answers.

Edited by RUNNIN REBEL

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Jerry it is not that I "don't care" about the new fertilizer laws enacted but rather I believe they will have little effect as they are not enforcible. There will not be any "fertilizer police" hiding in the bushes hoping to catch a farmers fertilizing before a rain event.

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The question concerns Chinooks and the alewife population and I don’t believe we should let anyone side-track that on lakers, the Feds or the “crooks†in politics. 

 

The issue is whether they have a good number for the abundance of alewives or not.  From the latest published annual report, we know:

 

1. They use “Fixed station trawls.† This means they basically have 13 N-S “runways that are equally spaced along the southern shore.  They do not trawl in between these “runways†nor in other directions.  (The Fixed station has absolutely nothing to do with preferred temperature of the fish - It's geographically not piscatorically determined.)

 

2. They concentrated their alewife effort at depths greater than 70 meters. (That’s over 200 FOW)

 

3. The hydro-acoustical gizmo was also aimed upwards that year in addition to the traditional downwards looking unit and it showed alewives population never seen before, near the surface.

 

4. The adult population has been nearly the same for the last 5 years but this year’s adult crop was very “plump.† i.e fat & heathly

 

5. They used “conversion†mathematics and allowances for the Yankee-31 net/gear.  They also used sensors and underwater video to watch the nets/gear.

 

Now my questions are:

What about the miles between the runways?  Could there be more alewives there or could there be less? If all the alewives shifted a little to the east, then an awful lot of them could have been missed.  DEC states that random trawls would be more precise but they use fixed station because other lakes do.

 

What about the under 200 FOW?  Mild winter, warmer lake, could there have been an awful lot of them in shallower? (which Brian has already attested to, at the pumping station)

 

What was the population & sizes of the ones near the surface that had never been seen before?  (It’s been my experience that if you’re catching little ones then fish deeper for the bigger ones)

 

How can the adults be fat & healthy yet no little ones?  You’d think “weather†or whatever would affect both little & big ones.  i.e. if no little ones then skinny/unhealthy big ones.

 

Don’t get me going on “fudge-factorsâ€!  Rather tell me how many alewives were netted in runway number 1 on trawl #3 and then tell me how many in runway #5 on trawl #7 etc.  How about showing some of the video?

 

Tom B.

(LongLine)

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From all of the information that's come out, it certainly seems like they're moving toward increased transparency. The issue is that with data overload you get a bunch of backyard biologists cherry-picking to support their own personal beliefs. I'm not putting anyone down...the reason to get the data/techniques/video (I like Longline's suggestion) out there is to engage the stakeholders...but even seasoned biologists are likely to look for what they think they're going to find. It's a natural tendency. However, unbiased or even blinded analytic techniques have been developed to prevent those types of errors. 

 

In short, there may be an agenda at the federal level, but the local guys are doing their best to generate robust and reproducible data. They're always working to improve techniques and analysis. There are flaws, there are caveats, but that's true of anything. 

 

While I respect many of the voices on here, I'd be a fool to think that fishermen don't also have agendas. In 25 years, I've yet to hear a fisherman call for less kings to be stocked. I'm sure that the DEC recognizes this as well. 

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Tom B        I will post everything I receive after tonight's conference phone call. This will give a few answers to your questions. 

 

Keith/Gator  GREAT POINTS YOU MAKE. I had the luxury of having over 40 different entities in which to ask the same question to publically and over an ice tea later on.

 

Some things I have learned when asking these question's is,

                      

                      Student's are less biased than the professor's I ask    .

                      Federal & State & local government officials DO NOT work  well together (surprisingly to me)

                      Scientist are scientist and you can find one at any given meeting to prove OR disprove your own theories. 

                       Biologists are the most interesting to talk with and give the most detailed answers

                       Private grant studies and private companies provide the most in-depth studies/presentations and Questions/answers

                      Talking to any one of the  ^^^above^^^Individuals    one on one     over an Ice Tea REALY PRODUCES the answers ......

 

SK8man  

"revenue streams" play a HUGE roll in decisions.You cannot talk about Federally Funded Lake trout without having Atlantic salmon and Lamprey control funding's (and the requirements the Fed's bring along with the funding) affected.

SORRY SIDE NOTE:  You seen the amount of lamprey hits/scares on kings and any brown over #12 ? 

 

Chad/gill T   You are missing one of the biggest concerns out in Lake Ontario now   PHOSPHORUS LEVELS

                     %30 of all Phosphorus in Lake Ontario comes from Lake Erie Via mostly Niagara River

                      BUT is heavily concentrated on the south shore from Niagara River to Rochester.

                      Farms were under the watch of US Agriculture for the most part. Now with the Federal EPA involved (they don't hide in bushes) The EPA threatens all $$$ subsides and low interest loans $$$ farms currently receive (No one has to enforce anything , when you own the lively hood of these farmers). Some farms are following the EPA recommendations of NO MORE culvert installs on farm properties in exchange for GOVERNMENT grants to collect  (phosphorus rich) run off in holding ponds or collection tanks to be delivered to the normal water waste treatment plants. The quote made at the Ottawa meeting on this was "we are going to clean up Phosphorus in Lake Ontario one (farm) culvert at a time"   ANY REDUCTION in Phosphorus affects the lowest web of the food chain in Lake Ontario.  Lake Ontario has approximately 1/3 LESS alewife's it had in the 1980's, that's just  part of the future bait sustainability puzzle.

 

Last point of information:     We discussed another "fish stamp" fee on anglers. This was unanimously shot down.

Only Lake Erie was left to consider this fee moving forward

 

Jerry

RUNNIN REBEL

Edited by RUNNIN REBEL

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Gator is right....the problem isn't with the "worker bees" themselves. There are a lot of dedicated people lending their respective talents to the process but the troubling part is the type of influences from higher up (both at the state and federal levels) to meet the demands of their own agendas and this seems to be where "transparency" breaks down and the "conclusions" from the various data collection efforts and research may be "corrupted".

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Some information on Lake Trout from the AFN

Maximum Size

Lake trout are by far the biggest fish among trout and char, the biggest a recorded 102 pounds (46.2 kg), caught in a gill net on Lake Athabasca, Saskatchewan. Only on larger lakes do lake trout even break the 50-pound barrier and grow bigger than 3.5 feet (1m), as on smaller bodies of water lake trout typically grow to be between 14-17 inches long (35-43cm).

Geographic Range

Lake trout are most abundant in Canada, where they are found in most provinces and territories, especially in Ontario where they are most widely distributed. Lake trout also inhabit lakes throughout several northern states from east to west. Lake Superior contains the largest population of native species on the continent.

Habitat

Lake trout thrive in cold waters of about 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10° C), preferring large, deep lakes. They tend to be in lakes with depths greater than 50 feet (15 m), though in the far north they inhabit smaller lakes due to the year-round colder temperatures.

Life Span

Lake trout on bigger lakes have been reported to reach nearly 70 years of age, although 10-20 is more typical for fish that reach maturity.

Growth Rate

Fast over the first five years.

Food

Lake trout are daytime feeders that feed almost exclusively on smaller fish once they grow mature. Whitefish, sculpin, minnows, and even other lake trout if prey is scarce. Younger lake trout feed on insects, crayfish, and worms dug out from the bottom.

Spawning

Lake trout reach maturity anywhere between 5-10 years. Females lay their eggs in the fall, choosing water that is 6-10 feet (2-3m) deep and close to the shoreline. typically, lake trout spawn on gravel to protect their eggs, as well as someplace with some water movement to ensure steady oxygen. Despite their size, lake trout lay eggs in lower quantities than other lake fish species, and some females don't even spawn every year. Both male and females tend to return to their origin of hatching when spawning.

Predators

A mature lake trout has few predators given he depths it tends to swim. When younger, northern pike and other lake trout pose the biggest threat.

Credit for information above: Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

Good fishing!

John

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Jerry, who shot down the salmon stamp idea? If it was government agencies and biologists it would sure indicate that the powers in control are anti-Pacifics. Not liking the tone of this discussion. Some people need to get their heads out of their arses. Looks like time to organize boys.

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Gill T,

NOT a "Salmon stamp"       it is hard enuff to get multiple agencies to agree on 1 thing, let alone agree on Lake Ontario stamp only ? Canadians benefit without buying stamp ?  NY State LIFE TIME LICENSE holders now pay every year again ? HAVING CHARTERS PAY on top of every other add-on expense they incur from NYS ? Salmon only ? Finger lakes trout/salmon included ? warm water species ? Adirondack trout lakes ?  Entire state ? NY waters of Lake Erie ?  Now you are talking about an enforcement nightmare on checking fishing licenses for "stamp" with a person/family fishing any Lake Ontario pier for perch....next to anglers fishing  for salmon.. BIGGEST concern was not letting ANY "stamp" $$$$ disappear from intended fund to downstate let's say. And which agencies & lakeshore only counties get cut ?   At what %    See: Cayuga county limited Lake Ontario shoreline distance.... Cayuga has multiple finger lakes shoreline too.  ANY government agency does not collect/maintain and distribute funds well I am seeing..........We tried the STAMP path before. I am glad meeting moved on to new technology in checking great lakes ship ballast water while ships are moving............................................

 

Jerry

RUNNIN REBEL

Edited by RUNNIN REBEL

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Gill T,

NOT a "Salmon stamp" it is hard enuff to get multiple agencies to agree on 1 thing, let alone agree on Lake Ontario stamp only ? Canadians benefit without buying stamp ? NY State LIFE TIME LICENSE holders now pay every year again ? HAVING CHARTERS PAY on top of every other add-on expense they incur from NYS ? Salmon only ? Finger lakes trout/salmon included ? warm water species ? Adirondack trout lakes ? Entire state ? NY waters of Lake Erie ? Now you are talking about an enforcement nightmare on checking fishing licenses for "stamp" with a person/family fishing any Lake Ontario pier for perch....next to anglers fishing for salmon.. BIGGEST concern was not letting ANY "stamp" $$$$ disappear from intended fund to downstate let's say. And which agencies & lakeshore only counties get cut ? At what % See: Cayuga county limited Lake Ontario shoreline distance.... Cayuga has multiple finger lakes shoreline too. ANY government agency does not collect/maintain and distribute funds well I am seeing..........We tried the STAMP path before. I am glad meeting moved on to new technology in checking great lakes ship ballast water while ships are moving............................................

Jerry

RUNNIN REBEL

I grew up on the tip of Lake Michigan in Indiana. You had to buy a salmon/trout stamp if you wanted to keep them. You could still fish for them with just the fishing license. Not hard to enforce.

Understand the issue with the lifetime people thu.

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I grew up on the tip of Lake Michigan in Indiana. You had to buy a salmon/trout stamp if you wanted to keep them. You could still fish for them with just the fishing license. Not hard to enforce.

Understand the issue with the lifetime people thu.

 

 

Yep, went to school in Michigan.  The stamp was an easy non-issue that is easy to enforce similar to a duck stamp.  If there is a will there is a way.  

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To your point Jerry, everything I have heard from LePan at the state-of-lake meetings is that funding is a non-issue for stocking program.

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So I just thought of this. Remember at the state of the lake meetings where the Canadian biologist said that the Kings are all unevenly distributed with a lot in one area and very few in another area… Why wouldn't that be the case with alewife as well?

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The question concerns Chinooks and the alewife population and I don’t believe we should let anyone side-track that on lakers, the Feds or the “crooks†in politics.

The issue is whether they have a good number for the abundance of alewives or not. From the latest published annual report, we know:

1. They use “Fixed station trawls.†This means they basically have 13 N-S “runways that are equally spaced along the southern shore. They do not trawl in between these “runways†nor in other directions. (The Fixed station has absolutely nothing to do with preferred temperature of the fish - It's geographically not piscatorically determined.)

2. They concentrated their alewife effort at depths greater than 70 meters. (That’s over 200 FOW)

3. The hydro-acoustical gizmo was also aimed upwards that year in addition to the traditional downwards looking unit and it showed alewives population never seen before, near the surface.

4. The adult population has been nearly the same for the last 5 years but this year’s adult crop was very “plump.†i.e fat & heathly

5. They used “conversion†mathematics and allowances for the Yankee-31 net/gear. They also used sensors and underwater video to watch the nets/gear.

Now my questions are:

What about the miles between the runways? Could there be more alewives there or could there be less? If all the alewives shifted a little to the east, then an awful lot of them could have been missed. DEC states that random trawls would be more precise but they use fixed station because other lakes do.

What about the under 200 FOW? Mild winter, warmer lake, could there have been an awful lot of them in shallower? (which Brian has already attested to, at the pumping station)

What was the population & sizes of the ones near the surface that had never been seen before? (It’s been my experience that if you’re catching little ones then fish deeper for the bigger ones)

How can the adults be fat & healthy yet no little ones? You’d think “weather†or whatever would affect both little & big ones. i.e. if no little ones then skinny/unhealthy big ones.

Don’t get me going on “fudge-factorsâ€! Rather tell me how many alewives were netted in runway number 1 on trawl #3 and then tell me how many in runway #5 on trawl #7 etc. How about showing some of the video?

Tom B.

(LongLine)

You can't leave lake trout out of this conversation Tom. Lake trout are a huge part of the problem. They eat just as many if not more alewives than the kings. The bait population was ok for them to jam 300,000 more lakers down out throats. They stock 800,000 a year and they live way longer than a king. If anything should be cut it should be lake trout. The lake trout population has been increasing over the past five years with two years of stocking shortages and fishing pressure.

Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United

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I see your point Brian, however the question is still how many alewives are out there?  If they can't determine that then the stocking policy is a mere guessing game. 

 

Instead of sticking to their runway theory, you'd think they could run a few kitty-corner trawls between the runways.  say...maybe..105 in the runways & 15 diagonally.  Normally the water west of the river is colder than that which is east.  Last year the water west was warmer than that which was east.  Last year a lot more big catches were reported off Durand than off Russel.  You'd think the scientific organizations would base their trawls on more than just N-S geographical locations. 

 

After all, the Guardian did a lot of sampling.  You'd think that at least the left hand would look to see what the right hand was finding.  The bait moves, just like Skate reported.  You can't measure what you can't catch.

 

Tom B.

(LongLine)

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Remember the "future concern" is for the 2017-2018 season (Assuming we have mild/short winters again)

Cutting Lake trout stockings %100 percent this year or even last year would have close to no effect on the potential alewife problem of 2017-2018. Lake trout grow relatively fast the first 5 years of their life. BUT They don't put much pressure on the alewife existing numbers at this early age. AGAIN ---We are missing 2 year classes of alewife in a row and there are LARGE 4-5 year old alewife's out there now.

 

Jerry

RUNNIN REBEL

 

**** Headed to Toronto/Bluffer's area/ Canada now to fish Salmon derby, will post more info when I get back ****

Edited by RUNNIN REBEL

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I think it also needs to be said that no numbers of fish or species have been specifically mentioned by Steve or Andy on the calls, except I have heard some indication that Cohos and Browns do not enter into the equation like Kings, Steelhead, and Lakers.  There is a huge risk that if current numbers of benthic and pelagic predators are maintained, and the two year classes missing effect a "crash,"  there will be no management action that could be taken to restore Kings or alewifes, and we could be left where it appears Lake Huron is, with no need for exotic species to control alewife and a recovering native fishery that will probably require the reminder of our lifetimes to start to exhibit some quality.  

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Interesting article.  Most interesting is that where they plot an awful lot of empty triangles is exactly where I saw the most & biggest schools of baitfish. 

 

Tom B.

(LongLine)

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