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Alewives populations > Forage base.


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Alewives populations > Forage base.

We were Fishing the shoreline Sunday Pm with a very strong south wind and were off the Bluffs just east of Sodus and we noticed several dozen Alewifes floating on the surface and I say what looked like schools of bait like we used to see when we has massive sawbelly bait schools in Lake Ontario Back when the Salmon fishing was at its best [early 1990's]  The dead and wounded ones we saw floating were very small, perhaps last years spawn or the year before. I think that this is a good sign considering that Alewives [herring] do better on warmer winters. 

Has any one else noticed this change ?

 

Dr W

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2014 yearling population was very low and 2015 yearling was nearly non-existent in the trawls.  These would be the preferred size for salmonid predators now,( Literature says 2+ and older are the preferred food size for salmonids) but they are not there in any significant numbers.  It would be logical then that salmonids, especially smaller ones like Brown trout, would turn to the yearlings from the 2016 hatch, which would be small now (2-3").  The 2016 hatch was better in the trawls, not record breaking but healthier.  The literature also says they are a fragile fish, so conditions out on the lake this year with prolonged turbidity, high water, and fluctuating temperatures cold be inducing some mortality.  The lake was  rough enough to exacerbate the flooding on Saturday, maybe that knocked some of the little ones around.  Or if you are seeing large (6-8") ones on top, that could just be natural mortality, they don't live forever, maximum recorded age is 9 years.  

Edited by Lucky13
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Yup.  Seeing lots of 2-3" alewives in the bellies of fish we've kept so far off Rochester.  Regular size stingers are working best!

JAM

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