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Lucky13

2018 Stocking levels

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Gill T 's comments make a lot of sense to me. have plan A and Plan B's depending on the emergent environmantal circumstances.

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23 hours ago, Lucky13 said:

They are native to the lake, a federal priority for reestablishment, and grow slowly and eat other than alewives, They are the top  benthic predator.  Just because you see no value in them does not mean they have no value, there are a lot of folks who target them if nothing else is hitting.  Cutting all of them would likely not have the effect on stabilizing the bait that the conservative cut to them and kings will have.

 

There are a lot of people who would not loose any sleep at all if the king population collapsed completely.

 

Thank you luck13 I really enjoy fishing lakers and so do a lot of others. Plus they seem to be sucking up a lot of the gobies, the ones I opened up were stuffed full of those slimy buggers. :yes::yes:

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I don't know about doing away with the Kings!! That would put a serious dampening in NY's revenue as that's all you hear about from the fisherman headed to your state for. It's not like Erie where you have the most sought after fish, walleyes, yes they are there to be caught and can be caught but not like Erie. The reason NY state has a multi billion$$$ fishery is because of the kings, look at the punch NY took when they did away with the snagging, if you get rid of the kings NY will be a ghost town!!

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I don't think that there is any possibility currently of cutting king salmon, regardless of what noise was made by some stakeholders.  It would require a major rethinking of policy by the Great Lakes Committee, and they are currently focused on maintenance of the trophy king fishery.    I think that if there were a bait collapse like in the upper GL, the discussions could go that way, but they are working hard to prevent a bait collapse, and the Fish Community Objectives emphasize the trophy king as the top pelagic predator, with fishable populations of browns, cohoes, and steelhead, with the lake trout as the top benthic predator. 

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I saw a 39 pound king. Taken this year. Somebody is doing something right. Lake Ontario has the greatest salmon fishery in the world. That includes the North Pacific Coast. Enjoy it.


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It needs to be emphasized that last year when the reduction was established and based on the trawl data, the LO Committee predicted good fishing for this season and into the 2018 season.  The two year gap in adult alewife hits the fan in 2019 and 2020.  The concern is that there are both enough large bait to support the growth of mature king salmon, and that there is an adequate adult population to spawn a large hatch for future years.   It is necessary to separate current conditions and results and plan for the future.  If pre-2017 predator stocking  levels were maintained, and the adult population of bait is insufficient to both feed the kings and make it to spawn the following season, the long term bait picture gets dismal, and we could start the slide that Michigan is experiencing.  If these very conservative adjustments have the desired effect, long term size of the  adults should maintain, and the alewife population numbers as reflected in the trawls should return to the pre 2013 levels on a regular basis.  If there are too many alewife as a result of a couple of years like the 2016 YOY, we see some deads along shore, but we will not see the conditions experienced before the Kings were introduced  with huge windrows, the overall bait numbers are way down from the uncontrolled populations of the 50's and 60's that made the alewife such a nuisance.  As the LO Committee has pointed out, when reductions were taken in prior years, it did not effect the overall catch rate, conditions on the lake have more of an effect on good or bad catch rate than the numbers stocked.   To see a " hole" in the population like shows in that graph and do nothing in response would be kind of like hearing that there was a good chance that a hurricane was coming and not boarding up your house or heading inland.      

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And when our stocking got screwed up last spring, we should be compensated for it next year.........


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It is possible that they took that unintentional reduction into account in not making further adjustments to the numbers, i.e. an additional cut this year.  Many of the non-stakeholder advisors to the LO Committee in the scientific community had indicated a desire for greater reductions to improve the likelihood of an alewife rebound.  Most of the SNAFU last spring was in Region 8, and management there has pledged vigilance to prevent a reoccurrence in spring 2018. 

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After all the Steelhead and Browns around this year, there better be no crying about numbers being down....
There is absolutely enough bait in the lake.... After all the kings I've cleaned this year ( all different size bait in them) ..... Statistics and all the skewed information means nothing... Actually seeing the stomach contents is enough proof for me......

Sent from my VS987 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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If you take the time to look at the graph, there is a lot of overlap from year to year in size of alewife, but there is definitely a two year period where the numbers are very low.  Of course the biologists aging data does not trump your superior knowledge and x ray vision. 

 

Andy Todd from OMNR did offer an alternative last year, they can stop all the science and just dump a bunch of fish in, and if the average size plummets, oh, well, you've still got a box full.  At least if it does not collapse totally.  And if the alewife crashed totally there would be no need to stock all the control fish, they could focus on native species reestablishment.

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They've been saying michigan has bait issues much worse than ontario yet there have been numerous 30 pounders and a few over 40 caught this year and fish appear very fat. Obviously it's difficult to accurately measure the true baitfish population of the great lakes with thousands of square miles of surface area. I think being cautious is a good thing but if this hole in the population doesn't effect the Chinook population or average size, I think the models need to be adjusted. So far all I see is average water temperature and growing season that seem to effect the size and population and migration pattern of the Chinook. 

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5 hours ago, ut_falcon said:

 I think the models need to be adjusted. So far all I see is average water temperature and growing season that seem to effect the size and population and migration pattern of the Chinook. 

 

True. Winter temps are the key. That's why we should wait til spring to determine. 

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On 9/1/2017 at 2:42 PM, charb said:

They could cut out all the lake trout stocking, I don't go to Lake O to fish those slime trout. The only thing there good for is fertilizer. There just hogs to eat the bait fish...

Ditto's there!~

 

Remember that Sawbellies are weather sensitive and a hard winter kills lots of them.

We need several more mild winters to keep Ontario warmer so that the population rebounds

to what we had in the 1990's

\

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I just left the Genesee Charter Boat Association's monthly meeting.  There's a few things that I left with from that meeting; the bait trawls have been conducted for many years on Lake Ontario to provide data.......around 30 years. The interesting thing though, this 30 years of data comes from the south shore of Lake Ontario and thus is 1/2 of the lake.  Only in the last two years has data been collected from the north shore.  These two years of data show nets teeming with bait on the north shore.


I'm with Brian on giving us back some fish.  Jerry's right, a 4 to 5 % increase won't do much at all but I believe it would be a sign of working together.

I thought we were working together when the Genesee Charter Boat Association met with folks who are major players in the stocking decisions.   Many captains are left with a bad taste in their mouths with  the reduction in stocking, the failed pen (which was a result of miscommunication among hatchery folks) rearing, and baby salmon washing up onto the shore out west, we have closer to a 40% reduction in 2017.  For every 1 fish we were SUPPOSED to put into a pen, we gave up 2 direct stocked fish.  We got crushed this year!  

 

I want to know the science behind continuing the reduction of 20% and still maintaining a healthy predator/prey relationship.  It does not seem balanced.

 

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If you take the time to look at the graph, there is a lot of overlap from year to year in size of alewife, but there is definitely a two year period where the numbers are very low.  Of course the biologists aging data does not trump your superior knowledge and x ray vision. 
 
Andy Todd from OMNR did offer an alternative last year, they can stop all the science and just dump a bunch of fish in, and if the average size plummets, oh, well, you've still got a box full.  At least if it does not collapse totally.  And if the alewife crashed totally there would be no need to stock all the control fish, they could focus on native species reestablishment.

I can't believe you believe every word a government agency (DEC) feeds you. They are a state agency with a budget that needs to get trimmed. I believe two year classes are low but I don't believe they are as low as they lead on. If the bait situation was so bad, why would they cut and turn around and let the pen projects pen more fish? Pen fish have a way better survival rate. If they wanted a true cut to save the bait, they would have cut the direct stocked and pen projects to make a true difference. This sounds like cost cutting to me. The low bait years are just an excuse to make cuts and save money by raising less fish. We will see if there is another warm winter with a bug year class of bait, if we go back to the numbers from two years ago. I said it when they announced the cuts that stocking numbers will never go back to the levels they were two years ago of they make cuts.


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Somehow I don't see people going to the hassle it takes to get an MS and even a pHD as agents of the government out to get me.  These guys are the first to admit that they work from limited datasets and have to do some interpolation, but that is the best information anyone has, other than some big blips on graphs, which are to many far superior to actual scientific methods LOL.   So, Henry Bud, where are these "nets teeming with bait" in the data presented lakewide.  In 2015, they had one massive haul in the Canadian survey.  This creates some " skue" to the dataset, but the Canadian average and other data are still less than half of what was measured in 1999 for 1 yr olds, and less than half of what there was for 2+ in 2000.  Based on those numbers, a really conservative manager might have proposed cuts more like 50% of the  2015 allocation.  And Jerry, please show me some evidence of the cut being a budget matter, and if the budget were threatened why hasn't LOU raised the hue and cry and run to the legislators for restoration of funding the way many have for overriding the fisheries managers?  Steve and Andy have explained right along that this conservative reduction is designed to take pressure off the bait while still maintaining the excellent trophy fishery for kings, a pretty tough tightrope to walk. Maybe I missed something in these position papers (both still on the DEC Website if anyone cares to actually read this stuff! ) and the meetings, that you guys can all read between the lines and find out.  The Pens do give more bang for the buck, so they have a better handle on what is out there with pen fish then with direct stocked, unless of course local predators chow all the penfish as soon as they are released.  And the pen projects are popular, so elimination of that just creates more animosity.  These guys have a tough job, trying to reconcile the science with a bunch of "stakeholders" who all the time cry "More, more, more!" 

And yes, I think the numbers of fish stocked could get permanently reduced if the bait does not come back as forecast.  But we have been told it will get raised once this “hole” moves through the system, and my experience of the management in place now is that they are committed to the FCO’s, which specify stocking levels in Appendix C.  Please also remember that the GLFC Stakeholders group had it clarified last spring that there is no intention of changing the FCO’s in the near future, this is a time consuming process that is not necessary unless there is long term change to the system.  If this alewife decline is sustained and there is a threat to the overall objective of maintaining a trophy king fishery, I would expect a permanent reduction  in stocking levels, but if, as they forecast, reduction in predator demand combined with a few good year classes results in restored balance, stocking will return to the levels indicated in the FCO’s.

The 2017 Alewife Survey (Figure 2)

Lake Ontario alewife bottom trawl catch rates by year

 

Here's an alternative scenario, let's stick another 20% additional Kings, and raise that another 20% for 10 years after that. I'll likely be too old to enjoy the Atlantic Salmon fishery we'll have 20 or so years from now, because the quickest way to eliminate the king from the Lake Ontario predator mix is to stock a whole bunch more, crash the bait entirely, and then start over with what God put here to begin with, Lake Trout and Atlantic Salmon. 

 

 

 

Edited by Lucky13

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The fish that would be stocked next spring, will start consuming Alewives from the record year class of this last year.  Somebody want to tell me where the short fall is?  The numbers don't add up....  Call it what ever you want this "reduction" is not warranted.  The fish that are currently in the system are the ones praying on the current year classes of Alewives.  I am happy to see that organizations like GCBA, LOTSA, Fair Haven Fisherman's Association and very soon ELOSTA, are all against the purposed "reduction". 

 

On a side note it scares me that GLFC wants to be so involved in "OUR" management decision's.  Right down to moderating our own stakeholder meetings.....Perhaps to help control the discussion??  A completely false statement was made by a GLFC moderator at our last meeting.  "Lake Michigan anglers are coming around to the idea of a mixed bag fishery" i.e. less kings in the system.  This is completely false.  Take one look at the decisions made by the Wisconsin fisheries managers last year.   

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I could argue that there is no proposed reduction, this is maintenance of the status quo from last year, despite recommendations from many fisheries scientists that further reductions be made.

 

The Great Lakes Fisheries Commission is involved in the management of all the lakes and has been for years.  Ed Sander, former chair of the Monroe County Fisheries Advisory Board, was one LO rep for years.   This is not new.

 

Point by point (my bold) on the DEC position paper:

  • "In 2017, "larger" size Alewife that support both Alewife spawning and food for large Chinook salmon are primarily composed of age-2 (yellow bars; 2015 year class) and age-5 fish (black bars; 2012 year class).
  • As expected, catches of age-3 (2014 year class; red bars) and age-4 (2013 year class; blue bars) Alewife were poor. The extreme long, cold winters of 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 contributed to the poor 2013 and 2014 year classes, and these poor year classes will continue to affect the overall stability of Lake Ontario's Alewife population for several more years.
  • The adult Alewife population in 2018 will be composed primarily of Alewife ages 2, 3, and 6. The Lake Ontario Committee is cautiously optimistic that the 2018 Alewife population can support both successful spawning (given favorable weather conditions) and prey demand from Chinook Salmon, Lake Trout and other trout and salmon."

If you go back and look at the age/size graph, you will notice that a couple of the colors on the key barely show on the graph.  These are the "missing" year classes.  You also need to remember that these data are from spring trawls, before this entire summer of chowing by all those mature salmon you've been catching has further reduced the year classes.  Biologically, Adult (3 year old) kings that are going from 8-15 lbs to 25-30 lbs in a few months, focus on large herring; captains I have spoken with have indicated that they don't see the little ones in the stomachs of the 3 year old kings (at least this year).  The other trout and salmon, younger kings, cohos, steelhead, lakers and browns will chow on the smaller ones, and the trout will chow on other baitfish, as will the large kings if there is nothing else to eat, but that is going to further reduce the remaining population in each year class. Reduce these residual fish enough, you get a reduction in the following year's fish because there  are insufficient remaining adult herring to reproduce a strong year class.  Continue this, mean weight of returning adult Kings will start to drop off, numbers also.  Continue it long enough, you could see a reduction in size and numbers like in Michigan, or a catastrophic and sudden collapse as was experienced in Huron.  While there is a degree of uncertainty to the magnitude of these effects due to errors of measurement, the past experience in Lake Michigan , where much more dramatic stocking cuts have been made in an effort to stave off collapse, with questionable effect, and Lake Huron, where the fisheries scientists I have read indicate the pacific salmon fishery is done, have to inform the decisions of responsible stewards.

 

Or, as Andy Todd has suggested (my interpretation, I don't want to put words in his mouth), we could dump the science, just stock a bunch of fish and let the chips fall where they fall.  This will save a lot of monitoring dollars.  But if the biologists are correct and the "death spiral" starts to form, you can't exactly come around wagging fingers and blaming anyone but yourselves.

 

With a good hatch in spring 2018 (data will show in 2019) and assuming there was a good hatch in 2017 (YOY data from  2018 will show whether this happened or not), increase might be warranted, but I'm going to trust the pHD's to make that determination!

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We are downstream of Lake Erie, can we stop the comparisons to Lake Huron and in most cases Lake Michigan.  Our bio loading is completely different then either one of those lakes.  And this past years flood scenario as much as it was horrible for residents and property owners was an absolute blessing to our baitfish population.  It top loaded the pyramid for years to come. 

 

One of the primary goals of GLFC is to return the great lakes to native species, primarily lake trout and atlantic salmon. 

 

Don't worry Lucky 13 I understand the "science".  My primary education is Fisheries Science...  just didn't get to that "ph d" level.....

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http://www.glfc.org/pubs/misc/jsp97.pdf

 

I can't find any specific reference to preference for native communities over introduced species.  Perhaps you can provide quotes or references.

 

I can quote from the FCO's for Lake Ontario, where the king is still entrenched as the top pelagic predator, with fishable populations of the other trout and salmon species, and the Lake trout is listed as the top benthic predator, but that would rebut your contention about preference for native species reestablishment on the part of GLFC.  Even the Lake Ontario Lakewide Management and Action Plan (LaMP) uses coho salmon as one indicator, so could hardly be focused completely on native species introduction. 

 

And as has been pointed out to me, if GLFC and DEC and OMNR wanted to reestablish native species, they would stock a whole lot more kings and let them collapse the pyramid from the top, rather than try to reduce predation and let the invasive herring recover.

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2 hours ago, Tall Tails said:

And this past years flood scenario as much as it was horrible for residents and property owners was an absolute blessing to our baitfish population.  It top loaded the pyramid for years to come. 

On what data do you base this conclusion?  I am told we will not see the results of spawning this year until next spring.  I hope you are correct, but I don't think you have anything on which to base this conclusion.

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On what data do you base this conclusion?  I am told we will not see the results of spawning this year until next spring.  I hope you are correct, but I don't think you have anything on which to base this conclusion.

Not based on any data, just common knowledge that increased run off from tribsand increased sedimentation from the high water will provide nutrients from which the food chain can build- eventually benefiting the bait population. More nutrients=healthier (and more) bait. Hopefully this year's yoy will be more robust and more able to survive the winter from the nutrients, so that they can show up strong in next year's trawls.


The Fishin' Physician Assistant

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The runoff-nutrient relationship may short circuit at the levels of rainfall experienced this spring.  First flush stormwater runoff is high in pollutants, but as an event continues, nutrient levels drop off dramatically.   I have not seen any loading data for the lake for 2017, if you have some please point me to it.  I don't recall hearing a lot of doom and gloom stories about cladophora along the LO shoreline this past summer, and in a high nutrient environment, filamentous algae would be among the first organisms to respond with accelerated growth.  Also regardless of how much nutrient is available, as long as it is sufficient, the number of alewife eggs that made it through to hatch will be the controlling factor on YOY numbers next year.  That we will not get a handle on until next spring. According to what I recall  Brian Weidel of USGS reporting, the fish that hatched this spring are just starting to enter the food chain for the larger predators now, and will not be preferred adult Chinook chow for at least another year.  So while your model works, there is a lot of uncertainty in it also, especially considering we had a year for which there is really no data on the  lake since the 1960's.   And it was a very different lake and watershed in the 1960's.  I hope you are right.  If I was watching William Tell shooting at an apple on his kid's head, I would hope he had a strong tendency to shoot high, but I'd rather he didn't shoot then take the chance that he'd shoot low.

Edited by Lucky13

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Lucky, perhaps if you left the rock strewn stream banks and actually went out onto the lake, you might see the results of all the runoff. If you don't own a boat, grab your floattube, a bag of cheetos, a secchi disk and have at it. My downrigger ball disappears at 7'. Right now at Olcott pier it looks a lot like the old times with bait around the piers, and seagulls everywhere. 

Edited by Gill-T

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