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Lucky13

2018 Stocking levels

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You can choose to drink or not drink the Kool Aid. One thing is for sure they have the best of intentions regarding the fishery and keeping it world class 

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2 hours ago, dvdegeorge said:

You can choose to drink or not drink the Kool Aid. One thing is for sure they have the best of intentions regarding the fishery and keeping it world class 

No argument from me about their intentions, but I tend to think of science as NOT Kool Aid.

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5 hours ago, dvdegeorge said:

 One thing is for sure they have the best of intentions regarding the fishery and keeping it world class 

You can say that about the DEC (to a point) but I have a hard time saying that about the OMNR due to their Atlantic program.  They have wasted hatchery space and resources on Atlantics that have VERY POOR returns to the Canadian tribs even though 600,000 are stocked annually in the Canadian tribs.  The returns were in the single digits on the tribs where they were stocked.  If the OMNR was trying to maintain a World Class fishery, they need to stop wasting resources on Atlantics.............

Edited by GAMBLER

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Oh and about the Koolaide, the people stirring the Koolaide were also the same ones that told us a couple years ago (2014)  that there was not enough bait to increase king stocking and went on to tell us that they are raising laker stocking from 500,000 / year to 800,000 / year. 

Edited by GAMBLER

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From The FCO's for Lake Ontario:

"The goal of fisheries management is to provide sustainable benefits to humans through the use of fish for food, recreation, culture, ecological function, and aesthetics by sustaining or increasing the abundance of desirable fish. Public consultation clearly indicates support for both a diversity of salmon and trout, dominated by trophy-sized Chinook Salmon, and protection and restoration of native species. The LOC acknowledges that managing for Alewife numbers to sufficiently support Chinook Salmon may limit restoration of some native species to their full potential. The Lake Ontario  ecosystem is a mix of native and non-native species and has remained very resilient during the last 25 years.  Despite an onslaught of invasions and rapid ecosystem change, Lake Ontario has provided a diversity of fish-related benefits. The LOC believes that maintaining a modest approach to stocking a diversity of trout and salmon species, the implementation of regulations to sustain a diverse mix of fisheries, continued efforts to protect and restore native species, and investing in monitoring and science-based assessment to understand ecosystem change are the best management strategies to ensure continuation of current and future benefits. The fish community objectives outlined here are, however, implicitly adaptive and will be subject to frequent review and change as the ecosystem evolves and our understanding of it improves."

 

Atlantic Salmon and Lake Trout are the native species in the lake.  And Lake Trout stocking had been seriously curtailed due to the failure of the federal hatchery, so the rise you indicate only brought the numbers back to FCO levels.  Lake trout are also the top benthic predator, a niche the king is not thought to occupy (maybe some of the recent Canadian data on the depths they plumb will modify this, but in general King salmon are pelagic and are following the pelagic prey.)   Steve was very clear in answering Matt's question that increases in the number of Salmon stocked would not necessarily correlate with increase in harvestable salmon on a linear basis, and risk of over pressuring the food base would rise as well, maybe to an unacceptable level of uncertainty from a management perspective.  The best way for fisheries managers to go to a totally native species program would be to stock beaucoup more King salmon, which carries a high risk (and some of us would say probability) of alewife collapse, both through overpredation, and loss of sufficient residual adults to spawn at prior levels.  Once the alewife is gone, there is no bait for the west coast species, so natives would be the logical and environmentally sound response.   From my perspective, this "modest approach" is working, we are not seeing beaches littered with dead alewife, but we have also not seen deterioration of condition of the predators, so current management is keeping the alewife controlled but not over-controlled.  With luck and good weather, we should see a hike in a couple of years, but please remember that 4.1 million fish is still a LOT of fish going into the pond, the glass is still 80% (hatchery) full, with the wild card of natural reproduction adding to that!

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Every time I hear the term "native species" I think to myself : "Who the hell cares about the unrealistic desire to transform the lake back to its "native" state" in terms of the fishery (e.g. Atlantics and Lake trout). Probably the same folks that think it is a good idea to protect cormorants. The Great Lakes are never going to return back to the place when humans weren't around using them (witness the introduction of invasives) and why get stuck in gear with this notion of returning native species to their former state or levels when it is clearly unrealistic and not even desired by most folks. 

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1 hour ago, Sk8man said:

Every time I hear the term "native species" I think to myself : "Who the hell cares about the unrealistic desire to transform the lake back to its "native" state" in terms of the fishery (e.g. Atlantics and Lake trout). Probably the same folks that think it is a good idea to protect cormorants. The Great Lakes are never going to return back to the place when humans weren't around using them (witness the introduction of invasives) and why get stuck in gear with this notion of returning native species to their former state or levels when it is clearly unrealistic and not even desired by most folks. 

Agreed and what do you consider native. I get lake trout and Atlantic salmon are native but the strain of both of those fish is gone just like the blue pike so I don't think todays Lake trout and Atlantic's are any more native then kings and Steelhead as there note totally the same fish that was in the lake 200 years ago. 

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1 hour ago, Sk8man said:

and not even desired by most folks

Most folks you know. 

Can't, Never....  really positive thought processes, too.  People said that about cleaning up contamination, too, 40 years ago.  Re-establishment of native species is one benchmark for ecological recovery.  The Objective that I quoted said nothing about former state or elimination of introduced species, it calls for a mix of both.

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2 hours ago, Lucky13 said:

From The FCO's for Lake Ontario:

"The goal of fisheries management is to provide sustainable benefits to humans through the use of fish for food, recreation, culture, ecological function, and aesthetics by sustaining or increasing the abundance of desirable fish.

 

If you were to build a fishery according to this statement, Lake Trout stocking would be the lowest of all the species.  Most anglers on Lake Ontario do not value Lake trout for recreation or food because the NYS Health department recommends EAT NONE for most lake trout. 

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Lucky - I certainly wasn't referring to efforts toward cleaning up the lake or improving things I was referring to the fact that this "romantic" idea of returning to a by gone era as far as the fishery goes is unrealistic.Those days were ushered out by the Industrial Revolution for god sake. Even returning the lake to its pristine status of that time is unrealistic and impossible but whatever that can be done to improve things it benefits us health- wise as much as anything.. What do you think the chances are that the Great Lakes will get rid of shipping and tankers etc.and bilge emptying? That would go a heck of a lot further in ecological improvement than stocking lakers but again totally impractical. I also can't help but wonder whether we would be dealing with these invasives if the government had been on their toes, and less afraid of offending the shipping industry, and more concerned about the environment by closer monitoring of the shipping traffic than pet programs.

Edited by Sk8man

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1 hour ago, Sk8man said:

we would be dealing with these invasives if the government had been on their toes, and less afraid of offending the shipping industry, and more concerned about the environment by closer monitoring of the shipping traffic than pet programs.

We get too soon old and too late smart.  Ballast water regulations actually exacerbated the problems ( Dr. Edward Mills data), and at any rate, the cows are already out, so closing the barn door now is kind of late.

 

But what I am hearing from many of you is "abandon the native species and dump more kings".  Kings will collapse their food source (the alewife, why all this started to begin with) more quickly than any of the other species currently in the mix, and if the alewife goes, so do the kings, and likely all the other intentionally introduced non native species ( much easier to type "exotics" but Capt. Vince objects to that).   And there are a  number of tributary anglers, and residents of lakeshore communities, that would like to see  the King gone, because the crowd attracted to the tributaries currently is less than "tisirable."  Then there are cultural aspects of native species, historically important to our indigenous populations, and as I said before, important as indicators of successful ecological recovery. 

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Lucky, you Dave Agnes and the other handful of elitist anti-chinook anglers that somehow got in the ear of the DEC are completely delusional if you think you somehow represent a majority of Lake Ontario sportsmen and women.  THE economic driver on Lake Ontario is the King Salmon.......period.  Other than devout Steelheaders, nobody is booking trips from out-of-state to catch the other species like Lake Trout or Atlantic Salmon.  If the economic driver is the King salmon, then it should be said that the majority of Lake Ontario anglers choose to target this great fish.  Since you and your handful of elite anglers don't care for the king salmon, you represent a fringe group.  Which begs the question why the hell is the DEC listening to a fringe group, let alone give you a title as a "stakeholder"???  You stand in the hallowed gravel of the Salmon River........the only source of our hatchery kings........and claim "people" don't want king salmon!  Look around.  All those zany, fish crazed stream anglers that you distain are merely showing their passion for the quarry they chase.  Yes, there are those that leave trash behind (I hate them too).  Yes, salmon carcasses are left to stink up homeowners riverbanks (then don't live on a waterway named the Salmon River!!).  Lucky, I am sure you are as passionate about fishing as anyone on this forum.  I am sure you are a very conservation minded angler that has been hands-on with stream improvement projects, and I am damn sure you have not figured out that the vast majority of LOU members are Chinook Salmon trollers.  The fact you are willing to take on the task of "educating" LOU viewers about the state-of-lake, and help push the DEC/OMNR salmon cuts tells me you have an agenda......why else take the abuse and take the time out of your busy schedule to sit down and type the words.  The fact that you and your group are having behind-closed-door meetings with DEC officials bending tales of anti-chinook sentiment is very unnerving.  Go back to directing your angst towards something worthwhile such as working with the DEC to catch anglers leaving trash behind .....or snatching .......or the night poaching problem......lots of good causes but PLEASE stop spewing false statements that there all these "people" out there that want the Chinook Salmon gone.

 

Rant over.

 

Edited by Gill-T

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Lucky, you Dave Agnes and the other handful of elitist anti-chinook anglers that somehow got in the ear of the DEC are completely delusional if you think you somehow represent a majority of Lake Ontario sportsmen and women.  THE economic driver on Lake Ontario is the King Salmon.......period.  Other than devout Steelheaders, nobody is booking trips from out-of-state to catch the other species like Lake Trout or Atlantic Salmon.  If the economic driver is the King salmon, then it should be said that the majority of Lake Ontario anglers choose to target this great fish.  Since you and your handful of elite anglers don't care for the king salmon, you represent a fringe group.  Which begs the question why the hell is the DEC listening to a fringe group, let alone give you a title as a "stakeholder"???  You stand in the hallowed gravel of the Salmon River........the only source of our hatchery kings........and claim "people" don't want king salmon!  Look around.  All those zany, fish crazed stream anglers that you distain are merely showing their passion for the quarry they chase.  Yes, their are those that leave trash behind (I hate them too).  Yes, salmon carcasses are left to stink up homeowners riverbanks (then don't live on a waterway named the Salmon River!!).  Lucky, I am sure you are as passionate about fishing as anyone on this forum.  I am sure you are a very conservation minded angler that has been hands-on with stream improvement projects, and I am damn sure you have not figured out that the vast majority of LOU members are Chinook Salmon trollers.  The fact you are willing to take on the task of "educating" LOU viewers about the state-of-lake, and help push the DEC/OMNR salmon cuts tells me you have an agenda......why else take the abuse and take the time out of your busy schedule to sit down and type the words.  The fact that you and your group are having behind-closed-door meetings with DEC officials bending tales of anti-chinook sentiment is very unnerving.  Go back to directing your angst towards something worthwhile such as working with the DEC to catch anglers leaving trash behind .....or snatching .......or the night poaching problem......lots of good causes but PLEASE stop spewing false statements that there all these "people" out there that want the Chinook Salmon gone.
 
Rant over.
 

Nicely said. I am definitely a king fisherman first and foremost, as is pretty much every fisherman I know. I love catching all species of salmonid, but I will only target them in the ABSENCE of a good king bite. I'll run many many miles to find kings if the bite is on, and will gladly run right over willing brown trout and lakers to get there.

I do tend to agree with the science thus far, I think that SHORT TERM cuts are prudent,and I really do think that steve Lapan is a good and honest guy who is worth trusting. I wish some people could just leave it at that...


The Fishin' Physician Assistant

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The get rid of kings mentality makes no sense.  Without kings, you wouldn't have a fishery.  Kings are the financial driver of the fishery AND without them, lake trout, Atlantics and steelhead would be doomed.  If the lake went back natural species, Atlantic salmon would be in worse shape than they are now (thiamine issues from eating alewives) AND the trib fishery would dwindle to a handful of people.  Lakers only run the Niagara in good numbers and Unicorns (Atlantics) cant survive in good enough numbers to make a real spawning population. 

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10 hours ago, Lucky13 said:

  And there are a  number of tributary anglers, and residents of lakeshore communities, that would like to see  the King gone, because the crowd attracted to the tributaries currently is less than "tisirable."  deplorable. Then there are cultural aspects of native species, historically important to our indigenous populations, and as I said before, important as indicators of successful ecological recovery. 

Fixed.......... 

Hillary?

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Lucky - I think the important undercurrent running through this issue mainly relates to a lack of trust in state government and players at the upper eschelon rather than any animosity or even misgivings about the competence or good intentions of the scientists or DEC folks involved. I have a healthy respect for science but I also understand that the results of science be used in a variety of ways and especially when money is attached in any way, and the beliefs of the scientists involved in the collection and interpretation of data can be influenced  even unconsciously by perceived pressure from the upper eschelon administrators, legislators, and economic considerations. Scientific data and conclusions can be "shaped" consciously or unconsciously to fit these circumstances too. The emotions underlying the king stocking efforts are strong at both "poles" and valid considerations exist at both ends., Atlantic salmon are one of my very favorite species and I specifically fish for them on Seneca and Cayuga Lakes where they seem to be thriving. They are great fighters and wonderful acrobats. I also agree with Brian though as far as Lake O goes....they sure don't seem to be suited to the present environment at this point, may be too fragile, and don't seem to be reproducing in viable populations and the continued focus on "restoration" appears more like a pipe dream than reality.

Edited by Sk8man

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Honestly, guys, if I wanted to see the king gone, I would be out there with the rest of you calling for major increases in stocking of them.  I believe it is the charter industry that years ago started "whispering in DEC's ears" in a concerted attempt to turn it from the Department of Environmental Conservation to the Department of Environmental Commerce.  As to the title stakeholder, I pay the same license fee as you do, I just don't maintain a commercial livery license.  There are also many non angler stakeholders along Lake Ontario (and Canadians, a LOT of whom see things differently than the charter industry on this side), the fishery is just one part of the bigger picture.  I am just supporting the biologists in  their contention that under current regimes, continuing to stock the number of kings they were stocking in 2016 carries a very high risk of starting the downward spiral (or complete collapse) that pretty much insures that Lake Huron will remain kingless, and has been plaguing Lake Michigan for a long time.  But really, if you want to shoot yourselves in the foot, go ahead convince these guys to ignore the Science (which Andy Todd has said could lead to a "why bother with the science anyway, just dump in the fish" policy) and let the chips fall where they will, because if the alewife crashes, native species rehabilitation becomes very possible, and king reestablishment unlikely, unless you have a plan for teaching the salmon to eat gobies and gizzard shad all summer. 

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It’s too bad these conversations on a web board get personal. Gill-T you don’t know me, or anything about me, and my 45 years of experience of the 49 years this fishery has been in existence. I’ve spent a life time on the open waters of Lake Ontario, was a staff writer for the original Great Lakes Fisherman, and for 7 Years the Lake Ontario Editor for New York Sportsman magazine. I wrote more articles about King Salmon and how to catch them than any other writer of that time for Lake Ontario.

Was President of the Western Lake Ontario Charter Boat association, and on the NYS Sport Fishing council. Spent countless hours working WITH the DEC to fully understand their science, methods, forecasts, and operations. Much like the owner of this web site Jerry has.

Had the second boat out of Braddocks Bay with Downriggers on it back in 1972, built a Heahkit  depth finder and temp gauge to try and chase these fish…and having to teach ourselves back in those days how to locate and catch these marvelous fish.  Unlike the resources everyone has today.

I’ve caught King Salmon in all the Great Lakes except Erie, and as far as Alaska and British Columbia. I am NOT one of the trib anglers who wants King Salmon fishing to end in Lake Ontario. How dare you spew your unintelligent nonsense. In fact I just finished a trip where I enjoyed immensely catching big Kings and Coho’s on the Salmon river…and YES on a fly,..some that I designed …and one that my NYS Fishing Guide wife Lindsay has designed that has gone viral all the way to New Zeeland to catch big rainbows in their magnificent rivers.   

Do I chose to spend my days with a fly rod in my hand. Yes I do, a skill I learned as a 15 year old kid and have been enjoying from Here to Alaska and BC to Labrador, Fla, Bahamas, Mexico, Belize, Alphonse Island in the Seychelles and LI Sound. After doing this for over 50 years…I just like to catch them the way I like to catch them. I enjoy having the rod in my hand to feel the “TAKE” once you’ve unlocked the primal instinct of a sport fish to swim at top speed to kill it’s prey. That doesn’t make me an elitist, it makes me a “Tug Addict”

Do I choose to fish for Steelhead , and Atlantic Salmon over King Salmon, sure because they are more fly friendly then Kings. And King Salmon in a river is not the same fish it is in the open waters of LO. Especially losing weight from not eating anymore , and full of hormones as they prepare to spawn. . And for MY Money…and I think we are still free thinkers and speakers here in the good old USA, there is no greater fresh water sport fish on a fly…than an Atlantic Salmon. My choice… my business.

You don't understand the Atlantic Salmon program here in Lake Ontario. This is strictly in the experimental stage, and has been since they started and stopped the last 30 years. Mainly because they (The Fed’s) who are managing this program at the highest level have been looking for a strain of Salmon that survives and returns. They now have one….AND in talking to Andy Todd Monday…the Canadians are now focused on Sebago’s a native Maine strain of fish that thrives in the inland lakes. Could have easily been one of the strains that LO had back in the 16,17, and early 1800’s. And they are doing fantastic. BTW they are doing very well in the early returns in Canada if the pictures that Andy showed me Monday night are any indicator.

BUT the Atlantic Salmon program is not now, or has ever been an effort to replace King Salmon or any other species of fish swimming in the lake.  On the South shore we will never have rivers with habitat that sustains these fish, except one, the Salmon river. However the wild cold rivers of the North Shore certainly will. Atlantic salmon have the highest tolerance to low 70’s water than any other Salmonid… Further more, there’s no hatchery space or budget with the DEC …OR the Feds, to raise millions of Atlantic Salmon to dump into the lake. You are not going to create a major sports fishery with 60K fish, and the experimental fish from the Febs. BUT you can create a niche fishery for some rivers….Salmon River here…and at least three in Canada for the summer fishery. We’ve been catching beautiful Atlantic Salmon in the Salmon river ALL SUMMER long, without the crazy crowds and nonsense that goes on once the Kings return. And the group of knowledgeable anglers who are enjoying this, aren’t bashing Lake Fishing, nor do we think or feel like elitists ….WE just want to fish.  Understand the DEC is also stocking these same Atlantic Salmon in the Finger lakes, and I don’t hear those anglers complaining about catching them in the open waters and rivers.

Just because an angler chooses the tool he or she fishes with as a fly rod….how does that make me/them an elitist…? Your statement at the top of your post shows your ignorance. Lake Ontario is not just a King Salmon fishery. I’m extremely happy fishermen enjoy King Salmon fishing, I do as well,  but I enjoy other species more. My preference, and my business and truly none of your business.  

Finally….for all others please accept my apology for being a tad irritated.  Gill-T…get off your keyboard, come to Rochester, and buy me a Scotch, and I’ll teach you all the things you THINK you know about me, but you obviously don’t

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19 minutes ago, Sk8man said:

Lucky - I think the important undercurrent running through this issue mainly relates to a lack of trust in state government and players at the upper eschelon rather than any animosity or even misgivings about the competence or good intentions of the scientists or DEC folks involved. I have a healthy respect for science but I also understand that the results of science be used in a variety of ways and especially when money is attached in any way, and the beliefs of the scientists involved in the collection and interpretation of data can be influenced  even unconsciously by perceived pressure from the upper eschelon administrators, legislators, and economic considerations. Scientific data and conclusions can be "shaped" consciously or unconsciously to fit these circumstances too.

I know this came up at the Pulaski meeting the other night, too, a friend up there questioned why he was hearing so much distrust on the part of so many lake anglers.  So please educate me.  What possible motive could these guys have for reducing stocking (an extremely conservative reduction to many scientists)?   There has been no discussion to my knowledge of implementing the proposal one Pulaski area businessman has put forth to reduce king stocking and increase steelhead stocking, as the hatchery is not capable of handling more long holding time fish.  Ditto increase in brown trout, unless they take them from the rest of the state (and there are a lot of non LO license buyers in the state).  Lake trout are heavily limited now in terms of Federal hatchery capacity, and while they will not abandon them because they are a federal priority (that's right it is a federal waterway, international border and all that) and they occupy a different niche in the ecosystem than the kings.  And Landlocked Salmon are also being raised and stocked at capacity, mostly in other waterbodies like Cayuga and Seneca.  The FCO's are very explicit in their support for the King as the top pelagic predator, and both Countries have signed on to that.  So what is their motive, other than prudent stewardship?

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My comment wasn't intended to be "argumentative" but rather "explanatory" of the distrust by the many anglers you mentioned, and although I failed to elaborate on it - the relationship the issues have to the Federal governments involvement in shaping state policy and thinking about  the stocking of "native" species in Lake O. My own personal thinking on this is "modifiable", and I believe that King Davy made some great points  (above) which generates a "OK... lets wait and see" attitude on my part  as long as there ian't a concerted effort to replace the kings with Federal agenda.items.

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