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Yes they were Native to Lake Ontario.  But the present population are stocked.  Now there are to many Locks and Dam's.  I forget the number of obstacles but its a near impossible journey if at all.. 

Edited by vogel451
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13 hours ago, tuffishooker said:

Atlantic salmon were native to Lake Ontario but were wiped out primarily due to poaching  ( ie land owners on the north shore would fork them as pig food etc ; loss of habitant was a factor ) . 

Present attempts on the north shore has met with little success reasons are unclear to me ?

When the farmers were using pitchforks in NYS we didn't have fish and game laws yet, so it was not poaching.    Most discussions of the LO AS indicate habitat loss as the major cause of their disappearance.



https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9868194  summarizes some of what is thought to be limiting the recovery.

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The first introductions into the U.S. started in 1883 when Fred Mather, a New York pisciculturist and angler, under the authority of the U.S. Fish Commissioner, Spencer Baird, obtained brown trout eggs from a Baron Lucius von Behr, president of the German Fishing Society (de). The von Behr brown trout came from both mountain streams and large lakes in the Black Forestregion of Baden-Württemberg.[8] The original shipment of "von Behr" brown trout eggs were handled by three hatcheries, one on Long Island, the Cold Spring Hatchery operated by Mather, one in Caledonia, New York operated by pisciculturalist Seth Green, and other hatchery in Northville, Michigan. Additional shipments of "von Behr" brown trout eggs arrived in 1884. In 1885, brown trout eggs from Loch Leven, Scotland, arrived in New York. These "Loch Leven" brown trout were distributed to the same hatcheries. Over the next few years, additional eggs from Scotland, England, and Germany were shipped to U.S. hatcheries. Behnke (2007) believed all life forms of brown trout—anadromous, riverine and lacustine—were imported into the U.S. and intermingled genetically to create what he calls the American generic brown trout and a single subspecies the North European brown trout (S. t. trutta).[8]

In April 1884, the U.S. Fish Commission released 4900 brown trout fry into the Baldwin River, a tributary of the Pere Marquette River in Michigan. This was the first release of brown trout into U.S. waters. Between 1884 and 1890, brown trout were introduced into suitable habitats throughout the U.S.[8] By 1900, 38 states and two territories had received stocks of brown trout. Their adaptability resulted in most of these introductions establishing wild, self-sustaining populations.[10]




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I absolutely love the Atlantic’s a more beautiful fish is hard to find. In my eyes a brownie with a big kype lower jaw with the bright orange belly with well pronounced spots is hard to beat also, along with a little native 4” brookie caught on a fly rod. JMO.

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Poaching = destructive harvesting with little respect of the resource !   One wonders how much habitat loss in the late 1880s played in the demise of the Atlantic salmon when we heard of the pointless slaughter of the fish !

Biology 101 : biology has natural ups and downs of all species  ; if the species suffers an added attack  eg. Poaching it may disappear !

Other examples : the turkey was wiped out in Ontario not in NYS !  

           Walleye : over harvested and poached !

     The deer population is down in the Niagara peninsula Ont. How can we prove it ie not due to poaching .


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From Webster's History (link provided above):

No mention of overharvest or "poaching", but lots of observations of habitat loss due to damming of the rivers.


"DeWitt Clinton (1815a:152) enumberated early signs of loss of habitat for salmon and other fishes.

"The cultivation of the country has had a prodigious effect in producing this diminution... The cutting down of trees, the drying up of swamps, marshes, the ploughing of land, and the exposure of the soil to the influence of the sun, have lessened these sources of subsistence. The streams and rivers have also been diminished in size, some of them have been entirely dried up. The fountains and springs which furnished cool retreats for the deposite of their spawn, are destroyed. The alluvial deposites have also choked up their ancient places of resort, have discoloured the waters, and rendered them disagreeable and unhealthy; and they have thus been expelled from their former domains, and have been obliged to look out for other haunts, in wild and uncultivated countries."

A writer for the "New Topographical Atlas of Tompkins County, New York" had this to say of Cayuga Lake in 1956.

"many of our citizens can well remember the time, when from the waters of this lake [Cayuga], their tables were annually served that prince of fish, ... the Salmon, with flesh as red and luscious as any taken nearer tide water; but to the great disgust of many, and regret of all, these excellent fish have been shut out from this lake by the reckless manner in which its outlet has been damed [sic], and it water polluted with the vile offal from Starch, Gas and other Factories located near the stream" (Anonymous, 1866).

Salmon were essentially extirpated in Lake Champlain by the early 1800's and in Lake Ontario shortly after mid-century. The Province of Ontario attempted to reestablish runs in the 1860's, but success was limited and short lived (Parsons, 1973:18-19). By the time Edmunds 1974:628) made his survey for the U.S. Fish Commissioner in 1872, he found only a single stream in both the Ontario and Champlain watersheds that still had a salmon to report - the Salmon River below the first dam at Pulaski.

In 1891, the U.S. Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries, Marshall McDonald, reported to the Senate (Smith, 1892:200).

"The cause of the disappearance, practically, of salmon from the streams of the St. Lawrence Basion has been chiefly and primarily the erection of obstructions in all of the rivers, which have prevented the salmon from reaching their spawning grounds, and so natural reproduction has been absolutely inhibited."

The extent of this kind of development on tributaries of Lake Ontario may be judged from an account by Horatio Seymour (1869:27-28) in the first Report of the New York Commission of Fisheries in which he noted: eight dams across the Salmon River below the falls, the lowermost 8 1/2 feet in height; 27 dams on Big Sandy Creek, including both branches; seven dams on Little Sandy Creek; and 10 dams on the Oswego River, the first one 10 feet in height. "


From the NYSDEC website:

"Many New York State anglers are surprised to learn that Atlantic salmon were not only native to some of our waters, but they were extremely abundant. Atlantics were historically found in Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, Lake Champlain, and in many of their tributaries. They were so abundant that spearing them was easy and netting could result in catches of more than 100 fish per boat on a good night. Unfortunately, the rapid settlement and development of the state occurring during the mid to late 1800s spelled doom for this species. Dams blocked spawning streams, pollution choked waters, and widespread deforestation filled headwater nursery streams with sediment. By 1900, Atlantic salmon were all but extinct from New York State waters."


Certainly. the fish were overharvested, but the historical record lays blame for the extinction on habitat loss, especially isolation by dams of the spawning grounds necessary for repopulation. 


Other inaccuracies:  Turkeys were  extinct in NYS for quite some time:  From the NYSDEC website:


The wild turkey is native to North America. Turkeys were widespread when the Europeans arrived and may have predated the earliest human inhabitants. At the time of European colonization, wild turkeys occupied all of what is currently New York State south of the Adirondacks.

Turkey habitat was lost when forests were cut for timber and turned into small farms. The early settlers and farmers also killed wild turkeys for food all year round, since there were no regulated hunting seasons at that time. The last of the original wild turkeys disappeared from New York in the mid-1840's. By 1850, about 63 percent of the land in New York was being farmed. This trend continued until the late 1800s when about 75 percent of New York State was cleared land.

In the early 1900s farming began to decline. Old farm fields, beginning with those on the infertile hilltops, gradually reverted to brush land and then grew into woodland. By the late 1940s, much of the southern tier of New York was again capable of supporting turkeys. Around 1948, wild turkeys from a small remnant population in northern Pennsylvania crossed the border into western New York. These were the first birds in the state after an absence of 100 years.


The return of these first wild turkeys sparked an interest in restoring them to all of New York. In 1952, a pheasant game farm in Chenango County was converted to raise turkeys; over the next 8 years 3,100 game farm turkeys were released throughout the state. These stockings failed because the game farm birds were not wild enough to avoid predation. Survival of released birds was low, as was natural reproduction. As a result, the populations failed to expand.

In southwestern New York, the wild turkeys from Pennsylvania had established healthy breeding populations and were expanding rapidly. In 1959, a program was begun by the State Conservation Department to live trap wild turkeys in areas where they were becoming abundant for release elsewhere in New York.

Most of the trapping was done in the winter when natural foods are not abundant. A flock of turkeys was lured with piles of corn or other grain. When most of the birds were concentrated on the food pile, the turkeys were captured by shooting a large net over them. Wildlife biologists and technicians put the birds into crates, loaded the crates onto trucks, and drove the birds to new territories that did not have wild turkeys. A typical release consisted of eight to ten females and four to five males. These birds would form the nucleus of a new flock and generally were all that was necessary to establish a population.

Since the first turkeys were trapped in Allegany State Park in 1959, approximately 1,400 birds have been moved within New York. These 1,400 birds have successfully reestablished wild populations statewide. Around 2001, their populations peaked at an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 birds. Currently, there are approximately 180,000 turkeys. In addition, New York has sent almost 700 wild turkeys to the states of Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, and the Province of Ontario, helping to reestablish populations throughout the Northeast"

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52 minutes ago, Sk8man said:

Great info and certainly more detailed than I had seen previously. Thanks. Very interesting about the turkeys too....

It took Pa awhile to stop farming and live trap , they took a big flock off the family farm one year we had to hunt them else where that year but came back fast. The research the fish commission has  done down here could help with where did the Atlantic go that was stock in keuka lake. They had that problem down here years ago in creek east of  Wysox , the put a GPS chip in some and tracked them down the stream , into the river and on there way south  

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