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At the Rochester Meeting, Captain Hajecki asked a question concerning the requirement that certain species can only be hog dressed on the Lake and other fish have to have the skin left on the fillets.  I have to admit that I have a hard time hearing in that Auditorium ( I much prefer Carlson), so I could not pick up all the details of the question. Another attendee with whom  I spoke said he was not happy with the answer provided by the Encon officer, and I agree that the response was less than clear to me.  My friend wondered why someone would not just use the fish cleaning station at a launch.  I also remember Frank Sanza, former Charter Operator, talking in the past about what good publicity it is to clean a bunch of fish at a cleaning station, as it often draws inquisitive people who are not familiar with the size and diversity of species available out in the lake, and often they will decide to take a charter based on what they see being cleaned on shore.   However, this might not be as common at more remote sights like Oak Orchard or Sandy Creek as opposed to the Genesee, and I'm not familiar with the status of the cleaning stations.   I would appreciate some discussion on this, I guess the problem has to do with saving some time by filleting while returning from offshore, and not being able to discard all the offal because of the skin requirements, but I would be very happy if Rick would "weigh in" on this and on the response, as it was not clear at the meeting.    Thanks, in advance.    

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15 minutes ago, Lucky13 said:

At the Rochester Meeting, Captain Hajecki asked a question concerning the requirement that certain species can only be hog dressed on the Lake and other fish have to have the skin left on the fillets.  I have to admit that I have a hard time hearing in that Auditorium ( I much prefer Carlson), so I could not pick up all the details of the question. Another attendee with whom  I spoke said he was not happy with the answer provided by the Encon officer, and I agree that the response was less than clear to me.  My friend wondered why someone would not just use the fish cleaning station at a launch.  I also remember Frank Sanza, former Charter Operator, talking in the past about what good publicity it is to clean a bunch of fish at a cleaning station, as it often draws inquisitive people who are not familiar with the size and diversity of species available out in the lake, and often they will decide to take a charter based on what they see being cleaned on shore.   However, this might not be as common at more remote sights like Oak Orchard or Sandy Creek as opposed to the Genesee, and I'm not familiar with the status of the cleaning stations.   I would appreciate some discussion on this, I guess the problem has to do with saving some time by filleting while returning from offshore, and not being able to discard all the offal because of the skin requirements, but I would be very happy if Rick would "weigh in" on this and on the response, as it was not clear at the meeting.    Thanks, in advance.    

 

Is your question "why would you clean your catch on your boat vs the cleaning station"?

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I have never seen a fish cleaning station at any of the boat launches I use in Jefferson County.

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Here is the law copied from the NYSDEC website in which they had a hard time explaining to us.

Regulations for Harvested Fish

Fish cleaning law

It is illegal on New York State waters to possess walleye, black bass, brook trout, lake trout or Atlantic salmon that have been cut, dismembered, filleted, skinned or otherwise altered so that the species and total length of such fish cannot be easily determined. However, these fish may be gilled or gutted. Other species of fish may be filleted provided that the skin is not removed from the fillets. This regulation allows more effective enforcement of harvest regulations on protected game fish.

Fish carcass disposal law

It is illegal to discard any fish carcass, or parts thereof, into the freshwaters of the state within 100 feet of shore or upon any public or private lands contiguous to and within 100 feet of such water, except:

  • On private lands by owners of such lands.
  • If properly disposing into suitable garbage or refuse collection systems or by burial.
  • Where incidental cleaning of fish for consumption is permitted. However, resulting waste may not be disposed of within 100 feet of any public launching or docking site unless into a suitable refuse collection system.
  • Live fish and fish which must be returned to the water because of size limits, open seasons and daily limits are not subject to the fish carcass disposal law.

Transportation

Transportation of fish is permitted as follows:

Fish caught in New York State

  • No more than two days’ legal take of nonsalable fish may be transported unless a permit is obtained from a DEC Regional Office, or the fish are frozen, processed and packaged for storage.
  • Smelt, suckers, alewives, and blueback herring taken by dip nets or angling, and suckers taken by spearing, may be transported overland by motorized vehicle for consumption purposes only. Once those species are transported away from the water body, they may not be transported back to any water body for use as bait.
  • Salable fish may be transported in any number.
  • Baitfish transportation regulations.

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28 minutes ago, Legacy said:

Is your question "why would you clean your catch on your boat vs the cleaning station"?

No, that was my friend's question, which I "pondered on"  a bit.  My question was "what was Capt. H's question, and what did he hear as a response".  I've read the regulations, background on why it is necessary (other than what I can speculate on, and the statement in the regulations) would be nice, too.      

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I was not happy with the answer I was given, and I hope to bring this up with the Region 8 manager in the near future.

 

I run my business on the weekend, which limits the days I have available to run charters. This is the reason why I run so many doubles on the weekends. Over time I've realized to do this I have had to operate charters on a dock to dock time frame. My hours of operation are 6am-2pm and 4pm-8pm. I have 2 hours in between charters to clean the boat, re-tie rods, grab lunch, and shoot the bull with the guys out that morning while I formulate a game plan for the afternoon. Therefore, cleaning fish on the lake is a necessity given the way I run my business. Also, cleaning fish on land attracts bees, which I'm a wuss when they are present, and requires you to burn fuel to bring the carcass back out to the legal dumping grounds. The BEST reason for not cleaning fish on land is to keep friends! We aren't the hero every day. You have good days and bad days. If clients walk off the fleet's boats with coolers in hand no one ever knows what boat was top dog each day. This helps the fleet stay friendly and doesn't hurt people's business who had a bad day.

 

I just wanted an answer from someone so I'm doing the right thing. I was more or less harassed by an inexperienced officer looking to write a ticket that day. How do I know this? After he had to void my ticket he went over to the gas dock at Shumway and wrote a guy a ticket for the expired registration on his boat. Then he proceeded to write that guys lady friend (who happened to be in a string bikini) a ticket for indecent exposure. #truestory

 

I don't fish out of the Port of Rochester (especially the West side), but if I did I can guarantee you I'd be cleaning fish at the dock! It would 100% get someone extra charters.

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Thanks for a speedy response.   I understand  why you would want to get the job done offshore in terms of time, but had never thought of the "bees" (yellow jackets?) but I share your strong aversion, and I have an allergy to them as well.  But I'm still not clear on what your question was.  My sense is the major hassle is leaving the skin on, and if you were going to remove the skin shore side, having to pack twice.  And the Lake trout slipped my mind, I was thinking only the "once in a while" Atlantic would have to be only half cleaned.  

 

Certainly this is a topic that DEC L needs to do better with.

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Posted (edited)

I was not at that meeting, so I don't know the nature of the discussion other than what's posted here.   As I run most of my charters on Lake Erie for walleye, we can't clean out on the lake.   Consequently, if we have a good day, once we get back to the dock there is always a request for more pictures, then you have to get the cleaning stuff out, and then clean the fish.   If you did have a good day, even if you are a super fast with the knife, it invariably takes 30, 40 minutes or longer.  And the group usually watches and talks to you too.   As YT said, that cuts into your time, but also adds time for the group, especially if they have a long ride ahead of them to get home.  And then after they leave you have to clean the boat, etc....etc...

 

I would love to be able to clean the fish on the lake.

Edited by times two

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1 minute ago, times two said:

I was not at that meeting, so I don't know the nature of the discussion other than what's posted here.   As I run most of my charters on Lake Erie for walleye, we can't clean out on the lake.   Consequently, if we have a good day, once we get back to the dock there is always a request for more pictures, then you have to get the cleaning stuff out, and then clean the fish.   If you did have a good day, even if you are a super fast with the knife, it invariably takes 30, 40 minutes or longer.  And the group usually watches and talks to you too.   As YT said, that cuts into your time, but also adds time for the group, especially if they have a long ride ahead of them to get home.  And then after they leave you have to clean the boat, etc....etc...

 

I would love to be able to clean the fish on the lake.

Is it that you can't clean the fish, or you can't dispose of the waste?  When I (rarely, you have to catch one first!) keep a fish in the Finger Lakes tributaries, I clean it on the tailgate, and put the fish in a cooler in one container, and the waste in a bag, also in the cooler, and toss the bag in the trash when I get home.  But if people would be cleaning short walleyes and claiming they were perch, I guess I understand at least requiring the skin to be left on.   

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Yeah, I clean as much as I can on the lake, and we rarely keep Lakers so it’s not too much of an issue for us. Cleaning fish on the lake saves even more time than you think, because then you can clean your boat one time on the way in and you are ready to tie ropes and grab your stuff and go as soon as you dock. No fuss, no mess!

Cleaning at the docks is undoubtedly good publicity... that being said, Rick has an excellent point about the whole “hero” thing. In fact, I remember as a mate hiding our good catches so that other guys on that dock that may have struggled that day didn’t get made to look bad. Everybody can’t be great every day. It’s just good business ethics to be modest.


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My problem stemmed from my customers walking off the dock with their limit of Chinook/Coho this past September. They were stopped at the end of the dock by a "new guy" and after he saw the fillets he came down to my boat looking for the carcasses. I told him I cleaned the fish on the Lake. He proceeded to tell me you can't do that. Walked to his truck to write me a ticket. I went over and explained to him I could provide a picture of every fish that went into those bags that had a time stamp on it. I also asked to see the regulation. In the regs it states you need to have Atlantic and Lake Trout carcasses to accompany the fillets. This is to allow a DEC officer to make sure "unders" aren't kept. My argument was these were Pacific Salmon and were not subject to those regs. I leave the skin on all my fillets, so they were identifiable. However, I chunked them up as 20+ lb Salmon fillets don't fit well in a 1gl zip-lock whole.

 

I guess my other question is.....when can the separation of carcass and fillet happen? Can clients get stopped on the way home with just fillets and be ticketed? There is no clear answer.

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Thanks for the clarification.  I guess reading the regulation again, the clients would have to keep the Lakers or an Atlantic whole, but gutted and gilled, until they got home and were putting it into the freezer.  For me, a legal Atlantic would be whole and on the way to the taxidermist!  And it is clear that you don't have to keep the other silvers whole or the carcass, just leave the skin on. 

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Man, if they just wanna write tickets, go a mile up the river and set up shop. It’s ripe with violators up there!!!


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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Yankee Troller said:

I was not happy with the answer I was given, and I hope to bring this up with the Region 8 manager in the near future.

 

I run my business on the weekend, which limits the days I have available to run charters. This is the reason why I run so many doubles on the weekends. Over time I've realized to do this I have had to operate charters on a dock to dock time frame. My hours of operation are 6am-2pm and 4pm-8pm. I have 2 hours in between charters to clean the boat, re-tie rods, grab lunch, and shoot the bull with the guys out that morning while I formulate a game plan for the afternoon. Therefore, cleaning fish on the lake is a necessity given the way I run my business. Also, cleaning fish on land attracts bees, which I'm a wuss when they are present, and requires you to burn fuel to bring the carcass back out to the legal dumping grounds. The BEST reason for not cleaning fish on land is to keep friends! We aren't the hero every day. You have good days and bad days. If clients walk off the fleet's boats with coolers in hand no one ever knows what boat was top dog each day. This helps the fleet stay friendly and doesn't hurt people's business who had a bad day.

 

I just wanted an answer from someone so I'm doing the right thing. I was more or less harassed by an inexperienced officer looking to write a ticket that day. How do I know this? After he had to void my ticket he went over to the gas dock at Shumway and wrote a guy a ticket for the expired registration on his boat. Then he proceeded to write that guys lady friend (who happened to be in a string bikini) a ticket for indecent exposure. #truestory

 

I don't fish out of the Port of Rochester (especially the West side), but if I did I can guarantee you I'd be cleaning fish at the dock! It would 100% get someone extra charters.

I agree with the above, all valid points. We almost lost this privilege several years back when there were sweeping rule changes proposed because of some abuses regarding short Northern Pike on the St Lawrence. I was one who went before our legislature to present our case and thankfully they agreed and it was retained. 

It comes down to convenience for the tourist angler, first and foremost. In our case in Niagara county, being able to fillet on the water vs waiting in line at a public cleaning table can mean HOURS of time saved on the highway back to PA or OH. If our guests get caught on the 90 in Buffalo rush hour traffic, it may be just frustrating enough to make them think twice about coming into NY. Yes, fishing is great, but as soon as they leave OH and PA sections of I-90 NY greets them with tolls and even higher gas taxes than they have at home. Not all of our harbors have excellent cleaning stations with grinders, and those that do are not conducive to busy charter operators. We have crews ready and excited to go out at a certain time and if we are caught behind less skilled fish cleaners or a long line of super successful rec anglers we will be unable to stay on schedule. It works both ways too, the rec guys at these tables don't have to wait on the charters to clean 4 or 5 tourist anglers catch ahead of them either. We are glad they are there(cleaning stations/grinders) for the rec guys with smaller vessels to enjoy but not every harbor has them, and many harbors want the remains taken elsewhere--again, extremely inconvenient especially for a family who just arrived after lunch for an afternoon trip--little jill doesn't have to enjoy her first ride out to Lake Ontario with a bucket of remains with yellow jackets crawling all over it. 

It is a very important part of the convenience factor for the tourism aspect of our fishery, not only for the tourists but for the service providers. It also helps keep harmony in harbor areas as there is less temptation to dump remains in someones dumpster or the side of the road.    

Edited by Capt Vince Pierleoni
grammer

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The commercial salmon trollers in the Pacific immediately cut the gills and eviscerate the carcass to prepare the salmon for quality at the dinner table. They are bled out and the gurry is is removed to prevent tainting the flesh. Immediately afterward the fish is iced down or better yet flash frozen and dipped in fresh water to encase the fish in an ice glaze. This insures safe consumption to the public of the fish. Our rules of fish cleaning stations is a dangerous action to the public. The holding of a fish in an ice filled cooler for hours exposes the flesh to gurry and fluids, bacteria and unnecessary spoilage. Someday a lawsuit will happen and a lot of finger pointing will happen and states regulations will be the cause.

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On 3/16/2018 at 8:01 AM, jimski2 said:

The commercial salmon trollers in the Pacific immediately cut the gills and eviscerate the carcass to prepare the salmon for quality at the dinner table. They are bled out and the gurry is is removed to prevent tainting the flesh. Immediately afterward the fish is iced down or better yet flash frozen and dipped in fresh water to encase the fish in an ice glaze. This insures safe consumption to the public of the fish. Our rules of fish cleaning stations is a dangerous action to the public. The holding of a fish in an ice filled cooler for hours exposes the flesh to gurry and fluids, bacteria and unnecessary spoilage. Someday a lawsuit will happen and a lot of finger pointing will happen and states regulations will be the cause.

 

I don't understand how keeping a fish cold on ice causes spoilage. Tell us what we should do instead of using a cooler full ice if we want to bring some fish home to eat.  Should we use a floating fish basket or stringer like the old days?

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All fish I keep to eat are immediately bled and gutted. Then kept in an Ice water mixture. You wouldn’t believe how much better quality the meat is.

 

I got to this point by research what commercial guys do, and paying attention to ocean charters. It always used to bug me that I could find seemingly fresher fish at the store (2-3 days old) than directly from the lake.

 

 

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When a body be it fish or human dies the antibodies for your immune system die also. Immediately bad germs increase and spoilage begins. After bleeding out the fish it should be eviscerated clean , then all fluids flushed out. Place the fish on a bed of ice so any fluids are kept below the fish. Then cover the fish in ice. That is the best you can do on your boat. The bleeding allows the flesh to become white during cooking. Most important is the sanitizing your cooler, cutting board, knives and packaging material. Soap will remove blood, gurry and slime. Chlorine based solution will kill harmful bacteria.


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Placing a fish on a stringer or keeping it in a live well subjects the fish to warm surface water that hasten deterioration of the flesh, even if the fish is still alive. Ice or a freezer is the best way to keep the fish safe.


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One soap to never use on your boat is “pine sol”. It contains phenol which taints the flavor of the fish.


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