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Gill-T

Please Email DEC on proposed creel limit changes

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To piggyback on the recent article in the Buffalo News "Battle to promote more fish prompts debate" and the DEC class at the Niagara Expo, there are proposed changes to creel limits for trout.  Please go to the DEC website and comment on each proposal.  

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For those who may not be as adept at finding all this (and Gill’s post is the first I’ve heard of any of this, thank you, sir.)

 

http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/115977.html

Great Lakes regulations under consideration

Extend the open season for lake trout in Lake Ontario and the Lower Niagara River (2020_GL 01)

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Description: Open the Lake Ontario/Lower Niagara River lake trout season on December 1 (currently opens January 1). The season would be closed from October 1 through November 30.

Rationale: Anglers targeting rainbow trout/steelhead in the Lower Niagara River frequently catch lake trout. Since lake trout spawning is largely over by the end of November, opening the lake trout season on December 1 will provide anglers with additional opportunities to harvest trophy lake trout without jeopardizing lake trout restoration efforts.

Reduce the daily creel limit for brown trout in Lake Ontario tributaries (2020_GL_02)

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Description: Reduce the daily creel limit for brown trout in Lake Ontario tributaries from 3 fish per day to 1 fish per day (excluding the Lower Niagara River).

Rationale: This potential change is intended to prolong high quality brown trout fishing opportunities through the winter months, while still allowing anglers the opportunity to harvest a trophy fish. Fishing effort on Lake Ontario tributaries can be intense each year from fall through spring, and maintaining high quality brown trout fishing opportunities relies on anglers releasing a high proportion of their catch.

Increase the minimum size limit for rainbow trout/steelhead on Lake Ontario tributaries (2020_GL_03)

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Description: Increase the minimum size limit for rainbow trout/steelhead on Lake Ontario tributaries from 21" to 25" (excluding the Lower Niagara River).

Rationale: This potential change is intended to prolong high quality rainbow trout/steelhead fishing opportunities through the winter months, while still allowing anglers the opportunity to harvest a trophy fish. Anglers have noted smaller rainbow trout/steelhead in recent years, and declining rainbow trout/steelhead fishing success as the winter season progresses.

Decrease the daily creel limit for rainbow trout/steelhead on Lake Ontario and the Lower Niagara River (2020_GL_04)

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Description: Reduce the daily creel limit for rainbow trout/steelhead on Lake Ontario and the Lower Niagara River from 3 fish per day to 2 fish per day.

Rationale: Rainbow trout/steelhead provide the primary sportfishery in Lake Ontario's tributaries from November through the following spring. This potential change is designed to increase numbers and sustainability of rainbow trout/steelhead in the tributary fishery by reducing open lake harvest during periods when Chinook fishing success in the lake declines and more anglers specifically target rainbow trout/steelhead.

Edited by Lucky13

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I emailed my opinion in when this press release came out.  I think the DEC should do a study on catch and release mortality before they change the steelhead limits on the lake.

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3 hours ago, Lucky13 said:

For those who may not be as adept at finding all this (and Gill’s post is the first I’ve heard of any of this, thank you, sir.)

 

 

Lucky, I am surprised you were surprised.  I figured you and King Davy were behind the scenes lobbying for some of these changes.  Thanks for posting the links.  Whether you think the proposals are good or bad, if you don't comment on the website then you should forfeit your right to complain on this site.  

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Yeah, I've pretty much had enough of these trib guys nose's up the dec's backsides.

Email sent...

 

Silverfoxcharters.net

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Silver Fox said:

Yeah, I've pretty much had enough of these trib guys nose's up the dec's backsides.

Email sent...

 

Silverfoxcharters.net

 

 

 

 

What, only the Coast Guard paper holders are allowed to have their noses up the DEC' backsides?

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Check out LOUnited for Change topic. Legacy posted this and also info on lampreys last week.

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15 hours ago, Gill-T said:

 

Lucky, I am surprised you were surprised.  I figured you and King Davy were behind the scenes lobbying for some of these changes.  Thanks for posting the links.  Whether you think the proposals are good or bad, if you don't comment on the website then you should forfeit your right to complain on this site.  

I can’t speak for Dave, have not heard from him since last fall, and I am out of al but one loop with NYSDEC on the lake currently.  I have been a staunch supporter of the 25” size limit since the first round of “debates” on this, the data clearly indicates that this gets most of the steelhead back into the tributaries once to spawn, and 25” is starting to be a trophy fish.  As to C+R, I agree with Dave that any fish that is properly released at least has a better chance of survival than the one that hits the box, that one is definitely dead.   I know the one Brown in the tributaries has been floating around since Dave McNeil of Sea Grant was attempting to organize tributary anglers 15+ years ago, and it was most vocally expressed by Ron out at the Oak.  But many of the Charter operators have expressed their disgust with the egg harvesters on the tributaries in the fall on these boards, and it is still three in the Lake (although maybe trib anglers should really stir the pot and push for a one brown limit there as well,  and resurrect he one steelhead limit, as long as our noses are out of whack) so I don’t understand being upset unless of course your egg harvesting is disrupted by this.   This is a preproposal, so there will be lots of future opportunities to comment. 

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We really need to protect the fishery. We need to CLOSE ALL TRIBS DURING SPAWNING. Yes, ALL species and ALL spawning times!

Edited by pleasure unit
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We really need to protect the fishery. We need to CLOSE ALL TRIBS DURING SPAWNING. Yes, ALL species and ALL spawning times!

Heads are exploding... I can hear them!!!

Sent from my XT1585 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Hey nice to know I still have some fans on this site. Yes I sit on a Focus Group Panel with DEC, along with Vince, and Bob, and Tom A, and several others discussing management initiatives for the entire Lake Ontario fishery. We are fortunate to have the greatest 12 month a year sport fishery in the United States right here in our back yard. I say 12 months because from Sept. to the following April and sometimes May we have some of these sport fish in our tribs from the east end to the Niagara. For several years the efforts on the tribs has been about double the effort on the lake. There are rational reasons for that right? Much easier to come to a river or stream to fish, without having the investment in a boat and all the gear. But it's a fact that we have a very busy 12 month a year destination fishery. 

 

Travel the road ways in Oct and Nov along the lake and you'll see cars here from Montana, Oregon, Colorado, not to mention any state east of the Mississippi. We are now a destination for Brown trout, as we have the finest big brown trout fishery in the US. While we worry about forage for Salmon, Brown trout have a diverse inshore feeding diet that grows them big and fast. And yes the harvesting of brown trout for their eggs has become a bigger target it seems every year. That includes the milking of fish, or slitting their stomachs streamside which is illegal, (and I've personally had two groups ticketed this past fall calls to CO's)...but very hard to catch and control. The one brown trout limit for the tribs has been considered since 2003. DEC creel studies are starting to show trib anglers are more interested in C&R of brown trout.

 

Steelhead: Again since 2003 Stakeholders have been asking DEC to consider a flat 25 inch size limit for Steelhead ...why? Because since 1983 when the Salmon River Hatchery started collecting data of all returning fish, Salmon and Steelhead they sized them along with other data. As of the information we have from the 2018 spring egg take of Steelhead, 98% of the adult spawning fish since 1983 till now are 25 inches and above. Hence true 3 year old's.

Everybody like to have plenty of fish to fish to, but the tribs stakeholders are very interested in having trophy fish as well. Look at the LOC results of late. Last falls winning Steehlead was only 14 pounds.We used to catch fish much bigger in the 1990's and early 2000's. I've caught six true 20 pound steelhead in my life time. Five of them from Lake Ontario. 

 

In 2014 due to B1 deficiency problems with steelhead which DEC and USGS determined was consumption of highly toxic (to them) poor conditioned alewives, we lost a massive amount of our adult population of steelhead. So as of the spring of 2015 we essentially were starting over to replenish the future of steelhead for the entire fishery. While hoping younger Steelhead would survive. As of this fall and now winter fishing, I believe we are seeing encouraging results. However, remember we have a very highly used winter and spring fishery and in most of the open river systems anglers only have one fish to target. Steelhead. Much of the stream migration of brown trout is way over with a combination of over harvest and the fact that the majority of the browns have returned to the lake. So unlike the lake fishery where we never have only one species to fish for, in most cases for nearly four months trib anglers have one species to target.

 

C&R. will be debated for ever. Here is one thing that can't be debated. If C&R is killing the fish in the tribs, there would be no hiding it. There would be scores of brown trout and steelhead laying right next to the tons of dead salmon who die in the tribs as well. And that just isn't the case. In 2014 when we had the massive die off of steelhead in the tribs there was no hiding it. I will admit it is much easier to handle a fish for release kneeling In a river than a boat, but I was a Charter operator for over 20 years, and have been trolling the lake from 1971 until now, and it's on you the angler to be responsible to handle a fish properly in your possession. So make sure any fish isn't banging around the desk of the boat or fingers aren't in gills etc. If properly handled these fish can survive the short time they are in 70 degree water. There IS oxygen in that water to allow them to recover. We've all experienced turning around to re-net a fish that we think is going to die, only to find the fish has vanished once we get back to where it was released. And I'm talking about any trout or salmon, not just Steelhead.

 

Finally we have to stop being divided. I'm fully aware on the challenges both professionally and as a rec angler when trying to go catch fish. At this point DEC feels the proposed regs spreads the wealth of this entire 12 month fishery to simply have the opportunity to fish to fish. In the case of the lake Steelhead creel and avg party of four can still harvest 8 fish at 21 inches and over, yet still have slots to fill out their limit with other species. This  keeps an additional 15% of the avg. harvest on the lake maybe in play for the fall, winter and spring river fishing.

 

 

 

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Dave,

Catching steelhead over and over in the tribs may not cause them to die immediately but it does cause huge amounts of stress.  Fighting drop back stressed out steelhead in warmer water can not be good for them. 

 

As for bigger steelhead in the 90's and 2000's, why are the fish smaller?  Is it from lake fishermen harvesting too many (lake trips are down from the hay days of the 80's)?  Eating a less diverse alewife diet?  Is it from too much pressure in the tribs (trib popularity has seriously increase since the late 90's)?  These are the answers we need BEFORE we change limits.  If the steelhead simply are not getting bigger due to stress from eating alewife, a size limit will do nothing to help.  If it is from too much lake pressure, than we need to change something.  If it is from too much trib pressure, seasons need to be shortened.  I know this could be a hard pill for all to swallow but if everyone involved wants a trophy fishery, appropriate changes should be made.   

Edited by GAMBLER

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From Jana Lantry’s last report on the Boat Fishery, in the 2017 SOL report:

 “For 32 consecutive years (1986-2017), the majority of rainbow trout caught and harvested were in the west area (Lantry and Eckert 2011; Table 14a). In 2017, 67.2% of all rainbow trout caught and 75.3% of those harvested were from the west area. The majority of rainbow trout catch (52.1%) and harvest (56.3%) occurred during August (Table A14a)."

 

This does not sound like a random distribution to me. Maybe the Sandy Creek Operators are not specifically targeting rainbows, but west of there, not so much.

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As a point of clarification, the size change for steelhead is only applied to the tributaries.  The size in the lake remains 21”.  

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34 minutes ago, Lucky13 said:

From Jana Lantry’s last report on the Boat Fishery, in the 2017 SOL report:

 “For 32 consecutive years (1986-2017), the majority of rainbow trout caught and harvested were in the west area (Lantry and Eckert 2011; Table 14a). In 2017, 67.2% of all rainbow trout caught and 75.3% of those harvested were from the west area. The majority of rainbow trout catch (52.1%) and harvest (56.3%) occurred during August (Table A14a)."

 

This does not sound like a random distribution to me. Maybe the Sandy Creek Operators are not specifically targeting rainbows, but west of there, not so much.

The steelhead numbers are higher the closer you get to the Niagara River and the Niagara plume concentrates the steelhead (if you fish the highest concentration of steelhead on the lake you should expect to have higher catch rates).  We do not have much of the Niagara influence at Sandy, steelhead are a lot further off shore and there are not the numbers there are to the West. If you fished the lake Lucky, you would know steelhead are a bycatch most of the year. 

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They also run with the younger kings out deep in the summer months along the mid south shore (e.g. 300 plus water) and are often viewed as "accidental" catches to underscore Brian's point.

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On ‎2‎/‎1‎/‎2019 at 3:55 PM, GAMBLER said:

I emailed my opinion in when this press release came out.  I think the DEC should do a study on catch and release mortality before they change the steelhead limits on the lake.

My 2 cents, I agree with you.  All to often fish are over played and improperly released only to go belly up downstream.  A few years ago I read a length article on catch and release mortality rates.  If I can find it, Ill post it.  It was very interesting and if I remember correctly the mortality rate was quite high.

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Close all tribs during spawning season ? 

 

So no fishing  tribs from Sept to May ? 

 

Yea that'll go over big !! 

 

A very selfish ,short sighted statement.and not very well thought out . 

 

The reason our governor keeps giving money to perpetuate the fishery is all the revenue it brings the state . When the money stops coming in , he might funnel the hatchery/ management $  to a finger lakes wine center or to downstate . Where is voter base is 

 

So all those out of state   snagging trib anglers some hate so much on here, are a necessary evil to keep the dollars flowing our way . 

 

Some of you guys need to wake up and smell the coffee on this . We need as many guys fishing as possible for bargaining leverage. 

 

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These should keep you busy for a while.  Then, please provide some data other than the boat survey on predator distribution out in the Lake, not saying Gambler is wrong, but I know of nothing other than anecdotal information, it's not like anyone is gill netting out there.

 

https://henrysfork.org/files/Rob Blog/C%26R mortality review.pdf

http://www.wildsteelheaders.org/science-friday-how-does-catch-and-release-affect-steelhead/

https://www.psmfc.org/steelhead/2016/Bentley_Steelhead_C&R_mortality_Steelhead_Mgmt_Meeting,_March_8,_2016_for_PSMFC.pdf

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165783618301553  Abstract only

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226522409_A_Review_of_Catch-and-Release_Angling_Mortality_with_Implications_for_No-take_Reserves     Many abstracts


Show me a study done on the Salmon river, the Oak or Oswego river where the steelhead are caught over and over again. After reading these studies, they are done out west. The rivers out west are bigger water and a steelhead may never even see a hook in a trip into the river let alone be caught more than once.


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48 minutes ago, HB2 said:

Close all tribs during spawning season ? 

 

So no fishing  tribs from Sept to May ? 

 

Yea that'll go over big !! 

 

A very selfish ,short sighted statement.and not very well thought out . 

 

The reason our governor keeps giving money to perpetuate the fishery is all the revenue it brings the state . When the money stops coming in , he might funnel the hatchery/ management $  to a finger lakes wine center or to downstate . Where is voter base is 

 

So all those out of state   snagging trib anglers some hate so much on here, are a necessary evil to keep the dollars flowing our way . 

 

Some of you guys need to wake up and smell the coffee on this . We need as many guys fishing as possible for bargaining leverage. 

 

 

Here is food for thought, how about raising non-resident license fees and put more of that money toward pen rearing and other  such programs.  Higher rates will keep some of the butchers off of the tribs who are some of the major offenders. Close the season is a very selfish plan.  There are stream guides out there too, who try to make a buck too.  It isn't all about the lake anglers.

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I would love to see a study on mortality for C&R for both the tribs and the lake. We know that would be expensive to put radio devices on a number of fish, and then the dedicated science resources it would include to track fish, collect and produce the data. I would imagine unless DEC has the funding for such and expensive project we wont see that. All the fish are smaller at least the species that spend enough time off-shore. Salmon and steelhead. We know that some species that YOY Steelhead require like mysis shrimp have been in serious decline for years. So I'm sure it's never one culprit that is impacting our fish for food source. It's probably several food source factors. One thing for certain if we harvest a fish , they aren't ever getting bigger. So if we keep a few a little longer maybe we can see some bigger fish despite the food source issues.

 

We spent a year of discussing several management factors, along with Data DEC has collected. They took the collective information and crafted these solutions. I'll be honest my focus was not on creel limits but keeping steelhead to adult stage in the system on both the lake and tribs. And you can see that wasn't the direction DEC was willing to go. Reducing the brown trout limit from 3 to 1 on the tribs has been on and off the regs docket at least three times since 2003. We'l see if that has support this time. Our brown trout are getting hammered every day from Oct to December.

 

As far as shutting down the tribs and beside the economic values nearly 2 million angler hours bring to the LO shore line, we don't have successful natural reproduction of Brown trout and steelhead in our south shore streams. And why NYS stocks them. Neither the lake or trib fishing would survive without stocking. Making shutting them down to fishing on non factor. And I would believe that lake anglers who don't fish the tribs find plenty of spring browns in trolling the shoreline as well as rainbows and steelhead during the late spring and summer. It's highly likely any adults of those species that were in spawning have been caught once or several times and are still in the system for the lake fishermen as well.

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Generally I fall on the side of “what is good for the fish, is usually good for the fishermen”.  My question would be how and what organization would keep track of these changes to make sure they have the desired effect. Would there be a timeline attached to the changes?  A review of results? Continued public discussion?  How do you measure the success of any changes.....license sales? LOC derby weights?  Charter captain logs?  Lots of things to micromanage that Howard Tanner never had to deal with because there was virtually an unlimited supply of baitfish back then.

 

Change is scary because of the unknown. If you have tied your livelihood to the industry, change is horrifying. You probably need five years to see the effects of the proposed changes on the fishery. Five years of reduced fishing quality experiences can wipe out a lot of charter businesses ( see also Lakes Michigan and Huron).  More questions than answers. Everyone on the aforementioned task group mentioned by King Davy are professional guides and charter captains. Who represents the general public in that task group? How do you measure success of these proposed changes among the general public?  

 

We already have a world class fishery with a large out-of-state following. Do we need these changes? I think we would be well served by the proposed changes to the Brown Trout fishery because the species is a glutton making them vulnerable to over harvest. The steelhead fishery is rebounding on its own post-thiamine deficiency fish kills. The lake trout changes will have zero effect because nobody targets Lake Ontario/Niagara River Lakers for consumption during winter months. 

 

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Less rules we need.I believe our fishery rules should be made to increase public participation. Closed seasons , catch limits, size limits and other do gooder ideas result  in less public use  and local controls for their private use. Our hatchery production is decreased  because the growth rates have become stunted. We need license sales to support our DEC operations,not less fishing opportunity.

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