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I find this strange I cleaned 10 kings and all their stomachs have been empty? Has anyone else seen this?

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All the browns i've cleaned are the same way. We caught a rainbow too that was about as anorexic as i have ever seen. The browns looked healthy though. 

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Isn't the water a lot colder than normal for this time of year?  Don't the alewive come in from the deep lake when the nearshore warms up?  It's just early, be thankful they are not finding a lot of bait or they might not be eating lures!

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Also female Kings we caught were loaded with eggs, didn't know process started this early. Kings we caught seemed to be 3 yr olds, all of our fish had empty stomachs also. 

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The large class of kings everyone will be catching are three years old this year.  Yes, they will start egg formation now.  Empty stomachs this time of year is not abnormal on a late spring.  Most of the alewives are still on the bottom in 400'+ feet of water.  Alewives did not start on the bottom, they slowly move there over the course of the winter because warmer water and Mysis zooplankton are found there.  Younger class of kings are not suited for 400' of water.  More likely they are feeding on the suspended bait 150'-250' over the winter.  As more and more bait heads to the bottom, there is a time period when kings are running out of food and go looking- ending up along the shore in time for the spring inshore migration of alewives to begin.  Adult alewives are coming into the Niagara, Genny and Oswego river flows along the bottom, hit the bank, find warmer water, then begin to populate the upper warming layers of the water column that is developing inside of 100'.  This is the normal pattern.  What is not normal is the size of this year class of kings and the effect on bait levels.  The early-in from last year and this year is they are having a negative effect on alewife populations based on trawler surveys.  Do not hesitate to keep your kings for the barbecue this year.  Next year.......that is another story- lots of cormorants have me worried about king numbers.  

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Has there been any preliminary data released on the bait trawls this year? Good/bad, too early to tell?

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Not good. Keep in mind total numbers collected is a bottom trawl survey. If conditions exist that favor alewives suspending, they won’t be collected. The acoustic survey may shed more light. However, it stands to reason more predators= less prey. The three year old year class of kings is exceptional. 

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On ‎5‎/‎5‎/‎2019 at 9:03 AM, cheeseyrider said:

Also female Kings we caught were loaded with eggs, didn't know process started this early. Kings we caught seemed to be 3 yr olds, all of our fish had empty stomachs also. 

How big were the eggs?  The ovaries of female organisms (including fish) contain eggs at birth, but they are undeveloped.  As the fish approaches maturity, the eggs develop, at the same time the digestive tract atrophies to allow room for the ovaries to grow.  We routinely catch spring brook trout in the 'daks that are only 10-12inches long and the females contain ovaries that look like miniatures of the developed ovaries.

 

Maybe someone has gotten a "ball park" estimation of the alewife numbers for this year, it is way too early for anything definitive.  Also, isn't this the first year that the first (20%) cut in King stocking hits three years old?  

    

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Spring prey fish trawling finished up last week.  Now ages are interpreted, data entered, checked and analyzed.  Results will not be ready for another month or so and will be released once they have been checked. The on the water sense was that catches were low,.

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Kings and Browns we have been catching out of Fair Haven have had alewifes ,gobies and even a few smelt. Bait trawl on west end of lake last month showed lots of bait. Yesterday alewife's to 6 inches in kings we caughtScreenshot_20190410-231729.jpegScreenshot_20190410-231804.jpegScreenshot_20190410-231713.jpegScreenshot_20190410-231718.jpeg

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We see early egg skeins on 2 year olds in the fall. They start developing well in advance. 

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Double post please delete

Edited by Gill-T

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How big were the eggs?  The ovaries of female organisms (including fish) contain eggs at birth, but they are undeveloped.  As the fish approaches maturity, the eggs develop, at the same time the digestive tract atrophies to allow room for the ovaries to grow.  We routinely catch spring brook trout in the 'daks that are only 10-12inches long and the females contain ovaries that look like miniatures of the developed ovaries.
 
Maybe someone has gotten a "ball park" estimation of the alewife numbers for this year, it is way too early for anything definitive.  Also, isn't this the first year that the first (20%) cut in King stocking hits three years old?  
    
2017 was the first year so i guess it makes the first group of 20% reduced 2 yr olds this year.

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My bad math, since all the discussion was fall 2016, I got that number fixed in my head, but since they went in spring 17, it will be the 2 year olds this year.

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