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GAMBLER

Lack of small kings

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Fished offshore and found some two year olds and had insane amounts of bait from 400 all the way back into 45’. Not one skippy today. I have only boated 9 skips this entire season. Usually we get a ton of them brown fishing which I have down more of this summer than most.


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Fishing out of Sodus yesterday we had several skippies and some were taking magnum Dreamweavers off  a 300 copper....spoon nearly the size of the fish:lol:

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My eyes were opened this weekend to the insane amount of bait that has appeared. I am concerned about the lack of predators around it. 

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My eyes were opened this weekend to the insane amount of bait that has appeared. I am concerned about the lack of predators around it. 

Because there is a drastically reduced number. The fishery cannot be sustained by a good wild hatch at the Eastern end every 4-6 yrs. Lots of scratching for fish going on in Niagara county right now.


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Weidel reminded me YOY alewife and smelt may be on graph as 1.5-2” fish. What size alewives are stomach contents showing when you are cleaning fish Vince?

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Weidel reminded me YOY alewife and smelt may be on graph as 1.5-2” fish. What size alewives are stomach contents showing when you are cleaning fish Vince?

Chinook Salmon always target larger baitfish unless not available. They are still eating large to mediums. We have seen the small alewives coughed up by Steel and Browns.


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Fished Thursday night, Friday and Saturday, and this is the only picture of bait and predators together. 

360B07D3-7C6F-46D4-822C-5C2DA9CAE5F3.jpeg

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Same here Chad. Tons of bait with nothing on it. Crazy. We had to scratch out bites yesterday and most of the mature fish looked to be headed home...


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15 minutes ago, Gill-T said:

Fished Thursday night, Friday and Saturday, and this is the only picture of bait and predators together. 

360B07D3-7C6F-46D4-822C-5C2DA9CAE5F3.jpeg

 

Have you tried trolling on Medium CHIRP? It's a much wider angle.

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7 minutes ago, GAMBLER said:

Same here Chad. Tons of bait with nothing on it. Crazy. We had to scratch out bites yesterday and most of the mature fish looked to be headed home...


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Why wouldn't they be? It's Labor day weekend in a few days. Kiss the season goodbye in a few weeks. I have seen more bait the last few weeks at the Oak offshore. Most are small pods. That being said I trolled a small area consisting of a few square miles. I still trust the 3 boats trawling data over what I saw this year.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/26/2019 at 10:57 AM, Yankee Troller said:

 

 I still trust the 3 boats trawling data over what I saw this year.

Me too. It is interesting to me that like on Wicked Tuna folks see bait and marks and on the show they get a hit right after they mark the fish" and folks believe that the stuff they see on the screen is a representative sample of everything that is out there, and that the hits they get (or don't  get) are totally related to what they see on the screen. The fact of the matter is that trout and salmon will come horizontally or vertically from way outside the cone of even the widest angle transducer to check out or perhaps actually grab your bait. Think about the 600 copper or the 10 color leadcore where the fish is 100-200 yds (one to two football fields or more) away from the boat when they hit vertically and horizontally. Probably not related  to anything on your screen. Marking intermittent bait pods or areas devoid of bait on the screens of depth finders in given areas of a lake the size and depth of Ontario is even more "sketchy". It may possibly be a good indicator of what is in that particular area under the boat or near it, but to generalize it to the entire length, breadth, and volumn of the lake is not realistic nor is it any type of representation of the general state of things out there. A lot of people also forget that there are many species out there not just trout and salmon and they too show up on the screen (or don't):smile:

Edited by Sk8man

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Within a margin of error, the trawling data should present a picture of the overall density of bait  out there.  If there was twice as much bait,  a random sampling effort along transects should produce a picture of approximately twice the density of the fish, like was seen back in the beginnings of the work.  If they went out and chased the sonar until they found schools, the picture would no longer be unbiased but would be heavily skewed.  By running the same basic program, they get rid of the bias.  And they then analyze the fish caught for age and size structure, "icing on the data cake."

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The reliance on fish finding technology to indicate fish and bait below the boat is indicative of the current culture of "if its on my screen" it must be real!

In combination with good technology and experience the odds can be turned in your favor.  After 40 years chasing salmon  on lake Ontario I can only think about 15 times that a fish appearing on a screen actually became a hit.  Most of these were 'streakers' which started above my lures and came down on them with an instantaneous hit.

I believe most hits come quickly from the side where if your unit is fast enough may show up as a slash or partial line; pure 'hooks' are something I've never really understood compared to lines, slashes, streaks, etc.  At least these indicate the fish are on the move.

One of my most successful techniques when 15 miles offshore is to mark every bait ball and every hit on my GPS, if the bite is on simply repeating and zigging and zagging back through these schools will increase my hook ups.

Relying on your fish finder to find fish that you could entice to hit your lure is a sure fire way to frustration, as a tool to narrow the odds a bit makes it useful.  They still have to be enticed to hit your lure.

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I saw and read the report. It is at the very least concerning, and indicates that what the dec has been advocating is probably wise. This year I saw a ton of bait, and I had some trouble reconciling what I saw with what the data showed...

That being said, a very important concept in scientific literature is that observational data sucks. I’m not saying that’s it’s useless... but it’s kind of useless. We need consistent, reproducible, verifiable data to make any meaningful inferences about what to do... I would argue that the places they are trawling (specifically a small “hole” directly off the bar) should be remedied, but overall the data seems sound.

The issue now isn’t the 2013/2014 class as much as overcoming the shortcoming of their spawning for several years, and the increased predation on the other year classes because of their absence. A few average or above average years (hopefully starting with the 2019 yoy) and we will be out of the woods!

We’ve gotta weather the storm. If we are wise, this soon will pass and our beloved salmon fishery will continue to thrive. Remember, we have not felt ANY pain from sticking cuts yet. If next year is down, it will be the first time.


The Fishin’ Physician Assistant

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2 minutes ago, rdebadts said:

I saw and read the report. It is at the very least concerning, and indicates that what the dec has been advocating is probably wise. This year I saw a ton of bait, and I had some trouble reconciling what I saw with what the data showed...

That being said, a very important concept in scientific literature is that observational data sucks. I’m not saying that’s it’s useless... but it’s kind of useless. We need consistent, reproducible, verifiable data to make any meaningful inferences about what to do... I would argue that the places they are trawling (specifically a small “hole” directly off the bar) should be remedied, but overall the data seems sound.

The issue now isn’t the 2013/2014 class as much as overcoming the shortcoming of their spawning for several years, and the increased predation on the other year classes because of their absence. A few average or above average years (hopefully starting with the 2019 yoy) and we will be out of the woods!

We’ve gotta weather the storm. If we are wise, this soon will pass and our beloved salmon fishery will continue to thrive. Remember, we have not felt ANY pain from sticking cuts yet. If next year is down, it will be the first time.


The Fishin’ Physician Assistant

 

Exactly!

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By the way- sounds like guys are all finding the smaller fish the last few weeks, as mature stagers become more finicky and guys are focusing more offshore. I saw the same on Sunday out of Sodus


The Fishin’ Physician Assistant

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For what it's worth If you look at the 2018 YOY salmon river seining catch rate it was the lowest since 2008 and 2017 was average to slightly above. Added to the reduced stocking over the last 2 years it indicates we should see fewer fish next year but potentially more 4 year old fish.

 

Lake Ontario was also hit harder proportionally by the winter of 2014/2015 than lake Michigan. It's possible that Michigan has recovered quicker than Ontario due to that, just a theory though, we'll see next year.

 

It sounds like 2019 was a good hatch of wild salmon so it's not all doom and gloom but maybe a temporary reduction of fish in the lake for the next few years. But who knows, nature is a hard thing to predict sometimes, I'll be fishing either way.

 

On another note the biggest salmon in 20 years were caught in lake huron and Georgian bay derbies this year so bait has definitely rebounded.  its mostly smelt now in Georgian bay but lots of it marked in the last few years.

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To keep the salmon season going longer , the stocking of Coho salmon is an answer. We caught migrating Coho salmon upstream in creeks and rivers till well past pheasant hunting season. Coho salmon may not be as large as chinooks but they provide more action than what goes on now.


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7 minutes ago, jimski2 said:

To keep the salmon season going longer , the stocking of Coho salmon is an answer. We caught migrating Coho salmon upstream in creeks and rivers till well past pheasant hunting season. Coho salmon may not be as large as chinooks but they provide more action than what goes on now.


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Coho are a not targeted in most of the season.  They are around in spring and disappear until late August.  I have caught more Atlantics than coho this season. 

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Coho are a not targeted in most of the season.  They are around in spring and disappear until late August.  I have caught more Atlantics than coho this season. 

Coho used to be a Summer and Fall player in the Western basin. When DEC stopped stocking yearling Coho the returns dwindled. Yearlings are released in the Salmon river and they do return well. There is the Coho clipping study going on now to help substantiate this. Coho are a great sportfish and great table fare.


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5 minutes ago, Capt Vince Pierleoni said:


Coho used to be a Summer and Fall player in the Western basin. When DEC stopped stocking yearling Coho the returns dwindled. Yearlings are released in the Salmon river and they do return well. There is the Coho clipping study going on now to help substantiate this. Coho are a great sportfish and great table fare.


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I agree Vince but the last couple of years, they have been ghosts.  They need to get them back to where they were.  We used to have them around in way better numbers. 

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Used to get lots of coho off the piers in the spring , very , very few last few years .


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I do miss a good Coho fishery. It's been dismal for a while.

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3 hours ago, Yankee Troller said:

I do miss a good Coho fishery. It's been dismal for a while.

Me too Rick.  2009 was an awesome Coho year.  Lots around and great size.  Its really a shame that it has tanked the way it has. 

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