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brucehookedup

Genny River Return??????

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1 hour ago, Capt Vince Pierleoni said:

Lucky with all due respect your background does not qualify you to speak as an authority on the current state of the Pacific Salmon fishery. You are doing quite a disservice to anyone that reads your many personal attacks on this board, by not admitting that you are not a Pacific Salmon advocate--certainly not in the open lake. As usual, you have taken liberties as to the information you spew on here--much of it is false. I am going to address your targeted misinformation below in the order you wrote it above. Don't expect lots of back and forth because frankly I think you enjoy it and I'm not playing.

1) I have enjoyed a good relationship with Dave MacNeill through the years, he did a nice job for Sea Grant. I consider Dr. Brian Weidel a friend, and we communicate much more often than you know. He has a set of parameters and guidelines that he must follow to formulate his conclusions. I think we learn a lot from each other and even when we strongly disagree it does not get mean spirited. He can only provide his findings--how it is used is out of his control.   My conclusions and my positions are based on observations/interactions with the Lake Ontario Salmon fishery for over 40 years--35 of those years nearly every day for 7 months of the year. 

2) I'm sorry but as long as you make personal attacks and biased statements from a keyboard using an alias you have zero credibility with me. As for your accusation that anyone that doesn't hide behind a keyboard alias is "self promoting", that is simply nonsense. I was long established prior to the existence of this board. For me, it's about standing behind what you say and believe. To each his own, and I certainly understand why some have "user names". However it's widely accepted that making personal attacks from a position of anonymity is bush league, and often referred to as a "keyboard warrior". 

3) Yes I serve on that Great Lakes fishery commission citizen advisory panel(if you are who I think you are your attendance on the calls has been less than stellar) but also the Niagara county fishery advisory board, and served on every single panel and board that I have been asked to sit on for the last 3 decades. I have also volunteered for every single DEC diet study and clipping study ever conducted for Lake Ontario-- just ask any of the managers. How many have you participated in? How many hours a season do YOU spend on the open lake?

4)Your accusation that I "went to a major outdoor print outlet" to plead my case is yet another falsehood you spew. I was contacted by the editor out of the blue asking my take on the issue. Certainly you aren't suggesting censorship, are you?

5) My "screen shots" have nothing to do with you, and certainly you cannot relate through your own recent experiences so simply MYOB. Your fascination with them is creepy. If you must know, the hour by hour observation of "the screens" is only part of the equation. The actual behavior of the target species, along with stomach content analysis is much more telling. For me, "size at age" is fascinating but I won't get into that as it is WAAY beyond your level of understanding with such little "hands on" experience.

6) I'm not the least bit bored, I find every aspect of the daily challenges worthwhile. As to your theory that anglers are leaving the fishery due to boredom--I can assure you if they felt a decent chance to catch a returning Salmon the piers would be chalk full again.

7) Once again you take the liberty to accuse me of "cherry picking" "graph" shots. Sorry but graphs were pretty much obsolete by 1990. My screen shots are actually quite random. Contrary to what you may believe, I would never want any management decisions that would harm the fishery. I find it sad that the Pacific Salmon isn't recognized more for what it actually is, the savior of the Lake Ontario ecosystem. Until the alewives were somewhat controlled none of the fantastic improvements that we have seen over the years would have taken place. This can quickly reverse, and the health of the alewife population put in danger if they become under predated again--and I have seen this on Lake Ontario more than once.

8)To call my observations "noise" is once again a cowardly cheap shot. I think my observations are certainly valuable, and many of the biologists and managers that you enjoy name dropping have told me so. Don't worry about me and my clients/guests. I have survived the first unnecessary Pacific stocking cut, and surely you aren't suggesting that I misrepresent what I can offer the tourist anglers, are you? We have been fortunate to have some bumper crops of naturally hatched Chinook Salmon that have masked the inequities in the stocking portion of the program. When I sit on the various boards/panels I feel a responsibility to look out for the small boater and the shore anglers--not just big boat anglers. Our area and approx half of the southshore of Lake Ontario has had some issues as the wild component does not contribute and 2 to 3 months of the season the small boat angler and area businesses are drastically impacted--not that you care one iota.                 

Very well said Vince. 

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Lucky with all due respect your background does not qualify you to speak as an authority on the current state of the Pacific Salmon fishery. You are doing quite a disservice to anyone that reads your many personal attacks on this board, by not admitting that you are not a Pacific Salmon advocate--certainly not in the open lake. As usual, you have taken liberties as to the information you spew on here--much of it is false. I am going to address your targeted misinformation below in the order you wrote it above. Don't expect lots of back and forth because frankly I think you enjoy it and I'm not playing.
1) I have enjoyed a good relationship with Dave MacNeill through the years, he did a nice job for Sea Grant. I consider Dr. Brian Weidel a friend, and we communicate much more often than you know. He has a set of parameters and guidelines that he must follow to formulate his conclusions. I think we learn a lot from each other and even when we strongly disagree it does not get mean spirited. He can only provide his findings--how it is used is out of his control.   My conclusions and my positions are based on observations/interactions with the Lake Ontario Salmon fishery for over 40 years--35 of those years nearly every day for 7 months of the year. 
2) I'm sorry but as long as you make personal attacks and biased statements from a keyboard using an alias you have zero credibility with me. As for your accusation that anyone that doesn't hide behind a keyboard alias is "self promoting", that is simply nonsense. I was long established prior to the existence of this board. For me, it's about standing behind what you say and believe. To each his own, and I certainly understand why some have "user names". However it's widely accepted that making personal attacks from a position of anonymity is bush league, and often referred to as a "keyboard warrior". 
3) Yes I serve on that Great Lakes fishery commission citizen advisory panel(if you are who I think you are your attendance on the calls has been less than stellar) but also the Niagara county fishery advisory board, and served on every single panel and board that I have been asked to sit on for the last 3 decades. I have also volunteered for every single DEC diet study and clipping study ever conducted for Lake Ontario-- just ask any of the managers. How many have you participated in? How many hours a season do YOU spend on the open lake?
4)Your accusation that I "went to a major outdoor print outlet" to plead my case is yet another falsehood you spew. I was contacted by the editor out of the blue asking my take on the issue. Certainly you aren't suggesting censorship, are you?
5) My "screen shots" have nothing to do with you, and certainly you cannot relate through your own recent experiences so simply MYOB. Your fascination with them is creepy. If you must know, the hour by hour observation of "the screens" is only part of the equation. The actual behavior of the target species, along with stomach content analysis is much more telling. For me, "size at age" is fascinating but I won't get into that as it is WAAY beyond your level of understanding with such little "hands on" experience.
6) I'm not the least bit bored, I find every aspect of the daily challenges worthwhile. As to your theory that anglers are leaving the fishery due to boredom--I can assure you if they felt a decent chance to catch a returning Salmon the piers would be chalk full again.
7) Once again you take the liberty to accuse me of "cherry picking" "graph" shots. Sorry but graphs were pretty much obsolete by 1990. My screen shots are actually quite random. Contrary to what you may believe, I would never want any management decisions that would harm the fishery. I find it sad that the Pacific Salmon isn't recognized more for what it actually is, the savior of the Lake Ontario ecosystem. Until the alewives were somewhat controlled none of the fantastic improvements that we have seen over the years would have taken place. This can quickly reverse, and the health of the alewife population put in danger if they become under predated again--and I have seen this on Lake Ontario more than once.
8)To call my observations "noise" is once again a cowardly cheap shot. I think my observations are certainly valuable, and many of the biologists and managers that you enjoy name dropping have told me so. Don't worry about me and my clients/guests. I have survived the first unnecessary Pacific stocking cut, and surely you aren't suggesting that I misrepresent what I can offer the tourist anglers, are you? We have been fortunate to have some bumper crops of naturally hatched Chinook Salmon that have masked the inequities in the stocking portion of the program. When I sit on the various boards/panels I feel a responsibility to look out for the small boater and the shore anglers--not just big boat anglers. Our area and approx half of the southshore of Lake Ontario has had some issues as the wild component does not contribute and 2 to 3 months of the season the small boat angler and area businesses are drastically impacted--not that you care one iota.                 


Can I share my screen shots too?


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As disclaimer I’m not a biologist or fisheries manager nor a licensed captain. I took some fisheries classes in college as electives and my memories of salmon fishing in Lake Ontario go back some 35 years. During my peak I likely fished the tribs and lake combined 100 + days a year for many years.  In the past five years I haven’t trib fished at all and get out in the lake 25 or so times during the April-Sept season. Ok,  now that I have said my disclaimer here are my thoughts/theories:

Returns & Staging Salmon:

1. Worse than normal returns this year likely due to poor pen conditions in 2016 as Gambler stated. That said, staging salmon fishing on the west end has been declining for many years. I pier fished 5 solid years in the mid-late 90s and never recall landing more than 2 or 3 fish in hours of fishing. Piers were lined up some nights but nobody was going home with their limit.  My guess is it is even worse now. If you are comparing returns to the peak in the 80s there simply are far less salmon stocked today than there was then. 

2. In tribs where returns are solely sustained with stocking, staging and upstream migrations are delayed 3-4 weeks later than when salmon were first stocked in the 70s and 80s. My earliest memories are fishing for staging salmon around the Genny in 30-40 fow as early as mid August with combat fishing peaking Labor Day to mid September. By mid 90s it was mid to late Sept. No idea what it is now because after Labor Day I switch to trout fishing for browns fishing away from major tribs or Steelie fishing offshore and still usually catch matures in the mix not even targeting them. My guess is that the reason for later returns is early returning fish have been selected out because they went belly up before making it to the hatchery. Many probably remember all the floaters in the western tribs years back in Sept. Many of those fish that ran early never made it full cycle. 

3. Natural reproduction seems to be more of a factor these days as our salmon have evolved to our conditions. I have worked in the Fishers/Victor area for many years and regularly walk the banks of Irondequoit creek in the fall. In the upper portions of the stream where I believe natural reproduction occurs, the heaviest concentrations of bedded up spawning salmon does not occur until after Nov 1st all the way to Thanksgiving. These fishing likely didn’t even begin staging until late Sept and first entered the actual stream well in to Oct. 

4. Back to this year. Constant changing winds likely have scattered stagers causing fish too trickle in rather than stage in any great numbers. Daily reports from the DSR on the salmon river haven’t reported any major run, yet the river is full of salmon top to bottom. A good morning run in the DSR this year has been less than a couple hundred fish when usually there has been at least one major run by now of hundreds and hundreds of fish in a morning. Could still be coming I guess but my theory is that with constantly changing lake conditions fish don’t stage in great numbers as when conditions are stable. As a side note, there are reports of tons of Coho this year in the Salmon river. Where the heck were they in the lake all year! 

5. In reality pen rearing is only extending the season another 2-3 weeks and at a time of year when salmon are least desirable. I had good fishing for matures right through Labor Day this year and the past few years and then usually switch to trout tactics as I mentioned. Likely the matures I’m catching offshore still around Labor Day are late migrating east end returns. This is coming from a purely recreational standpoint and I understand the concern of those that are in this for business. That said I would much rather have the fantastic spring and summer fishing experienced on the west end when kings are in their prime then the combat fishing on the east end for declining salmon. In years past we accepted that if you want good salmon fishing in early spring you had to move west and many charters did, still do. We may have to accept that is you want good fishing for salmon at the end of the season you have to move east, but it seems far less captains are willing to do that.

6. My guess is there will still be a ton of salmon at the lower falls in a month. Every year I go down there and it is still absolutely amazing at the numbers of fish. Fish simply don’t seem to stage like they used to. Same with Oak. Not sure about Burt or further west. 

 

 

Other Observations:

1. Vince likely is seeing loads of bait as he is in some of the most productive waters  of the whole lake. As long as there are alewife in the lake that will inhabit the Niagara shoreline. Same with the Sandy guys. The structure and currents between Devils Nose and Braddocks will always hold bait, regardless of what is going on in the rest of the lake. I can’t say fishing out of I-Bay that I have seen any noticeable amounts of bait the past couple years. 

2. Salmon seem to be more spread out all season starting in the Spring. I fished the Niagara region for 20 years in May but the last year few years I’ve saved the time and gas and do just as well out of Rochester then when I fished Niagara. I’m sure the fishing is still phenomenal down there but haven’t felt the need to make the trip with all the good fishing here. I recall good salmon fishing east near Sodus and Oswego not occurring until July or so back in the day. Now they are getting them in decent numbers throughout the entire season.

3. I believe the bait population is lower then what is used to be which is causing a reduced size in our salmon but better catch rates. Too much of a correlation with what is happening/happened in Lake Michigan. For awhile catch rates skyrocketed but salmon size was way down. Bait analysis showed a declining abundance much like ours does now.  A few years ago they drastically reduced stocking numbers and salmon size shot right back up as they are regularly catching fish 30 to almost 40lbs the last couple of years. I believe the catch rates have decreased though. Not saying we need to drastically reduce stocking like Michigan, but if we want to maintain a trophy fishery with the 30lb plus potential we have to be mindful of the bait trawl data and stocking numbers. 

 

My two cents

Edited by A-Lure-A

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Your observations are on the money, esp. the part on the fish evolving to run later.  To bring the runs back to better support the bank fishery, the DEC should consider only stripping eggs and sperm from late October-November fish and increase the allotment going to pen-rearing.  If the DEC is afraid of too much natural reproduction happening, stocking more fish into the streams that cannot support natural reproduction due to warm water temps and poor substrate, would help keep natural reproduction down while supporting the fisheries around the lake.  I don't like the  DEC's stance that two pen-reared fish equal one direct stocked because of better survival rate.  There was not enough study time and data to support the 2:1 theory as fact.  The DEC does read these posts so keep the good conversation going.

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19 hours ago, Lucky13 said:

I have 30 years of experience working in Environmental Science, have worked with such illustrious scientists as Drs Ed Mills and Lars Rudstam from the Cornell Biological Research Facility on Oneida Lake, Fred Luckey from Region II USEPA, Dave MacNeill and his colleagues at Sea Grant, and Dr. Brian Weidel of the USGS (some of you deal with his "anonymous" self on here, and there are only a few self promoting posters here who use their own name, so I am hardly alone in having an " alias") and many of the DEC Regions 6, 7 and 8 staffs, among many others.  I serve with you on the Great Lake Fishery Commission citizen advisory panel.  As to instigating, I have not gone to the major outdoor print outlet in  New York and publicly lambasted the mangers of this fishery based on my Television watching experience.  How many screenshots do you have to take to get one big bait pod, Vince? 

 

It s an interesting  hypothesis that raising fish in one of the more unique water sources in New York, a limestone spring with a very unique chemistry, would imprint fish to rivers 80 to 100 miles away that have no resemblance to Spring Brook in their water chemistry. Even comparing the flow in Spring Brook to the total flow in the Genesee River, it is amazing that that Spring Brook signature does not get "swamped" with all the other chemical influences for a big old muddy flow like the Genny. Perhaps you can put some kind of science together to prove your contentions, something a little more rigorous than " back in the day it was shoulder to shoulder (may I remind you that all aspects of the fishery are down somewhat, people seem to get bored with fishing after a few years) and a couple of cherry picked graph shots.

 

BTW, all your noise about how much bait there is and there aren't enough salmon  could be viewed as " the sky is falling" talk by out of staters, so you may be shooting yourself in the foot down the road regardless of whether the cuts are noticeable, and the bait bounces back,  or not.

 

 

As a scientist, I will tell you that you don't have to prove a negative correlation to determine absence of effect. The major point being, the salmon raised at the Caledonia hatchery didn't imprint on the Salmon River. Hence, the hypothesis was that the Salmon River wouldn't be their default destination and they would be more likely to be found elsewhere doing the dance of love. I'm not trying to be argumentative, just clarifying something where I've seen a flawed premise lead to confusion. It is  likely that it was not the imprinting when Caledonia was open that was impactful, it was the lack of imprinting that promoted a more random distribution during the spawn.

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I don't know why you guys are complaining about catching rotten September/October Salmon. You seemed pretty happy when most of your Spring Salmon catches (east of the Niagara Bar) were way above normal the last few years. I think the lake is changing and some of you are too stubborn to change with it. Personally, I'll take a better lake-wide Spring Salmon fishery over a better mud marlin season any day.

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There is one and only one reason western end fish do not imprint like they use to.  Caledonia hatchery no more. It is that simple folks, not global warming like a few here seem to think.  Do you not think the rivers were 68 degrees 10 years ago, at this time!!  It will be interesting to see if pens can bring back similar imprints to pre Caledonia days.

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I agree with Vince and Shorelunch. I've been a shore fisherman since the 80's when my dad used to take me to both Wilson and Olcott piers. Wilson was absolutely unbelievable day and night until they put the water treatment plant in and the fish never came back. Olcott pier and Lower Niagara was fantastic from Mid August til the heavy run - it wasn't unusual for everybody on the pier/shore to at least hook a fish and that was when it was shoulder to shoulder. Once they stopped the Caledonia hatchery , the staging salmon stopped and the returns were never the same.  Shore and Pier anglers went from from an unbelievable year one year to almost no fish on the piers/shore  the next year- the 1st  non- Caledonia  year class return.  When there used to be a constant influx of  many salmon from day to day , there is now only maybe one good run of fish up the streams and its within a short period of time. Unfortunately, my kids grew up within that poor  time  frame and never got to experience the adrenaline rush of the  constant beer bottle knock over , jolting strikes in pitch black, and multiple anglers screaming coming down. I just hope something can be changed so that future generations can experience what I did.

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Well if you count a successful fishery by the number of fishery present on the piers and streams, go back to the snagging days. The anti snag groups ended up with the fishery and the non boating fellows were the losers along with the business people.


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3 hours ago, fischer said:

I agree with Vince and Shorelunch. I've been a shore fisherman since the 80's when my dad used to take me to both Wilson and Olcott piers. Wilson was absolutely unbelievable day and night until they put the water treatment plant in and the fish never came back. Olcott pier and Lower Niagara was fantastic from Mid August til the heavy run - it wasn't unusual for everybody on the pier/shore to at least hook a fish and that was when it was shoulder to shoulder. Once they stopped the Caledonia hatchery , the staging salmon stopped and the returns were never the same.  Shore and Pier anglers went from from an unbelievable year one year to almost no fish on the piers/shore  the next year- the 1st  non- Caledonia  year class return.  When there used to be a constant influx of  many salmon from day to day , there is now only maybe one good run of fish up the streams and its within a short period of time. Unfortunately, my kids grew up within that poor  time  frame and never got to experience the adrenaline rush of the  constant beer bottle knock over , jolting strikes in pitch black, and multiple anglers screaming coming down. I just hope something can be changed so that future generations can experience what I did.

 

Word

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I agree with Vince and Shorelunch. I've been a shore fisherman since the 80's when my dad used to take me to both Wilson and Olcott piers. Wilson was absolutely unbelievable day and night until they put the water treatment plant in and the fish never came back. Olcott pier and Lower Niagara was fantastic from Mid August til the heavy run - it wasn't unusual for everybody on the pier/shore to at least hook a fish and that was when it was shoulder to shoulder. Once they stopped the Caledonia hatchery , the staging salmon stopped and the returns were never the same.  Shore and Pier anglers went from from an unbelievable year one year to almost no fish on the piers/shore  the next year- the 1st  non- Caledonia  year class return.  When there used to be a constant influx of  many salmon from day to day , there is now only maybe one good run of fish up the streams and its within a short period of time. Unfortunately, my kids grew up within that poor  time  frame and never got to experience the adrenaline rush of the  constant beer bottle knock over , jolting strikes in pitch black, and multiple anglers screaming coming down. I just hope something can be changed so that future generations can experience what I did.

The pen projects were on track the last couple of years and the DEC is having us pen ALL the fish stocked at each tributary. This should make a difference. They are also putting more effort into the pen projects. The change came a couple of years ago when the new hatchery manager took over. There is now more consistency from project to project, funding available for the projects and the biggest plus is projects that have high temp issues are the first to receive pen fish.


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Well if you count a successful fishery by the number of fishery present on the piers and streams, go back to the snagging days. The anti snag groups ended up with the fishery and the non boating fellows were the losers along with the business people.


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Lmao. I wish they would bring snagging back for just a week. Funniest thing I’ve ever seen. We would stand on the bridges and watch these guys , most of them drunk , snag a fish , cross 20 or 30 lines , fall down in the river , fights all over. Fishing ? Not so much


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This is such a bad way to represent this fishery , not every person has the means to have a 30 foot plus boat and thousands of dollars in electronics. A long with down riggers , divers , lead core, copper, meat rigs. This was not made to be a rich guy sport. Don't get me wrong I love to catch salmon on the lake all year. I don't find them to be great table fair anytime. I keep a couple a year to eat, mosty ones I hurt so I can't release them.. it's only a sport to me, I would never eat one of the fall dark fish but I will never shame anyone if they want to. And just because you don't enjoy something why tell others they can't . I have caught 1000's of salmon. Every way posable , spring trolling , summer trolling , fall wall trolling , casting from the pier , drifting in the stream, trolling I'm the creek. Every way has it's own fun and skill. To me dragging a 400 copper or a 500 copper and catching a 15 pound salmon is horrible. Would much rather cast at the pier and fell one hit than ever drag a copper line to catch one...but I don't tell people not to drag a copper fish around at 3 mph and reel for 20 mins while it fights the line...so if guys want to fish for pier fish and enjoy it you should not belittle them. This just my opinion every angler that buys a nys fishing license should have a fair chance at catching the fish our DEC spends that money to stock. Not just the ones who book a charter or can afford the equipment to fish them in deep water. If anything the everyday angler should hate the charter fleet for only paying the same license fee and get the chance make a living off it. Now don't think I think that way because I don't but trust me some of the guys that can't afford that fishery sure hate that is the same price them as you. I get the whole picture charters bring huge dollars to the fishery , everyone that books has to stay, eat, drink, and pay for a fishing license. Those money's are a huge part of nys income. But also there is some huge dollars spent each year by shore and small boat fisherman. My entire point is this is a huge fishery with many people making money off it and many people enjoying it. If you take away one part the other will suffer ..

I don't know why you guys are complaining about catching rotten September/October Salmon. You seemed pretty happy when most of your Spring Salmon catches (east of the Niagara Bar) were way above normal the last few years. I think the lake is changing and some of you are too stubborn to change with it. Personally, I'll take a better lake-wide Spring Salmon fishery over a better mud marlin season any day.


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This is such a bad way to represent this fishery , not every person has the means to have a 30 foot plus boat and thousands of dollars in electronics. A long with down riggers , divers , lead core, copper, meat rigs. This was not made to be a rich guy sport. Don't get me wrong I love to catch salmon on the lake all year. I don't find them to be great table fair anytime. I keep a couple a year to eat, mosty ones I hurt so I can't release them.. it's only a sport to me, I would never eat one of the fall dark fish but I will never shame anyone if they want to. And just because you don't enjoy something why tell others they can't . I have caught 1000's of salmon. Every way posable , spring trolling , summer trolling , fall wall trolling , casting from the pier , drifting in the stream, trolling I'm the creek. Every way has it's own fun and skill. To me dragging a 400 copper or a 500 copper and catching a 15 pound salmon is horrible. Would much rather cast at the pier and fell one hit than ever drag a copper line to catch one...but I don't tell people not to drag a copper fish around at 3 mph and reel for 20 mins while it fights the line...so if guys want to fish for pier fish and enjoy it you should not belittle them. This just my opinion every angler that buys a nys fishing license should have a fair chance at catching the fish our DEC spends that money to stock. Not just the ones who book a charter or can afford the equipment to fish them in deep water. If anything the everyday angler should hate the charter fleet for only paying the same license fee and get the chance make a living off it. Now don't think I think that way because I don't but trust me some of the guys that can't afford that fishery sure hate that is the same price them as you. I get the whole picture charters bring huge dollars to the fishery , everyone that books has to stay, eat, drink, and pay for a fishing license. Those money's are a huge part of nys income. But also there is some huge dollars spent each year by shore and small boat fisherman. My entire point is this is a huge fishery with many people making money off it and many people enjoying it. If you take away one part the other will suffer ..


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Pier guys don’t show up at State of the lake meetings, or invest in the pen projects. Their voices will never be heard because they don’t show up. It is up to the pier guys to make their voices heard. Will the DEC listen? That’s up to them.


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5 minutes ago, bluegiller said:

This is such a bad way to represent this fishery , not every person has the means to have a 30 foot plus boat and thousands of dollars in electronics. A long with down riggers , divers , lead core, copper, meat rigs. This was not made to be a rich guy sport. Don't get me wrong I love to catch salmon on the lake all year. I don't find them to be great table fair anytime. I keep a couple a year to eat, mosty ones I hurt so I can't release them.. it's only a sport to me, I would never eat one of the fall dark fish but I will never shame anyone if they want to. And just because you don't enjoy something why tell others they can't . I have caught 1000's of salmon. Every way posable , spring trolling , summer trolling , fall wall trolling , casting from the pier , drifting in the stream, trolling I'm the creek. Every way has it's own fun and skill. To me dragging a 400 copper or a 500 copper and catching a 15 pound salmon is horrible. Would much rather cast at the pier and fell one hit than ever drag a copper line to catch one...but I don't tell people not to drag a copper fish around at 3 mph and reel for 20 mins while it fights the line...so if guys want to fish for pier fish and enjoy it you should not belittle them. This just my opinion every angler that buys a nys fishing license should have a fair chance at catching the fish our DEC spends that money to stock. Not just the ones who book a charter or can afford the equipment to fish them in deep water. If anything the everyday angler should hate the charter fleet for only paying the same license fee and get the chance make a living off it. Now don't think I think that way because I don't but trust me some of the guys that can't afford that fishery sure hate that is the same price them as you. I get the whole picture charters bring huge dollars to the fishery , everyone that books has to stay, eat, drink, and pay for a fishing license. Those money's are a huge part of nys income. But also there is some huge dollars spent each year by shore and small boat fisherman. My entire point is this is a huge fishery with many people making money off it and many people enjoying it. If you take away one part the other will suffer ..

 


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I'm sorry my post offended you, but I think you took it the wrong way. I can't control the Fall fishery and neither can the DEC, apparently. Lets face it the lake has changed whether you want to believe it or not. The initial poster was a boat guy complaining about it, but he's had an above average Spring Salmon fishery the last few seasons. That's really all I was pointing out. I didn't belittle anyone or any group.

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33 minutes ago, bluegiller said:

This is such a bad way to represent this fishery , not every person has the means to have a 30 foot plus boat and thousands of dollars in electronics. A long with down riggers , divers , lead core, copper, meat rigs. This was not made to be a rich guy sport. Don't get me wrong I love to catch salmon on the lake all year. I don't find them to be great table fair anytime. I keep a couple a year to eat, mosty ones I hurt so I can't release them.. it's only a sport to me, I would never eat one of the fall dark fish but I will never shame anyone if they want to. And just because you don't enjoy something why tell others they can't . I have caught 1000's of salmon. Every way posable , spring trolling , summer trolling , fall wall trolling , casting from the pier , drifting in the stream, trolling I'm the creek. Every way has it's own fun and skill. To me dragging a 400 copper or a 500 copper and catching a 15 pound salmon is horrible. Would much rather cast at the pier and fell one hit than ever drag a copper line to catch one...but I don't tell people not to drag a copper fish around at 3 mph and reel for 20 mins while it fights the line...so if guys want to fish for pier fish and enjoy it you should not belittle them. This just my opinion every angler that buys a nys fishing license should have a fair chance at catching the fish our DEC spends that money to stock. Not just the ones who book a charter or can afford the equipment to fish them in deep water. If anything the everyday angler should hate the charter fleet for only paying the same license fee and get the chance make a living off it. Now don't think I think that way because I don't but trust me some of the guys that can't afford that fishery sure hate that is the same price them as you. I get the whole picture charters bring huge dollars to the fishery , everyone that books has to stay, eat, drink, and pay for a fishing license. Those money's are a huge part of nys income. But also there is some huge dollars spent each year by shore and small boat fisherman. My entire point is this is a huge fishery with many people making money off it and many people enjoying it. If you take away one part the other will suffer ..

 


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Also, per the DEC and their new BS regulation the Salmon are now managed for Lake Ontario and not the tribs. The trib/pier fisherman asked for regulations on our lake Steelhead limit and Steelhead are now managed for the tribs. I don't feel your sorrow for the lack of Salmon at the pier heads anymore.

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Well to get back to the start of this thread, where are the returning salmon?  My credentials is that I worked in DEC fisheries for 35 years and fished Great Lakes steelhead and salmon since the mid 70's. I started in Michigan tribs but found the jewel of the Great Lakes called Salmon River.  I was on the river 25-30 weekends between Labor Day and the spring ESLO at the end of april. My lake fishing was just to fill in in my off season. Then the resident landowner screwed up the right to fish navigable waters. About the same time as DEC and Ontario cut stocking numbers and the catch dropped. I got spoiled with the reduced numbers of fish and rarely walk the streams any more. I'm left to just lake fishing the lake now.  Its Oct 1st the peak of the salmon run isn't until around Columbus Day.  Salmon will run earlier though if there is a rise in water levels ( August if they had a tube race) not primarily water temp. We had that on Salmon River with daily raising and lowering of water releases for hydroelectric generation. Then they messed that up with a constant slightly higher than low flow.  With the great salmon catch this year in the lake runs in the streams will come.  We have not had rains enough raise stream levels so not many fish are in the tribs. but with salmon changing biologically to spawn they will run soon regardless of water levels. As for Vinnie I fished with him before he had a boat and still fish with him.  He is the most fine tuned fisherman in details and observations.  Listen to him.

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You did not hurt my feelings at all or offend me and i know one pier fisherman that is at almost every single meeting ( that's was to Gamblers response also) and I am not really a pier guy it a river guy anymore either. And yes every boat has had a great few Summers on the lake imcluding me. I used to fish probably 70 or more days a year in the rivers or streams mostly for steelhead. I don't do that at all anymore mostly because I have found other sports that I enjoy at that time of the year. And I don't really ever target steelhead I any way anymore but I did help with the pens this year. And if asked will don't again next year. I would have help with the salmon I offered but was never asked after I offered. I have fished this lake since I was around 5.. I kinda left fishing for salmon on the lake for a few years while my kids were younger and I was traveling alot for work. But I always kept my eye what was going one. Yes this lake has changed huge.but the basics of the salmon are the same, all spring and summer they follow the food and every year the mature fish head up some river to spawn. I don't know the total reason they have left using the western end rivers but sure be nice if they would return. And it might be as simple as the huge number of fish we catch all year are not the ones stocked here. We might be fishing Canadian fish, eadt end fish and wild fish. So maybe the ones returning here are all that are left of out imprinted fish. But I do know this if the river and lake guys hate on each other and dont work together it won't improve

 
Also, per the DEC and their new BS regulation the Salmon are now managed for Lake Ontario and not the tribs. The trib/pier fisherman asked for regulations on our lake Steelhead limit and Steelhead are now managed for the tribs. I don't feel your sorrow for the lack of Salmon at the pier heads anymore.


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Well to get back to the start of this thread, where are the returning salmon?  My credentials is that I worked in DEC fisheries for 35 years and fished Great Lakes steelhead and salmon since the mid 70's. I started in Michigan tribs but found the jewel of the Great Lakes called Salmon River.  I was on the river 25-30 weekends between Labor Day and the spring ESLO at the end of april. My lake fishing was just to fill in in my off season. Then the resident landowner screwed up the right to fish navigable waters. About the same time as DEC and Ontario cut stocking numbers and the catch dropped. I got spoiled with the reduced numbers of fish and rarely walk the streams any more. I'm left to just lake fishing the lake now.  Its Oct 1st the peak of the salmon run isn't until around Columbus Day.  Salmon will run earlier though if there is a rise in water levels ( August if they had a tube race) not primarily water temp. We had that on Salmon River with daily raising and lowering of water releases for hydroelectric generation. Then they messed that up with a constant slightly higher than low flow.  With the great salmon catch this year in the lake runs in the streams will come.  We have not had rains enough raise stream levels so not many fish are in the tribs. but with salmon changing biologically to spawn they will run soon regardless of water levels. As for Vinnie I fished with him before he had a boat and still fish with him.  He is the most fine tuned fisherman in details and observations.  Listen to him.

Talk about bringing back memories. The Rhinegold fire dept sponsored field days and tube races. Rode the river many times both as a registered team member and a pirate. Almost drowned in the black hole one year Don’t know where that raft of tubes came from , but it saved my life Been fishing the lake since the mid 70’s and one thing is for sure. It is a different fishery now than 40 years ago Some bad some very good


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Wow, i had a feeling this would get interesting. I can say i have been fishing this lake since 1977 and regardless of temps, up wellings, hatchery changes, pens, no pens all of the thoughts everybody shared it is dismal fishing this september into october at best. Unfortunately people still think this is the time to get salmon. I believe this will never change until they are educated, which i am ok with if we have returning fish to play with. I had a very unusual experience this past new years day with salmon spawning. I was walking irondequoit creek as i do several times a week and i could not believe when i saw a fresh pair of green salmon on a nest NEW YEARS DAY Really!!! I went farther up a trip and there was another pair not quite as fresh. I have NEVER seen this.  Are they naturals? We will never know. December run i certainly hope not. Nice write Vince, i am with you. That would take me days to write lol.

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Absolutely!

The DEC has openly admitted that the main objective of pen rearing projects are to increase survival rates rather than imprinting.... 2-1 survival to be exact.
So there is no secret that since salmon raising at the Caledonia Hatchery has ceased, the fall runs in central and western tribs have drastically diminished. There really is only one cause...
Now I'm a big proponent of the pen rearing programs. I just adjust my trips to focus on July and August for offshore Pelagics.. You can't count on Sept Stagers for potential targets.
Yes, I have a big enough boat to go offshore to fish 2yr olds and Steelhead. The unfair thing is the small boats who rely on the fall stagers... Sucks for sure...
As far as talking the talk and walking the walk.... Vince Definetly walks the walk... Like Vince and many posters on this thread, I've fished the Lake for over 40 years... No fancy diploma or a laundry list of white coats in my work history... Just hundreds of fish autopsies a season... I'd say that hours on the water and practical hands on experience would mean more than simply regurgitating data from articles and sitting behind a computer screen...
99% of us that Fish the Lake and the tributaries want better king fishing... The difference is in opinions of how do we get there...

There is one and only one reason western end fish do not imprint like they use to.  Caledonia hatchery no more. It is that simple folks, not global warming like a few here seem to think.  Do you not think the rivers were 68 degrees 10 years ago, at this time!!  It will be interesting to see if pens can bring back similar imprints to pre Caledonia days.


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A few things:
1. I move my boat throughout the year, and for good reason. We fish sodus in April and early May, Olcott in May and June, sodus again in June and July, and the oak in early August. That's not an accident. Each port has a good "time" to fish it (and we follow the fish). What I've seen is progressively better king fishing out west in May and June and progressively worse August "stager" fishing everywhere over the last 10 years. The fish are becoming more migratory, in that more fish head west early and almost all the fish end up east In September. Different ports benefit from this at different times, but it is important that people realize this is happening. These fish are evolving to our lake in real time (know in evolutionary circles as punctuated equilibrium).
2. Though it would be hard to prove, the notion that the Caledonia hatchery PREVENTED salmon from imprinting exclusively to the salmon river makes sense. Without being imprinted, the salmon used to end up in whatever outflow seemed viable when they got the call to spawn. How else can you explain salmon ending up in all the little tiny feeder creeks throughout the lake? They weren't stocked or born there! Now, with all the salmon coming exclusively from the salmon river, they are all pre-programmed to end up there. We may confuse some of that programming with pen rearing, but we cannot entirely undo it! Take a look at the data about straying... and that was before all the fry came from salmon river!
3. We have Terrible bank conditions on most of our tributaries, and that's only getting worse. They are silting more and more, and with reduced tree cover they are warmer. It delays the run significantly, I believe. The hot weather and weird wind has been holding back the kings for weeks now. The exception here is the salmon river.
4. Stream guys should WANT more kings and better king fishing. Alewife are not particularly good for steelhead survival and reproduction, and they are just plain terrible for Atlantic salmon. If you ever hope to restore native Atlantic's, for example, optimal alewife control is vital.

Vince, I loved your response. Kings are an absolute savior to this lake and need to be treated as such! I believe that they are key to eventually restoring some of the native species as well! The lake can certainly support both pacific salmon and native species. In the current environment, none of the other species can thrive unless we control alewife optimally. Even warm water fish like perch and walleye depend on salmon for alewife control!


The Fishin’ Physician Assistant

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After reading through the all the things discussed in this topic, I would like to bring up a thing or two that I don't recall being discussed here. Also I want to say that I am an old guy that has lived and fished in New York since I was a kid. I became interested in fishing for trout and salmon in Lake Ontario near the beginning. I did not have access to boat fishing and I was excited about how the fishing in Lake Ontario was coming back from the dismal condition of the lake in the 60s and 70s. I actually entered the spring ESLO derby in 1982 and fished it from shore. I only caught a small brown but after that I became hooked on trout and salmon fishing in Lake Ontario.

From the mid 80s til the mid 90s I spent a lot of time fishing from the piers in the spring and in the fall. By the mid 90s there were changes happening to the lake and it's tributaries which I think contributed greatly to changes in near shore trout and salmon fishing.

1) Zebra Mussels and later, other mussels: It is in my opinion that this has influenced the near shore trout and salmon fishing the most and has caused other cascading changes. As they cleared up the water, there was progressively fewer trout and salmon in the shallow water around the piers in the spring and the fall. They disrupted the food chain throughout the lake. Since trout and salmon prefer not to be exposed to bright light, they did not spend as much time around the piers unless the water was stained by runoff. It didn't affect the trout in the spring as much because of spring run off and cool water temps. However I do believe that gradually, the length of time that the salmon spent staging close in front of the tributaries and around the piers gradually shortened as the mussels caused the water to gradually become clearer. There used to be several weeks of consistently good salmon fishing off the piers and as the lake cleared, it became more sporadic.

2) The continued reduction of phosphors and other pollutants into the tributaries and the lake. This is good in a lot of ways but also added to clearing the water.

3) Effects of the clearer water on seasonal nearshore water temperatures. I think the clearer water, especially nearshore in the fall allows the sun to keep the water temps from falling as fast in the fall. That is if the lake doesn't turn over. The darker color of clear water as opposed to green algae laden water can absorb more heat from the sun. I think this can be even more of a factor in years with a warm September and low rainfall.

4) Changes in baitfish patterns as a result of the above changes.

 

Please note that these are just my thoughts based on observations over the years. The lake as a whole is like a living entity that is constantly changing. All the changes can be considered good in some ways and bad in other ways. I do miss the pier fishing for trout and salmon. To me, it is much more exciting than trolling for them when you hook into one from a pier.

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