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brucehookedup

Genny River Return??????

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  1. Lots of interesting posts '  have been out in Lake Ontario every year since 1984 .
  2. I may have missed it but I did not see any mention of the cormorants destroying bait fish population !
  3. Does taking  ~4500 lbs of prime salmon out of the spawning pool in 2 days have any effect on the return [ I enter derbies every year that I am able to so I am not against prize fishing but every fish we took this year was not wasted ]
  4. I have learned to ignore " cheap shot artists " and do not read them . If they do not get an effect IMO they tend to go away !

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, tuffishooker said:

I may have missed it but I did not see any mention of the cormorants destroying bait fish population !

Not to mention decimating pen reared fish when released into the creeks......... 

It would be beneficial to see the release process and pens modified/redesigned to allows for an easier release of fish in open water. 

What happened in Sandy this spring will effect the return of those penned fish at maturity. 

It would also be nice to have a "season" on cormorants.............

Edited by Traveling Circus

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15 hours ago, muskiedreams said:

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.

These are all good observations and yes can have an affect in a case by case basis. I agree that the mid 90s was the peak of the mussels influence but for several years now their impact on water color has been drastically mitigated. The high water, lake Erie inflow, and the normal adjustment downward(after the initial explosion) in numbers of nearshore mussels have all had an impact on the return to fertile, colored water to nearshore waters. We routinely see Salmon set up inside on the southshore, and it is more often the norm on the northshore. The color is there and so are the alewives. Your point that catching returning Salmon in shallow water and off piers in clear water is extremely difficult is true. However, when they are imprinted and actually exist to return they sulk to the bottom and move as deep as needed for their needs/security. When this clear water is present the night casters do very well if the fish are there to catch. Also several locations at Canadian ports have had normal staging behavior especially this season making the original posters concerns very valid. The Canadian Salmon are not from the Altmar hatchery, and some of the locations discussed like the Genesee, the Oak, Olcott, and the Niagara(being Lake Erie water) do not suffer from clear water conditions in most cases, especially this late Summer/Fall. The returning numbers just are not very large.          

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Traveling Circus said:

Not to mention decimating pen reared fish when released into the creeks......... 

It would be beneficial to see the release process and pens modified/redesigned to allows for an easier release of fish in open water. 

What happened in Sandy this spring will effect the return of those penned fish at maturity. 

It would also be nice to have a "season" on cormorants.............

 

Cormorants and turin/gulls feasting on released fish is a great theory, and something that isn't helping the situation.

 

50 minutes ago, Capt Vince Pierleoni said:

Also several locations at Canadian ports have had normal staging behavior especially this season making the original posters concerns very valid. The Canadian Salmon are not from the Altmar hatchery, and some of the locations discussed like the Genesee, the Oak, Olcott, and the Niagara(being Lake Erie water) do not suffer from clear water conditions in most cases, especially this late Summer/Fall. The returning numbers just are not very large.          

 

Good point Vince. I will concur the staging fish are still at these Canadian tribs. However, I think those North shore tribs tend to have cooler water both in the lake and coming down them. Those fish also start staging by the end of August.

Edited by Yankee Troller

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I have to admit that I haven't fished Lake Ontario or pier or tribs for quite some time and without experiencing that, it is hard to get a complete picture of the current conditions. I am not surprised and have heard that the north shore gets better returns and I am sure it is because of several reasons. I think number 1 is better trib habitat which translates to better natural recruitment. It would be nice if our tribs could be improved to produce better recruitment. I have no idea if it is something that could be achieved through habitat improvement projects.

 

Meanwhile, I can see that if there are ways to improve the pen rearing projects to help increase returns to western and central tribs, that would be a big plus. If they could find technology that can be used to conduct telemetry tagging studies or fin clip studies (clip methods that indicate year and stocking method/location) to help determine return rates and at the same time, take measures such as modifying release locations and methods to help improve survival of pen reared fish (maybe open water release would not be ideal at that stage) and at the same time, consider what can be done to help improve the habitat in those tribs to encourage natural recruitment, maybe the fall runs can be improved over a period of years.

 

Here is a pen rearing variation that was done this year with tiger muskies. maybe this will help with ideas to improve the pen rearing projects in Lake Ontario.

https://www.lakeontariounited.com/fishing-hunting/topic/82229-chapter-70-pen-stocking-tiger-muskies/

 

The  US Dept. Fish and Wildlife may have funds that can be tapped for projects of this nature for habitat improvement. At least for tribs it might be feasible in.

 

Just some thoughts of mine about the issue. I don't know if these ideas have been already considered or if these ideas could help spawn ( pardon the pun) other ideas.

 

I am going to have to drop out of this conversation for now because I have to get ready for a long weekend of musky fishing at Waneta Lake.

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Some of these responses in my opinion, in my own opinion, without damn disrespecting anyone are completely wrong.  The returning, staging situation we now have is not related to clear water and zebra mussels.  It is simply,  again simply due to the fact of no longer using the Caledonia hatchery to raise salmon. Question for the pros, why, after having a world class salmon fishery, did our state change from the Caledonia stock to the salmon river stock? I have two guesses, money number one, or hatchery structure problems in Caledonia.  If it makes anyone feel better, Jim markham, when he took over control of Lake Erie steelhead, successfully destroyed 90% of the Lake Erie steelhead population. Cattaraugus creek had better steelhead fishing than British Columbia back in the day.   90% less steelhead through the great steelhead alley, all because a genius retired and never passed the notebook off to the young buck.  But hey one thing at a time, would love to know why Caledonia is no longer our salmon savior.

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11 minutes ago, shorelunch said:

Some of these responses in my opinion, in my own opinion, without damn disrespecting anyone are completely wrong.  The returning, staging situation we now have is not related to clear water and zebra mussels.  It is simply,  again simply due to the fact of no longer using the Caledonia hatchery to raise salmon. Question for the pros, why, after having a world class salmon fishery, did our state change from the Caledonia stock to the salmon river stock? I have two guesses, money number one, or hatchery structure problems in Caledonia.  If it makes anyone feel better, Jim markham, when he took over control of Lake Erie steelhead, successfully destroyed 90% of the Lake Erie steelhead population. Cattaraugus creek had better steelhead fishing than British Columbia back in the day.   90% less steelhead through the great steelhead alley, all because a genius retired and never passed the notebook off to the young buck.  But hey one thing at a time, would love to know why Caledonia is no longer our salmon savior.

 

Here's the quick response:

Caledonia isn't allowed to accept eggs from Lake Ontario due to VHS concerns. Fish from Caledonia get stocked all over the state and the DEC doesn't want to spread the virus. Everything that gets brought into SR hatchery goes back into Lake Ontario from what I understand. The DEC won't build or use another hatchery for Lake Ontario to curb the "all eggs in one basket" theory, but the feds had no problem building a sub 1 million dollar hatchery downstate for Atlantic Salmon that will go into Lake Ontario. Atlantic Salmon milt/eggs are taken from LO to this hatchery. I think that's a more viable option for a second hatchery than getting Caledonia back.

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I live about a mile downstream from the Caledonia hatchery...whatta ya say I sneak in and throw a mill or 2 fertilized king eggs in with the brown eggs? we can bring them in from the lake...screw the virus!  I want fish! Spread the virus! (just kidding, don't need the DEC guys kicking my door in)

 

In all seriousness I have a trib running across my land that has year round brookies and small browns, and some mature browns run up it out of the Oatka which is the creek spring creek runs into before reaching the river. I think it was about 3 years ago during a hard winter that some Canadian cormorants (that's what the DEC said at a meeting a Caledonia high school anyways), and they completely wiped out all the trout in my small stream and pretty much the oatka creek trout...nothing was left....so I know they are a problem. It's probably not where the fish went as the OP originally asked but I'm sure they hurt the population.

 

Also I'm mostly a shore fisherman since my father passed and his boat sold. I've been to state of the lake meeting before so not quite true that shore fisherman don't attend. I'm 55 and had a fishing license my whole life. I want the fish back to the central and western tribs as I like to fish the oak and Summerville. It's BS. Bring the kings back to Caledonia please.

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Shorelunch great question, and we all agree with bring back the caledonia hatchery for salmon. No doubt the best and we need our eggs in two baskets. 

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Rick, please, more specifics on this Federal Hatchery, where is it, does it have a name? 

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The Tunison Lab at Cornell receives federal dollars, you know what Rick meant Salty 13. 

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Guilty Hooker, the Tunison Lab was built in 1930, not recently, and has supported Federal Fisheries research throughout the Great Lakes, not just AS in NYS.  It is not directly affiliated with Cornell, and is located outside of Cortland, New York.  I toured it about 20 years ago with the new USGS section Chief at the time.  It is no bigger than the Powder  Mill Fis Hatchery, has inside raising trays and a few outdoor raceways.  It is likely that a lot of that capacity is devoted to raising bloaters, another "two basket" project that the Feds (LO is an international waterbody, you might remember, so the feds have skin in the game, too) have a big hand in.   Maybe you can all buy the Powder Mills Hatchery.  

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There is another fish hatchery just north of Caledonia in the town of Wheatland, just off of Cedars ave. I'm not sure what fish are raised there but have a friend who owns a bunch of land on the other side of the road and we were over there looking at deer stands yesterday morning. He said he thinks it's state owned but I'm not sure of that. It feeds into a private community called Blue Pond then flows across my friends land before eventually feeding into black creek. There's brookies and browns in that creek and I get the feeling that's what they raise.

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1 hour ago, Lucky13 said:

Guilty Hooker, the Tunison Lab was built in 1930, not recently, and has supported Federal Fisheries research throughout the Great Lakes, not just AS in NYS.  It is not directly affiliated with Cornell, and is located outside of Cortland, New York.  I toured it about 20 years ago with the new USGS section Chief at the time.  It is no bigger than the Powder  Mill Fis Hatchery, has inside raising trays and a few outdoor raceways.  It is likely that a lot of that capacity is devoted to raising bloaters, another "two basket" project that the Feds (LO is an international waterbody, you might remember, so the feds have skin in the game, too) have a big hand in.   Maybe you can all buy the Powder Mills Hatchery.  

 

It may have been built in the 30's, but was there not 800,000 recently put into it for an Atlantic program?

 

If any of you ever fished Canadian waters in the fall you'd appreciate having a fish not raised in water going into Lake Ontario.

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Guilty Hooker, the Tunison Lab was built in 1930, not recently, and has supported Federal Fisheries research throughout the Great Lakes, not just AS in NYS.  It is not directly affiliated with Cornell, and is located outside of Cortland, New York.  I toured it about 20 years ago with the new USGS section Chief at the time.  It is no bigger than the Powder  Mill Fis Hatchery, has inside raising trays and a few outdoor raceways.  It is likely that a lot of that capacity is devoted to raising bloaters, another "two basket" project that the Feds (LO is an international waterbody, you might remember, so the feds have skin in the game, too) have a big hand in.   Maybe you can all buy the Powder Mills Hatchery.  

No need to buy Powder Mill. I brought up at the state of the lake meeting years ago about seeing if the owners of the hatchery would contract out raising our kings or leasing out the space to do it. It was an instant No.

Caledonia, Powder Mill, and any other hatchery is totally off the table with the DEC. They have said it for years at the state of the lake meetings. The other issue I can see them bringing up with opening another hatchery is there will be less salmon returning to Altmar Hatchery and it will be harder for the DEC to meet egg quotas. Remember the egg shortage year? I believe us pen rearing all of the tributaries allotment of salmon stocked will help bring a staging fishery back to the West end. This is why pen projects are the MOST IMPORTANT projects on the lake that benefit all of us (Lake, Pier or Stream fishermen). Get involved and help keep this fishery world class!


Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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3 hours ago, scottatsummerville said:

There is another fish hatchery just north of Caledonia in the town of Wheatland, just off of Cedars ave. I'm not sure what fish are raised there but have a friend who owns a bunch of land on the other side of the road and we were over there looking at deer stands yesterday morning. He said he thinks it's state owned but I'm not sure of that. It feeds into a private community called Blue Pond then flows across my friends land before eventually feeding into black creek. There's brookies and browns in that creek and I get the feeling that's what they raise.

That is Cedar Springs, it is tiny and ancient.  DEC does not talk a lot about what they do there, my understanding is that it is used as a research facility, and they may do some rainbow work as the water is not whirling disease contaminated like Spring Creek.  The operative word is tiny.  And to get a sense of the volume of water, drive down Cedar Springs Road (Cedars Avenue on Google Maps) to where the stream crosses the road, right before you get to the gates.  While you, can't step across Mill Creek there, it's not much bigger.

 

"No need to buy Powder Mill. I brought up at the state of the lake meeting years ago about seeing if the owners of the hatchery would contract out raising our kings or leasing out the space to do it. It was an instant No."

 

The County of Monroe still owns the Powder Mills Hatchery, the Reidman Foundation just operates it.  The County was still kicking in 25 K/ yr to operating costs last time I looked at a County Budget.  Again, water source might be a major issue there as the volume from the springs is low, and quality has declined somewhat since all the houses got built up and over the ridge.

 

"It may have been built in the 30's, but was there not 800,000 recently put into it for an Atlantic program?" 

https://www.syracuse.com/outdoors/2012/01/tunison_lab.html

 

According to the Outdoor column in Syracuse (maybe the only one left in WNY?) it was 800 k for a new UV treatment facility which is being used in the AS and cisco and bloater projects.   It kills all pathogens in the water.  Maybe this is a new and useful technology that has application in other areas of the fishery, often a side benefit of science.  And as it was paid for with a Great Lakes Initiative grant, all the cowboys in Wyoming that we are usually subsidizing from  here in NYS kicked in their share, too.

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I agree with Gambler on a lot of things.... Including the pen rearing projects being very important for the fishery... The emphasis is on survivability instead of imprinting... Even when the stocking numbers were high ( not this joke we are contending with in recent years)... The returns were drastically lower after the closing of Caledonia... Even as good as the fishing was the past three summers, the return was low...
So as far as imprinting, I don't buy into it. I do buy into the increased survivability factor... At least at the Genny I do.. The stained water hides our little buddies from the aerial assault that other ports contend with.
No doubt that Caledonia coming back on line would increase returns... And like Rick said, a different hatchery not hooked into the S.R. could probably benefit the West end also...
It's getting old going to these meetings and getting the "Talk to the hand" with any ideas we come up with...

Sent from my VS996 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Posted (edited)

Here is data we saw from a DEC presentation a few years back about the Caledonia hatchery fish. Form you own opinion from it. I'm not saying we shouldn't try another study now that we have a marking trailer to give us better data. The lake has changed a lot. The Canadians seem to have no problems trying "studies" so why can't we? I can tell you the "eggs in one basket" doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy.

 

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Edited by Yankee Troller

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There is a ton of variables unique to each stocking location. Water turbidity, water temps, proximity to cormorant roosts, how the fish are handled, presence of a VHS fish die-off while pen-rearing takes place, type and amount of fish predators around when fingerlings are released, etc etc. that a few years of data is hard to hang your hat on. I would like to see a longer clipping study that would include direct stocking at upstream locations, pen-reared, and direct lake stocked. 

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Rick beat me to it. I stand corrected on the Caledonia notion. However, I must say that using the tagging truck that we already have to make the data more robust would certainly be good. Overall returns were better for pen reared sr chinooks, though there WAS some year to year variability, and more data would help to clarify those inconsistencies.


The Fishin’ Physician Assistant

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Steve Lapans head is going to spin at the state of the lake meeting this year...…..

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I’ve been pier fishing the Genny for roughly 13 years now and I can tell you this is by far THE worst run I’ve ever seen. I fish at night and put in a lot of time and we had one decent night from late August till now. I can probably count on two hands the amount of fish that I actually saw caught. I can also probably count the bottle drops I heard on one hand which is absolutely insane. Never have I seen the total lack of fish around as I’ve seen this year. It’s been almost totally dead for around 2 weeks now if not more. 

 

I heard around the first or second week of September we had bad winds that scattered all the staging fish which has been confirmed in this thread. To me that is absolutely ridiculous that a couple days of “bad” winds would ruin the entire run. If that’s the case these salmon must not have much incentive if any to spawn where they should be. Also we have crappy winds every year for a couple days or more why would this year be any different?  Sounds like the lack of pen raised fish 3 years ago is a major factor and maybe the biggest?  I keep hoping they are still out there and just late to the party but I’m starting to really worry at this point. 

 

It also sounds like us western end fall salmon fishermen are getting the short end of the stick. IMO there is nothing more fun than casting for kings with spoons, crankbaits or whatever else you wanna throw at them and no doubt many agree. I hope we never see a year like this again. 

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I spent about 3 8 hour days in the last 2 weeks on the Summerville pier...that 1 day in late august that we has winds out of the south and the lake flipped I caught a nice female king and 3 browns and the guys in the boats were hooking up, the other 2 days nobody caught anything while I was there, didn't see any hookups on the boats either. Not much blood on the pier.

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33 minutes ago, EyeSlayer said:

I’ve been pier fishing the Genny for roughly 13 years now and I can tell you this is by far THE worst run I’ve ever seen. I fish at night and put in a lot of time and we had one decent night from late August till now. I can probably count on two hands the amount of fish that I actually saw caught. I can also probably count the bottle drops I heard on one hand which is absolutely insane. Never have I seen the total lack of fish around as I’ve seen this year. It’s been almost totally dead for around 2 weeks now if not more. 

 

I heard around the first or second week of September we had bad winds that scattered all the staging fish which has been confirmed in this thread. To me that is absolutely ridiculous that a couple days of “bad” winds would ruin the entire run. If that’s the case these salmon must not have much incentive if any to spawn where they should be. Also we have crappy winds every year for a couple days or more why would this year be any different?  Sounds like the lack of pen raised fish 3 years ago is a major factor and maybe the biggest?  I keep hoping they are still out there and just late to the party but I’m starting to really worry at this point. 

 

It also sounds like us western end fall salmon fishermen are getting the short end of the stick. IMO there is nothing more fun than casting for kings with spoons, crankbaits or whatever else you wanna throw at them and no doubt many agree. I hope we never see a year like this again. 

Don't forget this is the return year of the spring with no pen rearing AND a 50% cut in salmon stocking. 

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