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Western Finger Lakes

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I think we should propose a increase in the Rainbow Trout limit to two fish on the western Finger Lakes there are more then enough fish now to increase the limit to 2 fish daily what do you anglers think

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I personally catch quite a few more rainbows than browns.  Maybe bring the brown limit down to 2 and rainbow limit up to 2.

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It sounds good but unfortunately we aren't the ones controlling things in the decision making process. There is certainly an "unevenness" in the various lakes involved. For example with Canandaigua Lake I think the decision was more based on keeping things consistent among the lakes rather than any actual shortage of rainbows. Seneca on the other hand may be a different animal and especially so with the stocking of an additional variety to supplement the existing population which appeared to be struggling.

 

The DEC claims that the Angler Diary data is important in the decision making process but there are inherent problems with the data collection and interpretation process in addition to diminished sample size itself (e.g. fewer reporters) as it may not truly be a representative sample for a variety of reasons. When you have a small sample of fishermen submitting the data that are primarily trolling, browns are going to be underrepresented in the results because in the Fingers trolling may not be nearly as productive as some other techniques (e.g. still fishing with live bait which isn't done as frequently anymore), and is quite different than fishing them on Lake O for example for much of the year. Sometimes the data is greatly skewed by a given reporter who allegedly accounts for a large part of the data totals for a given species and presents a question in my mind about the veracity of the data and subsequent interpretation. In short I don't think anyone at present has a real accurate handle on the situation for the Finger Lakes.

 

 

Edited by Sk8man
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Sk8man I value your input as you have been fishing these lakes as long as I have they need to have meetings where we can bring together the Finger Lakes fishermen & voice our wants & needs as we have invested large amount of money into our Charter boats & do not want to lose our clients to other areas as we bring in income into this region of the state

 

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 I dunno, does anyone really need more meat?.. Is it that important?. Finger Lakes trout and salmon are typically good size fish, and   1 decent bow along with a brown, landlock, laker  here and there  is more than enough for a few meals, unless you are feeding a big family. I mean if having more fish flesh on the table is imperative, there are lots of other possibilities. panfish, bass, pike, walleyes etc.. the rainbows  can spawn and reproduce why start grabbing up more to fillet or smoke?.. bob

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I agree with Sk8man that the Angler Diaries are not much more than a sampling of a group of anglers on the lakes. It is a great bit of information, it just does not represent ALL the anglers on the lakes. 

 

Just as an example, a few years ago I concentrated on LL Salmon because we had a banner year for them. My report would have shown lots of Salmon, little or no Browns, Rainbows or Lake Trout. It plus others like me who target a flourishing species, will skew the diary numbers an enormous amount given the sample size. The following year I was lucky if I could find very, very few Salmon, so I switched to a different species to target. Since I was targeting non Salmon species my previously huge Salmon report went to near zero. That would be an under representation of Salmon just because I chose not to specialize on them. I am sure there were Salmon out there, they would not be making it to my diary.

 

Back to the original topic of this post, we need to give a boom or bust a few years to truly tell us how we may want to adjust stocking and take limits.  Mother nature deals the cards...we can aid the processes through policy. I doubt we can force too much of a quick change in the balances, I think our policy role is to control the damage we can inflict on that balance of nature rather than to try to fully control the actual balances that exist year to year.

(But if you wanted my opinion 2 bows and 2 browns would work just fine)

Edited by 58Johnson
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58Johnson I would be very happy if we could get a change like this it would make a differents in my clients fishing more times & spending more money here in the Finger Lakes

 

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I have been a diary participant for Hemlock and Canadice for over 30 years. Regarding the rainbows in Hemlock, it's always been a fragile fishery. I think the main objective should be to invest in Springwater creek to clear obstructions and create diggers and pools. I realize the logistical challenges and cost could make it prohibitive, but in a perfect world...

The Rainbow fishing has been tough in the lake, but it's always been challenging. I am against stocking bows there because the current strain hasn't been tampered with, and with better spawning water, would do better, in my opinion. Also, forage fish seem to be down, as we seldom mark bait, and never the screen blackout schools we used to see,

Regarding Canadice, the lake trout fishery seems fine. The stocking of browns has been going on for years, but good luck catching one. I have targeted them several times over the past few years, and have caught one.

As far as rainbow limits, I think two is fine but should remain at one for Hemlock and Keuka. That's my two cents worth.

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If some of us fishermen would lend a helping hand we could improve the quality of the spawning on Springwater creek get involved & thinks get better

 

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Personally, the 1 p/p on bows IMO, was a great rule change. Just because we are seeing better catch rates, doesn't mean we should start creeling more. The DEC monitors all of this so I can assume they have it under control. Seneca still has some improvements to be had.. Possible rule changes per lake could happen with proper factual data? Talk to the western fisheries, if your particular lake can gandle it? Maybe they will be interested...

Nick

Sent from my SM-G960U using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Nick - an example of limitations of what goes into the decision making process is the one rainbow limit on Canandaigua. It wasn't really based on the data per se.;it was based on the desire to  keep things consistent among the western Finger Lakes. This was even admitted to me by DEC folks. This is truly an inexact science in stocking these lakes right now and setting creel limits as well. There is a lot of "shooting in the dark" and it is understandable given the complexity of present environmental circumstances. Many of these lakes are experiencing difficulties and are in varying stages of trouble and it is unclear whether or if they they are capable of "self-correcting". There are a variety of interests that need to be "balanced". and I like you am willing to leave it in the hands of the biologists for the time being:smile:

Edited by Sk8man

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:smile:  Sometimes you make too much sense Mike:lol: As an old time stream guy one of the things that has always bothered me greatly is watching people trample redds without any apparent concern. I would certainly respect a decision to give the rainbows a break for a year or two....(and who knows how many I have left):lol:

Edited by Sk8man

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:lol: Maybe you could even dig deep and make it a beer:smile:

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What's a redd? The waders Marks at the inlet in ithaca make you want to cry.

  Sometimes you make too much sense Mike As an old time stream guy one of the things that has always bothered me greatly is watching people trample redds without any apparent concern. I would certainly respect a decision to give the rainbows a break for a year or two....(and who knows how many I have left)


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As long as you guys are going to take away someone else's fishing for a couple of years to benefit your lake trolling, why not really give the fish a break and not allow any fishing at all in the Fingers for a few years? :swear:

 

It seems to me that the spawning runs are pretty well protected by the April 1 opener, and there are also late runners that get almost no fishing pressure, and spawn successfully without getting tromped .  In Naples, the majority of the run is done by the 1st in most years.  Web Pearsall has said what Les said, the only reason for the one fish limit on Canandaigua is for consistency in regulations.  Considering the myriad special regulations on individual streams like the Salmon River, the West Branch of the Ausable, and the Delaware system, this rings hollow to me.  Closures on individual systems based on data are fine with me, but not just to make enforcement easier.  How about some public education on what a redd is,  looks like and why it is important to stay out of it?  Maybe a little article in the regulations guide, that little book you get with your license that most guys apparently never read?:happy2:

 

I didn't like the one fish limit at Naples because it complicates derby strategy (do I get my sure bottle of wine, or do I keep looking for that Senior trophy?:) )  Also, more than one fish in a day is a rarity for me (I don't lift!) so I have never been a huge stress on the numbers. But I have no objection to keeping it low on Seneca and Kueka where there are definite management problems, and I could see closing Springwater for a couple of years if it was thought that the runs might recover.  But then all the manure in the watershed needs to be managed properly, too.

 

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I would agree and hopefully some benefit would come from it but I also know that the problems on both Seneca and Keuka are very complex and multidimensional. Some folks believe that these lakes are OK as they are and in my view this is a function of short term observation without historical perspective. I first fished Seneca in 1949 and Keuka in 1958. I have fished  them for trout both in streams (Coldbrook, Guyanoga, Wilsons, Kashong, Keuka Outlet, and Catherines) as well as the lakes, from shore, and in boats and ice fishing as well. During that extended time frame there have been many changes in these lake and stream environments and many ups and downs in the fish populations and subsequent fishing conditions. I have kept DEC trout and salmon diaries off and on since the early seventies.

 

When I was a kid and teenager I fished many places on Seneca shoreline and in places like the Seneca lake State Park, Sampson, all along the railroad tracks on the west side for perch, bass, trout and pike. For many of those early years there were pronounced weed beds at the north end and along the sides in the shallows out to about 18 ft of water and they were literally packed with those species of fish along with sunfish and bluegills and others. There were minnows of various species swimming in the shallows in huge schools. You could catch panfish at nearly any location. In the Spring you could fill a 5 gallon pail full of bullheads, bluegills or perch off the seawall at the north end or in the canal at the state park before it was a state park. Right up through the 80's and 90's perch fishing in the marina at Sampson state park was spectacular and it was good but less spectacular up until about 2014 or 15. In recent years in my travels around Seneca the former weed beds are pretty much gone or just "spotty" and scraggly and may be different variety of weeds as well. There are zebra shells encrusting about every rock. Gone are the huge schools of minnows and young of fish like the smallmouth and largemouth bass that used to be present. The water around the periphery of the lake appears as a submerged "moonscape" devoid of life and crystal clear most of the time.

 

To those folks who say the lake is fine and will change in cycle I say " I hope so", but deep down I doubt it because of the extent of the changes from the past.

 

Last year while out on Keuka ice fishing for perch and panfish in 20 ft or less water we pulled out one lake trout after another. Some were very skinny and obviously malnourished while a few were spitting up numerous tiny perch that were still alive squiggling on the ice  Although I have caught an occasional  laker through the ice there before it was obvious that  something very different is happening as usually they have fed mainly on alewives and smelt (before they virtually disappeared) but now they are desperate and feeding on the much less nutritious perch.

 

What does all this have to do with the original concern of rainbow creel limits? The point is these lakes and streams have changed dramatically  and we should be changing our thinking in line with the changing nature of the environment. Catherine's Creek and Coldbrook which as major spawning streams have likewise undergone radical changes such as stream washouts of banks from flooding, elimination of some deep holes or holding structure, and elimination of brush cover, and trees along the banks. There have been stream improvement efforts e.g. Coldbrook) but the fishing has continually deteriorated from that noted the past. There is more fishing pressure on these resources at a time when they are experiencing significant difficulties. As far as the redds (hollowed out areas of gravel or bedrock areas where the females lay their eggs) being trampled as I mentioned previously. I have seen firsthand masses of ignorant fisherpersons walking in the streams during the first days of the season stepping all over the spawn. Yes many of the spawning trout may have already left the stream earlier as some even winter over in them but these redds (or nests) being destroyed is still a problem.

 

Rainbows are a pretty fragile fish when considering  "catch and release" as a potential option and especially so as water temps rise in the streams or lakes . This complicates making a suggestion such as  proposing a catch and release only for a year or two for both Seneca Lake and its tributaries. Establishing a complete moratorium would also not deal with one of the large problems thought to be facing Seneca: the apparent over abundance of alewives (and possible lack of predators). Too bad they couldn't be netted and shipped to Keuka:lol:

Edited by Sk8man
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Great insight Les, and Lucky I have to somewhat apologize for the somewhat short response I made. I mistakenly looked at my phone while doing the shopping thing with the Mrs's and being somewhat, shall I say "bored out of my mind" wanted to chime in.  I realize that the comment "closing" the creeks is a big deal, one that is easier said than done, and yes impacts a lot of people, businesses etc.  I also realize that there are many other issues that have been mentioned by you and others as well.  I agree with it all.  Seneca has its issues.  Hopefully we are on the rebound.  A couple more years will tell.  Stream management is definitely needed on its waterways for the rainbows.  Some are being done, but boy what a difference our creeks look like today from 30 years ago.  Some don't even have flow for majority of the year.  Hopefully we someday realize, and im sure many do, that we need to understand that our fisheries is like our deer herd.  We do a tremendous amount of effort all year to grow big deer.  We take out predation, plant crops to grow antlers, maximize doe to buck ratios etc.  Has to be the same focus with our fish.  That 10lb rainbow you caught( if you are Lucky- get it) whether in the lake or creek,  made it to through the blanket of Lures and egg sacs during its life, not to mention the issues it faced with its own environment within the water ways.  So again, I didn't want the "shut her down for a year" to be misunderstood.  There's a lot more to it than that, and understandably.  And Les, I know you don't have all your shopping done.....

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:lol: Like most guys I haven't even started...

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I'm actually almost done. I discovered the jewelry store in Pulaski this year, nice selection, competitive pricing, if he doesn't have it in stock he'll order with a low deposit, when things invoiced at less than was quoted in a catalog, he passed on the savings, very nice people.  Gave me something to do on the deluge days I seem to have a talent for picking lately!:):rain::-(

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