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reelxite

New Steelhead Open Lake Fishing Reg Update

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It's not the law... But if you keep tossing back steelhead ..they tend not to make it... So for the sake of ethics, I try not to catch and release in the middle of the summer...its a little different in colder months... I don't feel right about sore lipping or potentially killing a fish... For what?


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On 12/3/2019 at 5:43 PM, bandrus1 said:

 

 

 

 

If still like to be convinced that this law will actually impact lake guys due to limiting creel limits or impact trib guys increasing return rates. I have yet to see any evidence 

So, against my better judgment I'll add this for anyone following this thread...and with full knowledge that I recall you to be a little bit of a sH*t stirrer from other forum(s) at other times.  

 

A significant lake user perspective / concern if nothing else (and which I respect) is a "give an inch take a mile concern".   Way back the limit use to be 5.  Now its 3.  Now add a restriction to steelhead from 3 to 2.  The fully logical question is ….whats next?  You took steelhead to 2....lets go to one...and while we are at it lets take browns from 3 to 2 to …..some day 1.     I get it, it was stated in earlier posts.  Its the lobster being cooked without realizing it by starting in a cold pot and not realizing until its too late that its too hot.  I won't debate this one.  This is the one thing without question I fully understand from the lake fisherman's point of view.  

 

I'll add from the river side, that I see the same in different ways.  Is it this current reg....we'll yes, I saw prior fishery impact from diverted effort in the lake reducing trib results.  Yes it happened.  However I also appreciate the give an inch issue too.  I watched the DSR do this for years.  I went from supporter to at best neutral to negative.  I had a season pass for 23 years and bailed on it this past year.  You can only piss on my back and tell me its raining for so long. 

 

I don't love coolers full of fish but I do understand the perspective.  lake guys have historically put in effort to the fishery as a whole.  River guys...nope....other than those few that play both sides and those are a select few charter guys (mostly).

Edited by Fat Trout

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On 11/20/2019 at 5:59 PM, reelxite said:

For those of you who have not read the regulation change concerning steelhead on Lake Ontario open waters lowering it to 2. Here is the part of the new regulations that was published.

 

In the justification portion of this document it was stated.

 

“Four of the five proposed regulation amendments result from a series of meetings with a Lake Ontario Fisheries Management Focus Group (Focus Group), convened to determine anglers’ desired fisheries management outcomes and to seek consensus on management actions that will result in maintenance and improvement to high quality sport fisheries. The Focus Group was comprised of 16 angler representatives

 

I was part of that group and I can tell you that this was not a consensus at least 7 of the contributors including myself apposed this proposal.

 

Here are the new regs:

 

2. Reduce the open Lake Ontario/Lower Niagara River creel limit for rainbow trout/steelhead from 3 to 2 fish/day -Rainbow trout/steelhead provide the primary sport fishery in Lake Ontario’s tributaries from November through the following spring. This potential change is designed to increase numbers and sustainability of rainbow trout/steelhead in the tributary fishery by reducing open lake harvest when Chinook fishing success in the lake declines and more anglers specifically target rainbow trout/steelhead.

 

3. Reduce the creel limit for brown trout in Lake Ontario tributaries from 3 to 1 fish/day -This change is intended to prolong high quality brown fishing opportunities through the winter months, while still allowing anglers the opportunity to harvest a trophy fish. Fishing effort on Lake Ontario tributaries can be intense each year from fall through spring and maintaining high quality brown trout fishing opportunities relies on anglers releasing a high proportion of their catch.

 

Let me give you a little history of this new steelhead regulation, a number of years ago (unfortunately I can not specify the date). The tributary angler groups wanted to reduce the harvest limit on the tributaries to 1 because they viewed the fish in the tributaries subject to over harvested of a limited resource (only so many fish will enter the trib. and they are easy prey to anglers). The DEC agreed and we as lake anglers did not support it, but did not oppose it, with an agreement between lake anglers and the DEC Management at the time that they would not impose the same regulation on the open lake. All was well in the fishing world, but we knew in our minds it would only be a matter of time and they would come after an open lake reg on steehead.  It started with the minimum size being raised to 21 inches, now they are trying to lower the limit to 2 on the open water, not unexpected.

 

So now we see in regulation proposal #3 that they are going to lower the brown trout limit on the trib. to 1 for the same reason as they lowered the steelhead to 1 in trib. in the past. How long will it be till they come after the limit on the lake too, as they are now doing with the steelhead. Even though the DEC have again promised not to do so as in the past.

 

 I have no problem if the tributary anglers want to self-regulate and propose regulations that will limit harvest and size in the tribs. But we as lake anglers in return should be allowed to propose limits and sizes on the Lake.

 

We as open lake anglers must oppose this regulation and let our voices be heard. We still have till Dec. 14, to let our voices be heard.

 

Send your comments to:

 

[email protected]: with this in the subject line:

6 NYCRR Part 10 Section 11-0317-Amendents to Great Lakes sportfishery regulation in 6NYCRR Part 10

 

 

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Just sent my 2nd E mail to DEC this time regarding the increase in length of an open water steelhead to 25".You have the same problem here as the the 2 steelhead limit proposal when you have a 3 fish in combination rule. You CANNOT SUCCESSFULLY C/R STEELHEAD IN MID SUMMER on the open waters of Lake Ontario !!  If this proposal passes it will result in lots of dead and wasted steelhead floating on LO. Happy seagulls! If they want to help trib fisherman it would make more since to have NO SIZE LIMIT on steelhead on open lake. Instead the rule would be you must keep your first 3 silver fish regardless of size. Obviously the 3 in combination rule we have now would apply. Could be you have 2 steelys and 1 king in your box etc. This would help trib fisherman because there would be far less dead steelhead !!

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20 minutes ago, Mike M said:

Just sent my 2nd E mail to DEC this time regarding the increase in length of an open water steelhead to 25".You have the same problem here as the the 2 steelhead limit proposal when you have a 3 fish in combination rule. You CANNOT SUCCESSFULLY C/R STEELHEAD IN MID SUMMER on the open waters of Lake Ontario !!  If this proposal passes it will result in lots of dead and wasted steelhead floating on LO. Happy seagulls! If they want to help trib fisherman it would make more since to have NO SIZE LIMIT on steelhead on open lake. Instead the rule would be you must keep your first 3 silver fish regardless of size. Obviously the 3 in combination rule we have now would apply. Could be you have 2 steelys and 1 king in your box etc. This would help trib fisherman because there would be far less dead steelhead !!

25" or  to your point...any size limit is stupid.   I had a (memorably) gill hooked bleed fest steelie on the small side this summer that was 23.5".  The only reason I knew that was there was a DEC survey boat.  I had the fish in the box with others but was worried about that one as I came into the inlet as I couldn't recall  what was current reg.   I shake small fish off at the boat side IF workable, non copper etc and seemingly survivable. This guy ate the whole thing deep enough to get every hook on the treble in the gills in a total bleedfest I regretted bringing over the side in my new boat (hence the clear memory).   I'm not a charter, but an obviously dead fish went in the box.  I was pretty sure 21" was the current rule but I did sweat for a moment when I saw the state boat.  I try to play nice but I do hate this game.  

Edited by Fat Trout

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Just a couple of corrections here. The 25” size limit is up for comment that is a tributary reg only. Does not include the open waters of Lake Ontario. Lake stays at 21”.

Clarification- Bob’s statement in the copy of one of his posts above that “they” are now coming for our lake creel on steelhead. The “they” is not the tributaries stakeholders. He knows as well as everyone else in that room we never asked for a creel reduction in the lake.

We did seek the 25” limit for lake and tribs and it was not accepted.

DEC took all the discussion from the panel, held several internal meetings with regional managers and staff, also looked at past history of what other domino’s fell during the last round of King salmon cuts from the 90’s to early 2000’s. The steelhead fishery on the rivers was bleak at best returns to the hatchery impacted and they came back with this regulation.

That’s how we got to this point. Anybody who thinks trib stakeholders went in demanding creel cuts on the lake is simply misinformed.


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On 12/5/2019 at 6:14 AM, King Davy said:

Clarification- Bob’s statement in the copy of one of his posts above that “they” are now coming for our lake creel on steelhead. The “they” is not the tributaries stakeholders. He knows as well as everyone else in that room we never asked for a creel reduction in the lake.

 

Then where did it come from? Help us fight against it then.

 

As for the comment above about never seeing a limit of Steelhead on a charter rack. You wont, becasue lake anglers don't target them like that. This reg wont help or hurt anything to be honest, so why bother going through the process to pass it? It's no different than the money wasted on these stupid impeachment hearings. To be honest it's just the fact we keep getting the short end of the stick on the lake while the DEC keeps making it better for trib anglers.

 

  • First we dealt with a size increase from 18" to 21"
  • Our lake limit went from 5 to 3
  • Caledonia Hatchery closed
  • 3 stocking cuts since the 90's
  • Lake clubs raised money to start and run pen programs, but the state magically finds $100,000 for the trib guys pen projects
  • I hear rumors of an Atlantic pen program in the SR
  • This newest regulation against lake guys
  • Lake Trout stocking targets have been missed for many years
  • Coho stocking targets have been constantly missed

 

Edited by Yankee Troller
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Rick, I guess you should ask DEC these questions. However They can’t participate in coming on this site. So ask to speak to them.

I’ve put what my “assumptions” are on why the current proposal. But I’m guessing. I’m guessing at what would make sense to me on why, which included the history of the 90’s early 2000 when the steelhead fishery in the tribs ultimately went south because of the increased harvest on the lake due to diminished salmon fishing success. Serious shortfalls of steelhead to the hatchery back in those days. The crash of the adult steelhead fishery in 2014, and 15 from the poisonous alewives. We still haven’t fully recovered to the fishing we had before the die off.

Finally everyone who attended any state of the lake meetings saw the statement DEC led the presentation with. They recognize the two marquee species targeted by all stakeholders both lake and tribs are king salmon in the lake and steelhead in our rivers. Which makes up the majority of the interest in our 12 month a year sport fishery.

From the very beginning of this program in the late 60’s has this been the basis of management strategy. Again my take... right, wrong, or indifferent is that in the face of another probable down turn in salmon fishing success after three years of cuts, (and we all await what’s next) still trying to get the steelhead fishery fully on its feet, they are trying to manage for opportunity in that year long sport fishery.

It’s clear there are many that don’t agree with this direction. But I know we can’t get this back to where everyone is happy until we get through this predator prey issue and have full salmon stocking again. That takes pressure off trout species, allowing pretty stellar fishing all year long. I am 100% in agreement that the fishery only becomes fabulous again if we have a full fledged king salmon program.

Everything else falls into place when that’s good. Last thing, our fishery managers, scientists, biologists, technicians, and staff have kept this fishery viable for 51 years through all these obstacles. At what point are you naysayers going to trust the professionals they are? Every other Great Lakes fishery has crashed hard, except this one.


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One other thing. DEC is under no obligation to hold all these public meetings, to show up to be scrutinized by those who don’t like their news. They do it because they care what we think. I know they listen and consider our feed back.

BUT... they have a lot of data, 51 years of past history that has tendencies with results that match up with past, existing, and probable future results to govern their management decisions. They will be the first ones to tell you not every decision they’ve made was dead on perfect, but they’ve had a lot more wins than loses.

They are up against the ultimate player. Who always gets the best hand ....Mother Nature.


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Dave, every government agency needs oversight. The state recognizes the DEC needs oversight as as well, especially with certain jobs going to political appointees with zero background in fishing and hunting. Hence, the working model that was enacted was regularly scheduled meetings with the public and stakeholders. We have an obligation to the next generation that things are handled correctly. Don’t mistake questioning for mistrust. LOU is our forum to hash things out. Questioning is a sign of intelligence. Questioning will lead to better outcomes. 

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Not saying question shouldn’t be welcome. Saying the nasty behaviors yelling and all that has gone on at some of these meetings is highly unprofessional and not very civilized. And if you’ve been to enough of them then you’ve seen it.

We have to respect each other. Then and only then do we have a true partnership.

DEC is a group of appointed positions, yes by elected officials but do we not think a measure of due diligence is enacted to make those appointments?


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6 hours ago, King Davy said:

But I know we can’t get this back to where everyone is happy until we get through this predator prey issue and have full salmon stocking again. That takes pressure off trout species, allowing pretty stellar fishing all year long. I am 100% in agreement that the fishery only becomes fabulous again if we have a full fledged king salmon program.

 

On this Dave we agree and you and I have always agreed on this fact, when salmon fishing is good all season from April to September it takes pressure off of every other species. But as long as the west end late summer/fall fishery continues the recent trends we have seen over the past few years Steelhead will always come into play in the open lake fishery.

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On this Dave we agree and you and I have always agreed on this fact, when salmon fishing is good all season from April to September it takes pressure off of every other species. But as long as the west end late summer/fall fishery continues the recent trends we have seen over the past few years Steelhead will always come into play in the open lake fishery.

And even with the recent "great" king fishing on the west end we still have to rely on the offshore opportunities most of August and September. Steelhead during this time become an increasingly vital part of the catch.

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Yeah Bob nobody wishes this prey situation would right itself anymore than I and I’m sure everyone feels that way.

 

It’s not just that good salmon fishing takes pressure off steelhead, it’s the solid runs of kings into rivers that attract steelhead from the lake months before they are actually ready to spawn. To include non spawning scout rainbows that are attracted to the dinner table of eggs and flesh.

 

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last 20 years all over Alaska. There’s a reason that king salmon and sockeye are the sacred saviors of those fisheries. They feed the trout and re-fertilize the habitat.

 

I know you guys will catch steelhead off shore. You guys have every right to. Bob I believe this reg is trying to balance the heat they’re going to take if the salmon fishing gets difficult. You and I lived through this last time. And you and I and many others had to fish for all species cause the salmon numbers were down.

 

And reading the reg rational that’s what it looks like. The guys I fish with and or are acquaintances have no ill feelings towards guys fishing the lake and how they fish or what they fish for. But we still want a shot at these marvelous game fish throughout the fall, winter and spring.

 

I truly believe that DEC is trying to keep both environments viable especially through this difficult bait fish situation.

 

 

 

 

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Wake up New York look what Wisconsin is doing for there Charter Captains on Lake Michigan they are promoting their fishery not trying to kill it Stop trying to take away fish from us but improve it or we are going to see our fishery taken somewhere else like the other Great Lakes.

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 "especially with certain jobs going to political appointees with zero background in fishing and hunting."

 

OK, Gil,. I'll give you Basil Segos, but below there in the COC, could you be more specific?  Last I knew Pat Retzinger was in charge of fishing and hunting, and she came up through the ranks (she may have retired).  And I'm pretty sure I was seeing Steve Lapan, still in a technical position, at some of the early meetings back in the 90's, so he didn't walk out of a NYC caucus, and I recall some reports and papers on Pike and Muskellunge in the ST Lawrence that he is credited on.  Ditto Steve Hurst, who would be out fishing with us sometimes except he is always so busy that he has to get right back to Albany, but he does show his face at more meetings than anyone I remember.  So who are these political appointments in the hunting and fishing areas?  Please also remember that employment below the Management and Professional level is governed by Civil Service Law, so it is not as easy to slide people into positions as you might think, and they eventually have to score in the top three on a test on their area of proficiency, and even M+P's have to go through what is called an unassembled test, which is a review of qualifications, so lack of proper degrees and experience comes out in that wash.

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14 hours ago, King Davy said:

I truly believe that DEC is trying to keep both environments viable especially through this difficult bait fish situation.

 

 

 

 

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Dave, you are doing a lot of deflection to the DEC. The DEC would not be proposing these changes unless someone or group approached them. A lot of the charter captain angst towards the trib leadership group comes from the thought that one group of fishermen can effect another groups’ bottom line. Now the LOC has taken steelhead out as a fall division which means someone had to get in Dave Chilson’s ear. All groups would agree catching more and bigger fish is a good thing but it would be nice to see the evidence to back the changes. Why not make the changes temporary to study the effects of the new regulations?  To preserve baitfish numbers and keep captains from having to target steelhead, why not increase the king creel limit back to 5 fish until bait rebounds? This needs further discussion in a bigger forum with a larger audience. 

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Thinking back, Jerry Barnhart didn't know a whole lot about the Lake Ontario fishery when he became Director of Fisheries, but you don't grow up without some background in fishing and hunting when you grow up in a family where on of the famous pools on the Beaverkill River is named after your father. 

 

And while I know that Lake Ontario is the Piscatorial Center of the Universe, New York is a big state, there are lots of other fisheries for DEC to deal with.

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22 hours ago, Yankee Troller said:

 

 

 

  • I hear rumors of an Atlantic pen program in the SR

 

Not a rumor.  ELOSTA was approached by the DEC to start Pen Raising Atlantics to try and increase survival.  Long story short we rejected the proposal based on a number of factors but the main one being the Atlantic is not a Viable Economic species to be stocked in the lake.  Especially at a time where the DEC is cutting stocking on Pacific Salmon based on alewife data that may or may not be correct.  Why would we encourage increased stocking survival of another species?? 

 

My question is if the DEC likes to throw a Michigan scenario in our face at all these meetings why have they not proposed cutting any other species stocking?  It is widely known that Steelhead and Lake Trout consume massive amounts of Alewives.  It might be time to spread the wealth of the cuts....   

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6 minutes ago, Gill-T said:


Dave, you are doing a lot of deflection to the DEC. The DEC would not be proposing these changes unless someone or group approached them. A lot of the charter captain angst towards the trib leadership group comes from the thought that one group of fishermen can effect another groups’ bottom line. Now the LOC has taken steelhead out as a fall division which means someone had to get in Dave Chilson’s ear. All groups would agree catching more and bigger fish is a good thing but it would be nice to see the evidence to back the changes. Why not make the changes temporary to study the effects of the new regulations?  To preserve baitfish numbers and keep captains from having to target steelhead, why not increase the king creel limit back to 5 fish until bait rebounds? This needs further discussion in a bigger forum with a larger audience. 

I have a friend who depends on the river fishery to pay the mortgage on the motel he runs in Pulaski.  Charter captains who continue to "catch and release" dead steelhead, or creel them, when they cannot find salmon, or are the repeated " incidental catch" of using deep junk lines are definitely affecting his bottom line.  Last year, with a fair steelhead run in the Salmon River, he had a full house for Thanksgiving weekend; this year, one angler in one room.

 

Who is this " Trib Leadership Group".  A lot of us, Dave, Ron Bersteine, Fred Kuepper from DSR, myself, and a few others, met well over 10 years ago to try to put together a tributary group like the Charter captains organizations, under the facilitation of Dave MacNeill from Sea Grant, and we could never reach a consensus on exactly what we wanted, so the effort was abandoned.  Since then, the organization out of Albany was formed, but not everyone on the tribs is a member of that bunch.   

 

Maybe Dave Chilson had a thought on his own.  Maybe he sees that it is a potential black eye for his derby if people decide that it is not cool to chase around the lake all day c+ring fish that can't recover in an attempt to get that big one for the derby.

 

Changes to regulations ARE temporary, all it takes to change regulation is the same process we are now in.  Changing the law is different, that has to happen in the legislature.  But of course, the Charter Organizations have a lot of experience of running to their legislators.

 

I keep hearing from the west end captains at the GLFC panel meetings that they don't target steelhead, they are an incidental catch while they are deep trolling for salmon.  So if the Salmon limit goes to five, they will "incidentally" kill more steelhead while going for that 20th salmon for a party of four, unless someone either starts employing some of the release techniques that have been mandated on the west coast for rockfish and some other deepwater denizens, or the captains abandon the heavy junk lines that require them to prolong the fight up through the thermocline and make successful release less likely.

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Lucky, I think the idea is with a five king limit, charter captains won't have to venture into steelhead water.  Most king fishing takes place inside of 200', and their ain't many steelhead in that zone.  Saves on the gas bill for the charter operator also.  I am not saying there should not be some form of short- term tweaking of the regulations to help steelhead recover, but try to make it a win-win.  The cuts have been in one direction for a couple of decades.  

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That is funny. 95% of steelhead caught by salmon trollers come off cheaters/ high rigger,short cores or a high diver. To think guys are pulling them up on 400 copper all day is laughable. 

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12 minutes ago, shawn393 said:

That is funny. 95% of steelhead caught by salmon trollers come off cheaters/ high rigger,short cores or a high diver. To think guys are pulling them up on 400 copper all day is laughable. 

 

You're correct in June and early July, but get into August and September when thermoclines are 60-80' down in the Western Basin (much deeper on the eastern) and you'd be surprised how deep the Steelhead go. Last September we fished offshore all month and pulled Steelhead down 60-90' all month.

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