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Admittedly, I never fish Lakers on purpose after June.... that being said, I've found that lakers are voracious goby and sculpin eaters. They DO eat alewife, and a lot of them at times, but I suspect it is more of a prey of opportunity for them. Lakers are bottom dwelling and live in cold water- so they have a slow metabolism and are... lazy. I think they'll smack whatever swims by.

What I've found in the last 3-4 years is less alewife in lakers. In fact, it's rare that I clean a laker with an alewife anymore. Is that because they are just eating more gobies, or because there's less alewife? I'm not sure.

Regardless, I appreciate that the dec agreed to reduce laker stocking. If the bait is as bad as they say, reducing predation in all ways makes sense. I'd hate to see what happened in Michigan, with less and less kings and more lakers...


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Smelt are an invasive species.  You could not make a dent in bait population via stocking alewives or smelt.  If conditions are right, they will re-populate themselves.  We have a boom and bust smelt population on Erie.  Some years tons, some years none.  I think there are periodic wanderings from Michigan + Huron that end up in Erie.  We do get occasional Kings caught on Erie as proof of wandering.

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In the mid 50’s the smelt took over Lake Erie. The smelt were so thick it was almost impossible to reach the bottom ice fishing without the smelt taking your minnows. Then the cold water species like blue pike, lake trout, whitefish and ciscoes disappeared completely in Lake Erie. The true answer was the smelt wiped them out but it became popular to blame commercial fishermen for the situation. The Canadian Commercial Fishermen started trawling for the smelt. The smelt were packed in ice and air freighted to Asian markets. By the mid 60’s some walleyes and yellow perch returned. Then Coho and chinook salmon were stocked and the sportfishing catching returned. Lake Ontario had tremendous smelt and alewives because the PCB toxins did not allow commercial harvesting. The salmon and trout stocking boomed then and 40 pounders were caught. Lake Huron finally collapsed first after the bait collapse. Limited stocking numbers returned the salmon fishery now.


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On 12/23/2019 at 5:49 PM, Low Baller said:

Learn something new every day. Thanks for the info. I never knew smelt were the invasives. Always thought it was the alewife.

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Both are invasive, they just came in during different time periods and avenues.  If I remember my history correctly (it's been a while), smelt came in with the Erie Canal and Alewife came in with the St Lawrence Seaway.

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On ‎12‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 10:04 AM, A-Lure-A said:

Good point Gambler with closing sections. For a time they closed Orwell and some of the other feeder tribs. Who wants to catch salmon once they are up that high, at that stage of their life, in such a small trib anyway. Let them do their thing at that point. 

Tributary groups like TU et al have supported and suggested closing Orwell and Trout during the Salmon and Steelhead runs for years, no one else has chimed in in support.  DEC has a fair amount of money invested in Public Access easements on those tribs.   And they are also popular with the locals as Brook Trout fisheries in the headwaters in the warmer months.  I would be extremely surprised to see a LO fish in the upper easement on Trout, which is really just a step across stream, and unless there has been a really big rain, there is no way for a LO fish to navigate the shallows in the headwaters.

 

If you had any data that indicated that spawning was being negatively impacted by the sections of the SR that are currently open, it would be helpful to your case.  But the netting that is done along the mainstem of the SR in the spring indicates massive hatches of YOY kings in all the reports I recall.  Recruitment is another story, but that is not impacted by the "jalormes" of September.  Better numbers on relative contribution of spawned YOY's will be forthcoming after the next clip study.  Please also remember that DEC has closed sections of the river in the past, and except for the C+R section of the fly zones, all of the river from Altmar upstream, is always closed, and, according to Steve LaPan, and conformed by Troy Creasy at the Pulaski bait meeting, that is where last fall's run (or what was left after the lakeside slaughter of spring summer 2019) ended up, crammed in like sardines.

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The smelt in the Great Lakes were introduced into a small lake in the state of Michigan to provide a food source for the Lake Trout which was a commercial food fish in the 1800's.They entered Lake Ontario through the Welland Canal and Trent waterway systems and passed over the falls. I caught Golden Palamino Trout in the Lower River that were stocked in Pennsylvania years ago that only survived the falls or the power turbines.

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I'm all for closing the Salmon River until November 1st. If Salmon are managed for the Lake I want the best of the best getting to that hatchery. For years all we've gotten were the scraps that made it through, and even then those fish were harassed and stressed beyond belief. Closing the Salmon River (the river that supplies 95% of our eggs and stocking numbers) just makes sense. Other than one small town nothing else will be affected. Canadian tribs are closed, and I don't see the town's on those tribs struggling. We'd need less of a DEC presence to write tickets that don't even get convicted, the big Trout wouldn't get ripped out prematurely by the Salmon crowd, the river would be cleaner, and there'd be more food in the system for those Trout. There's wins for both crowds by shutting that place down. I don't think we'd have a problem getting Canada's 100,000+ members of their Sportfishing/outdoors counsel to jump on board, and I don't know many, if any, Lake guys who'd be against it. Especially, after the stupid Steelhead regulation goes through.

 

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I'm all for closing the Salmon River until November 1st. If Salmon are managed for the Lake I want the best of the best getting to that hatchery. For years all we've gotten were the scraps that made it through, and even then those fish were harassed and stressed beyond belief. Closing the Salmon River (the river that supplies 95% of our eggs and stocking numbers) just makes sense. Other than one small town nothing else will be affected. Canadian tribs are closed, and I don't see the town's on those tribs struggling. We'd need less of a DEC presence to write tickets that don't even get convicted, the big Trout wouldn't get ripped out prematurely by the Salmon crowd, the river works be clearer, and there'd be more food in the system for those Trout. There's wins for both crowds by shutting that place down. I don't think we'd have a problem getting Canada's 100,000+ members of their Sportfishing/outdoors counsel to jump on board, and I don't know many, if any, Lake guys who'd be against it. Especially, after the stupid Steelhead regulation goes through.

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I’m in, but can we add a trib to the list from the finger lakes.... pretty please....


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Eh, Pulaski relies on the googan brigade of salmon snatchers to keep businesses open. Also, Salmon eggs are not going to eye-up until the river water temp gets into the 50’s.  Let the river continue to be the place where future Great Lakes fishermen/ women are born. They have to start somewhere. With global warming, September-October runs are not going to have viable offspring produced. Catch and release-only after Nov 1st. 

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16 minutes ago, Gill-T said:

Eh, Pulaski relies on the googan brigade of salmon snatchers to keep businesses open. Also, Salmon eggs are not going to eye-up until the river water temp gets into the 50’s.  Let the river continue to be the place where future Great Lakes fishermen/ women are born. They have to start somewhere. With global warming, September-October runs are not going to have viable offspring produced. Catch and release-only after Nov 1st. 

I agree that the towns and villages benefit from the fishery. But I also maintain that it needs more restrictions. I believe that the whole of the SR should be closed to angling on say , October 15 th  that would give the stream guys and the businesses in the area a chance to cash in    The River could reopen , for the steelheaders after the salmon run is finished 

Edited by chinook35
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2 hours ago, Yankee Troller said:

I'm all for closing the Salmon River until November 1st. If Salmon are managed for the Lake I want the best of the best getting to that hatchery. For years all we've gotten were the scraps that made it through, and even then those fish were harassed and stressed beyond belief. Closing the Salmon River (the river that supplies 95% of our eggs and stocking numbers) just makes sense. Other than one small town nothing else will be affected. Canadian tribs are closed, and I don't see the town's on those tribs struggling. We'd need less of a DEC presence to write tickets that don't even get convicted, the big Trout wouldn't get ripped out prematurely by the Salmon crowd, the river would be cleaner, and there'd be more food in the system for those Trout. There's wins for both crowds by shutting that place down. I don't think we'd have a problem getting Canada's 100,000+ members of their Sportfishing/outdoors counsel to jump on board, and I don't know many, if any, Lake guys who'd be against it. Especially, after the stupid Steelhead regulation goes through.

 

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X2 I'm with Rick At some point folks have to step back and realize what is best practice for the entire fishery aside from money and special interests.etc. The process of spawning itself should be respected according to species too (e.g. perch in the Fingers). We are often too short sighted in our approach and "blinded" by short term interests which in the long run can really screw us over no matter whether lake or stream is our primary concern.

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I'm fortunate to be in an area where natural reproduction is almost 100%.  When the fin clipping surveys were conducted, I was involved with the hatchery to conduct surveys on certain north shore streams to see how many fin clipped vs non-clipped fish were in the tribs.  I collected mounds of data to show that on two tribs the returning fish were over 98% natural based on two weeks worth of surveying.

 

The average runs per stream are approx 10K.  I know the one river had over 10K fish because these were counted when they were hand lifted over a dam.

 

And we close the upper stretches on Oct 1 each year but the lower stretches remain open for fishing until Dec 31.  By Oct 1, all the fish have pushed upstream and a large percentage have already spawned so there is little concern for fish in the open stretches.

 

Just curious, how large is the salmon river run?  And on the north shore, egg collection takes place at the Credit River in Mississauga.

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HBC, Randy Scott and others on the  FMZ council had asked me my opinion a numbers of years back regarding ideas/recommendations to the OMNR for managing the fishery given current conditions. At play was reduced return rates of kings on the north shore and the negative effect on the charter fleet. My advise then was based on the stocking number discrepancy US vs Canadian side. If Canadians were ever going to see an increase in salmon, it better come from natural recruitment, therefore, salmon run protection measures needed to be put in place. When were the stream protections put in place?  It is nice to have a working model to mimic. 

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3 hours ago, Yankee Troller said:

I'm all for closing the Salmon River until November 1st. If Salmon are managed for the Lake I want the best of the best getting to that hatchery. For years all we've gotten were the scraps that made it through, and even then those fish were harassed and stressed beyond belief. Closing the Salmon River (the river that supplies 95% of our eggs and stocking numbers) just makes sense. Other than one small town nothing else will be affected. Canadian tribs are closed, and I don't see the town's on those tribs struggling. We'd need less of a DEC presence to write tickets that don't even get convicted, the big Trout wouldn't get ripped out prematurely by the Salmon crowd, the river would be cleaner, and there'd be more food in the system for those Trout. There's wins for both crowds by shutting that place down. I don't think we'd have a problem getting Canada's 100,000+ members of their Sportfishing/outdoors counsel to jump on board, and I don't know many, if any, Lake guys who'd be against it. Especially, after the stupid Steelhead regulation goes through.

 

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So the other half of the license buying public from the East Coast will be totally justified in asking for a closure of the fishery on the big lake from July 1st to, oh, maybe October 1st, both to insure that those salmon that have stopped actively pursuing bait to prepare for spawning can make it into the river, and to protect the steelhead and skippers that are being wantonly killed by C+R due to the choice of heavy junk lines necessary to reach the fish in those months, or least as far as the argument has gone recently?

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Lucky, I think Rick was asking for Salmon River closure tongue-in-cheek as a jab at the trib guys that worked so diligently behind the scenes to change the lake creel-limit for steelhead all the while claiming “I didn’t do it”. Expect sarcasm in coming year from many lake anglers regarding tributary issues. 

Edited by Gill-T
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I've seen Rick at many meetings, and he has always had well thought out arguments that he presented in a  rational and polite manner, even if I disagreed on some things,  so I see nothing in what he, or Matt, are saying that I would consider "tongue in cheek."   And I doubt my friend who is carrying a 500K mortgage on a temporary housing property he bought in Pulaski for his wife and he to run would be any more enthralled over being told he can't rent rooms during 15% or so of the season that was his historical peak, anymore than a charter operator would like being told to leave the trolling gear home for two months in the summer.  Like Les, I try to use the emojis when I am cracking a "funny." ;)

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Gill-T - the season has been set at Oct 1 for close to 15 years or so (maybe 20).  It used to be Nov 30 but then they moved it up.  I'm surprised Randy is still on that committee and I thought he was Zone 20 which is Lake O.  He was a great contributor to the SP'er board when it first started in the early 2000's but now it is a joke.

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11 minutes ago, Lucky13 said:

So the other half of the license buying public from the East Coast will be totally justified in asking for a closure of the fishery on the big lake from July 1st to, oh, maybe October 1st, both to insure that those salmon that have stopped actively pursuing bait to prepare for spawning can make it into the river, and to protect the steelhead and skippers that are being wantonly killed by C+R due to the choice of heavy junk lines necessary to reach the fish in those months, or least as far as the argument has gone recently?

Junk lines are no different than trib gear with too light of leader or live bait / real eggs.  Protecting the salmon during the spawn on the only good natural reproduction trib makes sense. I'm not for closing the entire river but making some changes to ensure salmon spawning success and fish reach the hatchery needs to happen.  Weather it is closing sections of the river or dropping the trib creel limit.  Why wouldn't you support protecting the salmon when they are most vulnerable on the most fertile trib on the South shore of Lake Ontario?  Is it that you only want Steelhead and Atlantics so you can have a year round fishery on the tribs and screw everyone else?  It sure seems that way! 

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12 minutes ago, hairybumcrack said:

Gill-T - the season has been set at Oct 1 for close to 15 years or so (maybe 20).  It used to be Nov 30 but then they moved it up.  I'm surprised Randy is still on that committee and I thought he was Zone 20 which is Lake O.  He was a great contributor to the SP'er board when it first started in the early 2000's but now it is a joke.


I think this was probably ten years ago and they were looking at the western zones if memory serves. Thanks for update and for all Canadian volunteers lifting salmon into headwaters!  We all benefit from your sore backs. 

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