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DEC Announces Actions to Protect Salmon River Fish Populations

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For Release: Monday, September 14, 2020

DEC Announces Actions to Protect Salmon River Fish Populations

Low Salmon River Water Levels Prompt Actions; New Great Lakes Regulations and Recommendations in Effect

DEC Encourages Anglers to Fish 'SMART' to Protect Resources and Other Anglers

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced actions underway to mitigate the impacts of low water flows along the Salmon River during the upcoming salmon run that draws thousands of anglers each year. In addition, new angling regulations and recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 remain in effect to ensure the health and safety of both natural resources and the public.

"The Salmon River supports the largest fall runs of salmon and trout in New York, and is one of the state's most heavily fished waters," said Commissioner Seggos. "The actions announced today are necessary to ensure continued water flows to sustain the salmon run and fishery, and to enable spawning salmon to reach DEC's Salmon River Hatchery and support ongoing stocking efforts. Additionally, DEC wants to ensure that visiting anglers are aware of new angling regulations and recommended practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as they plan their trips to enjoy New York's premier angling opportunities. We encourage anglers to enjoy New York's renowned fisheries, but we ask that you please do so safely and responsibly to protect fellow anglers and local communities."

This summer, below-average precipitation has resulted in low and declining water levels in the Salmon River Reservoir. The Executive Committee of the Salmon River Flow Management Team, comprised of natural resource agencies and Brookfield Renewable hydroelectric facility that regulates reservoir water levels, canceled scheduled whitewater releases over the Labor Day weekend and delayed the annual Sept. 1 increase in baseflow. These actions will conserve reservoir water to maintain suitable flows throughout the salmon spawning run. Additionally, the popular Lower Fly Fishing Section, situated just below the hatchery and typically where large numbers of salmon and anglers congregate, will not open on Sept. 15, and will remain closed until further notice.

Under a federal license, Salmon River seasonal baseflows are typically increased from 185 cubic feet/second (cfs) to 335 cfs on Sept. 1, providing that water levels in the Salmon River Reservoir (SRR) are above a critical threshold. The SRR level is currently below that threshold, requiring cancelation of a scheduled white-water release over Labor Day weekend. In addition, significant rainfall is not forecasted for the near term, prompting DEC to recommend a delay in the scheduled baseflow increase. DEC's recommendation is based on abnormally high water temperatures coupled with low water flow in Salmon River tributaries, including Beaverdam Brook where migrating Chinook salmon access the DEC Salmon River Hatchery for egg collections that support the State's successful stocking program. Increasing baseflows prematurely would likely entice Chinook salmon currently "staging" in Lake Ontario to enter the Salmon River on their spawning migration, which could strand and/or kill fish if temperatures remain high. These fish cannot reach DEC's hatchery until rainfall sufficiently raises Beaverdam Brook water levels.

To increase the probability that sufficient numbers of salmon reach the hatchery to sustain the salmon stocking program, DEC will close the Lower Fly Fishing Section to fishing on Sept. 15. This section (see attached map) will remain closed until DEC collects sufficient numbers of salmon eggs at the hatchery.

Anglers are encouraged to experience New York's other exceptional Great Lakes tributary angling opportunities. These waters are often less crowded and offer anglers the chance to play a bigger fish in a smaller river. More information, including the I Fish NY Great Lakes Fishing Brochure, is available at DEC's website.

DEC reminds anglers that several new Great Lakes tributary angling regulations became effective on April 1, 2020. The minimum size limit for rainbow trout/steelhead caught in Lake Ontario tributaries was increased from 21" to 25" (still 21" in the lake). In addition, only one brown trout can now be kept as part of a Lake Ontario tributary angler's daily creel limit of three salmon/trout in combination.

For Lake Erie, fishing is no longer prohibited from Jan. 1 through March 31 on Spooner Creek and its tributaries, and North Branch Clear Creek and its tributaries from Taylor Hollow Road upstream to the outflow of Clear Lake. For more information and exceptions, please consult the DEC Freshwater Fishing Digest or visit DEC's Great Lakes and Tributary Regulations website.

Anglers are also encouraged to be respectful of the resource and other anglers by using ethical angling techniques. Additional information can be found at DEC's website.

This fall, Great Lakes tributary anglers should be mindful in taking precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 while enjoying the outstanding salmon and trout fishing on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario tributaries, including the Niagara River. At popular angling destinations, especially the Salmon River in Oswego County, angler density can become high enough to make social distancing difficult. DEC is placing signage at popular locations reminding anglers to be SMART when fishing this year:

  • Socially distance at least six feet apart;
  • Mask - Wear one when you cannot maintain social distancing, especially in parking lots and along footpaths;
  • Avoid sharing gear when possible;
  • Respect your fellow anglers and the resource by providing space and practicing ethical angling; and
  • Take out what you bring in or place trash in receptacles.

For more information about how to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL, visit DEC's website.

In response to increased rates of COVID-19 transmission in certain states and to protect New York's successful containment of COVID-19, the State has joined with New Jersey and Connecticut in jointly issuing a travel advisory for anyone traveling from states that have a significant degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19. For more information, go to the COVID-19 Travel Advisory website.

DEC's Salmon River Fish Hatchery is instrumental to maintaining healthy runs of salmon and trout and, normally, is a very popular destination for anglers, school groups, and other visitors. To help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to protect hatchery staff and effective hatchery operations, the Salmon River Hatchery and its grounds remains closed to visitors until further notice.

View the DEC Map of Closed Salmon River Lower Fly Fishing Section (PDF)

View the DEC Fish SMART Sign (PDF)

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Given Chinook are managed for Lake Ontario anglers that river should be shut down from September 1st until after egg take. That would be protecting our fish populations!

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They should have included some estimates of the number of healthy salmonoids and trout fry that come out of that river.  

 

I'm not sure people realize how many fish we are getting in the lake are natural  (I didn't until this year) and that river has a lot to do with it.

It takes pressure off the limited resources for stocking, hatcheries, etc.

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Given Chinook are managed for Lake Ontario anglers that river should be shut down from September 1st until after egg take. That would be protecting our fish populations!

Can I get a hell to the yes!


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So all we gotta do is form a" peaceful"protest start vandalizing property.....hide our faces maybe set a few things ablaze to get our point across and the Dec will follow suit just like the rest of them and give us whatever we want.....its the new rave let's try it! #SalmonLivesMatter. #SLM #Closetherivers

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13 hours ago, DoubleTrouble1 said:

So all we gotta do is form a" peaceful"protest start vandalizing property.....hide our faces maybe set a few things ablaze to get our point across and the Dec will follow suit just like the rest of them and give us whatever we want.....its the new rave let's try it! #SalmonLivesMatter. #SLM #Closetherivers

Sent from my LM-V450 using Lake Ontario United mobile app
 

Can we start by torching dsr? I looked the other day and it’s $85 to fish there now 

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1 hour ago, HB2 said:

You guys are dreaming . 

 

You're probably right, but lets look at the positives.

 

> The best genes are ripped out of that river before they get to the hatchery. No one's gonna cast at a 18lb fish when there's a 28lb fish sitting there.
> Some of the best Trout get ripped out of the river at this time. It would ensure more and bigger trout for the guides during the winter.
> The salmon crowd treats the river like a dumpster. Less garbage going into the river.
> It would leave more food for the trout following the salmon.
> It would require less DEC presence to patrol.
 
Also, why is one town more important than all lake fisherman and small towns who span the whole entire shoreline in multiple counties and two countries? Trib anglers voiced their concerns on what lake anglers were taking. Regulations were changed. It's now time for the lake anglers to protect their species.
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I am amazed we stock fish and wish for natural reproduction but kill them after making it 3 years on the way to their bedroom.

 

I would close the river fishing and open it at the hatchery.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Smat64 said:

I am amazed we stock fish and wish for natural reproduction but kill them after making it 3 years on the way to their bedroom.

 

I would close the river fishing and open it at the hatchery.

 

 

 

We all enjoy the fruits of natural reproduction, but I do not wish for it. Naturals make it hard to manage the lake.

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Lovin me some Nat repro of kings 

 

Will assure we will always have at least some in the lake . 

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So all we gotta do is form a" peaceful"protest start vandalizing property.....hide our faces maybe set a few things ablaze to get our point across and the Dec will follow suit just like the rest of them and give us whatever we want.....its the new rave let's try it! #SalmonLivesMatter. #SLM #Closetherivers

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I understand now why you call yourself double trouble.


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You shouldn't Assume you understand anything about anybody that you do not know. Shut them down! There's plenty other species to fish for other than dying zombie mature salmon on a one way mission to continue populating more.


I understand now why you call yourself double trouble.


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Those dying fish are put in the lake for the sole purpose to generate money for the region and tax dollars for the state .

 

We took a ride up that way to the hatchery last Fall and  could not believe the amount of cars / people all the,way up the river from Pulaski to Altmar . And no doubt dropping a lot of cash . And that area depends on it . 

 

So if you think they are going to shut it down , that ain't going to happen . 

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Those dying fish are put in the lake for the sole purpose to generate money for the region and tax dollars for the state .
 
We took a ride up that way to the hatchery last Fall and  could not believe the amount of cars / people all the,way up the river from Pulaski to Altmar . And no doubt dropping a lot of cash . And that area depends on it . 
 
So if you think they are going to shut it down , that ain't going to happen . 

Actually that was a bonus, primary purpose was to control alewife. Beaches were covered in die offs prior to them be introduced. Your right about spending and area impacts. Larger picture for lake wide spending and impact doesn’t compare though.


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I'm a mexico bay guy for a few decades....river and lake.  I agree with both sides in varying degrees.  They will never do it but for the salmon river I'd like to see

- Closure to Sept 15  with usual labor day water pulse (gets some earlier ones up there)

- Open for 2 weeks Sept 16 and on for 2 weeks

- water pulse + Closure 2 weeks (get a different group up there)

- Full Open after Oct 15th-ish

 

Personally I think there should be shutdowns of Oak Orchard and Burt Dam to some degree as that is some of the ugliest river fishing and snatching of salmon and browns I have ever seen....but dare to dream.

 

 

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3 hours ago, DoubleTrouble1 said:

You shouldn't Assume you understand anything about anybody that you do not know. Shut them down! There's plenty other species to fish for other than dying zombie mature salmon on a one way mission to continue populating more.

 


Sent from my LM-V450 using Lake Ontario United mobile app
 

 

 

3 hours ago, DoubleTrouble1 said:

You shouldn't Assume you understand anything about anybody that you do not know. Shut them down! There's plenty other species to fish for other than dying zombie mature salmon on a one way mission to continue populating more.

 


Sent from my LM-V450 using Lake Ontario United mobile app
 

 

My comment was based on the ironic statement you made and was meant in jest. In my mind your comment translated into:"Let's make some trouble".

Apart from that, I fully agree with closing down the Salmon River. The DEC lowered stocking this year to protect the hard hit bait population, but now they close the river in order to protect the salmon reproduction.I was silently hoping that they would have to import some fresh stocking fry from the west coast,but you can't have it all.

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The loss of hatchery production can be offset by greater trout stocking. 

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12 hours ago, HB2 said:

Those dying fish are put in the lake for the sole purpose to generate money for the region and tax dollars for the state .

 

We took a ride up that way to the hatchery last Fall and  could not believe the amount of cars / people all the,way up the river from Pulaski to Altmar . And no doubt dropping a lot of cash . And that area depends on it . 

 

So if you think they are going to shut it down , that ain't going to happen . 

 

Why does everyone focus on 1 town when it comes to the Salmon fishery? Salmon are managed for the Lake. Not 1 town. There are a lot of small towns all over the lake that benefit from people trailering in and charter boat clients April-September. Let's not forget another country. The big picture here is the lake. Not Pulaski. It may never happen, but if we can rally the troops we will have a chance. Be thankful you can fish tribs on the south shore. They close them on the North shore and that may be why our Salmon fishery is as good as it is especially when we have adjustments to the stocking numbers.

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Here’s what’s going to happen. DEC isn’t going to shut down trib fishing for any species at the moment. As of right now if the water stays at 185 on the salmon river they have over 50 days of water with no additional rain events.

 

There are building numbers of adult salmon in the lower fly zone and in the hatchery raceway. Fish are getting to the hatchery (was there last week with DEC checking on numbers of fish that were there)

 

LFZ will be closed to angling till Nov. pretty much three weeks after the usual egg take. This water has thermal relief for these fish so you want them in there.

 

DEC is reviewing alternate plans to collect eggs and milt if necessary. According to DEC biologists creek census from this past year (fall of 2019 through spring of 2020) nearly 70% of salmon caught by trib anglers are being released. Personally I’ve been on the salmon from the lower end to the top for two weeks and I’ve witnessed barely of handful of fish on stringers.

 

Still with three years of cuts and a huge harvest of three and two year olds from the lake coupled with low water conditions we should expect lower returns. Except two of the last three years DEC has found a banner crop of wild salmon hatched in the salmon river. So while fishing may not be as heavily impacted with additional wild fish, those fish don’t necessarily seek the hatchery.

 

Bottom line is this is a 12 month a year fishery all angler groups have a right to fish but trust DEC will make emergency adjustments to get their brood stock.

 

Starting today NYPA will begin pulsing water from the canal to three popular western end tribs that will hopefully spread trib anglers out and create more opportunity to fish besides the Salmon. I was on the Genny this week. The flows are the lowest I’ve ever seen in my 45 years of fishing down there. Hardly any anglers giving it a try. Need lots of water to get all our other tribs fishing.

 

 

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30 minutes ago, King Davy said:

Here’s what’s going to happen. DEC isn’t going to shut down trib fishing for any species at the moment. As of right now if the water stays at 185 on the salmon river they have over 50 days of water with no additional rain events.

There are building numbers of adult salmon in the lower fly zone and in the hatchery raceway. Fish are getting to the hatchery (was there last week with DEC checking on numbers of fish that were there)

LFZ will be closed to angling till Nov. pretty much three weeks after the usual egg take. This water has thermal relief for these fish so you want them in there.

DEC is reviewing alternate plans to collect eggs and milt if necessary. According to DEC biologists creek census from this past year (fall of 2019 through spring of 2020) nearly 70% of salmon caught by trib anglers are being released. Personally I’ve been on the salmon from the lower end to the top for two weeks and I’ve witnessed barely of handful of fish on stringers.

Still with three years of cuts and a huge harvest of three and two year olds from the lake coupled with low water conditions we should expect lower returns. Except two of the last three years DEC has found a banner crop of wild salmon hatched in the salmon river. So while fishing may not be as heavily impacted with additional wild fish, those fish don’t necessarily seek the hatchery.

Bottom line is this is a 12 month a year fishery all angler groups have a right to fish but trust DEC will make emergency adjustments to get their brood stock.


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The Hatchery is closed to the public due to COVID restrictions.  What were you doing there??

 

You were adamite in our meetings that Steelhead were for the Trib anglers and Steve Hurst is quoted as saying the Chinook Salmon are for Lake fishing specifically.  I guess were trying to figure out what the truth is here...

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I have information from Those that work at the hatchery and you know who they are. And witnessed the fish in the lower fly zone (many big fish) observing from the bank of the cemetery pool. And I watched many fish pass by in different sections of the river.

While chinook are the marquee species on the lake and steelhead for the tribs you know steelhead are being caught in plenty of numbers in the lake as well they should be. Nobody ever said they shouldn’t be caught in the lake, but rather manage them for the long river season

Same for salmon. We have natural repo of salmon in every trib and trickle of LO. I’m on dozens of them every spring and see YOY fish in streams I can jump across. Yankee is right makes managing that species much more difficult, but we aren’t going to run out of salmon on LO.


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ALL the rivers!

My comment was based on the ironic statement you made and was meant in jest. In my mind your comment translated into:"Let's make some trouble".
Apart from that, I fully agree with closing down the Salmon River. The DEC lowered stocking this year to protect the hard hit bait population, but now they close the river in order to protect the salmon reproduction.I was silently hoping that they would have to import some fresh stocking fry from the west coast,but you can't have it all.


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