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Canadian commercial fishermen harvest one million dollars of whitefish annually and export mostly them to the USA. American  hook and line anglers have forgotten they exist out there in the lake, Meegs fish lures on the You Tube have videos from Lake Simcoe on the best method they have developed. Search out their site and other lakes from Montana on better methods on catching cleaning and cooking whitefish.

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Canadian commercial fishermen harvest one million dollars of whitefish annually and export mostly them to the USA. American  hook and line anglers have forgotten they exist out there in the lake, Meegs fish lures on the You Tube have videos from Lake Simcoe on the best method they have developed. Search out their site and other lakes from Montana on better methods on catching cleaning and cooking whitefish.


Was there a time when people caught them frequently here in the eastern basin?

A local canadian guide caught one in the upper niagara last week


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Dunkirk,, NY had. Fleet of steam and diesel fish tugs that shipped the whitefish to NY city on the Erie RR that built the city pier years ago. They were iced down with ice harvested from Lake Erie in the winter, the DEC fishery office was originally a whitefish hatchery.


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definitely a super cool fish, one of my favorites. 
 

Lake Whitefish are in Lake Ontario but numbers are low, current research is looking at spawning habitat as an issue.

 

this link is to a report on the historic Lake Erie Cisco and Lake Whitefish fisheries, its is a cool read , especially the pics of the boats and landings

https://pubs.usgs.gov/unnumbered/81373/report.pdf

 

there is a very substantial sport fishery for them in  a bunch of places like the Detroit River, Luddington, and the Green Bay ice fishery has been hot , YouTube has a bunch of videos showing angling.

 

I’m always interested in talking Whitefish and the potential to bring them back in Ontario 

 

 

 

 

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The collapse of the commercial fisheries after 1955 was an explosion. of a foreign invader, the rainbow smelt. Stocked in a Michigan lake as forage for lake trout harvest, these little monsters decimated the cold water species such as blue pike, whitefish, ciscoes, walleyes, Lake Trout, etc. Two things happened in the early 1960's, Canadian trawlers targeted smelt for export to Asian Markets and Salmon stocking began. The "dead lake" started to return with the smelt biomass reduced. The smelt feasted on the fry and minnows especially in the colder waters of Lake Erie. Lake Ontario was shut down due to waste chemicals there. But a salmon/  trout stocking programs there turned things around with forty pound salmon caught. As the forage base was reduced the numbers of salmon and trout stocked in all the Great Lakes became controlled but good numbers are available. Alewife are plankton feeders and they thrived to feed the salmon and trout numbers. I can remenber while ice fishing, the smelt were so numerous your minnow could not reach the lake bottom for perch fishing. The blue pike disappeared slowly as small blues were caught less but remaining lager blue pike disappeared completely. Canadian smelt trawlers loaded their deck space solid over two foot deep for years. They still do that today.

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The large smoked whitefish Wegmans are caught with larger mesh gill nets in deep lake waters. The plastic net floats are crushed by the pressure there so only cedar or aluminum floats are used on the nets. Originally the nets were constructed from linen table cloths threads from the wives table. No nylon was available then.

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They used to be in some of the Finger Lakes including Canandaigua Lake along with Walleyes but I think the introduction of alewives signaled the end to both of them.

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