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Smelt in Ontario AND in Erie


skanperch

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Hi to all,

Can anyone on this forum tell me if there remains any kind of viable population of smelt in Ontario and Erie? The reason I wonder is as follows: I live on Cayuga Lake, in the Finger Lakes....for the past 10 yrs or so, our rainbow population and catch rate have plummeted by something like 80 or 90%.... Over the same period, our once super abundant smelt population has all but vanished as well

Both of these occurrences seem to have coincided with the establishment of a large zebra mussel population in Cayuga.....In looking for a cause-and-affect, I am wondering if the Great Lakes have suffered similar declines. Can we blame the mussels for this, or are other factors in play in Cayuga?

I know that Erie and Ontario have good steelhead populations along with, I assume huge numbers of mussels......but what I don't know is how well or poorly the smelt populations are doing there.

Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Smelt have returned in good numbers to Lake Erie as we caught many while ice fishing. Smelt are the first foreign invader species that was stocked to provide forage for Michigan's Lake Trout commercial fishery in 1898. They turned out to devastate the cold water fisherys when they dominated the systems in the 1950's. The Lake Trout, Whitefish, Ciscoes, Tulibees, Blue Pike, etc. disappeared when the smelt devoured all the fry of the cold water fish in the Great Lakes. In the mid 1960's the Canadians started trawling them out and the 1970's brought on the salmon and trout stocking programs. They put the smelt biomass under control somewhat and other fishes thrived, such as the walleye and bass. Today we have to balance the trout and salmon stocking programs to meet the available forage masses to grow salmon to desired sizes.

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The dec came up with many excuses as to the smelt demise but last year as i suspected right along they agreed the treatment for lamphry,s ......MAY have had a impact on the smelt smolts treatment for the lamps started in middle to late 80,s the same time the smelt pop took a major downturn... but for years i was given excuses from phospate detergents ban in 86 to booming lake trout reproduction ate all the smelt .. the zebras do eat the photoplankton which the fresh water shrimp thrived on ,and they were popular forage for the smelt but ,,,,im pretty shure the poisen used for the lamphrys was the major factor

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Ray,

The smelt spawn in creeks and streams up here in New England. I imagine they do the same out your way. With the lamprecide they are putting down in the creeks and rivers.....maybe they are killing the eggs as well. Maybe the area remains too toxic for the fragile smelt eggs to fertalize. Just a hunch...

You should see what they have done in Maine to try and get a healthy population of smelt back into Sebago Lake. It all revolves around catching sea run smelt and introducing the eggs into fresh water. Too long for me to type what they do here. It all done by a volenteer group with the State giving them an OK to do so.

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