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How would you rate the season so far?


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Just as titled.  From what I'm seeing for reports on both the north and south shore, this year appears to be much worse for catches of "typical" sized kings.  Lots of skippers and 6lb fish being reported but not too many teenagers.

 

Thoughts?

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This is what Late May / June used to be like in the 90's.  The kings will come.  The browns are a little more concerning than the kings.  The past 3 seasons we have been spoiled.  You have to take the good years with the bad years in this fishery.  Those that do not will not survive.  Tough fishing helps you learn.  Take advantage of tough fishing and try new things. 

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Steelhead Fishing has been great so far. Kings are slow so far but they will be easier to dial in once the lake sets up

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Posted (edited)

Gambler is right. This is what we had in the 90s. Out of Rochester and areas to the east you could get a few early kings in April and early May, but the west was where it was at for salmon numbers in the Spring. The June transition was terrible lake wide. I remember the DEC doing a check at Ibay the 2nd or 3rd week of June in the early 90s. I had caught a 26lb king that day.  That was the only king they had saw that month so far. Lots of guys targeted steelhead or Lakers in June. Cowbells became really popular by the late 90s. Boats would crush 20-30 Lakers in a morn, but even that slowed down after a few years of them getting hammered on.  I always went west to fish the spring LOC up until about 2015 when the salmon fishing was so good everywhere you didn’t need to travel anymore.  Didn’t get too excited about Salmon fishing out of Rochester until a good thermocline set up. The 90s did produce some giant Kings though. If I recall the 1999 or 1998 fall LOC had something like 10 Kings over 40lbs. I suspect the same will happen here similar to what Lake Michigan has experienced the past couple of years with reduced stocking, a rebound of bait, somewhat lower catch rates and a return of monster kings. DEC definitely has their job cut out trying to stay ahead of the bait curve. Finding that balance between quantity and quality is always going to be a challenge for them. I always thought it would be wise to follow the bait hatch. When you have a good hatch like we have now you can get away with stocking a few more salmon the following year. If the hatch is poor you make some cuts the following year. The great bait we have now will be around for a few years and support additional kings if stocked next year.  Unless we have a brutal winter, this hot spring we are having will likely produce another good hatch next year. Two great years of hatches in a row with no increase in stocking and we could be in for some slow fishing. Healthy system as far as bait populations, albeit, but catching will be tough with full belly’s and all the naturals competition for your lures. IMO Cormorants destroyed last years brown stocking and probably hurt previous years as well. Didn’t fish browns this spring but from what I’ve heard those being caught are mostly larger fish. If cormorants aren’t going to be controlled we need to figure out a better way of stocking to increase survival of browns. Such a waste of resources and money to just provide bird food.  I do realize I’m being a bit of an armchair quarterback here BTW when it comes to what the DEC should and should not do with all the politics involved, resources and budgets available, etc that they have to deal with.

Edited by A-Lure-A
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9 hours ago, GAMBLER said:

This is what Late May / June used to be like in the 90's.  The kings will come.  The browns are a little more concerning than the kings.  The past 3 seasons we have been spoiled.  You have to take the good years with the bad years in this fishery.  Those that do not will not survive.  Tough fishing helps you learn.  Take advantage of tough fishing and try new things. 

I agree with you and @A-Lure-A the fishery is very cyclical and I remember the 90's well.  I also remember browns in 2013 or so being the same at least on the east end with big ones only and few smaller.  It happens.  Fishing where I do I don't expect kings until the lake sets up and even then you have to have your A game dialed.  If I get a few early I'm grateful and excited.    I'm really glad to see the bait resurgence of smaller bait (good recent hatch).  I'm committed to this fishery (or should be committed due to my focus on this fishery).  I live for the good days and still love fishing even on the bad ones.  I do love that the fishery still makes you earn it.  

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3 hours ago, brucehookedup said:

Fishing should not be this disappointing or difficult. People are getting very good catching fish, kings in particular. Bottom line is we need more fish.

Put aside all the excuses and theories, that IS the bottom line...... And not Lake Trout.

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I'm going to have a " wait and see " attitude on the season . 

 

Might turn out great king wise . 

 

We have had springs like this before and the summer fishing was lights out.  

 

If all the fish run up to the west end and go sit on bottom in 300 ft till the lake sets up  , it won't matter  a lot how many more they stock if you are in a bad area of the lake . 

 

It has traditionally been for salmon ....

 

Spring west end 

 

Summer mid lake 

 

Late Aug on,  east end . 

 

I'm not surprised by this except for the Brown's 

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I just decided to stay on the Finger Lakes for now and have a successful season . When the kings come, I'll come back to Lake Ontario.

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I heard that someone placed very high in the Pro Am yesterday fishing the top 20' of the water column.  Kings, coho and steelhead.  Are the kings up high plucking the crippled dying 1 year old alewife?  If that is the case, we will not see them on electronics and they could be anywhere.  This could be why the salmon fishing is slow.  We are all fishing below them.  Just something to keep in mind.  Last August, guys were complaining the kings were missing all over the lake.  Once the weather stabilized, the kings showed back up.  This year has been a weird year weather wise so far.  A Warm winter, warm early spring, then cold and now really warm.   Once the thermal cline sets up, I think we will see the fishing rebound.  Like stated above, the browns are the only real mystery.  Lets hope we are wrong and everything is fine with them.  

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...and that is how I used to fish this time of year.  Offshore and find a scum line. I can’t remember the last time I had leadcore out in June. You Oak Orchard guys remember the weight (split shot) rod towing around a five-of-diamonds spoon in June?   Time to dust off the old tactics. From what I have been seeing on the bottom out deep, the mother load of kings is still bottom oriented. I am getting all my chores done this month expecting a stellar July!!

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I have been doing all of that fellas, not my first rodeo. Today was better than it has been, let's see what mama nature brings tomorrow. Will they show up in july , august, probably but let's see what kind of numbers we are dealing with.

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  • 1 month later...

Too much easterly wind. Rough water. Lake flipping too much. Unstable conditions. Different fishing every couple days. we need a prelonged period of westerlies to stabilize the water and better catches

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Too much easterly wind. Rough water. Lake flipping too much. Unstable conditions. Different fishing every couple days. we need a prelonged period of westerlies to stabilize the water and better catches

10 day forecast is looking pretty stable, hopefully things set up nicely soon!!


Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United mobile app
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