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a hatchery for smallmouth bass


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up until the ninetys our best lake fishing was smallmouth bass.All you needed was a deer hair gig.I also used white mister twisters.just about anywhere inside 25 feet was hot .Then came the crash .some say it was a fish virus others say the frequent lake turnovers that year played a part.

My idea would be a mass stocking in Wayne county area and see if the extra fish could help eliminate gobies .

IT would help with natural reproduction

Irondequoit bay did a private stocking of walleyes and it worked. Its now has a great walleye fishery.

maybe we could also get a club going to raise some bass fry.

Wonder if anyone has similar ideas are welcome.

 

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I remember those 200+ bass days out of Fair Haven.  

 

My hand tied  Brown or Black Purple 1/8 oz bucktails we're all you needed . 

 

How things change . 

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 A few Other ideas to throw out there.

 

Spawning habitat improvements - increase reproduction success in main lake and embayment habitats, get local grants from Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to pay for it; Could also improve  early juvenile habitat (more cracks to hide in). Unlike stocking those investments pay out over multiple years. I’m not aware of any evidence that SMB supplemental stocking is cost effective but there could be new studies/techniques.
 

Releasing  more fish and lowering handling mortality could likely help, especially large bass. Some good studies from Queens University students and scientists on those issues.
 

Cormorant predation was shown to take a heavy toll on SMBs back in the day but then proliferation of Goby replaced them in the Corm diets, right? This was shown 10+ years ago in eastern basin, I would assume the same throughout rest of the lake but an interesting hypothesis to test. #studyCormDietsAgain
 

Lake Ontario productivity is half to 30% of what it was in the 1990s. Like gardens, crops, and Livestock, it is probably unrealistic to think the top fish predators will stay as abundant as the nutrient concentration and prey amounts decline.

 

SMBs are so cool!

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, HB2 said:

I remember those 200+ bass days out of Fair Haven.  

 

My hand tied  Brown or Black Purple 1/8 oz bucktails we're all you needed . 

 

How things change . 

yeah.  Mexico Bay....memories.   I get my bass fix every year but its not as stupid as it was.  Gobies made for bigger ones, reality made for harder work to find.

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It's interesting that a few miles down the lake in Jefferson and St. Lawrence county they have the best Smallmouth fishing in the country. They had some of the worst Cormorant flocks up there for years, and there are no shortage of Gobies there either. Even the enormous amount of tournament pressure hasn't hurt that place yet. I think your problem is more of a habitat issue that anything else. Might also be you can't drag lures on bottom like you used to due to the Gobies. That's why drop shotting has been so successful.

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Posted (edited)

In St. Lawrence County, it is illegal to fish for bass until 3rd Sat in June. In al other NY waters of the Great Lakes it is legal to fish for them while they are spawning. That is also true for the finger lakes and other waters of NY. The VHS disease was the big reason for the die off. But now, because there are so many gobies in the Great Lakes, when an angler removes a bass from it's nest, the gobies will move in and eat up all the eggs in a frenzy before the bass can be released and return to the nest. So IMO the best thing the DEC can do for SMB is re-enact the old season start date and enforce no fishing for bass until the 3rd Sat in June. This will at least give them a fighting chance to hatch and survive. But my guess it that they are greatly influenced by tournament organizers and their sponsors in the name of profits. This video shows gobies on a nest.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWt_uffYZ4M

Edited by muskiedreams
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 Here in Cayuga Lake, the SMB fishing was insane as well, for years.. I can remember fishing in early summer with my young at the time kids, with worm/bobber for big fat Bluegills,Pumpkinseeds,Rock bass,Yellow perch, and huge bass would constantly hit little pieces of washed out garden worm until it was an annoyance! they were disturbing our panfishing!.. They were everywhere, and they were big those SMB.. They were even caught in dead of winter by guys shoreline casting for Trout/LL salmon.

Then one  spring day I think in 2008, I saw the entire surface of the lake covered with dead SMB, Rock Bass,Perch, Carp, Suckers, Bullheads, Pike, Pickerel, even a walleye and a White Bass... I recall the dead fish were piled so deep on the beach at Taughannock Park, a bucket loader was needed to remove them...  The lake at that time was already compromised by Zebra mussels, and then shortly thereafter the Goby disaster unfolded, and as a result I have not caught a single  SMB in Cayuga Lake in well over 10 years.. In some areas of that lake I don't even see sunfish or rock bass any longer, in spots where we used to catch them by the hundreds... I know they are still in the lake, but probably only a small percentage of what was in the lake historically... Its not discussed here, because this site  is 95% dedicated to trolling for salmonids, but between VHS, Gobies, and mussles, cayuga fish populations have been decimated in some areas.. Trout are doing fine because they are open water species and are augmented by stocking, but  may other fisheries have been hit very hard, especially at the south end of the lake..  I used to  catch so many big SMB there it was insane.. It got so bad, I simply stopped fishing for them  in cayuga...

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You would of thought the Lake Ontario Smallmouth population in the Central and Western basin would of recovered by now but it hasnt. I think angler effort is pretty much non existent too (myself included but did try last 2 years but zippo near Wautoma). Thats a real mystery. I remember the huge die off years back (not sure of the date) when it was blamed on a huge water turnover but there must of been more too it than that. Maybe a combination of things. Why it hasnt recovered in that area but remains super good in the Eastern basin and Erie is the real mystery. Cant blame it on the gobies as they are there too. What a shame, I remember the 100 fish days at Sodus. For all the stocking that goes on too bad the DEC cant make this a viable fishery again. It is a Great Lake for Petes sake.

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The amount of giant smallmouth coming in Sandy ever spring has increased over the last couple of years.  Ten or so years ago, there were barely any that came in during the spring spawning runs.  The fish patterns in the lake have changed and they are not in the same spots they were in back in the 90's.  Bass guys that are successful are fishing way deeper than the traditional 90's patterns.  The population is still low but they are there in fishable numbers.  Before gobies, they had to hunt for food.  Now the lake bottom is littered with gobies.  

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18 hours ago, muskiedreams said:

In St. Lawrence County, it is illegal to fish for bass until 3rd Sat in June. In al other NY waters of the Great Lakes it is legal to fish for them while they are spawning. That is also true for the finger lakes and other waters of NY. The VHS disease was the big reason for the die off. But now, because there are so many gobies in the Great Lakes, when an angler removes a bass from it's nest, the gobies will move in and eat up all the eggs in a frenzy before the bass can be released and return to the nest. So IMO the best thing the DEC can do for SMB is re-enact the old season start date and enforce no fishing for bass until the 3rd Sat in June. This will at least give them a fighting chance to hatch and survive. But my guess it that they are greatly influenced by tournament organizers and their sponsors in the name of profits. This video shows gobies on a nest.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWt_uffYZ4M

Love this idea - that's how we do it up here.

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18 hours ago, muskiedreams said:

In St. Lawrence County, it is illegal to fish for bass until 3rd Sat in June. In al other NY waters of the Great Lakes it is legal to fish for them while they are spawning. That is also true for the finger lakes and other waters of NY. The VHS disease was the big reason for the die off. But now, because there are so many gobies in the Great Lakes, when an angler removes a bass from it's nest, the gobies will move in and eat up all the eggs in a frenzy before the bass can be released and return to the nest. So IMO the best thing the DEC can do for SMB is re-enact the old season start date and enforce no fishing for bass until the 3rd Sat in June. This will at least give them a fighting chance to hatch and survive. But my guess it that they are greatly influenced by tournament organizers and their sponsors in the name of profits. This video shows gobies on a nest.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWt_uffYZ4M

I know a ton of bass guys and I don't know any of them that target smallmouth in Lake Ontario during the spawn.  Now, dropping the creel limit down from five might be a better idea.  With a struggling population, the DEC has failed to drop the creel limit.  I asked at the state of the lake meeting years ago and was told they haven't dropped it because of bass tournaments. 

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23 minutes ago, GAMBLER said:

The amount of giant smallmouth coming in Sandy ever spring has increased over the last couple of years.  Ten or so years ago, there were barely any that came in during the spring spawning runs.  The fish patterns in the lake have changed and they are not in the same spots they were in back in the 90's.  Bass guys that are successful are fishing way deeper than the traditional 90's patterns.  The population is still low but they are there in fishable numbers.  Before gobies, they had to hunt for food.  Now the lake bottom is littered with gobies.  

 If there are any successful Smallmouth fisherman in the Central basin that target them, I have to see it to believe it. Yes sure by accident and Yes sure you can see spawners at Sandy every spring but good luck finding any once they move out. If anyone is targeting them after spawning and get any, lets see proof. As far as Im concerned, the Smallmouth fishing in the Central region is dead still. Hope the hell Im wrong soon. Miss em.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, BP Swing said:

 If there are any successful Smallmouth fisherman in the Central basin that target them, I have to see it to believe it. Yes sure by accident and Yes sure you can see spawners at Sandy every spring but good luck finding any once they move out. If anyone is targeting them after spawning and get any, lets see proof. As far as Im concerned, the Smallmouth fishing in the Central region is dead still. Hope the hell Im wrong soon. Miss em.

 

 

When the season opens, I will have my buddy send photos.  Not huge numbers of the 90's but worth doing it.  He had some good days on Wautoma and Lewis shoals last summer.

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There is healthy population of smallmouth in LO . 

 

There are less but they are bigger . 

20" was big back then . Now they are common . 

 

We use to drift jigs 12 to 25 ft , 30 max . Now the fish are as deep as 60.  Hard to fish that deep . And the numbers aren't there.

 

There have been big bass in Sandy forever. Somebody figured out how to catch them in cold water consistently.  . 

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I used to SCUBA dive frequently off the college in Oswego.  We would be followed by a school of bass.  If you banged a couple of rocks together they would come in like it was a dinner bell.  There is lots of cobble rock in that area and there were lots of crabs.  I would sometimes catch a small crab and flip it up in the water, they would flash in and grab it.  Now, there is not many crabs and not many bass in shallow, say out to 20 feet deep.  There are also few eels compared to 15 or 20 years ago.  Of course there are gobies but not as many as 10 years ago.  The same is true for zebra or quagga mussels.  There does seem to be more sheepshead in this area, they feed on the mussels.  When we dive in the St. Lawrence we do not see gobies over the muddy, silty areas.  My understanding is that gobies have to be on the bottom when not swimming as they have no swim bladder, so they prefer horizontal rocky type areas.  I never dissected one to verify that.

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On 5/18/2022 at 3:44 PM, muskiedreams said:

In St. Lawrence County, it is illegal to fish for bass until 3rd Sat in June. In al other NY waters of the Great Lakes it is legal to fish for them while they are spawning. That is also true for the finger lakes and other waters of NY. The VHS disease was the big reason for the die off. But now, because there are so many gobies in the Great Lakes, when an angler removes a bass from it's nest, the gobies will move in and eat up all the eggs in a frenzy before the bass can be released and return to the nest. So IMO the best thing the DEC can do for SMB is re-enact the old season start date and enforce no fishing for bass until the 3rd Sat in June. This will at least give them a fighting chance to hatch and survive. But my guess it that they are greatly influenced by tournament organizers and their sponsors in the name of profits. This video shows gobies on a nest.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWt_uffYZ4M

It’s Jefferson and St Lawrence counties that are closed to c&r with artificial lures during the off season. St Lawrence county was actually a more recent addition to the closed areas. And they moved opening day to June 15th, I think to give it a hard date. I think your point about closing more areas is a great idea. 

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