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DEC Atlantic salmon stocking proposal MUST READ


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Gambler says "until the alewives are gone..."  but that is not going to happen with the millions I see on the spawn migration so the powers in "the know" need to figure a way around that one.  I would not like to see an effort to eliminate alewives just to keep one species of fish when pike, walleyes and perch feed heavily on these numerous little fish.  And the alewives do not seem to affect any other fish as far as reproduction.

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2 hours ago, marinecrafts said:

Gambler says "until the alewives are gone..."  but that is not going to happen with the millions I see on the spawn migration so the powers in "the know" need to figure a way around that one.  I would not like to see an effort to eliminate alewives just to keep one species of fish when pike, walleyes and perch feed heavily on these numerous little fish.  And the alewives do not seem to affect any other fish as far as reproduction.

There have been studies done that show alewife are horrible for Atlantic’s.  They are also horrible for walleye.  The thiamine deficiency issue hinders natural reproduction and can cause mortality.  Continuing to put time and effort into a species that doesn’t survive well with an alewife diet, is a waste of time and resources. Year after year the DEC stocks Atlantic’s and very few are caught compared to Coho (similar stocking numbers).  The salmon river is loaded with cohos in the fall.  Atlantic’s are in the Salmon River all summer and Fall but in low numbers.  It’s a failed project that’s been going on for decades and it’s ridiculous to continue to waste time, money and resources.  If the return rate was high like other species, I’m all for adding some Atlantic’s to make the fishery more diverse.  Since the return rate is horrible, this pipe dream has to stop.  It’s like a retirement plan.  If I put a ton of money in and get very little return, it’s time to move my money to something with a higher return for my effort.  

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They know it’s an issue yet they still keep going with the Atlantic project. It’s right in their posting about the Atlantic stockings.  This is also money and effort spent on a species that will run 1 tributary in the summer.  It could possibly create a fishery in one South shore tributary but we want to reduce king stockings and affect every trib and the entire lake.  The Salmon River is the ONLY tributary on the south shore that will support Atlantic’s and have enough public access to fish them.  

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Out of curiosity why doesn’t this thiamine issue affect kings as much? Up to 97 percent of Ontario Chinook diet is alewife, and yet they aren’t death spiraling or looking unhealthy at all. So obviously it would affect natural repro but that doesn’t really make a difference as the fishery is entirely supported by stocking. 
 

So maybe the powers that be are thinking that just more Atlantic’s in general will provide a good lifespan of 4-5 years of a healthy fish and more trib opportunities? Maybe it’s less about establishing a reoccurring population but just using stocking to support a different element to the fishery?
 

Not saying it’s right (the king clearly is the fishery) but maybe the natural reproduction element is a lot less critical to this than we all tend to think about. 

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3 hours ago, idn713 said:

Out of curiosity why doesn’t this thiamine issue affect kings as much? Up to 97 percent of Ontario Chinook diet is alewife, and yet they aren’t death spiraling or looking unhealthy at all. So obviously it would affect natural repro but that doesn’t really make a difference as the fishery is entirely supported by stocking. 
 

So maybe the powers that be are thinking that just more Atlantic’s in general will provide a good lifespan of 4-5 years of a healthy fish and more trib opportunities? Maybe it’s less about establishing a reoccurring population but just using stocking to support a different element to the fishery?
 

Not saying it’s right (the king clearly is the fishery) but maybe the natural reproduction element is a lot less critical to this than we all tend to think about. 

It does affect them. Chinook and steelhead eggs are treated at the salmon river hatchery with thiamine during the egg take process to counter some of the effects of the parent fishes' diets. Before eggs were treated with thiamine, many of the hatched fry would experience developmental deformities in their early life stages. 

 

That being said, Chinook and steelhead seem to survive better in the lake eating an alewife based diet than atlantics do. Different fish and different tolerance to thiamine deficiency. All salmonid species out there are affected by thiamine deficiency though to some extent. 

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There was a paper (I think 2008) that studied Thiamine in Michigan Kings.  As I remember, it said that thiamine levels were much higher in young kings than older ones, except at spawning time. It said thiamine is basically concentrated in Liver & Muscle tissue.  The older ones had very little in the liver. They analyzed fatty acids.  Liver content must have a lot to do with survival.  It also talked a little about catabolism/metabolism. 

 

I'm no biologist but here's my take.  I think we all agree that the Kings are extremely energetic & have a lot of stamina. DEC did a fin clip study a few years ago that showed they went all over the Lake, with only a few being "home-bodies".  Fish stocked on the east end were caught on the west end, etc.  It has been said that as soon as they're stocked, they're gone.  Kings have been known to be eating machines, so a logical question is: "why would they leave a school of alewife in, say Oswego, to swim to Toronto?"  Alewives go from deep water to shallow water & back.  They're known to go up rivers, but not for long. They're not strong swimmers.  Did the Kings eat all the alewife in Oswego, then move on?  I don't think so.  Did the Alewives swim from Oswego to Toronto & the Kings followed them?  I don't think so.  I believe it's in the Kings genetic makeup to be a nomad.  They stop some place, eat their fill then move on. (Except at spawn time) I believe their active lifestyle has a lot to do with Liver Thiamine content.  After all, don't doctors tell humans to exercise regularly to build muscle & stay healthy?  My guess is that of all the species of fish in Lake Ontario, the Kings are the "health nuts" due to their genetic nature. They get an awful lot of exercise swimming around the lake.

 

As to Atlantics, they're known to stay around their stocking places much much longer.  They'll eat alewives but they're not the "health nuts" in the lake, that Kings are. Yes, some decent size Atlantics have been caught in rivers, but the proposal says they can be thermally blocked.  To my way of thinking, if Atlantics are thermally blocked in, wouldn't Alewife be thermally blocked out?  Those Atlantics must be/have been eating something else which helped dilute their Thiamine issue.  

 

(But WTH, I could be full of it...)

 

Yes, Kings & Steelhead eggs are treated, which is really good as all fish are affected by it.  But realize Steelhead also travel quite a bit and can have a more varied diet.
 

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They may treat king and steelhead eggs but natural reproduction is high without it.  They showed a slide years ago at the state of the lake meetings ranking which species were most susceptible to thiamine deficiency.  I wish I could find it.  If I recall correctly, Atlantic’s were most susceptible to thiamine deficiency.  

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44 minutes ago, GAMBLER said:

They may treat king and steelhead eggs but natural reproduction is high without it.  They showed a slide years ago at the state of the lake meetings ranking which species were most susceptible to thiamine deficiency.  I wish I could find it.  If I recall correctly, Atlantic’s were most susceptible to thiamine deficiency.  

I would love that information if you were able to find it somehow. I am curious as to how the genetic makeup of these fish determine how they can prey on various species. That’s incredibly fascinating. 
 

I wonder if the original stockers knew about this thiamine issue, if they wouldn’t have gone the striper route. The surf caster in me could have been a happy guy waiting for a blitz on Hamlin beach and casting to a 30lb lake O bass! Or finding a baitball and vertical jigging some giants! 
 

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For god’s sake you all need to drop the Striper talk. It is a warm water species that maybe would run the Niagara but nowhere else. We have the greatest king fishery in the world in our back yard and people want to talk Atlantics and Stripers…..🤔. I don’t get it. 

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Interesting article: Evaluation of adult and offspring thiamine deficiency in salmonine species from Lake Ontario - ScienceDirect

 

Browns don't have any problem with it.  Atlantic's not mentioned. Anyone heard of any Brown natural reproduction in the lake?

 

Article seems to suggest there may be a correlation to population & size of the alewife eaten.  

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5 hours ago, Gill-T said:

For god’s sake you all need to drop the Striper talk. It is a warm water species that maybe would run the Niagara but nowhere else. We have the greatest king fishery in the world in our back yard and people want to talk Atlantics and Stripers…..🤔. I don’t get it. 

Lol. We ain’t Alaska. So it’s #2 at best and we get kings are great and not going anywhere. Can’t blame people for liking variety 🤷🏻‍♂️

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With the restrictions placed on the king fishery, the West Coast should be bumped down to #2 IMO. Also, ask an Alaskan fisherman how many times they caught 20 kings in an outing. The gap may be further than you think. 

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The Alaska king salmon fishery is apples to oranges to the Great Lakes. Bigger than  the sport fishery putting stress on kings is the commercial, and native Alaskan subsistence fishery. 
 

it’s the most regulated fishery in the US. And candidly Alaskan guides who understand the fragile shape of the king fishery won’t likely let you catch 20 kings in a day. Many won’t take them out of the water to release. In the past 25 years I’ve spent in Alaska the guides I’ve fished with are the most conservation minded men and women I’ve ever encountered.

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Atlantic's run the river to spawn from Oct to Dec + 

How cool would it be for trib guys to have a healthy population of them to pursue ? Would make our great trib fishery even greater . 

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I saw stripers! Also someone calling them...as I'm laughing...a warm water species!! Oh.....too funny..... Drop the Atlantics. Go for viability, 

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So when winter comes and the alewives go to the bottom in 400’ stripers would probably starve. They might live on the abundance of trash fish in the lower Niagara but I wouldn’t put money on it. For awhile I thought the DEC stocked hybrids in the Niagara. They were a ton of fun but that was a different time when emeralds teemed in the river. They may have also been giant white bass (three pounds) …too young during the 80’s to know the difference. 

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2 hours ago, HB2 said:

Atlantic's run the river to spawn from Oct to Dec + 

How cool would it be for trib guys to have a healthy population of them to pursue ? Would make our great trib fishery even greater . 

It’s a pipe dream……..  I’ll say it again, they don’t to well on an alewife diet due to thiame deficiency.  With the numbers stocked already, we should have great returns (we have small returns that are not great compared to other species). Another thing I have noticed with Atlantic’s, the ones stocked look like hell.  I have only caught a couple with perfect fins.  Most of their fins are deformed.  I went to the Salmon River with my buddy that was a guide to chase early kings one September.  We caught a ton of stocker Atlantic’s that looked horrible.  

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On 7/7/2022 at 6:06 PM, King Davy said:

 

 

In the 2019 to 2020 trib creel survey over 2,700 LL were caught in oak orchard creek alone. But this next year the run was poor. But of course there are factors that contributed. # 1 being the nearly 100% die off of the ADK hatchery fish in 2019 due to a power failure.

 

 

2700 Atlantic’s caught in Oak Orchard alone 🤣. So are these people questioned able to tell an Atlantic from a brown?  Are we counting the same Atlantic caught over and over again in the gauntlet of hundreds of guys in a one mile stretch of the river?  

Edited by GAMBLER
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I saw stripers! Also someone calling them...as I'm laughing...a warm water species!! Oh.....too funny..... Drop the Atlantics. Go for viability, 
So by viability you mean eat the stocked trout, salmon and smallmouth worse than the cormorants can possibly do? I won't argue on the landlocks being worth it but i have places for stripers and they are not where i purposely look for trout and salmon. If i recall right stripers are considered something of a problem in the Columbia river basin. I might be wrong...not back checking because i dont care but i like my great lakes the way they were/ are and dont need another variable to mess with it.

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The St Mary's Atlantic fishery is the ONLY successful Atlantic fishery on the Great Lakes.  Why is it successful?  The Atlantics live in Lake Huron before migrating up the St Mary's River to spawn.  As we all know, Lake Hurons Alewife population crashed.  Hmmm.

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17 minutes ago, GAMBLER said:

The St Mary's Atlantic fishery is the ONLY successful Atlantic fishery on the Great Lakes.  Why is it successful?  The Atlantics live in Lake Huron before migrating up the St Mary's River to spawn.  As we all know, Lake Hurons Alewife population crashed.  Hmmm.

https://www.jsonline.com/in-depth/archives/2021/09/02/lake-huron-saw-revival-after-demise-alewives-and-salmon/7847622002/

 

Interesting article. Seems eliminating the alewife was never the intent (as it should be with an invasive) but rather a creation of a sportfishing industry? Does that make us the fat cats? ;) In any case, if eliminating the alewife was priority it could be done. Stock kings till we are blue in the face and then watch the lake heal. Right now, snap decision? Yah I would do it. Seeing returns of atlantics, steel and browns exclusively to the rivers along with booming walleye and bass would be high on my list.

 

BUT, if you were to ask me if the kings were gone? I would tell you fondly of screaming drags (both pier and diver) and sinking bobbers in the fall. I would tell you how nothing fought like a king and how I miss them dearly. Ontario is King water now, and I do believe it should stay that way. 

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