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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I Wonder. . .

I have been doing the Lake Ontario fishing thing for a long time. When I think about it, I wonder why I choose to wake from a nice sleep at 3am, grab a coffee and drive to the boat that is docked in Oswego, NY. I wonder why I choose to keep my fishing tools in tip top shape, keep the boat clean and well maintained and keep abreast of the latest fishing methods. I wonder why as a seasoned AARP member, I keep on fishing and am willing to put up with the demands of that particular life style. Sometimes I wonder why I am still fishing and most importantly I wonder why I still love the fishing challenge.

The other night I attended a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation "State of the Lake" meeting as I have for over 30 years. It is a great way to keep myself informed regarding fishing and environmental related subjects. I have always wondered why more anglers do not take advantage of the myriad of data regarding the condition of the lake. Many make a living off the lake and they seem to take and not give. I would think that more stakeholders would be interested in the detailed status of the fishery. Now I wonder how many stakeholders will be upset with me for pointing out this fact and to that I say, "If the shoe fits wear it".

 This year I clearly saw just how divided the stake holders seem to be. I wonder why I did not notice this before. Anyhow, there really appears to be several stake-holder positions that make DEC's job a bit complex. First there are the lake trollers, who basically fish from April thru October. It is a combination of recreational and charter anglers who take advantage of what DEC says is a "put, grow, and take fishery". Some practice "catch and release", if they desire, while others will combine catch and release and catch and keep outings according to their customer's preferences. Their fish of choice, of course, is the mighty Chinook salmon.

Late September starts the transition whereby salmon and trout move to lake tributaries. Some lake fishers move their angling prowess to the streams and rivers with the legendary Salmon River leading the way. This group of fisher persons have interests in both fisheries. Some apply the "put, grow and take methods and some may go the "catch and release" route. In September and October they target salmon and later in the fall/winter season they hunt for steelhead.

Next comes the Steelhead seeking group who are more inclined to practice catch and release methods. At the meeting the other night an attendee proposed that DEC set up a catch and release only section which would be off limits to the put, grow and take angler, protecting steelhead harvest for the catch and release aficionados. By the way, the proposal came from a lodge operator who believes that a steelhead should be caught and released as many as ten times making their customers happier and their cash registers a little fuller. I wonder if that person knew anything about proper catch and release methods as related to catch and release mortality. If steelhead could think I wonder what they would think of that. Probably would like it better than becoming someone's dinner.

The next angling group are fly fisherman who already have a section of the Salmon River all to themselves. You have to fish their way since a portion of the river has been set aside just for them. In this section of the river it is fish their way or the highway. All fish caught must be released.

Can you begin to see just how difficult the Job is for DEC to keep everyone happy? Each group seems to want what is best for their particular angling style. As long as the proponents are happy with dedicated areas, portioned off to fit a certain angling style, variety of choice seems to work. As it stands now, the system is working well and lake and tributary anglers alike seem to be somewhat happy. However, things can get a bit contentious when one group proposes a change that effects another group. Until then enjoy the fishery.

Recently the NYSDEC and Federal personnel completed their spring bait assessment trawls. They found that the young of years class of alewives was very low, probably due to a couple of very severe winters. There is a concern that the alewife population could be in jeopardy. According to the scientists they might have to cut salmon stocking so that these predators would have less of an effect on the alewife population.

I wonder why that every time there is a concern regarding a diminishing population of alewives the mighty Chinook salmon is always the fish targeted for reduced stocking. Well, there is another predator in the lake that never seems to be affected. That predator is the long lived alewife gobbling, least sought after fish by anglers, the Lake Trout. True, that most anglers will target lakers when other fish become elusive and difficult to catch mostly due to unfavorable wind patterns. Stocking fewer fish such as chinooks, will affect the lakes mega million dollar fishing industry in a negative fashion. Stocking fewer lakers would probably have no revenue effect at all. I wonder why we do not consider this. If we need to make stocking cuts I would hope planting fewer lakers will be considered. That is if we can put aside the fact that Lake Trout were native to the lake and thus must be restored to a natural reproduction population, so say the feds. By the way, the natural reproduction goal has not been achieved despite over thirty years of annual stocking. Yes a few natural born lakers have been seen, however, the returns are minimal.

When you fish with us, you do not have to wonder whether we have the experience necessary to catch fish. You will quickly see that we know what we are doing, since we have been doing this longer than most. Want references? We can provide plenty. Ever wonder which charter boat guided an angler to the current NYS record brown trout? Yup, you guessed correctly if you picked us. It is your choice to keep your catch, practice catch and release, or a combination of both. You choose what best fits your needs. You can have it your way. It is your choice, not ours.

We love to fish and would love to have you fish with us.

Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 2:14:22 AM


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Thursday, December 10, 2015

I'M BAAAAAAK!!!!!!!!!

Well fellow anglers, I am happy to say I'm baaaack! After medical repairs to my "Adonis type physique" I am ready to return to the fishing arena known as Lake Ontario, I guess it would be an understatement when I say I am more excited to return to the fishing battles that lie ahead, than I have ever been in years past, Having missed the last two months of the lake season, if you know me, you will certainly agree that fishing has been an important part of my life for the past 30+ years, That is why I am ready to set sail, commence trolling and catch a hell of a lot of fish.

Being a member of the Cold Steel fishing team made my two-month hiatus a whole lot more tolerable, Capt, Tom Burke and Capt, Andy Bliss on the Cold Steel and my fishing partner Capt, Zack Rayno made sure that the months of August and September went off without a hitch, It's good to have teamed with the likes of Tom, Andy, and of course Capt, Zack, While Tom is a seasoned veteran on the water, Zack had to take over Captains duties that included a myriad of new responsibilities, In essence he had to pay attention to the front of the boat as well as the back, This young man certainly rose to the task at hand, He did an outstanding job, T hanks to all of you guys!

Ok, enough about the past, now on to the future, In all the years I have fished Lake Ontario waters, usually the fishing was spectacular, some years the fishing was just good and sometimes the angling results were... I guess I will say it, kinda tough, What you need to know is that even in the tough years, the fishing is still pretty darn good, but you do have to work a little harder, That is how a world class fishery works, Everything is relative and that is why an off year in a world class fishery can provide plenty of angling action, I'm saying this because I hope 2016 will return us to the spectacular type of scenario that we are in the habit of experiencing, I am saying this because when you come fishing on LO you will usually experience very good results, That's just the way it is, some years the fishing can be great, some years it is good, and some years the fishing can be tough, However, as the saying goes, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going",

Two abnormally cold winters produced significant ice cover on the lake, When spring arrived we found that frigid water was significant, I am hopeful that we experience a normal or average winter that results in lake temperature and wind patterns conducive to quality recruitment of stocked fish, In addition, normal winter temperatures should result in a robust baitfish population that possesses high caloric levels that result in chunky trout and salmon, As usual, Mother Nature remains in control and we are at her mercy, Good conditions provide plenty of good fishing, By the way, so far the month of December 2015 has served up some spring like weather with temps in the 50's, This makes me smile,

At the end of the fishing season on the lake, Capt Tom Burke has each vessel delivered to expert boat mechanics for a thorough maintenance checkup, After 6 solid months of use it is important to check things out and where repairs and improvements may be necessary, they are completed before the vessels are winterized and stored for the snowy months, This year the Dixie Dandy received new carberators and a state of the art electronic ignition system for each engine, This is just another reason why you might want to consider using the Cold Steel Charter Fleet as our equipment is kept in tiptop shape,

The 2016 season will once again see Capt,Tom and Capt, Andy aboard the Cold Steel with Capt, Zack and myself manning the Dixie Dandy, Since we work closely with one another you can expect to have a quality charter experience, In other words we catch fish and oh yeah, we have fun doing it, About 3 decades ago when I started charter fishing we communicated via a marine radio because there was no such thing as a cell phone, While we still use the radio for weather and Coast Guard updates, fishing information is usually passed on via text messaging, I make it a point when our clients see Capt, Zack typing messages on his phone to explain that he is not texting a lady friend (well maybe sometimes), Rather he is either receiving text full of fishing information or sending text to other boats that we are working with, When you give good information you get good information in return,

The Eastern Basin fishery offers a variety of trout and salmon fishing depending on when you choose to fish, Trout and salmon are available all season long, Brown trout fishing starts in April and they remain available in the months of May through September, Lakers provide good fishing starting in April, Steelhead will attack a lure practically all year long with June/July usually the best months to hook into this acrobatic fish, Coho like to appear in the August/September time frame, They are a school fish and when they show up they provide fast and furious catching, The "boss" fish of the lake known as the Chinook salmon is another species that is available just about all season long with July, August and September serving up the most action, This hard fighting creature is probably the most sought after "big boy" of the lake, That is why we also call the species the King salmon, It is truly a magnificent fighter,

Remember the Lake Ontario fishery continues to maintain its world class status, This is due to a state of the art stocking program and quality research performed on the newly acquired, state of the art Kaho research vessel, Wild fish reproduction seems to be occurring on a yearly basis providing potential for enhanced rod and reel action, Couple this with stakeholder input and the work of the NYSDEC and Federal Lake scientists, and you will see why our World-Class fishery continues to thrive,



Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 11:11:04 AM


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