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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Careful -- You may get what you wish for...

As a long time advocate of the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishery, I have encountered all types of people with all types of agendas and certainly all types of opinions. For the most part, these participants help to insure the continued success of Lake Ontario fishing. If you look into its history you will find years and years of fine fishing be it for recreational or charter endeavors.

Now that we know that the Salmon River and possibly other tributaries as well, are producing some naturally spawned Chinook fry, the closet door opens and out come the purist of the pure agenda driven lurkers. Im talking about anglers who want the lake returned to the days of wild fish only populations with an emphasis on native species only. It is a desire to return to the way it was probably because it creates a feel good sensation. For me, returning to the way it was centuries ago is not necessarily a good thing. I am told that way back when, if you caught a cold you probably died. Thank the Almighty for amoxicillin. For me it is go forward, not backwards.

I guess it is another seemingly trendy feeling that a few know what is best for many. It reminds me of our elected senator and house reps. who look at us with condescending stares and tell us that they and only they know what is best. Then they set about doing almost nothing except pander to the focus group of the day.

If we choose the wild fish only approach we will quickly return to boom or bust fishing scenarios with good years sometimes followed by sparse years. Yet many wild only advocates will feel good about their noble efforts. I for one will not feel good.

Managing the fishery with a dual approach of stocked and wild fish would seem to be the best policy to follow and over thirty years of effort has proved to be extremely successful. Lets use the wild fish population to augment the stocking approach, that way we can better keep the fishery on a more level population pattern.

Keep in mind that while we know some wild fish are surviving in the Salmon River, we really do not know how many, if any, reach adulthood out in the open lake waters. The tiny wild creatures born in the river face a treacherous down stream migration to the open lake and then must swim through a huge water gauntlet filled with numerous predators, who of course, view them as a tasty meal. Until we know the answer to the survival question, the verdict is still out on possible wild fish contributions to the salmon population. We will have the answer to this question in two to three years as the new fish tagging system is placed on line. (refer to my previous blog dated May 31st) Only time will tell.

In my opinion, even with proven wild fish survival we should continue to manage the fishery using the dual approach of stocking fish in sync with scientifically determined wild fish contributions. If we do that, it will always be great to be a Lake Ontario troller.


Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 7:22:11 PM


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