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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dry Dock OSR #1-2007

The Dixie Dandy has been hauled from the water and is snuggled into her winter berth in the main building at Mike's Marina. Once again our 31' JC has performed well and now deserves a few months rest. As we do every off season general preventive maintenance procedures will be carried out. The wear and tear associated with our "fish every day" season schedule requires an absolute commitment to insuring our vessel is fine tuned to the rigors waiting in the form of the 2008 season. Simply put, our customers deserve the best.

Dry Dock

Low water, very low water! (2007)

Lake Ontario waters, like all of the Great Lakes are extremely low. In fact I had to wait for favorable north winds to raise the water a few inches in the Little Salmon River before I could navigate the boat to its berth at my summer cottage prior to haul out. We touched bottom a couple of times on our way up river with no harm done, thanks to Dixie Dandy's sizeable keel. We need rain and snow and lots of it to build a base for a good flow of water in the spring. The low water situation in each of the Great Lakes is a very real problem. I hope we get plenty of snow in "them thar hills" especially while I am fishing in Georgia and Florida this winter.

This record low water thing has made it difficult for salmon to complete their migration to the hatchery. While tons of fish returned to the Salmon River, extremely low water, warm weather, and plenty of efficient anglers took their toll. As such fewer fish reached the hatchery. The annual stocking goal for Chinooks is 1,800,000 fingerlings. As of early November the hatchery has cultivated a little over 2,000,000 eggs. NY DEC fishery personnel are currently taking salmon from other Lake Ontario tributaries to help meet planned goals, which is generally a harvest of over 3,000,000 eggs. We move a little closer each day and I anticipate we will close in on the harvest numbers from previous years. I will be attending the Lake Ontario Stakeholders meeting in early December where I will receive the final egg count numbers. In addition the group will be working with DEC to assure that our fishery remains healthy for years to come.

On another interesting note, the hatchery has already harvested plenty of Coho eggs and could increase Coho stocking numbers to supplement a Chinook shortfall if this should become necessary. Catching more of the speedy "silvers" would be terrific. A huge advantage a stocking program has over a totally wild fishery which is most susceptible to the whims of nature is the ability to make adjustments. Flexibility is the key to success. We should be wary of "wild fish only" methodology proposals for Lake Ontario’s future as they usually produce "boom or bust" fish population cycles.

It looks like the DEC will be ordering a truly state of the art fish marking system which is housed in a mobile over the road configuration. The system is capable of marking 60,000 fish in an eight hour period. This is going to allow us to determine just how many wild fish are returning to the tributary streams. We know that millions are naturally spawned each year but we are not sure how many reach adulthood. The new system will provide the answer. How do you maintain the world class status of the Lake Ontario fishery? Well, employing state of the art equipment is a big part of the effort. "I Love New York," you bet I do.

Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 11:12:19 AM

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Big Fish/Net Pens ISR #2-2007

We are on the water and I am happy to say that our first few trips have been very, very good.  We have been fishing the shoreline from the Oswego River east to just past 4 mile point. Brown trout have been extremely cooperative along with a few chunky rainbows mixed in. The water is warming and we expect fishing to continue to be great. There is nice color to the water and that makes things even better. As we had expected, our early season catches clearly indicate that 2007 fishing should be very special indeed. Plenty of baitfish will provide the energy necessary to produce some truly bulging brownies. Things are looking good, real good.

Call us if you want to partake of some productive May fishing. We have a few days open.

     Our Oswego net pens are filled with chinooks and steelhead. They were delivered April 14th. Volunteers are busy tending the pens and feeding the fish several times a day.

The net pen program has proven to be a very effective method of growing bigger, healthier fish. Ah yes, the future is bright.

Fish Net-Pens

Mr. Ford and an early season trout...

Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 5:26:22 AM

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Let the Games Begin! ISR #1-2007

Even though, as I write this update, it is miserably cold and still snowing, it will not be long till the Dixie Dandy is in the water and fully rigged for the 2007 fishing season. Today I finished the bottom paint trim and even painted the bilge area platform between the two engines. The power plants have been tuned, and general spring maintenance is complete. Keeping her ship shape is the only way to go.

     It looks like we will be in the water early next week. Then I will reinstall the electronics, load my generous assortment of tackle on board, and motor the Dixie Dandy out for a shakedown cruise or two, weather permitting.  Once I complete those tasks, I run the boat some 13 miles to the Oswego Marina where she will remain till the end of September.

     Fishing out of Oswego offers several advantages to both my customers and me. The Oswego area translates to short runs to quality fishing waters. Short runs equate to more time actually spent fishing. Off Oswego, the early season fishing is enhanced by the tremendous flow of the Oswego River as it pours into Lake Ontario. The River brings plenty of warmer, nutrient rich water into the lake. Early season inshore fishing is enhanced by the warm, murky tributary run off, making for some great light tackle brown trout action. As the season progresses we take advantage of the bottom contour of the Oswego area that drops down about 100 feet per mile. Head out 3 miles and you are trolling in 300 fee of water. Again, as the lake warms and fish follow the bait to cooler, deeper waters short runs are still the norm, meaning more time with lines in the water. Having fished the south shore of the lake for many years, I can tell you that Oswego fishing is at the top of the chart.

     Oswego net pens will be in the water shortly, with the salmon and trout to be delivered on or about April 13th. Volunteers are standing at the ready to raise the critters to optimum stocking size in hopes of maximizing their survival rate when released into Lake Ontario depths. If you are in the area in the next few weeks stop by and watch the feeding exercise. These little guys have big appetites. I am sure any of the volunteers would be happy to answer any questions you might have. 

     One of my favorite times of the year starts when boats are rolled from the dark confines of winter storage shelters, to await spring primping activity under the sometimes early season sun lit sky. Old friends return, new friends are made and another wonderful fishing season starts to roll. It is a good life and I am darn lucky to be a part of it.

Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 5:21:43 AM

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

State of the Lake Update OSR #7-2007

Each year a Lake Ontario status update is presented by the NYSDEC Bureau of Fisheries. I am happy to say that overall the current condition of the lake is pretty darn good. As the ever changing ecosystem that is Lake Ontario, evolves, responds, and regroups, seemingly on an annual basis, this wonderfully resilient body of water continues to thrive on new challenges.

The well managed fishery continues to provide some of the best angling opportunities on the planet. It does not happen by chance; rather it is the result of scientifically sound management decisions. When left in the hands of fishery professionals good things happen. For a charter Captain, the lake offers an opportunity to run a business and provide plenty of fishing adventure. For the weekend angler, fantastic fishing is the norm.

Oswego Harbor 2007

Oswego Harbor 2007

According to the DEC, the alewife population is buoyed by a very strong year class that hatched two years ago. There are tons of two year old baitfish that are going to provide an abundance of growth energy for the hungry predators that swim the depths. Last year Chinook salmon averaged three pounds heavier than relatives caught the year before. Since bait will be plentiful we expect salmon size to increase once again. In addition, the Coho salmon catch rate was twice the long term average.

Other good signs are, an apparent increase in sculpin, and a round goby biomass that seems to be leveling off. We have noticed that cormorants are feasting on gobies which are plentiful close to the devil bird's nesting sites. This bodes well for fish stocking further west of the St. Lawrence River area as the birds seem to be staying home. On the Lake Trout front, repairs to the Allegheny Federal Fish Hatchery are well under way and for the first time in three years, Lake Ontario will receive a full allotment of over 500,000 lacers for stocking in New York State waters.

Wild Chinook salmon fry continue to be found in annual netting trawls in the Salmon River in record numbers. The big question is how many will achieve adulthood. Purchase of a state of the art fish marking system will help provide the answer. Right now it looks good for the marking system to be added to the DEC's arsenal of stocking equipment.

Finally, we have yet another new ballast water invader, the Red Shrimp. This tiny fresh water critter (1/2 inch in size), prefers shallow depths 160' and under. It just might be a new member of the lake's food web. Only time will tell.

The current snow cover is going to result in a major spring runoff which will translate to excellent fishing. It is looking real good for 2007. Hope you are going to fish with us. The countdown is underway!

Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 5:18:55 AM

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Monday, March 05, 2007

OSR #6-2007 Good Comes From Bad

After spending several warm sun filled terrific weeks in Florida, I returned home hoping that the worst was over. Well, it isn’t!! It is cold, snowy and just plain miserable, except if you like snowmobiling, snow shoeing, skiing or other enjoyable winter endeavors.  I do, however, get a warm feeling when I think about the fact that in just 6 weeks I will be back at it, fishing for browns and salmon on the wonderful waters of Eastern Lake Ontario. It appears that as it stands, the stars are aligned just right and conditions are perfect for an excellent spring fishing season. That is why I believe good things will happen as a result of the bad things now occurring all along the southern Lake Ontario shoreline...

Oswego harbor Lighthouse

What do I mean by this? Well, I'm going to tell-ya. It is all about the "water run off" that will happen when the tons of snow that now cover almost all of northern New York begins to melt. (If it ever does!) The "lamb" part of March will bring rising daytime temperatures and melting snow. Since there is a huge amount of snow holding plenty of moisture, we can look forward to the largest spring run off thaw that has occurred in several years. As the swollen tributaries empty into Lake Ontario the clear water of the past spring will become stained and murky providing the basic ingredient for superb brown trout catching. A couple of years ago we had similar conditions and browns and salmon were very cooperative. Given similar conditions, the excellent fishing will occur once again. What is the most important ingredient for catching "football" browns? Forget the lure, the line, the rod and reel, but remember the stained water.  It is the key to consistent success. If you want to "hammer" the browns, fish Eastern Lake Ontario this spring. It is going to be spectacular.
  

     I will be taking part in the Northeast Great Outdoors Show at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY on March 16, 17, and 18, 2007.  I hope you will stop by to talk and look forward to seeing my many friends. I would ask that if you are thinking about a spring trip please book ASAP as I only have a few dates open. Anyhow, book or no book, I still look forward to meeting you. Hope to see you there.

     Finally, one more thing. On July 28th, the inaugural Little Salmon River Challenge Tournament will take place. It will be headquartered out of Mike's Marina on the Little Salmon River; however you can fish from any Oswego port as long as a team member is at the weigh in to be held at Mike's starting at 2PM. Entry fee is $50.00 with an optional $10.00 per person charge for a post event party. Minimum team size is 2 anglers. You can weigh in your 6 largest fish. This is going to be a great event and I know that the folks at Mike's Marina will put on a dynamite show.

Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 5:16:07 AM

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

OSR #5-2007 Here we go Again!

Well sports fans, our newly elected New York State Governor has appointed his choice to head up the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. The winner is Assemblyman "Pete" Grannis of the island called Manhattan.  Grannis is said to be a "champion" of many environmental causes, many of which are noble efforts. There is a big question lurking in the shadows regarding the intentions of the new "Commish" which has to do with possible anti hunting legislation.

It seems that Grannis has introduced NYS Assembly Bill 1850 which would revise the state definition of animal cruelty to include killing or injuring wild game and wild birds. If passed, this revision will be used to make legal hunting and trapping criminal offenses so says the US Sportsmen’s Alliance.  Similar ambiguous worded bills have been defeated by sportsmen in other states. It definitely sounds to me like we have just hired a fox to guard the hen house. If you hunt and live in NYS you had better keep an eye on  this one. It never gets easy does it? Any way "Pete," we will be watching to see how this plays out.

On a more pleasant note we are getting closer to the start of the Lake Ontario trolling season, and I for one just can’t wait. That is why while I am here in Florida I will do some practice trolling for sailfish. No downriggers, no 6 pound test, just surface presentations for the acrobatic sails. Like they say, someone has got to do it!

As I stated in a previous blog, it looks like 2007 is going to see plenty of big fish. There are plenty of plump baitfish schools roaming the depths and a very mild start to our winter will only enhance the condition of the forage population. It is really looking good for 2007.

I have joined the Field Test/ Pro Staff Team sponsored by A-TOM-MIK Trolling Flies. This company has quickly become a major player with regard to trout and salmon trolling on the Great Lakes. It is a story of a young man with a vision and a tremendous work ethic, and a belief that he really could build a better lure.  Founder Tom Allen has done just that, and has created a small business success story. In a few short years the A-TOM-MIK name has become synonymous with catching plenty of big fish. His assortment of offerings is based upon years of on water experience. Testing is crucial and something a small as an individual tiny color addition turns an OK lure into a "killer" I look forward to my involvement with this company and its continued growth.

Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 4:54:14 AM

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Friday, January 05, 2007

OSR #4-2007 Good News

It is now certain that our fish will be bigger in 2007. Results from compiled 2006 harvest data shows that the salmon were in fact larger than their brethren of 2005. We boated plenty of thirty lb fish in 2006 and that was a huge jump over 2005. This coming season is shaping up to the point where we should see sizeable numbers of 40lb fish. This fantastic news is brought to you as a result of a huge hatch of 2005 alewives making bait recruitment that year, one of the largest ever.

Two 35lb. Salmon An Alewife

These huge numbers of alewives are now reaching maturity. Simply put, it means that there are plenty of high quality bait fish teeming with caloric energy just waiting to be gobbled up by the Lake Ontario eating engines known as salmon and trout. The more food you eat, the bigger you get, and I certainly am proof of that, especially after eagerly participating in some of my customers gourmet pepperoni and cheese marathons.

If you are looking to catch a big one, and I mean a really big one, this could be the year.

Of all the great lakes, it is a fact that Lake Ontario produces the biggest fish. Some of our good fortune comes from lady luck, while plenty of our good fortune results from our NYSDEC Fishery professionals who do a terrific job managing fish populations in relation to forage abundance.

WANT A BIG CHINOOK? Fish Lake Ontario! Hopefully you will do it with me.

Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 4:50:11 AM

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