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timmeh

Huron/GB salmon decline

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The past few years I've heard a lot of talk about the decline of the salmon fishery in huron and gb. I haven't been fishing long enough to have noticed this myself, but seeing as I fish there now I'm curious as to what's going on. I will admit my knowledge on this issue is limited, so I was hoping to gain some info from the more knowledgeable salmon anglers on the board. I'm sure there are various theories to explain this problem and I'd be interested to hear some possible explanations.

 

Thanks

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Big Reason,

 

Lack of Restocking. More focus on the Rainbow/Steelhead population by the local anglers associations' then there is on Pacfic Salmon.

 

I have also heard that the Provincial Gov. has spent less money and energy on restocking pacific salmon and are eyeing up another attempt at re-introduucing the atlantic salmon.

 

My understanding is that Atlantic Salmon are less tollerant of polution and that is why they have not done well in Lake O, maybe they would be a better candidate in G Bay.

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Pretty simple really. Zebra mussels cleared up the lakes. Comorants that can dive up to 70 feet have flourished and can now clearly see bait balls from overhead. There was a report that comorants on Lake Huron consume 20 million pounds of fish per year. Baitfish depleted to the point of not sustaining the predator fish population.

The solution is to cull the comorants to normal levels but the tree huggers are fighting for the comorants and winning. I guess an overpopulated bird has higher priority then a suffering fish population.

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I remember those days when you used to hook nice sized shakers every cast at most Georgian bay rivers.. now you gotta work you butt off to get one on a good day.

 

I think it definately has to do with the baitfish numbers in the Bay... I have caught many Salmon over the years that have a case of 'anorexia'. The one below it smashed that bag like it was it's last meal.

 

BeavSkinny-1.jpg

 

I wish it could be legit to shoot Cormorants anytime... Those things are eating everything up everywhere.

Edited by Bojangles

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Definatly a lack of baitfish, out there in GB anyway. Every year for the past 5-6 years i have seen the salmon numbers and size drop substantially in the nottawasaga. However on a positive note i have been seeing more rainbows around the past few years, perhaps less competition out there between the two now? Anyways one thing is for certain kill the cormorants!!

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There is also the debate over where the fry are released. Fry were originally released in a trib or stream to give them time to imprint on the body of water. This would help establish natural replenishment and breeding.

Current practice with Pacifics merely sustains a put and take fishery. Fry are released off the harbours and piers with no chance to imprint on a suitable trib for spawning. Possibly to free up tribs for the Atlantic program and more trout.

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Georgian bays chinook fishery collapse was due to a severe decline in its food base alwives, rainbows also saw an immediate decline, but in thier adaptive nature were able to utilize additonal food bases.

Cormorants added but didnt do it, the stocking practices added but didnt do it.

The nets again added but didnt do it. it was cumulative plain and simple.

That being said another food base has emerged as of the last year that should help this out substantially.

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There is also the debate over where the fry are released. Fry were originally released in a trib or stream to give them time to imprint on the body of water. This would help establish natural replenishment and breeding.

Current practice with Pacifics merely sustains a put and take fishery. Fry are released off the harbours and piers with no chance to imprint on a suitable trib for spawning. Possibly to free up tribs for the Atlantic program and more trout.

Lots of room for Atlantics.....10-15 returning adults won't take up much room

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Georgian bays chinook fishery collapse was due to a severe decline in its food base alwives, rainbows also saw an immediate decline, but in thier adaptive nature were able to utilize additonal food bases.

Cormorants added but didnt do it, the stocking practices added but didnt do it.

The nets again added but didnt do it. it was cumulative plain and simple.

That being said another food base has emerged as of the last year that should help this out substantially.

 

 

What is this food base?

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Why is everyone so hung up on Atlantic salmon? Really, who cares? Give me a fish that's a bit more resilient like a chinook over an Atlantic anyday. They also need a provincial cormorant cull like they have in place down on Pelee Island on Lake Erie.. The MNR along with the government has wasted so much time and $$$ on Atlantic salmon, when they really could have been making headway on improving the Pacific salmon/steelhead fishery... I gotta agree with the Cronz on this one, Atlantics are a waste of time. If you want to catch Atlantics, go out east.

 

/end rant.

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What is this food base?

I think he's talking about Gobies. Thy've been found in the stomach of harvested salmon this year.

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There's only so much biomass a lake can sustain. Add in invasive species or a population explosion of a native species and everything they eat needs to be subtracted from the existing stock.

 

Zebra mussels eat the same food as baitfish.

 

Cormorants eat their own body weight (or more) A DAY!, even chinooks don't stuff themselves that much.

 

And any sportfish that do survive gets gill netted.

 

 

Atlantics are a sexy fish and an easy sell to soccer moms from Etobicoke (Donna Cansfield is a useless another word, 'nuff said), MNR likes them because it's a PROGRAM, something new & sexy they can get grants and write papers with. EVERYBODY likes them, that they are giant money & hatchery space black hole is only relevant to the end-user (sportfishermen), and let's face it nobody in the Ontario gov't gives a rat's arse about sportfishing unless you are talking about more money that can be squeezed from them.

 

The main argument about cormorants is that unlike gobies & zebra mussels, they are a native species. They are just having a population explosion as of late because of the clearer waters making it easy for them to eat all those tasty stocked sportfish (thank you mr. zebra mussel).

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All the above reasons have added up, zebras, corms, less baitfish, lack of stocking - and bad stocking practices, ie no imprinting, and fin clipping has been a killer on the GB fingerlyings. Add the native's netting right accross river mouths and the Sound and the chinny's don't stand a chance. Sad to see really, and unless the MNR steps in bigtime, which I doubt with lack of funds, then this fishery is gone. Just ask all the fishing related businesses, charters and baitshops, that have closed on GB. Atleast there has been a decent steelie run in late fall and winter, hope we don't lose that too.

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I remember growing up in Kincardine in the spring you could get smelts off the beach, perch in june and once the Alwifes started there die off we use to catch millions of them for fun.

 

Then came the zebra plauge.. cleaned up the food.. less everything.

Then the exposion of cormorants ...

A few bad years of weather killing of even more

MMR - Gives natives more rights to fish in more locations

MNR - stocks lake trout not salmon

Lake levels were too low, so some rivers were not even able to let salmon swim up to reproduce

 

Add all these things up and you have a bad situation.

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It doesn't help when they let the fingerlings go off piers and rivermouths......the cormorants feast before they can disperse. They're bad up here on Nipissing, the ministry should be buying the shells and letting people shoot the damn things. I remember a year or two ago some crackpots down in T.O wanted some special day to "honour" these wonderful birds. :wallbash:

 

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Georgian bays chinook fishery collapse was due to a severe decline in its food base alwives, rainbows also saw an immediate decline, but in thier adaptive nature were able to utilize additonal food bases.

Cormorants added but didnt do it, the stocking practices added but didnt do it.

The nets again added but didnt do it. it was cumulative plain and simple.

 

I agree with this 100%

But its done now...only gonna get worse IMO

Might as well stock more Rainbow, or lakers...more adaptive, they will do better.

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