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LeafsFan

Southern Ontario - Fish Populations Down?

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Greetings all,

 

Any fellow southern Ontario anglers noticing fish populations being down?

 

The few areas I fish in Niagara seem to have a significantly lower fish population when it comes to bass, pike, and even muskie.

 

This year we are fishing the same spots as previous years, using the same baits, and the same rods ... nothing has changed on our end, and the structure we fish is still very similar to last year, but the best day we have had is a 5 fish day between the two of us that fish compared to previous years where we would average 5 pike each and then as assortment of bass. I probably put 18 hours on one small water body with a buddy this past week and at best we had 1 pike and 4 bass, wheres previous years with that much time (fishing evenings due to the heat) we could have easily had double digits each for pike and we would not even count the bass because of how many there were ... we keep 0. Talking to others, not many are catching fish.

 

I plan to write the MNR with exact details but was initially curious if anyone else fishing Southern Ontario has noticed if their numbers are down huge as well and if there is a reason for it ...

 

The only item I can think of it that carp have taken a liking to fish eggs as the carp population has grown a lot over the past few years.

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It may be unpopular to some, but carp are pigs and will eat just about anything. On some of the bays I fished off of Lake Erie it was easy to tell where a school of carp were feeding, you would go from fairly clear water to water that was all muddied up. Bedding fish like bass may be able to chase panfish away from their beds, but they don't stand much of a chance of chasing 20-40 pound carp away.

 

I used to enjoy seeing a commercial carp netter with a boat load of sows!

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to be honest ive found the complete opposite up on georgian bay. We are catching a heck of a lot, just not getting the size like we did before.

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I can relate with lower number of fish. But I'm gonna say that it might have to do more with fish moving to different spots on a body of water. Underwater composition or structure could change. Perhaps, more or less weed growth that would affect bait fish and in turn affect where fish will be. Sure, fish have been known to congregate in certain spots, but they are capable swimmers and can go anywhere.

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I can relate with lower number of fish. But I'm gonna say that it might have to do more with fish moving to different spots on a body of water. Underwater composition or structure could change. Perhaps, more or less weed growth that would affect bait fish and in turn affect where fish will be. Sure, fish have been known to congregate in certain spots, but they are capable swimmers and can go anywhere.

 

I was somewhat thinking it was a possibility, but when pike first opened we could not find the quantity, we fished an area they are known to spawn in and where there was drop offs and we only picked up a few, even drifting chub minnows through areas we could not entice a hit, the body of water we fish is not large, but it has every kind of water (fast, slow, non-moving) and we fished it all ...

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Could have to do with the record hot summer and fish just moving in deeper.

 

That's my 0 cents.

Edited by Sterling

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My spring was fantastic for numbers of fish caught. I just don't expect a lot during this heat wave and drought.

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It may be unpopular to some, but carp are pigs and will eat just about anything. On some of the bays I fished off of Lake Erie it was easy to tell where a school of carp were feeding, you would go from fairly clear water to water that was all muddied up. Bedding fish like bass may be able to chase panfish away from their beds, but they don't stand much of a chance of chasing 20-40 pound carp away.

 

I used to enjoy seeing a commercial carp netter with a boat load of sows!

I'm getting the sense that carp are becoming quite a nuisance in a lot of southern Ontario lakes, reservoirs and rivers. Almost all of the Grand River watershed where I fish is loaded with them.

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Carp have nothing to do with low fish numbers.

That's like saying walleye numbers are down because of Muskie eating them. It's unscientific and silly.

Weather is more likely a factor and hotspots change daily, weekly and seasonally.

I have hardly been fishing so my numbers are way down. I did notice way less shallow bass on Erie early in the season but I assumed that I was fishing too shallow. The fish are there somewhere.

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I thought it was just me. Found the fishing extremely slow this spring. Probably because I stick to my same old habits. The fish have moved. Did manage a personal best day of sheephead fishing lol. Couldn't find bass so jerk trolled an x rap in 7-8ft off Pt. Abino and had non stop, rip the rod out of your hand action. The bottom makeup of the shallows where I've caught dozens of fish in the past, seems slimy and moss covered. More carp than I've ever seen before, and sheep everywhere!

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Numbers are down because I caught them all. Seriously there are so many factors to take into consideration even on a small body of water from water quality to weather just to say there aren't as many fish here is more complicated than that. Numbers of perch in the go to spots have certainly dropped here locally on Erie in the last 2 years. It was normal to see 25 boats all huddled up in 1 particular spot, this year no one is fishing there. Even a place on the west shore of Long Point called Hastings where a limit of good sized perch was almost a given is not yielding the numbers in the past. That's not to say there are less perch because the commercial nets are full. Walleye is about the same for this time of the year, maybe better for this time of the year. I did notice that there was not near the numbers of carp spawning behind our place this spring as compared to the last 19 years we have had this place. Less Bass beds right out back this year as well.

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Never thought of carp being a problem.

Thought they were vegetarians

If you're right and they eat eggs, that could very well be significant.

My son consistently catches 15-20 lb carp on corn after baiting off the dock on Pigeon.

Don't know if their numbers are up or not.

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The only reason I am thinking numbers are down is because we have fished every inch of the shoreline in the waterbody except for where the fine folks at hydro prefer you not wander, this past week ... water temps may have been a factor due to the heat, but the previous outings were less productive and that would have been just when the pike season opened.

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I can tell you that carp definitely eat eggs. But my guess is they are Cato eggs as they r stuck to vegetation real shallow. See it all the time in Erie.

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Fish adapt so much quicker than fisherman...and because people are creatures of habit, they do the same thing over and over. When it doesn't work, it must be the fishes fault. lol Rest easy, the fish are still there, the big fish are still there. It's your job now to figure out the current pattern. Chances are, it's not much different than before but without subtle modifications, the results can be anything but subtle.

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fished every inch of the shoreline in the waterbody

I was fishing all last week. The shoreline was void of life. I caught fish in deeper water but it was slow. July is a tough month IMO, lots of mayflies on my lake too.

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Never thought of carp being a problem.

Thought they were vegetarians

If you're right and they eat eggs, that could very well be significant.

My son consistently catches 15-20 lb carp on corn after baiting off the dock on Pigeon.

Don't know if their numbers are up or not.

 

They are not strictly vegetarians; they will eat eggs, crayfish, small fish if they can catch them, etc. However, if a lake has had carp in it for over a hundred years then I don't think that they just caused the population to have dropped the last year or two.

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I can tell you that carp definitely eat eggs. But my guess is they are Cato eggs as they r stuck to vegetation real shallow. See it all the time in Erie.

I have witnessed 3 pound male Smallies hammer 20 pound plus Carp like a torpedo protecting their beds here. Some one here said a Bass doesn't have a chance against a 30 pound Carp, not true. They are as aggressive as a Pit Bull protecting their beds. Cool to watch them.

Edited by Old Ironmaker

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For the past 3 or 4 years, I take a break from muskie fishing by doing a little close to home bass fishing. This means a 45min. drive to Crystal Beach. I generally fish the shallows with poppers and spinnerbaits and have had a ton of fun over the years. This year .... not so much fun. Where I used to see bass cruising the shallows has been void of fish. A strange sight considering how many fish we used to see just cruising around not feeding, while we caught the ones that were.

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For the past 3 or 4 years, I take a break from muskie fishing by doing a little close to home bass fishing. This means a 45min. drive to Crystal Beach. I generally fish the shallows with poppers and spinnerbaits and have had a ton of fun over the years. This year .... not so much fun. Where I used to see bass cruising the shallows has been void of fish. A strange sight considering how many fish we used to see just cruising around not feeding, while we caught the ones that were.

This is true but again, it's my opinion it has nothing to do with fish populations. This year for some reason there were less fish up shallow on Erie and many of the smallmouth spawned deep. Also, smallies will spawn in 20+ feet of water and this year it was the norm. If you fished shallow near Crystal Beach...Windmill, Rosies, or even on the US side, you'd be hurting for fish. I know because I went out and after hitting all my 8-12 ft waypoints had little to show for it. I reluctantly moved out to late summer/early fall water and there they were. The 20-35ft range held them all.

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Im finding seasonal techniques are about 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule. More than enough fish, and some fatties too!

 

S.

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Fish adapt so much quicker than fisherman...and because people are creatures of habit, they do the same thing over and over. When it doesn't work, it must be the fishes fault. lol Rest easy, the fish are still there, the big fish are still there. It's your job now to figure out the current pattern. Chances are, it's not much different than before but without subtle modifications, the results can be anything but subtle.

 

 

Theres the correct answer

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