Bad News [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Bad News

02-18-2003, 02:35 AM

Read at own risk!

02-18-2003, 08:01 AM
Yes, it is bad news indeed that many indigenous species have perished by our past exploitations and now we've replaced them with species that make it even harder for them to recover.

I guess I have the perspective that protection of the resources comes before enjoyment of sport. It may be too late in the game to try anything stupid now, but maybe there are reasonable measures out there worth investigating, maybe not.

My point is this - as anglers and outdoorsmen should we ever put sport in front of preservation of wild places and their inhabitants?

02-18-2003, 08:01 AM
This study has it's head in the sand!!! There wasn't one word of "invasive exotic" species, and their impact on the "native" as well as "Intentionally introduced" species.

These include Zebra Mussels, Quagga Mussels, New Zealand Mud Snail, Echinogrammus Scud, Round Gobies, to name some. While the full impact of these is unknown at this point in time, research is being performed by the states. I was fortunate enough to attend NYSDEC meeting on the subject. And, they are continuing their studies, with the aid along with federal and college help (e.g. Cornell University). These fisheries biologists and experts deserve our thanks. Following is a summary of the "status" of Lake Ontario:

Populations of native naturally occurring Grammus scuds, the freshwater Mysis shrimp, and the total food web have declined dramatically as these "invasive exotics" population has exploded. Hence,the food web has declined, the forage base has declined, and desired species will decline. The actual cause hasn't been determined exactly at this point in time, but is under extreme scrutiny. The effects of lampreys, of course, has been well documented; at least these can be controlled with minimal effect on other species. (Notice I didn't say "zero" effect.)

Sounds like this publication is just an ecologist's "wet dream" to push an agenda that is doomed to failure, pushed by "his" brand of "selected" scientific facts and history.

My opinion.


02-18-2003, 08:40 AM
Bob K, I felt the same reaction as you. Still a sad subject non the less. Dan'l

02-18-2003, 08:51 AM
You've done your homework Bob for sure, and I respect that.

But let's move away from this study, or any particular study or region or situation for a second and look at the question that is at the very apex of this decision tree:

"as anglers and outdoorsmen should we ever put sport in front of preservation of wild places and their inhabitants?"

02-18-2003, 10:12 AM
Juro, I hate to say this, but until we get the human population under control, I don't know how to do it, and I DO have a very scientific background and several degrees, and am now retired.

This wasn't "homework", just a statement of facts, presented to the public by biologists I respect in late January of this year. Left alone, and funded fully, they could do a fantastic job, but state budgets, and the economy limit them. (Incidentally, I try to keep in touch with them on a regular basis.)

They will control this to the best of their ability, I am sure.

Now, please take your time to read the next part objectively.

An interesting question to all the environmentalists is this - How many trees did your house cost?

And now another - for your car, for example, couldn't you have combined several of those "trips" this week to save fuel if you just thought about it?

This can be carried on as far as you want to go, ad absurdum.

Not being wise, and recognizing the need to conserve, we have to be realistic and think about it in these terms. I think you can see that we are not approaching the problem and our positions fairly. We can't save it for "us" and say "screw the rest of the people". We have to be realists - there is a limited earth and it is putting up with an expanding human population, and I don't think there is a practical solution in sight.

Hopefully, there will be.


02-18-2003, 10:45 AM
Bob -

I read every word in detail, but unless I've missed something, you've avoided the question entirely.

Was there some relationship to the question re: prioritizing sport over stewardship in there that I missed somehow?

You made several good points albeit tangential, valid and important.

02-18-2003, 12:12 PM
Juro, what I'm trying to say is that every new person that comes into the world wants food, water, clothes and shelter. The population is growing. We can just protect resources so long before the masses will push us out of the way to get what they want, and fish and trees will go by the wayside.

Best thing for the world will be when our species goes extinct - and based on history and archaeology, we will, eventually!

Sorry for the confusion.


02-18-2003, 01:15 PM
Dear Bob K, this debate is becoming spiritual in matter now. Where's our faith in humanity or even Divine intervention?
I hope we don't have to become extinct before we can actually help our environment.
Sorry ,it's really none of my business how you feel..I posted the report because I found it so upsetting! I wondered what others felt. Will science offer a solution eventually or will nature just run her course?

02-18-2003, 01:19 PM
Originally posted by juro

My point is this - as anglers and outdoorsmen should we ever put sport in front of preservation of wild places and their inhabitants?


Interesting point, logic dictates that you think of the natural preservation of things but, want of the hunt calls for continued stocking.

It would be a tough choice, I have caught a few Lakers in my day, trust me they are no Steelhead.

I have only one choice, plead the 5th ammendment and continue to enjoy our fishery.

02-18-2003, 08:03 PM
Well, not much faith. Right now, Rochester "political and commercial" interests and Toronto similar interests have come up with a new venture - a "fast ferry" between the two destinations. Now they are commercializing the Rochester "waterfront" area (called Charlotte) and trying to get business and commercial interests interested in that "slum" area along the Genesee "waterfront" for "renovation"(where the river enters into the lake.) Fortunately, the bridge reconstruction of the past year and a half had minimum effect that I could see. Fast Ferry is scheduled to start service this year, unless delayed. This is their idea of "creating job opportunity" and raising the tax base in this "urban renewal" project.

Using taxpayer's money, and state grants, too. I don't know of any legitimate businessmen interested in losing money in this Politicians' Delight, but I am sure no good will come of it, and no one has even talked about "environmental impact" to the prime fishery of the lower Genesee, a great salmon/steelie fishery. By the way, this has major Democratic backing! And the Republicans are aiding and abetting them!

In addition, the Great Lakes are under feasibility study by the Corps of Engineers for "enhancements" to allow use of 1,000 foot ocean-going vessels. (This started under the Clinton Administration) Who knows who will be in charge when the study is completed?) DON'T TRUST ANY POLITICIANS - BOTH PARTIES ARE NOT HELPING US! And don't believe anything they say, either.

So, I think maybe "Divine Intervention" may be the only out!

Just my opinion, as that is what I am observing from the sidelines.

And you wonder why I have "little faith"?


02-19-2003, 02:02 PM

Lake Erie should take heed on what Michigan has done with Lake Michigan steelhead and salmon stockings. Although I would say the jury is still out on the success of the strategy in Lake Michigan.

I could not beleive the stockings that were going into Lake Erie the last time I looked, they were bigger than Lake Michigan and Erie is much smaller.

02-19-2003, 02:25 PM
They don't have the massive Salmon plants that we do. So it probably evens out.

02-19-2003, 09:03 PM
PA has a very small strech of border with Lake Erie, but really stocks a disproportionate number of steelies, regardless. They only have a few small tribs, and they are mobbed, from what I have heard.
Don't know about Ohio, I have heard that they do have some stocking.
NY does some stocking, particularly in the Cattaraugus, in the western end of the sate. From fisheries people, they have one of the best natural reproduction of any of the finger lakes - lots of small feeders, in the headwaters, too. Maybe I'll take a trip down this spring. I understand you have to buy a "reservation permit", as most of the land is Indian reservation.


02-20-2003, 10:32 AM
It's held by the Seneca tribe.

Been thinking about a trip out there for a while, looks like a good sized river, which would allow for the use of the smaller Spey rods. Probaly a 12' 8w would would rather well.

02-20-2003, 11:31 AM
I love to fish, and appreciate the sentiment of those who share this love.

But my own bias is that preservation of the rivers, streams, and oceans and the natural species that inhabit them is far more important than the next fish I catch out of their waters.

It doesn't really matter (to me) if the fish being displaced are a better sports fish or not. I'd almost rather flyfish for bass (or carp) if they're what live naturally in the lake than sterilize it and fish for planted Atlantic Salmon.

Mankind's mucking around with stocking has IMHO done far more harm than good. The PNW Steelhead runs are a good example of this. Yes the hatchery fish have often provided increased sporting and harvest opportunities, but their presence has also contributed to the decline of the wild/native steelhead populations in many of those same rivers.

Mankind may be headed toward ever-increasing populations and an eventual extinguishing of all our "natural" fishing opportunities --- and then again maybe not.

Either way, I don't want to be part of the group of anglers that simply accept this as an inevitable outcome and continue demanding our maximum sporting opportunities until that day finally comes.

If that means I sacrifice some fishing opportunities then so be it.

My .02,


02-20-2003, 12:09 PM
Your and Juro's logic makes perfect sense. We are pretty spoiled in the GL's with this after market fishery.

I do not think they can bring back the native fish due to silting which covered up the Lakers deep water beds or over harvest (walleye and bass). Just speaking for Lake Michigan. We do have a great perch fishery. If you never have had a mess of fresh fried Lake Perch you are missing something.

Best eating fish next to a walleye.

02-20-2003, 01:40 PM
From what I hear, it's good fishing. As far as getting a Seneca Permit, I have heard that there is an (Indian run?) gas station on Rte. 20 nearby. (These permits just went up - they are $40 or $50 for the year.) I have heard that it's crowded near roads, but if you don't mind a little walking, good fishing awaits. Depending on the weather, I just may take a drive down and "explore" its potential. It's supposed to be real scenic, as well. Probably a good 2 1/2 hr. drive for me, and I'll have to grit my teeth passing over good streams, but why not.


02-20-2003, 02:29 PM
I have experienced the displacement of native fish on a smaller scale than the Great Lakes, many years ago. In fact, this ecological manipulation was one of the reasons I chose to attend school in pursuit of a degree in Marine Science.
Being in the aquarium industry as a profession, I may be more in touch with the issue of invasive exotic species than most people as a result. For instance, the incidental and designed release of cichlids such as tilapia, an aquarium fish from South America, into Florida waters many years ago displaced a great number of indigenous species, many of which could easily be considered game fish. The aquarium industry has been blamed to large extent or releasing these exotic species into the waters of the US; most recently, there was a huge issue in Maryland when some locals caught a snakehead (considered an ornamental aquarium fish), which is a fish originating in Southeastern Asia (kind of a cross between a largemouth and a pike), in a farm pond. The media and wildlife service freaked out, worried that these fish would invade other lakes and ponds and would quickly outcompete resident species such as largemouth for available resources... they're probably right, a snakehead is one tough sucker with the appetite of half a dozen largemouth of the same size. Still, whether released into the wild by accident or design, the issue now is how to keep it from happening again, and how to remedy the problem.
My own case was the lake I grew up on: at one time, it was full of nothing but hefty chain pickerel and bluegills. Then a "well-meaning" resident on the lake started dropping largemouth bass and bullhead catfish that he had caught in a nearby lake into our lake. Within three years, I went from catching nothing but pickerel to one pickerel every ten or twelve fish; pathetic. I'll take a pickerel, which actively stalks prey, over a bass, which sits around waiting for prey to swim by most of the time, anyday.
Biologists, wildlife officials, and miscellaneous people 50 years ago tried introducing foreign species into water systems plagued with some nuisance organism such as vegetation, crustaceans, mollusks, etc. The organisms flourished because they had the proper conditions in which to thrive, no natural predators present, and hence no population checks so long as the food kept coming. These people didn't understand that what they were doing would totally upset the balance of that ecosystem. Now, 50 years later, we're all trying to help clean up the mess left to us.
How do you control the problem? Culling. Cull the invasive species out of the systems. This includes, for example, rainbows and browns that have been moved to habitats that were otherwise populated by nothing more than brookies and cutt-throats, so far as displaced species are concerned. Re-introduce the original species if they are in need. Monitor populations. Quit trying to take care of a problem by creating another one; I'm quite certain that Mother Nature and evolution had things where they needed to be before we started messing around with them.

03-17-2003, 02:06 PM
I'm with BobK on this one. With human population growth on a J shaped curve, it can't help but crash if current trends are followed.
To answer Juro's question: I don't think that sport should have priority over stewardship.
Just an opinion.

03-17-2003, 04:15 PM
It seems we've always been a little short on stewardship for the GL fisheries even when population was a non-issue...

Being nearly a 5 billion dollar sport industry today, I can't help but think it's more about the stock options for the board than the wood in my house.

I'm not quite sure I understand the relationship between population rise and exotic species(?)

03-17-2003, 06:13 PM
Keep in mind that we only have a VOTE on the stewardship of what's in the lakes and streams. The rest of the sportsmen ALSO have a vote. I hate to pee on your parade, but I am afraid that we are sadly undergunned for this one. Most fishermen have "stocking of ________" (you name the favored species)" on their minds, and since they are license buyers, sportsmen, taxpayers, citizens and voters, the majority rules. By the way, the swimmers, boaters and jet skiers, etc. also have a vote, too. That's the way it's set up - and why the nation has lasted this long. Try dictating your principles, and you are doomed!

This country was founded on "the greatest good for the greatest number", even though some people are trying to dictate otherwise. So, face it. We won't always get our way.

Just my thoughts on the subject. I don't say whether it's right or wrong - that's the way it is, and it's worked for 225 years now. This is not a perfect world.