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Great Lakes Steelhead & Salmon Amazing "Inland ocean" fisheries

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Old 02-20-2003, 11:31 AM
Doublespey's Avatar
Doublespey Doublespey is offline
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Unhappy Very Sad!

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,

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Old 02-20-2003, 12:09 PM
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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.
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Old 02-20-2003, 01:40 PM
BobK BobK is offline
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The Catt...

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.

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Old 02-20-2003, 02:29 PM
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flyfisha1 flyfisha1 is offline
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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.

Last edited by flyfisha1; 02-21-2003 at 06:22 AM.
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Old 03-17-2003, 02:06 PM
vinnyf vinnyf is offline
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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.
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Old 03-17-2003, 04:15 PM
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juro juro is offline
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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(?)
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Old 03-17-2003, 06:13 PM
BobK BobK is offline
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You keep forgetting.....

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.

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