1/1/20 Happy New Year!
Hard to believe we have a new year and DECADE upon us. We’ll see what lies in store. Now’s a great time to become a DEC Angler Diary Cooperator. If you fish any of the cold water Finger Lakes for trout and salmon at least a few times a year, you can make valuable contributions to fisheries management. All you have to do is contact DEC at either Region 7 (if you fish Skaneateles, Owasco or Cayuga Lake(s)), or Region 8 if you fish Keuka, Seneca, Canandaigua, Canadice or Hemlock Lakes.
Region 7: (607)753-3095 X- 213
Region 8: (585) 226-5343
It does not matter how much fishing you do a year or how many fish you catch or don’t catch. You’d be keeping track of how long each fishing excursion is, how many people you had onboard (or were shorefishing with) and what was caught, as well as how long they were, fin-clips and whether you kept or released the fish.
This information gives the DEC a good idea of how the fishing is, what the success rates are, species compositions, sizes, amount of natural reproduction as well as how various strains of fish are doing.
Cooperator numbers have fallen greatly over the past 20 years. Without adequate data, DEC may not have as complete a picture to make management decisions as they could.
Here are few good examples of how you can help:
Back around 1987 or ’88, salmon returns to Keuka Lake anglers were consistently low. DEC was just about to drop the stocking program on Keuka Lake when diary results showed that anglers had a banner year over there. Because of that, the stocking program was maintained right up until a few years ago and we were all better for it during the 1990s and early 2000s on Keuka Lake.
Rainbow trout strains are currently be evaluated on Skaneateles Lake. Even if you just shore fish there 5 to 10 times a year, you could be making a difference. Some strains will do better than others and your data would help figure out which ones.
There are so few diary keepers on Owasco Lake that DEC has no choice but to set gillnets in order to ascertain how the salmonids (namely rainbow trout and brown trout) are doing. If they had 20 or 25 cooperators over there, this wouldn’t be necessary.
If you enjoy our great trout and salmon fisheries on the Finger Lakes, consider giving back some info to DEC, who are the ones who maintain (and have in many cases CREATED) these great fisheries. You’ll also get surveys on management actions like new regulation proposals too.
Tributary anglers are needed and there are also warm-water diary programs in both regions for those that like to bass fish or pike fish. If you were once in the program, please consider keeping a book again this year. If 10% of the people that follow these reports sign up, the DEC will be in good shape looking forward.