Heading into the 2024 season


I just dropped my Angler-Cooperator Diaries off at the Region 7 Fisheries office and had a chance to catch up with some of the staff over there.

Biologists are aware of concerns/complaints about Cayuga Lake’s salmon and brown trout fishing.  Around 60 to 70 salmon showed up at the fish ladder this past fall and were passed above it.  That’s better than what I thought the numbers would be.  4 or 5 years ago, when the salmon fishing was terrific, they had over 300 salmon at the ladder.  Some different stocking sites have been utilized over the past year or two and we’ll see if they yield better results.  The quality of the fish being stocked is supposedly very good.

New York hatcheries will be stocking a new less-domesticated strain of brown trout this year throughout the state. It’s hoped that they will retain more “wild” characteristics in the hatcheries.  I know I cringe when I see the freshly stocked brown trout swarm around Long Point’s marina harbor for weeks getting picked off daily by various bird species and lake trout.

Around 30 new diary cooperators signed up this past year to assist with gathering fishing information for Region 7 lakes.  That’s great!  DEC needs accurate data in order to best manage the fisheries.  The diaries play an important part in their general “picture” of what’s going on out there.  A lot of anglers think it’s important as a cooperator to catch fish, but it’s just as important when you are NOT catching fish.  Some cooperators become disgruntled when the fishing is slow and stop cooperating.  That’s like cutting off your nose to spite your face.  It makes no sense. There’s only so much that DEC can do, and management changes take time to make.  I contribute a lot of lake trout data to DEC on fin-clips, lengths, catch-rates and so on, but I don’t give them much of a picture on what’s going on with salmon or brown trout out there.  I can’t take clients out to “see how the salmon fishing is.”  If I don’t feel confident in it, we aren’t doing it or we’re going to a different lake.  Some anglers are Cayuga-bound, either through having a place on the lake, or just enjoying fishing over there.  If it takes 12 hours to catch a legal salmon, DEC needs to know that.  That’s the first step in getting some changes made.

I know cooperator numbers have been low on Owasco Lake for a while.  Other lakes that really could use some participants include Seneca, Keuka and Canandaigua Lakes.  Tributary cooperators are also needed in Region 7.

We have a couple more days with highs in the mid-30s and then we’re off to a good freeze which should help make the ice-fishermen happy.    The State Launch at Skaneateles Lake was locked up just before the last snowstorm. Cayuga, Seneca and Keuka Lakes remain fishable/launchable.  I’ll be at the Rochester Boat Show with Silver Lake Marine on January 26th and 27th.  Time sure flies…