Great Lakes steelhead question

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Alosa, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. Alosa Active Member

    Posts: 341
    Seattle
    Ratings: +142 / 1
    Thanks Sg. That's really helpful.
  2. Andrew Lawrence Active Member

    Posts: 734
    Renton, WA.
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    SG pretty much nailed it.
  3. Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

    Posts: 2,051
    Washington
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    FWIW, I've only participated in stocking a few rivers on lk erie, but all of those fish were smolt (5-6'') sized when they were stocked by truck n bucket. The water is too warm in most of the rivers for juvies to rear.

    Also, The brookies were already gone. The ones that have come back are from hatchery stock with a few small mountain streams as an exception. They started to reintroduce them to the great lakes and the clarion watershed in the early to mid 80's if memory serves me. The program has since expanded, but I don't fish that area so much these days so I can't say where exactly.
  4. Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

    Posts: 2,051
    Washington
    Ratings: +53 / 0
    +1

    I've heard rumors they already have. I can't for the life of me understand why they didn't start a commercial fishery on them when they were still in the river. I'm sure they'd make good cat food and farm fish feed.
  5. Great Lakes Man New Member

    Posts: 10
    Burlington, NJ
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I know they have started to electro fish the carp in the river. It would be a shame to have these introduced to the ecosystem. Even though most of the salmonoids that have been introduced to the great lakes are considered invasive, they introduced them after the levels of pollution killed off a lot of the blue pike and other large predatory fish. What was left was an explosion of alwife. To the point that it was out of control. Fisheries Biologist were forced to introduce a cold water predator that could consume this bait fish and salmonids were on the list due to the ability of the local hatcheries to produce them. They no longer stock a couple of the salmonids in Erie. The Coho, pink, and King were failures to natural reproduction due to the nature of the gelologic formations being made up of slate. The eggs simply washed away. The only stream that on lake Erie that has had some limited reproduction is the Cattarraugus river in western NY. It is known that there is a small reproducing king and steelhead population here. They are hard to target due to the fact that access to where they spawn is private property. You might want to contact these guys www.grandrivertroutfitters.com. If you are in for an adventure, Check out this Lake Michigan Trib. www.fishthegarden.com
    KerryS likes this.
  6. stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

    Posts: 1,529
    Carlsbad, CA
    Ratings: +275 / 0
    If there have been many generations of natural spawners, Id be interested to see the morphological changes (if any) from the source genetics of the stocked fish. Selective pressure is neat
    Pat Lat likes this.
  7. shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime

    Posts: 481
    45th Parallel NW Michigan
    Ratings: +23 / 1
    Each of the 5 lakes is unique with it's own multi facet history. In Michigan our Steelbows are much more ingrained.. over a century earlier than Pacific Salmon, a relative Johnny come lately beganing 1966 [5 Lakes region first stocking: Coho, Platte River MI]

    Lake Huron, first lakes region Rainbow stocking: Au Sable River 1876. There are still significant wild self sustaining populations in it's northern reaches.

    Lake Michigan's east coast waters [my doorstep] were initially stocked with 2500 MCloud River Rainbows in 1883 [Pere Marquette River] they thrived. They continue to thrive. This river and neighboring Little Manistee recieved no stocking and still rely totally on natural reproduction. In my opinion, the winter run Little Manistee fish and Lake Superior's Rainbows [similar history] are the epitome.

    Subjective as whether they are an invasive or not.. Technically, maybe so. By same definition so would be many others.. including the Ringneck Pheasant. South Dakota's state bird.. from like time frame of 1881.
    Pat Lat likes this.
  8. shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime

    Posts: 481
    45th Parallel NW Michigan
    Ratings: +23 / 1
    Thats a Northern Lake Huron trib.. Lot's of good memories.

    Rape & pillage style timber harvest, river drives, & Sawmills are what killed our indiginous stocks [MI] consisting of mainly Grayling. Post log boom was armageddon..
  9. martyg Active Member

    Posts: 981
    The world at large
    Ratings: +74 / 0
    Kerry - the "blue" pike, Atlantic salmon, cisco and sturgeon were well over by the time pacific salmon were introduced. My father was a market fisherman out of Buffalo in his youth (1930s) and catches of 300 blue pike in night were not uncommon, with the fish going to neighborhood bars and restaurants to feed steel and automotive workers.

    I can remember spending many, many mights trolling for walleye (i.e, yellow pike) off of Donnally's Wall and the old lighthouse, launching at the Foot of Porter Street and catching our limits while slag being poured from Bethlehem Steel lit up the sky. In all those years I think that we (our entire group of fishermen in multiple boats) only ever saw one "blue' pike.

    Likewise for sturgeon and Atlantic salmon. By the 60's there were no populations to speak of, and certainly not catch able numbers. Once in a great while someone would report catching a sturgeon on the Niagara River between southern end of Grand Island off of Beaver Island State Park and the Canadian shore. Atlantic salmon were wiped out when lamprey eels were able to access the Great Lakes through a serious of canals that were built connecting the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario and the Welland Canal to Lake Erie.

    As a chemistry and biology major at SUNY in Buffalo (who had a special interest in the waters that I regularly fished) I can also tell you that the fishing industry declined in Lake Erie in the 1950's as heavy industry took over the Great Lakes. However that was nothing compared to the decline in the late 1800's when swamps and estuaries were built to create cities. The drop witnessed in the 1950's was about 10% of what was seen in the late 1800's.

    Interestingly enough the total biomass that Lake Erie produced was at its greatest when the lake was proclaimed "dead" - and that was in the form of the invasive alewife. With heavy phosphates being dumped into Erie, and with its relatively shallow depth, euthrophication was artificially accelerated creating huge amounts of phytoplankton and small invertebrates that the alewife thrived on. They used to wash up on beached three feet deep and 10 feet thick for miles, making beaches unusable and generally creating a public health issue. Once Pacific salmon were introduced that quickly ended.

    Were Pacific salmon a contributing factor in these species decline? Doubt it - because they were essentially done decades before Pacific Salmon were introduced. And rainbow, steelhead, whatever - were there throughout - if you knew where to look.

    To your point about doing my research - 'Eff you - I lived it and studied it at SUNY in Buffalo.
  10. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,701
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,744 / 0
    Good stuff, thanks for the information.



    Oh, and fuck you too.
  11. martyg Active Member

    Posts: 981
    The world at large
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    Sea run Taimen don't exist in Mongolia.
  12. martyg Active Member

    Posts: 981
    The world at large
    Ratings: +74 / 0
    Sea run Taimen don't exist in Mongolia.
  13. martyg Active Member

    Posts: 981
    The world at large
    Ratings: +74 / 0
    Sea run Taimen don't exist in Mongolia.