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Plan 2014 needed to restore fish populations

March 9th, 2016 | Posted by admin

Originally published in the Watertown Daily Times on March 9, 2016.

We, the undersigned, would like to call your readers’ attention to a recent proposed change in state fishing regulations and the unique policy opportunity it provides. The Department of Environmental Conservation suggested changes to the fishing regulations that would reduce the daily limit of northern pike from five to three on the St. Lawrence River.

The reason for this change?…damaging water-level regulations that have been in place for more than 50 years and have yet to be updated.”

Click here to read the full letter.

View NYSDEC’s proposed fishing regulation changes.

More Pike

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Thousand Islands ranked No. 1 on list of nation’s archipelagos

January 27th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

From today’s Watertown Daily Times editorial page, “Promoting the Thousand Islands as a wonderful tourist destination recently became a little easier. . . By focusing on water quality and watershed issues, members of Save the River do their part to attract visitors.” It is worth a full read.

With a super shout out to Save The River, the editorial correctly mentions our members. They are full-time and seasonal residents, boaters, kayakers, swimmers, anglers, divers, birders, hunters, scientists, artists, teachers, students of all ages, public figures, business owners, Canadian and American. And they are members because they believe in our mission to protect and preserve the St. Lawrence River.

Even so, we are not in this alone, and the River region (and Save The River) is blessed to have a tremendous number of groups and agencies all working to keep the land and water clean and sustaining for generations. A partial list of those we partner with: Waterkeeper AllianceThousand Islands Land TrustIndian River Lakes ConservancyMinna Anthony Common Nature Center – FriendsNew York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic PreservationIJC – International Joint CommissionAudubon New YorkDucks UnlimitedLake Ontario WaterkeeperWWF-CanadaSUNY-ESFAlgonquin to Adirondacks CollaborativeClarkson UniversityHealing Our Waters – Great Lakes CoalitionAntique Boat MuseumThe Nature Conservancy in New YorkWilson Hill Wildlife Management AreaSt. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental SciencesAlliance for the Great LakesThousand Islands Tourism CouncilAquatarium, and so many others.

We all have a place on the River and we all have a role in using it sustainably, and ensuring it is swimmable, drinkable and fishable to seven generations.

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Last Chance to Have Your Year End Gift Matched!

December 27th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

Year End Appeal (last chance)

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Week 10 Photo Contest Winners

October 15th, 2015 | Posted by admin

We are pleased to announce this week’s photo contest winners. We had many photos submitted to us by people practicing catch & release fishing and hope that this continues throughout the season.

Week 10 Winners

First Place Winner: Tim H.

Second Place Winner: Paul P.

Third Place Winner: BJ B.

Thank you to everyone who submitted photos this week. This contest is open to everyone practicing catch and release fishing and you are welcome to submit as many photos as you would like.

Photos can be submitted directly to Save The River’s Catch and Release Program Facebook page or via email to lindsey@savetheriver.org.

By submitting photos you consent to their use by Save The River.

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Catch and release: Use care and common sense

September 1st, 2015 | Posted by admin
Great read from the Oneida Daily Dispatch:
Catch and release: Use care and common sense
“Two things, however, must be kept in mind when fishing: It does not do any good to release the fish if you are careless and do not handle the fish carefully. Secondly, this is a guideline and should not be a dogmatic, black and white issue either way.
It is more important to practice this where the fish population is pressured, numbers are limited and much of the population comes from natural propagation. Save The River​, a conservation-based organization on the St. Lawrence River, is stressing limiting the number of smallmouth bass that you keep while fishing. Numbers of smallmouth bass have declined sharply in recent years due to several factors, mainly the presence of the predatory round gobies which raid the nests.”
http://www.oneidadispatch.com/sports/20150812/outdoors-catch-and-release-use-care-and-common-sense

Published by Oneida Daily Dispatch on August 12, 2015

The famous fly fisherman and star of the TV show “American Sportsman” Lee Wulff popularized the saying that a great game fish was too valuable to only catch once. Lee Wulff’s fishing adventures often stressed catch and release and demonstrated how to properly do it. But Wulff was not rigid or dogmatic about the idea. He would say that it was also proper to keep a few fish to eat. Moderation and common sense should be the angler’s guidelines.

In a recent column we discussed the idea that catch and release often a good thing, especially in areas of high fishing pressure or for species that are naturally propagated instead of raised in a hatchery. That column focused more on the methods of safe handling and care for fish so they can be released successfully.

One thing worth repeating is that it is usually better to release the fish while it is still in the water whenever possible. This is especially true when dealing with large fish like northern pike. Mike Seymour is a guide on the St. Lawrence River who guides clients for muskies, bass and pike. Often his clients will hook a nice-sized pike and bring it alongside the boat. The angler smiles and asks Captain Mike Seymour how much he thinks it weighs. Mike nods and says “well right now it is a 10 pounder. But if we bring it into the boat it will weigh 7 pounds.” The angler grins and says OK, while Mike deftly uses his pliers to unhook the pike and watch it swim away.

As a guide and a sportsman, Mike Seymour quietly stresses the importance of the practice of catch and release. Throughout the season Mike or his son regularly catch big muskies and quickly photograph and release them. This has been an ethic stressed for many years by most muskie fisherman. These elusive and mysterious fish have increased in both size and number in the St. Lawrence in recent years due to this common practice.

Two things, however, must be kept in mind when fishing: It does not do any good to release the fish if you are careless and do not handle the fish carefully. Secondly, this is a guideline and should not be a dogmatic, black and white issue either way.

It is more important to practice this where the fish population is pressured, numbers are limited and much of the population comes from natural propagation. Save the River, a conservation-based organization on the St. Lawrence River, is stressing limiting the number of smallmouth bass that you keep while fishing. Numbers of smallmouth bass have declined sharply in recent years due to several factors, mainly the presence of the predatory round gobies which raid the nests.

But if there are large numbers, or many of that species come from hatchery stock, that is a different situation. You should not feel guilty or be ostracized if you keep some fish for the frying pan. As long as you do it – like most things – in moderation the resource will not be harmed.

Very few people believe in catch and release for walleye. One factor is that walleye are good tasting and that is the reason people fish for them. It certainly is not the excitement of fighting them. Walleye are also stocked by the DEC so the majority of the population comes from this stock.

Of course king and Coho salmon are going to die after spawning so there is no reason to feel guilty. Some people release them so they can continue fishing and others may have the chance to catch the same fish. But the great taste of salmon and the numbers of stocked fish means most will naturally end up on the grill.

When releasing fish with care you should minimize the time out of the water. Using barbless hooks and using pliers makes it easier to release a fish. Wet your hands to minimize removing protective slime when you have to handle fish. Take some quick photos and carefully put it back in the water, or put it in the live well to be photographed later.

If you do have to net a large fish like a muskie to unhook it, place a wet towel over its eyes to keep it from thrashing about the boat. Do not lift it vertically since this unnatural position can put great stress on its organs.

Grabbing a bass by the lower lip can immobilize it, but do not try to force it into a horizontal position using this grip. If you need to take a horizontal photo, use your other hand to support the fish underneath. Pike can be immobilized by firmly gripping the fish over the gill plates or using a “spreader.” Never grab any fish through the gills.

Lifting a trout up under its belly seems to temporarily relax or immobilize them. Again a quick photo, or even one in the shallow water will provide memories or proof of your catch to your friends.

When I was a youngster I practiced a lot of catch and release even before it was popular. Part of the reason was that I wanted to insure lots of fish to catch later and part of the reason was that I was too lazy to clean many fish. We always had a rule to keep any big brown trout. Part of it was the desire to show off a trophy, and part of it was the fact that big browns are cannibals and clean out a pool by eating all the small trout. Today some fishing clubs or leases have similar rules.

Keep in mind that you are fishing to enjoy the experience and if you catch some fish the experience is even more rewarding. If you are going to keep some fish for the grill, just consider the circumstances and do it in moderation.

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Week 6 Catch & Release Photo Contest Winners!

September 1st, 2015 | Posted by admin

We are pleased to announce this week’s photo contest winners. We had many photos submitted to us by people practicing catch & release fishing and hope that this continues throughout the season.

First Place Winner: Jack
Second Place Winner: Jim
Third Place Winner: Jeff

Thank you to everyone who submitted photos this week. This contest is open to everyone practicing catch and release fishing and you are welcome to submit as many photos as you would like.

Photos can be submitted directly to Save The River’s Catch and Release Facebook page or via email to lindsey@savetheriver.org.

By submitting photos you consent to their use by Save The River.

Week 6 Winners

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Week 5 Catch & Release Photo Contest Winners!

August 24th, 2015 | Posted by admin

Week 5 WinnersWe are pleased to announce this week’s photo contest winners. We had many photos submitted to us by people practicing catch & release fishing and hope that this continues throughout the season.

First Place Winner: Lynn W.
Second Place Winner: Zach
Third Place Winner: Tim R.

Thank you to everyone who submitted photos this week. This contest is open to everyone practicing catch and release fishing and you are welcome to submit as many photos as you would like.

Photos can be submitted directly to Save The River’s Catch and Release Facebook page or via email to lindsey@savetheriver.org.

By submitting photos you consent to their use by Save The River.

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Save The River Honors Its Exceptional Volunteers

August 7th, 2015 | Posted by Lee
Thursday night we held our annual Volunteer Appreciation Party at the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority’s Rift Camp to honor our cadre of over 500 volunteers.
While each and every one of our volunteers is a valuable member of our team and key to our many successes, each year Save The River does recognize a ‘Volunteer of the Year’, volunteers who have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty in their volunteer work and whose assistance has advanced Save The River’s efforts to protect the St. Lawrence River in a significant way.
This year’s Save The River Volunteer of the Year is The Thousand Island High School’s SAFE (Student Activists for the Environment) Club members and their faculty advisor. These dedicated students – Ashley Byers, Lexi Cassidy, Noah Crandal, John Hunter, McKenna Schnauber and Maura Warren and their advisor, Eleanor Thomas, were chosen in recognition of the club’s outstanding efforts in addressing and raising awareness to their school, their community and New York State’s elected leaders about the threat of microbead pollution in the St. Lawrence River.
This year SAFE set high goals for itself and succeeded in achieving them. They brought awareness of the threat of microbead pollution to the River by conducting a school-wide campaign; creating informative posters, creating a social media campaign using the hashtag “TIBeatsBeads” circulating a student petition.  They also wrote several letters to elected officials expressing their strong support for legislation in the New York State Senate, the Microbead-Free Waters Act, and they traveled to Albany May 5th where they participated with representatives of numerous groups from across New York in the Microbead Lobby Day meeting with several elected officials, including New York State Senator Patty Ritchie.
With a summer staff that swells to only 7, including our 2 interns, we simply could not accomplish our many programmatic, educational and advocacy goals without the active support of our many volunteers.
Some of the notable statistics about our volunteers, they:
– accumulated an estimated 2,000 hours of service;
– came from as far as Lisbon, New York and Ottawa, Ontario;
– over 240 who trained to become Riverkeeper volunteers
– over 30 teachers from area schools who educated more than 1,000 students this year alone (over 3,000 over the life of the In the Schools program);
– mark over 80 of the most dangerous shoals on the River;
– collect water samples at 6 of the region’s most popular swimming locations;
– assist with the Common Tern Monitoring collaboration with the
Thousand Islands Land Trust;
– help with Winter Conference, Rock for the River and Run for the
River; and
– work behind the scenes at the office working on countless mailings and projects.

IMG_0443

Thursday night we held our annual Volunteer Appreciation Party at the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority’s Rift Camp to honor our cadre of over 500 volunteers.

While each and every one of our volunteers is a valuable member of our team and key to our many successes, each year Save The River does recognize a ‘Volunteer of the Year’, volunteers who have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty in their volunteer work and whose assistance has advanced Save The River’s efforts to protect the St. Lawrence River in a significant way.

This year’s Save The River Volunteer of the Year is The Thousand Island High School’s SAFE (Student Activists for the Environment) Club members and their facultyadvisor. These dedicated students – Ashley Byers, Lexi Cassidy, Noah Crandal, John Hunter, McKenna Schnauberand Maura Warren and their advisor, Eleanor Thomas, were chosen in recognition of the club’s outstanding efforts in addressing and raising awareness to their school, their community and New York State’s elected leaders about the threat of microbead pollution in the St. Lawrence River.

This year SAFE set high goals for itself and succeeded in achieving them. They brought awareness of the threat of microbead pollution to the River by conducting a school-wide campaign; creating informative posters, creating a social media campaign using the hashtag “TIBeatsBeads” circulating a student petition.  They also wrote several letters to elected officials expressing their strong support for legislation in the New York State Senate, the Microbead-Free Waters Act, and they traveled to Albany May 5th where they participated with representatives of numerous groups from across New York in the Microbead Lobby Day meeting with several elected officials, including New York State Senator Patty Ritchie.

With a summer staff that swells to only 7, including our 2 interns, we simply could not accomplish our many programmatic, educational and advocacy goals without the active support of our many volunteers.

Some of the notable statistics about our volunteers, they:
– accumulated an estimated 2,000 hours of service;
– came from as far as Lisbon, New York and Ottawa, Ontario;
– over 240 who trained to become Riverkeeper volunteers
– over 30 teachers from area schools who educated more than 1,000 students this year alone (over 3,000 over the life of the In the Schools program);
– mark over 80 of the most dangerous shoals on the River;
– collect water samples at 6 of the region’s most popular swimming locations;
– assist with the Common Tern Monitoring collaboration with the
Thousand Islands Land Trust;
– help with Winter Conference, Rock for the River and Run for the
River; and
– work behind the scenes at the office working on countless mailings and projects.

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Save The River’s Catch and Release Program Weekly Photo Contest

July 10th, 2015 | Posted by admin

Submit your photos to our page of you or a family member practicing catch & release fishing for a chance to win a special edition sweatshirt and other special prizes. Every week one lucky winner will receive a sweatshirt generously donated by Ed Huck Marine and two runner-ups will also receive special prizes!

Please include your name and contact information when submitting photos. If your photo is selected as winner you will be notified!

Submit your photos to Save The River’s Catch and Release Program Facebook or via email to lindsey@savetheriver.org for your chance to win! Winners will be chosen weekly.

By submitting your photos you approve of future use of them by Save The River.

Click here for information about Save The River’s Catch and Release Program.

C&R photo contest prize collage

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New Michael Ringer Print for Save The River’s Muskie Catch & Release Program

June 18th, 2015 | Posted by admin

Save The River is pleased to announce that this summer, participants in the Muskie Catch & Release program will receive a new Michael Ringer print-Sovereign. It is the fourth print dedicated to the Muskie Catch & Release program donated by renowned River artist Michael Ringer.

Sovereign


Since 1987 Save The River, SUNY-ESF, and local fishing guides have partnered to offer anglers a limited edition Michael Ringer print to anglers who catch-and-release a legal sized Muskie. To date, Save The River has awarded over 1,000 prints to St. Lawrence River fisherman who release these prized fish.  Every angler must submit a Muskie Release Affidavit to receive his or her print. The information from the affidavit is given to our partners at SUNY-ESF to aid their research on muskellunge.

This year NYS DEC increased the legal minimum size for Muskellunge to 54 inches. The previous legal size minimum was 48 inches.

In addition to Muskie, Save The River’s Catch & Release program focuses on smallmouth bass with a weekly contest were anyone can win prizes for submitting catch and release bass photos. For more up to date information about the St Lawrence River fishery and to enter the weekly photo contest like Save The River’s Catch & Release Program page on Facebook. For additional information, please contact Lindsey Leve, Outreach Coordinator at 686-2010 or lindsey@savetheriver.org.

Published by the Thousand Islands Sun on June 17th, 2015

View the print article here.

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