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Vote!

November 8th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

vote.

Vote as if your children and their children’s access to swimmable, drinkable, fishable water depends on it.

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Demand that our elected officials at every level work for a healthy St. Lawrence River that provides safe drinking water, is home to a thriving range of indigenous species and supports sustainable economic activity.

 

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Local Fishing Guide Participates in Discussion About Stopping Asian Carp

August 9th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

Alexandria Bay fishing guide Matt Heath, owner of Seaway Charters, took part in a Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, basin-wide discussion about the threat of Asian Carp and what is needed to prevent their spread to the Lakes and River.

The meeting, organized by Freshwater Future, included guides from Illinois, Michigan, Ontario, Ohio and Matt.

Their conclusion: Physical separation is the only effective way to prevent the spread of Asian Carp.

As Matt pointed out, “We know from experience that aquatic invasive species have devastating impacts on the Great Lakes all the way down the St. Lawrence River. Preventing future invasions is crucial to protect our waters. Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin have invested time and resources to close their connections, and it’s time we finally shut the front door to keep Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.”

From the Freshwater Future press release: “Asian carp are voracious eaters, eating up to 20% of their body weight. They spawn rapidly, and can grow to more than 4 feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds. To make matters worse, silver carp are easily startled and will jump up to 8 feet out of the water when disturbed by a passing boat. These fish have injured boaters in several states. These destructive fish dominate whole ecosystems, outcompeting native fish, like perch, bass, and walleye, for food and resources. . . Global biological invasions, including the potential carp invasion of the Great Lakes, could cost an estimated $1.4 trillion per year in damages – 5 percent of the global economy.”

We really appreciate Matt speaking out and participating in this very important issue. And we appreciate Freshwater Future for giving local voices a chance to speak out.

More at: Charter Boat Captains from Around the Region Calling on Congress to Separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi River

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NYSDEC’s 2015 Lake Ontario Fisheries Programs

March 15th, 2016 | Posted by admin

from the Watertown Daily Times, published on March 14, 2016.

Biologists, anglers talk state of Lake Ontario fishing

“The anglers knew it, and the biologists had the charts to confirm it: last season’s fishing on Lake Ontario was officially lousy.

With few answers about the cause of the dip, beyond colder-than-average water, there was little hope the state Department of Environmental Conservation could offer for fishing this year.”

For the entire story click here: http://ow.ly/ZqZ2q

For NYSDEC’s 2015 Lake Ontario Fisheries Report click here: http://ow.ly/Zr4Oj

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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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Free Fishing Weekend in New York

February 10th, 2016 | Posted by admin

Save The River encourages every angler – from novice to experienced – to take advantage of this opportunity to fish for free this weekend in New York State. Take caution fishing on ice or from shore as any ice may be thin and unstable. It is also important to dress for weather conditions.

Governor Cuomo has designated February 13-14, 2016 as the state’s first free fishing weekend where the requirements for a fishing license has been suspended. Residents and visitors age 16 and older will be able to fish the fresh or marine waters of New York State without a license, providing a great opportunity for people to learn about this popular sport.

Governor Cuomo’s I FISH NY program aims to increase participation and awareness of the outstanding fishing opportunities in New York.

For more information visit: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/89362.html

September Will Nalley Quality Family Time - WNalley

Photo Credit: Will Nalley

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Week 11 Photo Contest Winners

November 2nd, 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 11 Winners

First Place Winner: Owen D.

Second Place Winner: Sammi S.

Third Place Winner: Owen H.

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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Smallmouth bass season subpar in north country; reasons unclear

September 29th, 2015 | Posted by admin

From the Watertown Daily Times. Published on Sunday, September 27th, 2015

For Robert W. Dick, captain of Moby Dick Charters in Henderson since 1987 and an angler since he was “old enough to hold a pole,” this year’s bass fishing season has been the worst he’s ever seen.

Smallmouth bass still can be found, and some of the bass have been bigger than usual, but Mr. Dick and other anglers on Lake Ontario said they have had to search much longer than in years past to pull in the coveted fish.

“Guys are spending lots and lots of money going place to place trying to find them, and not finding any results at all,” Mr. Dick said.

Charter captains on the St. Lawrence River also have found their catches lacking.

“Usually it’s an easy target — you get over them and you put them in the boat,” said Paul J. Corbett, a captain in Clayton. “This year it’s been a grind. If you can get a couple, you’ve had a good day.”

A combination of invasive species, predators and uneven water temperatures that lingered well into August might be part of the problem, according to state officials and anglers. However, they said, there is little in the way of direct links to the decreased count this bass season, which started June 20 and ends Nov. 30.

Data for the full season will be released in March.

“A lot of people are wondering what is causing it,” Mr. Dick said of the drop. “They don’t know.”

Fishing is big business in New York. Statewide, the most recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service census of sporting activity, in 2011, found that fishing-related expenditures totaled $2 billion that year, a part of $41.8 billion in angling expenditures nationwide.

And the north country is home to several large fishing tournaments that draw people from inside and outside of the region. The biggest of those: the Evan Williams Bourbon Bassmaster Elite, held July 30 through Aug. 2 on the St. Lawrence River in Waddington.

At the beginning of this year, Bassmaster ranked the Thousand Islands region as the eighth-best in the United States in its top 100 lakes list.

But despite the high rating, variability has marked the species’ existence in the region.

Statistics from the state Department of Environmental Conservation show the numbers of smallmouth bass in the St. Lawrence River have ranged widely from the mid-1970s until now. The fish’s levels peaked in 1988, fell from 1996 to 2004, and generally rose after 2005, peaking in 2012.

“Every year you have to adjust,” said Myrle R. Bauer, a captain in Clayton for 24 years. “This year it’s a little harder.”

In the eastern basin of Lake Ontario, the DEC said, the 2014 smallmouth catch rate was at its worst since 2004. The department said cooler water temperatures, which can negatively affect fish distribution, might have played a role.

Observers said a large influx of round gobies, an invasive species that eats fish eggs, might be affecting the bass population. However, they note, the gobies are eaten by the bass, helping to increase the latter fish’s size.

The number of cormorants — ubiquitous waterfowl that prey on bass — also has created problems, though the birds’ impact has been lessened in recent years due to DEC egg addling and nest destruction, plus a switch by the birds to eating gobies, according to DEC officials.

Theodore R. “Rusty” Hinckley, a fourth-generation charter captain in Cape Vincent, said bass fishing has been touch-and-go through the years.

“We hope it cycles,” he said. “Everything comes back.”

Frank M. Flack, the DEC’s Region 6 fisheries manager, said anglers have complained about a drop in smallmouth bass and northern pike in the river, but he has heard fewer specific issues about Lake Ontario.

Though quantities have dropped, he said the fish that have been found are bigger than anticipated.

“What we have out there is a lot of bigger fish, but less of them,” Mr. Flack said.

One part-time captain in Henderson, James H. McGowan, said the bass have been getting bigger and bigger in the past few years.

“For trophy fishing, it was an outstanding year,” he said. “The bass, when they were found, they were huge.”

Regardless of water body, the shortage of bass has caused charter fishing captains to adjust expectations to keep customers.

Mr. Corbett said he at times has pushed customers to other targets.

“The goal is to get fish,” he said. “If it’s not bass, it’s pike. If it’s not pike, it’s perch.”

He said he was trying to focus on what he could control.

“We can’t control Mother Nature,” he said. “If the fish are there, we’ll make it work.”

Mr. Dick said he hasn’t seen any dip in his customers, because many who travel are flexible with what they catch. He said Henderson Harbor’s walleye and lake trout populations have been very good this season.

“They want to catch something, and they know the action is excellent,” he said.

Steven R. LaPan, who leads the DEC’s Great Lakes fisheries section in Cape Vincent, said that despite the reduced bass catch-load this season, patience is the key.

“Next year it could be completely different,” he said.

Mr. LaPan said the problem would become more pressing if the trend continues for three or four more years.

“Then we’re all concerned,” he said. “The stars would be aligning, and not in a good way.”

That patience could be tested, as concerns are rising among anglers that next summer might have a similar outcome as this year.

With the Farmers’ Almanac predicting bitterly cold temperatures for the eastern side of the Great Lakes for another winter, Patrick J. Clarke, a second-generation charter captain in Clayton, said “all of us guides are kind of cringing,” due to the effects of cooler waters on bass movements and feeding levels.

Though he and fellow charter operators have weathered poor bass hauls in summers past thanks to the quality of other fish, he said it eventually could have an impact on people considering where to travel.

“That person — that first-timer who doesn’t do as well as they thought — they may not come back,” Mr. Clarke said.

smallmouth bass abundance graph

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Week 8 Photo Contest Winners!

September 25th, 2015 | Posted by admin
Save The River’s Catch & Release Program’s Week 8 Photo Contest Winners!
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: Matt V.
Second Place Winner: Eric J.
Third Place Winner: Jeff L.
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.

picmonkey_imageWe 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: Matt V.

Second Place Winner: Eric J.

Third Place Winner: Jeff L.

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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Week 7 Photo Contest Winners!

September 8th, 2015 | Posted by admin

Week 7 Winners

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: Garrett D.
Second Place Winner: Luca B.
Third Place Winner: Dave 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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DEC plans meetings on fisheries management for St. Lawrence River

August 21st, 2015 | Posted by admin

Published by the Watertown Daily Times on Monday August 17th, 2015

WATERTOWN – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) wants input from the public in the development of fish community objectives for the St. Lawrence River, Region 6 Director Judy Drabicki announced..

Responsibility for fisheries management in the river is shared by DEC and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF). DEC will hold two public meetings in August to solicit recommendations from the public on what the future St. Lawrence River fishery should provide.

“DEC is committed to sound management of St. Lawrence River fisheries, to maintain high-quality angling opportunities and associated economic benefits,” Drabicki said. “In light of dramatic and rapid changes to the St. Lawrence River ecosystem, it is prudent that we work with the public to chart the course for the future of this very important resource.”

The public meetings will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the following locations:

• Aug. 25 at Clayton Recreation Park (Arena), Clayton.

• Aug. 27 at St. Lawrence Valley Sportsmen’s Club, 38 Sport Club Road, Ogdensburg.

Anyone with an interest in the St. Lawrence River is encouraged to participate in this process. Biologists from DEC and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry will present information at the beginning of each meeting, and participants will have an opportunity to ask questions on any information presented. Participants will then be asked to complete a survey including questions that will assist DEC and OMNRF in determining people’s concerns and what they would like to see in the St. Lawrence River fishery. The meeting will include an open forum where people can address issues that were not covered in the presentations and questionnaire.

For those interested in familiarizing themselves about St. Lawrence River fisheries prior to the meetings, please visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7969.html. Information found at this site includes “1999 Fish Community Objectives for the St. Lawrence River,” “2015 St. Lawrence River Fisheries Update,” and a variety of St. Lawrence River reports within the “Lake Ontario Fisheries Unit Reports.”

For further information contact Steven LaPan, New York Great Lakes Fisheries Section Head at the Cape Vincent Fisheries Research Station, (315) 654-2147.

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