The Fishing Line - July 16th Edition

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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The Fishing Line - July 16th Edition

Freshwater Fishing, Fisheries Management, and Boating News

In This Issue:

  • Tiger Musky Transition in DEC's Fish Hatcheries
  • DEC Fish Hatcheries (partially) Reopened
  • Big news for New York's Lake Sturgeon
  • Lake Erie Update- June Angler Survey
  • Did You Know?

Tiger Musky Transition in DEC's Fish Hatcheries

New this year, Oneida Fish Hatchery is experimentally raising tiger muskellunge.

So far the tank of 5,000 tiger muskies are doing great, thanks in part to a handful of "tiger trees" designed and installed by DEC Hatchery staff. The "tiger trees" provide structure for the fish to congregate under which makes them feel safe and reduces stress. Since they're already congregated under the feeder, an added benefit could be more efficient feeding.

Based on the positive response to the tiger trees, hatchery staff plan to evaluate the impacts of these structures on tiger muskellunge condition and growth in the future.

Should the experimental program prove successful, the tiger muskellunge program will shift completely from the South Otselic Fish Hatchery to Oneida Fish Hatchery next year so that South Otselic can take a more active role in trout production.

DEC Fish Hatcheries (partially) Reopened

Caledonia Fish Hatchery

State fish hatchery grounds have reopened, however the buildings remain closed to visitors. The Salmon River Fish Hatchery is closed to visitors due to construction.

Plan your visit today.





BIG news for New York's Lake Sturgeon

Lake sturgeon eggs

A new milestone has been reached in the continuing recovery of lake sturgeon. A nearly 70 pound, mature female with eggs was captured from the Genesee River by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) this past May. This is the first evidence of spawning in the Genesee River in over 50 years. DEC began stocking the river in 2003, and our partners at USGS have been tracking their survival and maturation ever since. Successful spawning in the Genesee will support the overall population of lake sturgeon in Western Lake Ontario. 

To learn more about New York's lake sturgeon recovery efforts visit DEC's website.

(Photo courtesy of USGS, Marc Chalupnicki)


Lake Erie Fisheries Research Unit- June 2021 Open Lake Angler Survey Update

Angler effort in June 2021 was down substantially (64,000 angler hours) from June 2020. Ninety percent of the angler effort targeted either smallmouth bass or walleye.

Angler with walleye on Lake ErieWalleye: Daytime walleye fishing effort in June (37,800 angler hours) was less than half of last year’s walleye effort (86,000 angler hours) and was below the 20-year average of 46,400 angler hours. Most (59 percent) of the walleye fishing effort in June occurred out of either Barcelona or Buffalo. Anglers targeting walleye harvested 1.75 walleye per boat trip on average with a catch rate of 0.21 fish per hour, which is about average for June. About 1.5 percent of daytime walleye anglers achieved a six fish limit this June with an average size of 20 inches.

Smallmouth Bass: Smallmouth bass fishing effort in June has declined on Lake Erie each of the last three years, with June 2021 having the lowest smallmouth angler effort in the last 20 years (6,000 angler hours). The majority of the smallmouth angler effort (81 percent) focused inside and outside of Dunkirk and Buffalo Harbors, however both of these harbors were several thousand hours below their 20 year averages. June bass fishing quality was slightly below average in 2021, with anglers targeting bass catching an average of 12 bass per boat trip with a catch rate of 0.98 fish per hour (June average = 1.06 fish per hour). This catch rate is still very high when compared with other popular smallmouth lakes.

Yellow Perch: Yellow perch fishing effort was very low in June 2021, with only 10 perch angler interviews for the entire month.

Lake Erie Fisheries Research and Management

Did You Know?


Many fish, especially walleye and smallmouth bass, will track a crankbait and follow it right to the boat. Make a habit of stopping your lure 2-3 ft. from the end of your rod when you're finished retrieving your cast and pause it for a second, especially in muddy water. Walleye especially will often strike a lure right at the boat if you let them.