The Fishing Line - July 7th Issue

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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The Fishing Line - July 7th Issue

Freshwater Fishing, Fisheries Management, and Fishing Access News

In This Issue:

  • Give Trout a Break This Summer
  • Lake Ontario Fishing Boat Survey Results - Spring 2023
  • 2022-2023 Lake Ontario Tributary Creel Survey Results
  • Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide Survey Results
  • Fisheries Staff Spotlight - Steve Grausgruber, Research Scientist

Give Trout a Break This Summer

Birch Creek mouth rock dam

You know who isn't a huge fan of summer? Trout! Summer heat waves impose serious stress and can even cause death. Trout and salmon that are already heat-stressed may not recover after being caught and released.

You can help these fish survive the summer by following a few simple tips (PDF).

Don’t move rocks in streams

Now that summer’s officially here it's important to understand the detrimental impact building rock dams with the intent of creating swimming holes can have on trout streams.

Trout are sensitive, cold-water fish that require cold, clean water to survive. Water temperatures warmer than 68°F can put extreme stress on trout and temperatures approaching 75°F can even be lethal.

Rock dams...

  • Alter the natural flow of the stream by slowing down or trapping the water, allowing it to warm up faster.
  • Prevent the migration of trout to colder headwaters where they can seek thermal refuge in the warm summer months, as well as spawning habitat in the spring and fall.
  • Prevent upstream and downstream movement of animals, such as aquatic insects- a major diet item for trout.
  • Weaken the stream bank, increasing erosion and sedimentation into the stream, further altering its natural flow.

So, this summer if your favorite swimming hole is drying up, think about the trout that live there. Instead of building a rock dam, maybe go for a walk downstream and find a natural pool to cool off in.

Lake Ontario Fishing Boat Survey Results - Spring 2023

Woman holding a Chinook Salmon

Lake Ontario provides anglers with a diverse world-class trout and salmon fishery worth an estimated $560 million dollars to NY's economy.

According to anglers surveyed this spring, there were:

  • Above average Chinook salmon fishing in the west and east central lake areas in April and early May with unfavorable winds and slower fishing later in the reporting period;
  • Slightly above average brown trout fishing in east central and east lake areas;
  • A noticeable lack of larger-sized browns lake-wide;
  • Lower lake trout catch rates in 3 out of 4 lake areas, and below average catch rates in the west central area for all species; and
  • Lower numbers of lamprey observed compared to record highs in 2022.

For a full report (PDF) visit our website.

Fisheries Management on Lake Ontario 

2022-2023 Lake Ontario Tributary Creel Survey Results

Anglers on Salmon River

The 2022-2023 Lake Ontario Tributary Angler Survey ran from mid-September through mid-April and covered 21 streams along the New York shoreline. The total estimated effort was 1.2 million angler hours, with the Salmon River leading the way at 766,000 angler hours. Chinook salmon were the most numerous species in the reported catch with an estimated approximately 130,000 landed, followed by steelhead (74,000), brown trout (44,000), and coho salmon (12,000).

A narrated presentation of the full results is available on YouTube.

Fisheries Management on Lake Ontario

Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide Survey Results

Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide Cover, little girl holding a fish

Earlier in the year we surveyed licensed anglers and Fishing Line subscribers to gain insight into what your preferences are for the size, design, and content of our Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide (PDF).

Overall, survey results suggest that a smaller-size guide with a full-color cover and content would be most favorable. We'd like to express our appreciation to the almost 14,000 anglers that responded to the survey.

Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide Survey Results





Fisheries Staff Spotlight - Steve Grausgruber, Research Scientist

Steve holding a fish on a boat

I am a Fish Culture Research Scientist with the DEC Bureau of Fisheries at Central Office in Albany. I received my Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences and a Master of Science in Fish Biology from Iowa State University. In addition to my education, I have held fisheries positions with a myriad of entities that include Kansas State University, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa State University, and Idaho Fish and Game. This is my third position with DEC; I also worked as a Lake Champlain Creel Clerk and a Fish Culturist 1 at Adirondack Fish Hatchery.

New York State operates 12 hatcheries that produce a variety of species for stocking into state waters. A focus of my position is to design research projects that evaluate our fish culture methods and techniques to make recommendations to improve our processes so that production goals are met in the most efficient manner possible. Some recent projects include a comparison of feed types on brown trout production and evaluating length at stocking of yearling stream trout. I genuinely enjoy all aspects of fisheries research; this includes everything from experimental design to data analysis and report writing. Furthermore, knowing that my research plays a pivotal role in improving the quality of our stocked fishes makes my job extremely rewarding.

Although I enjoyed my time working across the country and appreciate how it diversified my fisheries experience, I always knew I wanted to come back home. I grew up in Alexandria Bay on the St. Lawrence River where life revolved around the water. Fishing was front and center and I was hooked at an early age. This continues to this day, as I spend the majority of my free time fishing or planning for the next fishing trip. I am fortunate to have a wife that shares my angling enthusiasm and appreciate spending time with her on the water.