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Great post Travis!
Something I just don't understand is the complaint I am hearing is that the SIZE of the salmon is going down - now the NUMBER of salmon. In fact I am hearing more and more about more fish being caught. Yeah sure, we are getting better at it BUT could it be that more are caught because more are there? Isn't it true that as population densities increase, size will decrease...is it possible we are overstocked????
My point is, almost all proposals are targeting increasing SIZE where it seems that the proposals that should be getting looked at are those that increase SIZE and perhaps even decrease numbers.
A slot limit seems to be an obvious and non-economy-impacting solution for the region. Smaller fish have less PCBs and are better to eat so slot them. The slot Trav recommended I think needs to be slid back to 14-18 inches. If you are worried about numbers then lower the daily limit to 1. I just don't know how the derby could be run if there was a slot unless they added "one fish over 24 may be kept".
Stocking fish at 8 per instead of 20 per should help also.
Cancelling the derby actually helps with size as only the large fish are killed. Not a lot of fish numbers wise are taken but those that are, are over 21". Perhaps if some derby revenue could be used to buy a high end live well to hold all fish captured, they could offer a 2 ounce bonus to any salmon brought in alive that live until the end of the event (or maybe they could live in a stocking truck)...tag them in the tank of course. Tagging the fish instead of punching the tail would probably help biologists learn more about the fishery for surviving fish.
Line limitations seem to target numbers decline and I think would have two bad effects:
-sportsman would be very unhappy with the change
-many would be so unhappy that they would not take the long drive up to the lake and dump much needed money into the local economies. It is very expensive for guys who live over an hour away to pull a trailer up there at 3AM and then to be able to only put 1 line out (if solo) would probably drastically drop the number of those willing to do it.
Good post Trav, I wish I could agree 100% but I am against the line/rod limit. I really think it should be left as is for now and perhaps be the last ditch effort. I also feel it is discriminatory against the lone fisherman.
It would result in loss of license revenue, people will not come afar to fish Winni or from out of state,etc. Let's face it Winni is a draw to the area, to handicap those that fish Winni will no doubt lessen the pressure. I do think it will handicap those that fish alone as well, bigger groups or charter groups would be less effected. On Squam, 10 lines don't catch a fish sometimes, dynomite might be better.
I think a stock rate reduction would be more productive as far as increasing the size of the Salmon which is the main gripe here as I understand it.. Fish and Game would like to reduce the stock rate too I'm sure.
Barbless hooks should be mandatory and I like the idea of a slot limit and culling out hook wounded fish more. You can't blame a guy that fishes Winni and catches a 5+ pounder for wanting to keep it, most people will fish Winni a lifetime trying to land one of these.. with one line he'd have a better chance at making the NBA.
I'm hearing they have may fixed the problem at the hatchery and the Salmon are on target for normal stocking size. I hope it's fixed, Squam has virtualy no 2 or 3 year old year old Salmon left as a result of the 20 to a pound stock size. With smaller stock size they are putting in closer to 40,000 or 50,000 a year in Winni as they do "stock by weight". It's impossible to tell how many are left, I'm thinking allot more than we think. With normal stock size they have a track record to go by and can adjust more easily.
I'm in favor of limit on Salmon being 1 fish "if it will help", but I think in reality, not enough are taken out. If they go this way you should still be able to take a Bow or Laker with your 1 Salmon.
Let's face it 1 Salmon, 1 rod per boat doesn't make it a very enticing sport, more folks will go to the salt or stay home.
I really agree some changes need to be made or tried, but lets not go crazy all at once. I think Fish and Game will take a more scientific approach
and evalutae each change before making too many others.
It will be interesting to see what additional steps for 2010, if any, are taken.
Bottom line, "it is, what it is", it's our decision how we live with it.
I hope the next open meeting in 2011, to let them know what we want or think, more of us will attend.
My biggest thing on wounded fish is "treble hooks" these just destroy the fishes face almost everytime.
When you guys say to go "barbless" (i know what a single barbless hook is), do you also mean to get rid of lures with treble hooks?
As I stated back on my Dec. 21st post.
* I would support rod reduction to 1 per license on all N.H. salmon lakes.
I fish alone 2/3 of the time and would actually benefit from having a 2 rod per boat limit. I see alot of guys fishing alone so either way would be o.k. with me....not really sure of all the pro's & con's on this. Either way will definately go along ways to reducing the hook wounding.
* salmon stamp
* everyone seems to agree on barbless requirement and rubber nets. let's do it.
* maybe a limit of 1 salmon/ 1 rainbow and a bonus of a couple of "lake trout" a day would take more pressure off salmon & rainbows and help keep the lake trout population in check which is another problem ???
** N.H. F & G biologists are doing a great job and I would support whatever they decide.
* regards Jim
I've tried twice to post a comment but it would not go through
Thanks Travis for the information. The problem didn't happen overnight and it won't be fixed overnight.
We have fished with Big John with multiple lines and have been skunked and have cought several nice salmon other times. Most of the time, I fish alone, and have been skunked many times. If only one rod allowed, I may not fish as much as the gas needed would not be worth it.
( I usually keep only one salmon /year) I crimp the barbs on the hooks and use a rubber net.)
I hope that any fix for Winni will not be detrimental for the other lakes.
Seems to me, small size equals two possibilities;
1. Not enough food or over population.
2. Both of the above.
1. Barbless hooks. (reduces hooks damage)
2. Allow taking salmon while ice fishing. (reduces numbers and hook mortality)
3. Get a smelt stocking program to support the salmon population. (this should be done with out saying)
Boy are you guys lucky to have Travis at this site!!
I've watched the salmon fishing changes at Winni for the last 5 yrs. At this point things are bad but not terrible. You still have lots of salmon but they are smaller and many are deformed from hook damage during their first year in the lake. Like Travis I offer my opinion which results from years worth of fishing with the best salmon fishermen and many hours talking with the biologist who created the Winni fishery. I think I offer much more than 2 cents worth.
1. Regular Winni salmon fishermen and guides are way to efficient when fully rigged. A little arithmetic tells me that only fifty of you can catch and release nearly all of the annual stocking in one five month season.
2. Fewer rods per boat will help. I like 4 rods per boat compared to charters and the large number of well equipped sports who regularly drag 10 to 12 line even without stacking on riggers.
3. Single barbless hooks to be cut off if the fish has swallowed the bait.
4. Rubber nets are super unless you think that they are a way to get more fish in and out of the boat so you can catch and release more fish per day.
5. Don Miller assures me that the smelt numbers are fine. If so there is another reason why 70% of the salmon seem skinnier than in the past.
6. Stocking should be done as early as possible. Fish grow faster in the lake than in the hatchery.
I hope that the hatchery can figure out how to stock salmon bigger than the 6-8" fish that they are now producing. Salmon stamp funding might help.
7. I do have concern about the number of salmon brought on the ice in winter. Cut the line at the water and tie on a new hook!!
8. I believe in education and voluntary conservation practices. This site should lead the way.
9. Everyone should offer to help Travis and other guides that are willing to share equal burden.
10. For those who want a quick fix or simply blame NHF&G , Derbies, or guides, GO TO Champlain or NY!!
As Scrooge said, "Reduce the surplace population"!!
As far as Winni fishing look forward to my regular May week at Ame's Farm and I'm sure I will have a great time.