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"Currently, the salmon fishery in Lake Winnipesaukee is producing some nice three-year-old fish." Don Miller NH F & G Biologists
Was on the Lake yesterday and boated two beautiful LL salmon...haven't seen fish like this in years. Is it because the Derby was cancelled this year and reduced the fishing pressure or is it just coincidence? One season doesn't tell the tale but logic would dictate removing the Derby pressure on the fishery in May would certainly allow more fish to survive to put the feed bag on and grow. And maybe just maybe the excessive hook wounding occured during derby weeekend where people had a monetary incentive to cull their catch to increae their chances of catching a Deby winner.
If, and this is a big IF, there is pressure to bring back a salmon derby on Lake Winni then I would like to see it in Sept. in the style of the Fall Derby Salmon Unlimited use to run as a lot of these three year salmon will not survive the rigors of spawning.
touchy topic round these parts but I'll bite. Back in the spring, one of the derby officials stated that only a few hundred salmon are weighed during the derby. Granted that weighed fish are the largest fish in the lake at that time so the question is "does a few hundred fish of this age class being removed make this much of a difference?"
It's a big lake with a lot of fish so I don't know if anyone can authoritatively answer that question. The issue has also been blurred as many anglers have taken the responsibility on our shoulders to improve the health of the hatchery by:
1.) removing treble hooks from our lures and replacing with single hooks (many have gone barbless too)
2.) using rubber nets
3.) taking more care to release fish with as little handling as possible
4.) returning larger age class fish rather than keeping
5.) educate our fellow sportsmen
All these factors AND the removal of the derby certainly contributed but remember - 3 year olds came from 2 year olds and they all survived the last derby so I'd hesitate to say "cancel the derby". Of course it seems derby runners are looking for an excuse to dump the derby so I think the point is moot now. The more postings like yours that give them an excuse, the easier it is to back out gracefully and look like heros.
Did I like the derby? You bet and I will miss it but my money is on it never coming back - I just wish there was more honesty from the Derby folks on why they are ending the derby. Since the lake has a moritorium on new events, there will never be another Derby...it will go into the history books as a "killer of salmon" - how the rotary derby doesn't get the same fate is a matter of the people running that derby not looking for an excuse to cancel it. And before it's stated that the winter derby targets rainbows...the exact same technique is used for salmon as rainbows so they are common by-catch and even returned to water, there are no rubber nets or care given these fish in softwater season and mortality is high
I heard a new group is running the spring Derby. And they are planning on having it next year.
I'm dead against the Derby, I've seen enough this year to form an un-educated opinion. I hope the net numbers are convincing and no Derby for another year.
I'd like to hear Fish and Games thoughts on a fall Derby, interesting idea.
Ice Derby, cant go there as I'm not a hard water guy at all, so I gues you can figure out my position, lol. But Laker for the top prize will certainly help the Salmon caught while seeking Bows.
I fished eggs exclusively last year, but the year before we caught over 30 salmon between 4 of us on live bait. As much as I love the winter derby, it is crippling the salmon population. They swallow the bait nearly every time and most people take the salmon out of the water in frigid temps. I've been fishing the winter derby for 30 years and catch ridiculous amounts of salmon every year. Set a tip-up right under the ice and you'll get many salmon. I catch bows in either very shallow water on eggs or just under the ice in deep water on smelt/shiners.
The winter derby needs to recieve some peer pressure and see how those folks respond at there gathering like all of you have done at Travis's gathering? oh wait a minute, the ice fish folks don't gather or try to preserve the future? do they?