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Thanks for the informative post, John. Send me those 3rd pull results via e-mail if you get a chance.
Cormorants could definitely deplete a yearling population if they are in abundance. I'm sure they are in the area, but I've personally never seen them at Squam. If they were there in large numbers, they'd be decimating the yellow perch population as well. More than likely some of these big rainbows and adult salmon are the culprits. Who knows though? I just hope its not some disease or parasite that is effecting the yearlings directly or possibly the smelt population (as Viar would say... the groceries). It's too bad there wasn't a 2010 trawl to check the biomass of smelt in the lake.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things get back to normal. As much as I'd like to catch one of those Viar marked big boys, I think I'll be just as happy to land a healthy two year old.
If the otters are around the nets. There looking for a free meal. And if anything is eating the small salmon. It is more then likley otters. There are very fast swimmers. And they eat fish.But its hard to believe all the young salmon were eaten.The little salmon usually head for deep water. Which would make it hard for anything to catch them.
How many smallmouths are being brought up in the nets, John. Having fished for bass in Squam for 50 years, I have taken many more in deep water in recent years, often spitting up smelt. And also many trolling for salmon down to 50 feet where I don't remember encountering them so much years ago. I feel many are simply suspending out there and could be taking many of the first year fish, though maybe they are there mostly for the current abundance of smelt?
That's strange I haven't seen the cormorants. I certainly know what they look like, we have them in droves out here. They can dive up to 30 feet I hear and are considered eating machines.
I've caught Chain Pickerel in Squam and Little Squam, but never any Northern Pike. I have no data to backup this statement, but I doubt the culprit is pike or even chain pickerel for that matter. Hopefully the yearlings just did a better job than usual at staying out of sight.
i think the missing salmon were hiding with the smelt, smelt seemed to be located differently this year on my pond, the whole summer seemed different, more sun, less rain etc. i was finding smelt in really shallow water this year, almost no need for downriggers for me, towards the end i was leaving the downriggers off the boat and just sticking with 2 to 4 colors lead and maybe 150 to 200 feet of wire line. wasnt catching unless i was in shallow with the rocks losing flies. every year is different, where were all those big salmon hiding last year on winni when everyone was in a panic, they were there this year, didnt hear any bad winni reports