Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The daily limit for northern pike on the St. Lawrence River

The daily limit for northern pike on the St. Lawrence River has been reduced from 5 to 3 fish.
An 18-inch minimum size limit and daily creel limit of 3 has been established for walleye in Titicus Reservoir (Westchester County; Sacandaga Lake and tributaries and outlet, and Lake Pleasant and tributaries (Hamilton County); Kiwassa Lake, St. Regis Falls Impoundment, and Little Wolf Pond (Franklin County); Putnam Pond (Essex County); Cazenovia and DeRuyter lakes (Madison County); Waterport Reservoir (Orleans County); Rio Reservoir (Orange and Sullivan counties); East Sidney Reservoir (Delaware County): Taghkanic Lake (Columbia County); Canadarago Lake (Otsego County), and additional portions of the Seneca River (Cayuga, Onondaga, Seneca and Wayne counties).(The statewide rule for walleye, with the exception of the above waterways and others where special restrictions exist (such as Oneida Lake) are a 15-inch size limit and daily creek limit of five fish.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Loons and the St. Lawrence River

Loons normally arrive back at the river in April or May. While loons generally mate with the same partner for life, they do not travel together. The male and female will arrive at the river separately but shortly after arriving, they will start to build their nest together. Because of their ineptness on land, they will nest as close to the water as possible often close to a bank with a drop off which allows them to get to the nest from underwater. Needless to say, islands make the perfect location for loons to nest. Nests are made of twigs, marsh grasses, reeds, other dead plants, and mud so they can slip on and off the nest easily and quietly without being seen by predators. They will form the bulky nest into a mound, usually less than two feet in width, and shape the interior to fit its body. Like many of our river aquatic bird species, loons will often reuse the same nest over the next several years just fixing it up each spring rather than building a new one.
The female loon lays anywhere from one to three olive colored eggs with dark spots. Both parents will incubate the eggs over the next month (28-30 days). Once they hatch, the chicks will leave the nest within 24 hours. Though they are already able to swim, they will often be seen riding on their parents’ backs for the first few weeks. The parents will continue to feed them for the first eight weeks or so as they learn to dive and fish for themselves. By about 12 weeks they are able to fly and be independent of their parents.
In the fall, the parents will head south first, leaving the young loons to gather into flocks and make their own journey south a few weeks later. Hence, it is not usual to see multiple loons on the river in late September. The young loons will remain down south for several years. They will start to migrate in their third year but it is not until they are about six years old before they start breeding. The oldest-known loon lived for over 24 years.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Canadian fishing license and Canadian outdoors card

A big problem, Hilts said, is that there are no clear guidelines about when the call has to be made. "Should it be before you cross, when you're on the border or when you're actually in Canadian waters. We haven't been able to get a definitive answer on that," he said.
Anglers must have in their possession a Canadian fishing license and Canadian outdoors card. They cannot have in their possession any live bait bought on the American side, with the exception of worms - and the worms must be in newspaper or worm bedding. Plain dirt is not allowed. Possession of American-bought crayfish or minnows can result in a $250 fine. In addition, fines can be handed out if there are any alcoholic beverages on the boat.
The Canadians require that tickets be paid on the same day they're written. Canadian customs officials have the power to seize one's boat if the person is unable to pay. Fines can be as much as $25,000. Once again, Canadian anglers who fish the American side face no similar restrictions.
Two Canadian lawmakers, Sen. Bob Runciman (Ontario-Thousand-Islands and Rideau Lakes) and Member of Parliament Gordon Brown (Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes) have introduced a bill in the Canadian Parliament that would eliminate the need for American recreational boaters, anglers and fishing guides to report to Canadian customs when passing through Canadian waters. Exceptions would be if one sets foot on Canadian side or anchors their boat in Canadian waters.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Thousand Islands

The Thousand Islands first came to public attention in 1872 when President Grant visited George Pullman on Castle Rest. Within years the Thousand Islands was the playground of the rich and famous as well as those who of more modest incomes looking to escape the summer heat of the big cities. Railroad service to Clayton, NY started in 1873. During the summer months, trains transported vacationers from New York, Boston and Philadelphia to Clayton, NY. At one point, as many as 12 trains a day pulled up to the dock to disgorge passengers, trunks and luggage for transfer to steamers. These were vacationers who were not here for the day, but for at least a week, maybe a month, perhaps the entire season.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Carp were present in the St. Lawrence River prior to 1900

Carp are not a native species.  The fish, originating in Asia, were introduced into New York State in 1831 as a source of food. Carp were present in the St. Lawrence River prior to 1900. Many diners, however, have thought of carp as bottom-feeders in warm ponds, hence presumed to be muddy tasting or even reputed to be “polluted fish.”  Carp may survive in polluted waters, but prefer clean from which they are fine eating.  Carp are commercially marketed.  The Japanese, known to be fish connoisseurs, regard carp highly, and Jewish diners, scrupulous about cleanliness of their food, have long savored carp. Carp is enjoyed in China and is traditional for Christmas Eve dining in Slovakia and Poland. Instructions for preparation are available online.  Recipes for preparing carp bait are as elaborate as those for cooking the fish.
Carp are distributed widely.  The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation notes that they are to be found in eastern Lake Ontario and at the Thousand Islands--prominently in Eel Bay, above Wellesley Island (and not far from Clayton--where “there is no carp fishing”).
The New York State record size for carp is fifty pounds, four ounces.  More commonly, carp abound in the ten-thirty pound range

Monday, January 9, 2017

1000 Islands International Bridge

 The 1000 Islands International Bridge offers a panoramic view of the islands near Ivy Lea. The suspension bridge is 150-feet over the St. Lawrence. I’ve driven by boat underneath the bridge and travelled across it by vehicle many times but seeing it from above in a helicopter aboard 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours gave me a birds eye view of ‘The Bridge’ as  it is locally known here on ‘The River’.