Monday, November 27, 2017

St. Lawrence River, the lake sturgeon

For the lake sturgeon to be taken off the state’s list of threatened species, the DEC’s proposed Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan requires at least 750 sexually mature sturgeon to be documented in six of the DEC’s seven management units statewide as well as evidence of at least three years of wild reproduction of the fish over a five-year period.
Lake Erie – including Cattaraugus Creek, Buffalo Harbor and the upper Niagara River – is considered to be one of those six areas.
Lake Ontario, from the lower Niagara River and the lake to about Rochester, is another.
In the St. Lawrence River, the lake sturgeon has come all the way back. More than 1,000 sturgeon have been located at Massena.
It was that discovery – and vast new research into the lake sturgeon’s spawning tendencies, range and other data – that prompted the DEC to revisit its recovery plan for the fish that was last updated a dozen years ago.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Zebra and quagga mussels

When they picked up cargo further up the Great Lakes system, that ballast water was drained. This is probably how zebra mussels and quagga mussels found their way from the Caspian Sea into the very hospitable environment of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. These tiny mollusks have destroyed many of the fisheries of the Great Lakes, and clog up water intakes of cities and towns along the shores. To make matters worse these mussels exited the Great Lakes “back door”, a canal in Chicago that connects to the Mississippi River watershed. Zebra and quagga mussels now damage that mighty river system and have even spread to the giant western reservoirs of Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Wetland birds

Wetland birds such as Black Tern and Pied- billed Grebe should also benefit throughout the St Lawrence River-Eastern Lake Ontario Region. River flooding of marshes should reduce cattails and create more sedge meadow areas. These declining bird species will greatly benefit as this habitat type is essential for nesting and feeding. Other aquatic habitat users such as Great Blue Heron, American Bittern and Common Tern should also benefit. These birds feed in wetlands and its likely open water meadows would increase access to prey items. Marshes with greater habitat diversity benefit many fish and wildlife species and human inconveniences caused by greater fluctuations in water levels are a small price to pay for healthier ecosystems.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

fish from short biting

To eliminate fish from short biting tie a second hook to the first hook and place it in your crawler without affecting the natural action you get with the single hook. You can also buy stinger hooks that will attach to your single hook. When you feel the fish bite, instead of setting the hook right away, give the fish some line by moving your rod tip toward the water, once you feel the fish has taken the bait, then set the hook.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

St. Lawrence Walleye Association

The St. Lawrence Walleye Association is hosting four tournaments this summer: the Members only Tournament was held on June 18th, the Fishing with a Sponsor Tournament was held on July 15, the SLRWA Walleye Challenge will be held on Aug. 5 from the Massena Intake Boat Launch (see Hooks and Antlers on Page B2) and the Fall Classic will be held on Sept. 16.
The St. Lawrence Valley Sportsmen’s Club holds an Opening Weekend Walleye Tournament an Opening Weekend Smallmouth Bass Tournament.
“Things continue to go very well and we have been helped a great deal of help from the Lake Champlain Walleye Association which receives funds from the State of Vermont and is doing tremendous things,” said Gagner.
“We had a great stocking year. Doug McLean does an outstanding job managing our ponds and there is a great deal to it. And we had no cannibalism in the ponds this year.”

Friday, July 7, 2017

carp in Quebec

The ministry says very concerned about the appearance of the grass carp in Quebec and feared that the other three species of asian carp can also come and look after our waterways.
The MFFP has confirmed last spring that they have detected the carp in no less than 16 areas along the St. Lawrence river.
To combat the spread of the unwanted fish, the department announced last February that the ban on the use of live bait fish during the winter period, in the framework of sport fishing.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New York Camping Guide

St. Lawrence River there are many campgrounds along the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Finger Lakes and countless smaller lakes or ponds in Central NY.
Designated campsites at state campgrounds usually offer swimming, fishing, hiking, playgrounds for kids and more. Usually there is a variety of wildlife there or nearby. For example two of the campgrounds we frequent have ospreys while another has a pair of bald eagles. In campgrounds operated by OPR a certain number of sites usually have electric hookups, while there are none in DEC campgrounds.
 Both OPR and DEC campgrounds are listed in a booklet “New York Camping Guide” with lots of information on facilities found at each. You can obtain this guide as well as get information online by visiting the website Reservations can be made by going though Reserve America at 1-800-456 CAMP or

Friday, June 16, 2017

Boating Bill

The first is was the announcement that on June 12th. Bill S233, known as the Boating Bill, passed through its third reading in the House of Commons.  It passed on an open voice vote. This means that US boaters traveling through Canadian waters, not planning on anchoring, rafting to another boat in Canadian waters or landing on a Canadian island or mainland, may do so without calling into Canadian Customs.  A similar Bill was introduced and passed through the Canadian Senate by Senator Bob Runciman (Brockville). As Brown explained when interviewed on CBC Radio, “One reason for the change is easing the minds of boaters who may drift across the border during their travels without realizing it.”  He also hoped that commerce on both sides of the border would revive.  Many of us remember when a US boater was arrested and fined for not reporting into to customs.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bass Fishing Opens June 17

One of the most popular spots for bass fishermen will be the St. Lawrence River. Even though the shallow weedy bays provide good fishing for largemouths, it is the smallmouth bass that will attract the most attention. Anglers come from all over the state and even other states for the great fishing that the St. Lawrence has to offer.
Normally by opening weekend the bass will have spawned but still be in shallow water. However this year with the cold weather and high water levels, the waters of the St. Lawrence River and eastern Lake Ontario are still in the upper 50 degree range so bass in these areas will not have spawned yet.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Northern pike

Northern pike remain one of the prize sport fish. Changing conditions on the river usually mean that the pike are in deeper water and more widely scattered than in past years, but when you hook one you will agree that they are worth the effort. Due to poor spawning success in recent years the new regulations in effect this year set a creel limit of three pike.
Smallmouth bass are always one of the most exciting fish to catch. The myriad of granite structures and river currents provide great habitat. Clearer water means that you will probably use deep water tactics like jigging or live bait for much of the summer but smallmouth provide great sport no matter what technique you use.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

muskie in the St.Lawrence river

Trolling and casting are popular ways to fish for muskie in the St.Lawrence river off Clayton New York. There are public boat ramps to launce your boat. If you are not familiar with the area for musky fishing I would suggest you hire a experienced musky fishing guide. May 2 is the opening day for musky fishing but the best fishing is in the fall going into winter. It can be very cold on the St.Lawrence river fishing for musky so dress warm. More fishing for muskies include the down stream sides of any of the deep water shoals off the islands between Cape Vincent and Clayton.
I like to drift the deep water shoals of Clayton using a heavy fishing rig baitcasting tackle spooled with 30-pound test line or stronger and a wire leader,muskie can bite through regular fishing line. If you can find them at the local bait store a 6 to 10 inch sucker hook through the mouth is a great musky killer. I like to use a 1/2 ounce sinker placed about 3 feet above the hook to let the sucker swim around. Using a fish finder find the shoals that are next to deep water the muskies lay along the rock shoals and feed on bait fish like a sucker. Trolling a large sucker  bait is also good for muskie anglers because you can cover more water and increase the chances  of a strike from a muskie. Remember muskies take a long time to grow so its important to handle the quickly and release the muskie back into the river as soon as possible.

Monday, May 29, 2017

black bass remains the most popular game fish

While the St. Lawrence River, Upper Niagara River, and Chautauqua Lake are the most popular hotspots for these big fish, there are other — though less popular — waters across the state that produce good fish. Some of the other quality muskie waters are Waneta, Greenwood, Bear and Cassadaga lakes, and the Susquehanna, Chenango, and Great Chazy rivers.
Muskies are not limited to the waters I’ve mentioned above. There are at least 13 lakes and 19 rivers with muskellunge populations in across the state. The closest water to Dutchess county is Greenwood Lake in Orange County.
The minimum size limit on Greenwood Lake is 36 inches. The daily creel limit in all locations is one fish per day. If the creel limit seems low you should chew on this for a while: Muskies are known as "the fish of 10,000 casts."  Be prepared to go a long time between hookups.
Also opening on June 17, is the state’s black bass season.  
The black bass remains the most popular game fish in the state, with far more anglers targeting them than the No. 2 game fish, trout.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Fishing for muskellunge

The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced the fishing season for muskellunge, or muskie, will open in most parts of the state Saturday.
Fishing for muskellunge in the St. Lawrence River won’t open until June 17.
Muskie is one of the state’s premiere trophy fish, with a minimum length of 40 inches.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Lake sturgeon

Lake sturgeon are listed as a threatened species in New York. Therefore, there is no open fishing season, and possession is prohibited. Anglers are likely to encounter sturgeon during the spring when the fish gather to spawn on clean gravel or cobble shoals and in stream rapids. Sturgeon spawn in New York state in May and June when water temperatures reach 55°F to 64°F.
Anglers should not intentionally target these protected fish. If an angler catches a sturgeon, they should fish another area or change fishing gear to avoid catching another. Anglers who unintentionally hook one should follow these practices to ensure the fish are returned to the water unharmed:
  • Avoid bringing the fish into the boat, if possible
  • Use pliers to remove the hook; sturgeon are almost always hooked in the mouth
  • Always support the fish horizontally; do not hold sturgeon in a vertical position by their head, gills or tails
  • Never touch their eyes or gills
  • Minimize their time out of the water and return the fish to the water immediately once freed from fishing gear

Monday, May 15, 2017

St. Lawrence River High Water

Docks and high water on the St. Lawrence River. But in addition to the loss of property and damage to docks and boathouses, is the loss of income for our Island economy. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

walleye, pike, pickerel, and muskellunge

Saturday marks the beginning of the walleye, pike, pickerel, and muskellunge seasons in St. Lawrence County and around the state.
The St. Lawrence River and Cranberry Lake are two prime spots for trophy pike anglers. The explosive strike of these fish provides for an exciting encounter for anglers that target these sleek ambush predators, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

St. Lawrence River Thousand Islands

The report states, “In the St. Lawrence River Thousand Islands area abundance of legal size smallmouth increased from record lows in 1996-2004 and varies at moderate levels after 2006. This increase was due to a faster growth and earlier recruitment of young fish (largely because of availability of round goby forage) rather than improved recruitment or increases in the total number of individuals in the population.
“After 2013 smallmouth bass abundance in standard sampling nets declined rapidly and was at near record low levels in 2014 and 2015.”
Also, river anglers have seen a decline in the northern pike population. Whereas pike were once fairly easy to catch, now most anglers struggle to catch even a few pike on a given outing. The Annual Report notes, “Northern pike abundance in the Thousand Islands remains depressed largely due to habitat changes resulting from water level regulation.” Hopefully, the new water-regulation plan for the river will create improved spawning conditions for pike.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

cleared the Canadian Senate

Legislation that would ease boating restrictions for U.S. recreational boaters and anglers on all waters shared by the two countries has cleared the Canadian Senate.
The bill would eliminate the need for American boaters to report to Canadian customs when passing through Canadian waters unless they anchor or set foot on Canadian soil. In New York, this bill would significantly change things on the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Champlain and the Niagara River.The bill must still pass the Canadian House of Commons and be signed by the Canadian governor general to become law.

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’.