The Legislative committee monitors the NYS Legislature and the executive branch as their proposals may affect the natural resources which the sporting community values and enjoys.
Besides input from members and Federations across the state the committee uses the Legislative Retrieval System to track legislative bills that are of interest to the sporting community. When bills are first introduced or start to move toward becoming law the LRS emails members of the committee. Depending on the potential impact of these bills the alerts are distributed to the Board of Directors and the membership through Constant Contact, the NYSCC web page, and the various Federations. Positions and policy are voted on by the membership, through the resolution process, and if passed are then implemented through the Board of Directors.
For this report the committee has been asked to consider 4 questions:
- How did the last Legislative session impact the sporting community?
- What do we see coming in the next Legislative session, considering we have a new governor?
- Are there any federal bills/proposals that you feel will affect NY’s sporting community?
- Are there any regional issues that should be addressed?
- The last legislative session followed the established path of eroding the position of the sporting community as a voice within the legislature. There is grave concern that the bill banning the use of lead ammo on state land, or within the NYC water shed, will become law in the next session. This in effect is an anti-hunting bill because there is not an adequate supply of lead-free ammo in this state. Two years ago, we thought such a bill would not get out of committee, but it passed the Assembly and almost made it through the Senate. Another amazing unpleasant outcome was the signing into law of the Firearms Liability Act which allows suits against “‘Gun industry member’”, Defined as “a person, firm, corporation, company, partnership, society, joint stock company or any other agency or association engaged in the sale, manufacturing, distribution, importing or marketing of firearms, ammunition, ammunition magazines, and firearm accessories”. While this has not been tested in the courts it is still a law and suits are expensive to defend against.
As this is not an election year there will be little change in the makeup of the Legislature, so we have much to be concerned about.
- The committee fears and expects that the next legislative session will give our community more of the same. Further anti-gun and anti-hunting legislation will be introduced and some of it will become law; unless we join with others and activate our community. As mentioned above we expect little change in the makeup of the Legislature which may bode ill for the future because these legislators will be drawing the redistricting maps. Thus, assuring their reelection and the election of their fellow party members to “safe” districts.
Our new, Governor Kathy Huchul, was once rated A1 by the NRA and had ties to western NY as opposed to NYC. However, some feel the politician in her will prevail over former ties and good sense. She has announced her intentions to run for a further four-year term after she serves out Governor Cuomo’s. For that she will need the support of the liberal wing of her party and that could work against our interests. Because she does not come to the governorship with the control that Governor Cuomo exercised, we hope there is a chance she will listen to our Assembly and Senate representatives. It is also hoped that she will un-gag the DEC and listen to their advice which should be based on study and science instead of fear of upsetting the governor as in the past.
- While there seems to be nothing in the legislative hopper to overly concern us, there is a general feeling among the committee that when the administration shifts priorities from COVID-19 and its variants and Afghanistan to domestic issues there will be pressure to implement gun control legislation as President Biden promised during his campaign. Hopefully at that point sensible solutions will present themselves.
- One “local” issue that has statewide implications is the siting of wind turbines in the open waters of lakes Ontario and Erie. There is a resolution before the Council on this important matter so we will defer to its authors. However, we urge your careful consideration of this resolution.
In conclusion, the committee does not know the answers to such questions as: How do we protect the traditions we follow and love from legislative overreach? Individually we are one voice, but as individuals and citizens who vote we can speak to our State Assembly and State Senate representatives; our county board representatives; our town board representatives and they will listen because they know us and live among us. It doesn’t matter what party they belong to, they serve us, and we have a right, even an obligation, to let them know where we stand. If we do this, then together we WILL be heard.
Pat Mc Brearty, Chair of the NYSCC Legislative Committee
Marine Resources Committee
The Marine Resources Committee (Committee), having been dormant for an extended period, was reconstituted early in 2021.
The Committee currently consists of three individuals, all located on Long Island (1 Suffolk County, 1 Nassau County, 1 who splits time between residences in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties). Although all three members are very familiar with marine fisheries issues and the regulatory process, and includes two attorneys and a third member who, while employed in financial services, has an undergraduate degree in marine biology, adding two additional members, one from Westchester County and one familiar with the Hudson River striped bass fishery, would enhance the Committee’s regional diversity.
Because marine regulatory issues arise at irregular intervals, the Committee does not have a regular meeting schedule, but instead will convene as necessary to address developing matters.
Artificial reef program
In January, the State of New York sought public comment on a proposal to expand its artificial reef program, with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) applying for a permit that would allow it to expand its existing artificial reefs and develop four new reef sites.
The Committee recommended that the Council support the DEC’s permit, citing artificial reefs’ benefits to both living marine resources and to anglers. Such supportive comments were provided in advance of the January 15 deadline. The permit in question was improved.
The Council should note that the artificial reef program was a pet project of former Governor Andrew Cuomo. Since Gov. Cuomo has resigned, it is not clear whether incoming Governor Kathy Hochul will support the artificial reef program at current levels or will reduce funding in order to support other priorities.
Circle hooks in the striped bass fishery
In 2019, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) adopted fishery management measures to end overfishing in the striped bass fishery. Included among such measures was a requirement that anglers fishing for striped bass with bait use circle hooks, rather than traditional J-hooks, when fishing for striped bass. Such measure was to become effective in 2021.
New York issued a proposed regulation that was intended to comply with the ASMFC circle hook requirement; such measure both required the use of circle hooks with natural bait when fishing for striped bass and required the release of all striped bass caught accidentally while using J-hooks while fishing with bait for other species.
Unfortunately, instead of drafting a regulation appropriate to saltwater fisheries, the DEC elected to adopt the wording of a regulation already applicable to freshwater, which prohibited the use of “all baits which entice or might be ingested or swallowed by fish,” and specified a number of substances, including pork rind. Such definition of “natural bait” was problematic when applied to the striped bass fishery, where tipping bucktail jigs and other lures with pork rind and other natural substances is traditional, and because such lures are fished actively, does not lead to deeply hooked fish.
The Committee thus formulated comments which generally endorsed the circle hook requirement, as well as the requirement that striped bass caught while using J-hooks with bait be released but offered suggestions that the definition of “natural bait” be amended to render it more appropriate for saltwater fisheries, and that the reference to pork rind be deleted. The Committee also recommended that the regulation specifically address baits such as Berkley Gulp! which are designed to be “ingested or swallowed by fish,” by specifically excluding them from the definition of “natural bait.” The Council adopted such recommendation.
Both the ASMFC and the DEC received many similar comments from anglers and angler-related organizations. In response, the ASMFC held a meeting in March to provide guidance to states on the issue; such guidance, when released, largely tracked the Council’s regulation. In response, the DEC issued regulations that generally required circle hooks when fishing with natural bait, but excluded any natural bait used to enhance artificial lures that are cast, trolled, or jigged. Gulp! was not specifically addressed, although it was clear that the DEC did not intend Gulp! to be considered a “natural bait.” The requirement to release striped bass accidentally caught on bait fished on J-hooks for other species was retained.
Fishery management issues generally arise during the season, as the DEC responds to management actions taken at the ASMFC and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) in December and February. Within the State of New York, that pattern is expected to continue in 2021-2022, as regulations are set for summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, and bluefish.
However, there are issues currently pending at both the ASMFC and MAFMC that the Council may wish to comment on before such issues are decided at those management bodies, and before the State of New York is required to comply with the decisions that such bodies hand down.
Striped bass Amendment 7
The ASMFC is currently drafting Amendment 7 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass (Amendment 7), which could affect the health of the striped bass fishery for the next 20 years (the current Amendment 6 was adopted in 2003). The issues to be addressed in Amendment 7 include reductions in recreational release mortality (managers believe that 9% of all released striped bass die, but because anglers release about 90% of all striped bass caught, release mortality is responsible for 48% of all striped bass fishing mortality), conservation equivalency (a doctrine that allows states to adopt alternative management measures to those adopted by the ASMFC, provided that such measures have the same conservation impact), the triggers that require the ASMFC to take management action (e.g., when the stock becomes overfished), and protection of the large 2015 year class in order to rebuild the currently overfished stock.
It is clear that the ASMFC has no idea how to further reduce release mortality; it cannot even provide staff biologists with a target for such reductions. Closed seasons are suggested, but such closures won’t prevent anglers from catching and releasing striped bass, and a ban on targeting bass during such closures will be practically unenforceable, as the same techniques used for striped bass are also used for species such as bluefish and weakfish, and it would be virtually impossible to prove that an angler was illegally fishing for striped bass during the closed season. While some restrictions on equipment (e.g., a ban on treble hooked lures) and angler behavior (e.g., mandated in-water release of larger fish) might make such minor reductions in release mortality, there is little indication that any proposed management measures will provide significant benefits to the striped bass stock.
Conservation equivalency has been chronically abused by certain states, particularly New Jersey and Maryland, to avoid their full share of the conservation burden. In a recent management action, supposedly conservation-equivalent measures adopted by those states reduced the action’s probability of success from 50% to 42%. Thus, measures to reform the use of conservation equivalency is badly needed and would benefit the striped bass stock.
Management triggers compel the ASMFC to act when threats to the striped bass stock arise. Currently, overfishing must be eliminated within one year, while an overfished stock must be rebuilt within 10 years. There are members of the ASMFC who predictably try to delay needed management actions in order to maintain short-term landings, at the expense of the long-term health of the stock. Such ASMFC members are seeking to introduce additional delay into the management triggers in order to further their goals, an effort that, if successful, would harm the long-term sustainability of the striped bass stock.
The 2015-year class represents the best opportunity to rebuild the overfished striped bass stock. Unfortunately, such year class is currently entering the 28- to 35-inch coastal slot limit, and thus is likely to be quickly depleted. It is not clear whether there is still time to prevent such depletion. However, loss of the 2015s would significantly hamper rebuilding efforts.
The ASMFC should release a draft Amendment 7 for public comment in late October. The Committee is seeking guidance from the Council as to whether it wishes to engage on the above issues.
Recreational reform initiative
Many coastal fish stocks, including summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass, were badly overfished in the early 1990s. However, amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), made in 1996 and 2006, allowed fishery managers to restore such stock to health, and in the case of scup and black sea bass, to levels well above the current population targets. Today, management measures required by MSA, including annual catch limits, help maintain such stocks at sustainable levels.
However, some members of the recreational fishing community, most particularly including the party and charter boat industry and some members of the recreational fishing industry, are now complaining that the science-based management measures required by MSA are restricting their ability to harvest fish. Such complaints received a sympathetic hearing at both the ASMFC and MAFMC, which are now working on a so-called Recreational Reform Initiative, which seeks to circumvent regulations designed to constrain recreational harvest to a calculated recreational harvest limit, and instead base such regulations on a broader array of considerations, which may or may not keep landings below the annual catch limit.
It is not clear whether management measures developed under the Recreational Reform Initiative will meet the legal standards created by MSA, or whether they will allow overfishing to again occur in some of New York’s most important saltwater fisheries.
It is expected that public comment on the Recreational Reform Initiative will be sought by the ASMFC in September, and again in October or November after the draft framework amendment is released by the MAFMC. The Committee is seeking guidance from the Council as to whether it wishes to engage on the issue.
Charles Witek, III, Chair of NYSCC Marine Resources Committee
Big Game Committee
Over the past year, the BYSCC Big Game Committee has been fairly active despite the challenges that the COVID-19 Epidemic has thrown at us, with lockdowns resuming in fall of 2020, persisting into Spring making meeting physically impossible.
Nevertheless, the members of the committee remained active and engaged in the following areas:
1 – DEC’s updated Deer management Plan
- Initial comments to the draft proposal we constructed collaboratively with committee members able to respond for input.
- General consensus was reached in key areas, including the extension of hunting hours and the issue of mandatory safety orange.
- General support for early Firearms season in problematic WMUs seems to exist within some circles, although not enthusiastically embraced, while other strongly oppose the measure as creating unnecessary conflicts while other solutions exist for these localized problems
- Concerns over ADK ML harvest in specific WMUs to include antlerless deer has brought mixed positions, and the changes to bear hunting is welcomed, but more truly needs to be pursued.
2 – Youth Deer Hunting Pilot EnCon Law 11-0935
The Committee worked very hard to support EnCon Law 11-0935 and crafted some advice for each county Federation rep to use in pursuit of local laws to lower the deer hunting age with firearms to age 12. However, some notable concerns were raised.
- The precedent this law set appears dangerous to future initiatives that should be state-wide, not at the county level.
- Once this pilot ends, and if we can get this permanent, will we have to go through this entire process again on a county-by-county basis?
- What potential pitfalls does this new state law approach mean to future actions involving trapping – as this patchwork of regulations county by county was opposed as that would bring in confusion and conflict between the counties and wildlife does not know county borders.
- We expect Erie County to pass their local law in September
- We trust last few handfuls of counties will follow suit.
3 – Chronic Wasting Disease remains a top concern for the Committee, but proper and appropriate measures rooted in sound science is demanded, not what if’s and could be’s.
Rich Davenport, Co-Chair of NYSCC Big Game Committee
In 2021 we received 3 resolutions.
They are as follows:
- Wyoming County Wildlife Federation
Resolution to Change Bylaws, Policies or Procedures Where Applicable as It Relates to BOD Meetings
- Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs
Permanent Moratorium on Offshore Industrial Wind Turbine Development in Great Lakes
- Seneca County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs
Training for Guiding Veterans
On March 28, 2021, the committee met with the Legislative Committee to discuss the submitted resolutions. Both committees agreed that all the resolutions needed to be revised to comply with the NYSCC Resolution format and purpose.
Wyoming County requested that their resolution be withdrawn. Erie County and Seneca County modified their resolutions as recommended by the committees.
The two modified resolutions were sent to the NYSCC member organizations to review before the Annual Meeting.
Stephen Wowelko, Chair of NYSCC Resolution Committee
Hunter Education Committee
This last year has been difficult and not a lot of in person classes have been taught in 2020 or this year 2021. NYS DEC has gone to online classes and have more than made up for the lack of in person classes.
Sent from my iPhone
On Aug 8, 2020, at 10:57 AM, Glen Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I had a discussion recently with Brian and asked him to see what his group felt about the online and future classes.
I expressed how the one-day class has made some of us instructors feel pressured to rush through information, while trying to keep it to the structure, properly informative and to the point.
Below and attached is what Brian has put together. I (Glen Adams) totally agree with what he is proposing here.
2533 Wethersfield Rd.
North Java, NY 14113
Date: August 2020
To: NYS Hunter Education Instructors, Coordinators and Administrators and all Conservation based organizations
Re: The recent challenges and changes within the NYS Hunter Education Program To whom it may Concern.
We are in unprecedented times and facing challenges in nearly every aspect of our lives as a result of the COVID-19 crisis of 2020. The disruptive effects of this pandemic have reached far beyond the obvious health concerns. How we work, how we learn, how we travel, how we socialize and how we conduct business are just a few of the examples of the adjustments that have been brought to our doorstep by this unwelcome visitor. Certainly, the NYS Hunter Education Program has not escaped unscathed.
The program administrator’s along with the management team realized early on that the uncertainty swirling around the Corona virus would force decisive action and significant changes to allow the program the opportunity to continue its vital mission of serving NY’s hunting community. This goal was prioritized considering the quickly approaching New York State youth & spring turkey seasons.
On April 15th the NYS DEC in partnership with Kalkomey Enterprises, LLC launched a New York State approved, fully online hunter safety education course. The state website and press releases made it clear that this was a limited time offering to help deal with the pending hunter education certification demand. The online opportunity was and remains a very popular option for many families as witnessed by the registration numbers. The numbers early on clearly revealed that online enrollment outpaced historic class registration numbers for the traditional classroom/hands-on HEP classes held in the early spring.
This dramatic shift in New York’s hunter education policy & procedure drew wide ranging opinions from across the spectrum of interested parties. Concerns about the application of distance learning in the arena of hunter education circulated even though several states have used this approach with no reportable rise in hunting related incidents or game law violations.
After speaking with members of our local HEP teaching team I decided to reserve making a definitive judgement on the new class until after I had registered and actually completed the course. I knew that it would be difficult for me to experience the course through the prism of a twelve or thirteen-year-old boy or girl or even someone who is older yet, new to the world of hunting. I tried to set aside my experience in the fields and woods as well as my previous exposure as a long time HEP instructor to form a meaningful an objective opinion. At the same time, I thought my personal experience as an active instructor would be beneficial in noting the strengths and weaknesses in the new offering.
I will start by listing what I consider to be the strong points of the online course.
*Ease of enrolling: Registration for the course was simple and straight forward. The process
required the enrollee’s basic personal information along with the method of payment information.
*User flexibility: The course allows the participant to work at their own pace and log in or out as needed. Your place is saved, and you may return to the point where you left off without any problems.
*Timed segments: A countdown timer was utilized to prevent the user from simply skipping through sections to get to the quizzes at the end and thereby missing out on vital information within the section.
*Use of video clips: The online course uses the very effective, well produced, and informative videos that New York hunter education instructors have recently been provided access to for their traditional classes.
*Pictures and graphics: Pictures and other graphics were embedded within the online instruction that helped communicate the material being covered. Instructors will recognize these helpful graphics as the same type used in Kalkomey’s very comprehensive printed HEP manuals.
*Chapter quizzes: The use of quizzes at the end of each chapter provided a review and confirmation that the material was effectively communicated and absorbed.
*Printing of certificates: The process of printing the certificates once you have successfully completed the course was simple and straight forward.
Now I will point out what I consider to be the downside of the current online version of the New York State approved course.
*Universal access: Although it is safe to assume that a majority of New York homes have access to internet service, there will certainly always be those who are underserved by modern conductivity, whether this situation is by choice, financial or by internet service limitations.
*Lack of validation: Although users can easily log in and out of the class there are no provisions in place or even attempts made to verify who is doing the actual work (quizzes and final exam).
*Large amount of printed text: Even though the use of videos and graphics effectively convey a good portion of the vital content, much of the course information is provided through typed text. Of course, given the amount of material that must be covered, I understand the necessity of printed content. However, given the definition-based content of the course material, I fear that such a reliance on the individual’s reading skills is risky at best. I can see this as being a source of extreme frustration for the younger participants as well as those who struggle with reading comprehension. This situation could lead to a loss of interest or the precarious possibility of having a parent or older sibling complete the material for the actual registrant. See ‘validation’ comment above.
*Embedded educational video clips: The videos represent a limited yet reasonable attempt as a substitute for live instruction and hands on learning. Ironically the same countdown timer that prevents the user from just scrolling through the text sections of the course does not prevent the viewer from skipping over the videos. This situation at least has the potential for allowing the user to by-pass what could be the most effective part of the online offering.
*Exam security: One of the key components built into the viability of the hunter education program is the security of the final exam. In the traditional classroom this is accomplished through the simple protocols such as student spacing, no cell phones, no outside help, classroom monitoring and test booklet security. None of this can be applied to the online setting. Furthermore, the computer- based platform makes it very easy to ‘screen shot’ all of the quizzes, complete with correct answers and potentially distribute to others.
*Personal instruction: Very often the most effective learning environment includes questions, answers and ensuing discussions that occur from within the class. This vital component is simply not available without the in-person instruction that the traditional class provides. A DEC Administrator informed me that the new structure relies on family members and friends to fill in the noteworthy gap’s eft by the online structure. That certainly could be the case for many families that have a history of ethical and legal involvement in the hunting world. However, there will always be those who lack that support system back home. Quite often the first structured exposure to the wonders and responsibilities of the outdoors comes from those trained and certified instructors who can help transform the spark of interest into a lifelong passion. SAFE, KNOWLEDGABLE, ETHICAL and INVOLVED.
*Hands-on skills: The lack of hands-on participation is probably the most obvious limitation of web-based training platform. We have all heard the phrase, ‘tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.’ It is easy to understand how this applies to the safety aspects of an activity that involves firearms. Mistakes made when dealing with the handling firearms or errors in judgement can have serious, if not tragic results. Once again, trusting that these vital practices will be passed on effectively and properly by family and friends outside of the structured outline of an approved class conducted by certified instructors is a roll of the dice. In my opinion, the rich tradition of our hunting heritage should not be subjected to the hope that untrained and uncertain influences will provide effective guidance that is in the best interest of all.
I have discussed all of these points with fellow instructors and with various hunting and conservation groups and organizations. I also had the honor of sharing my thoughts with Anthony (Tony) Wilkerson, Director of the DEC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife. Director Wilkerson was courteous and receptive to my perspective. As a long time, hunter ed instructor I found our dialogue beneficial in understanding the background of the decisions made by the agency. He also expressed an appreciation knowing that I actually went through the course to obtain firsthand knowledge before forming my opinions.
One thing that we can all agree on, the Hunter Education Program had challenges before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. Time and again we hear families lament about how hard it is to find a class because not enough are offered at the time that they need them. People also complain how quickly the listed classes fill up. Another potential issue is the variance in overall class content between different facilities,
Lead instructors and teaching teams. There have been some recent adjustments within the program to address these issues. The new online class would seem to solve both of these problems, however, at what cost to overall effectiveness?
I believe that a good option that lies midway between the two ends of the hunter education spectrum. Even though an attempt at a home study/field day hunter education class had failed and was abandoned several years ago, it seems that the time is right to revisit a similar strategy. I am asking Hunter Education Instructors, the leadership of conservation organizations and local Rod & Gun clubs to consider supporting a move to merge the strengths of the online class with the advantages of traditional ‘hands-on’ skill instruction.
The proposal would require the attendance of a three hour ‘field day’ that would skills such as firearm handling, fence crossing, tree stand safety, zone of fire exercises, etc. in addition to the class final exam before the issuing of certificates. Proof of completion of the current online class would essentially serve as your ticket in the door for the field day. I believe that the course exam should be moved from the online platform to the sit-down classroom setting. This approach would certainly solve the concerns surrounding that lack of hands-on safety instruction and exam security while maintaining the convenience of off-site general instruction for the participants.
Another benefit to the shorter (3 hour) field skills only format would be the potential to double each teaching team’s certificate output without an additional drain on their personal time. Currently when I schedule a course, I am essentially asking the other instructors on the teaching team to commit to a full day for a traditional class. However, under the proposed format, we could schedule a field day/exam for forty students to commence at 8:00am and wrap up around 11:00am. The instructors would then have the opportunity to break for lunch, reset the outside activities and welcome a new group of forty course participants at 1:00pm. So, at the end of the day eighty students will be on their way with a New York State hunter education certificate (assuming 100% success rate). We can also be assured that everyone participated and understands the hands-on component of hunting safely and responsibly and that the final exam was administered appropriately.
Like any other proposal there will be things that need to be discussed and remedied. However, if your group or organization sees any merit in this approach, please help move it forward. It might be possible to set up a meeting with the DEC Hunter Education leadership team and run the concept past them. If you would like to be part of that effort, let me know!
Highest Regards, Brian Krawczyk I have presented Brian Krawczyk’s proposal as something we the Hunter educators and Conservation community could consider. I believe we the Hunter Ed could teach the hands-on part that we enjoy teaching and verify who is actually taking the test.
Glen Adams, Member of NYSCC Hunting Education Committee
It was another eventful year for the NYSCC fish committee as New York State slowly gets back to normal. New York State fishing is better than ever, and more people have taken advantage of it with a 17% increase in fishing license sales. With COVID restrictions people took to the outdoors and discovered the sport of fishing. The NYSCC fish committee urges all NYSCC members to take advantage of this opportunity by having fishing clinics and programs to educate these people and hopefully make it a lifelong sport.!!
As stated in the spring meeting report the fish committee supports the new NYSDEC trout management plan. The plan is excellent and will keep New York State “ahead of the curve” in trout management for years to come.
The proposed DEC management plan for panfish population diminishment due to overfishing in many waters of our state is definitely needed. The DEC is looking into a potential plan (daily catch, size limits etc.) Hopefully this plan will improve the size and population of our panfish throughout New York state waters. Generally, all of the committee agree on reducing the daily catch limit but there is concern on size restrictions and the criteria used to select the lakes being chosen for their proposed special regulations initiative. The committee will have more information on this as the plan evolves.
With the new boat launch on Otsego Lake there is now boat launches on all the Finger Lakes. Congratulations to the NYSDEC on this!!!!
The NYSDEC is working on a Fisheries Management Plan for the Finger Lakes; this is good news as there has not been a plan for this great unique fishing area in many years.
Skaneateles Lake has an established population of walleye which could pose a potential threat to this lakes Rainbow trout fishery. This fishery, according to angler’s surveys, has been in decline for 5-10 years.
The St. Lawrence River has experienced a decline in juvenile muskellunge which is probably due to the high population of gobies which eat the eggs.
Region 8 reported that Low water levels due to increased outflow made Lake Ontario access challenging. Larger boats had trouble with water levels in some harbors and channels as well as some unusable launch sites. This problem seems to have been corrected with an outflow adjustment.
Lake Ontario was once again stocked at dusk on May 3rd with 10,000 steelhead fingerlings. This practice cuts down cormorant predation as the cormorant tend to roost at dusk. A good steelhead spring run in Oak Orchard creek in 2021 seems to indicate that the aforementioned stocking practice was successful.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) captured a 70 lb. female sturgeon with eggs in the Genesee River. This is the first time in 50 years this has happened, and this is undoubtedly due to the NYSDEC stocking in 2003.
Region 3 committee representative, Mark Searle, reported that Esopus creek flooded heavily last year which destroyed much of the trout habitat. He was wondering if the NYSDEC was planning any remediation work on this stream.
The boat launch at Sturgeon Point on Lake Erie in Region 9 was finally dredged and opened in May. This was accomplished through a generous donation by the West Herr Automotive Firm. The break wall still needs critical maintenance, and the dredging problem will occur annually unless the Marina is reconfigured. This can probably only happen with an infusion of federal funding and state funding.
As previously stated in the spring committee report a new ‘state of the art’ fish cleaning station has opened at the Hanover boat launch on the Cattaraugus Creek boat launch in region 9.
The Erie County Federation of Sportsmen (ECFS) in conjunction with the Erie County Fisheries Advisory Board (ECFAB) recently ran a children’s fishing clinic at Chestnut Ridge Park. 45 children attended. This was lower than the normal attendance of approx.100, but it was our first clinic in 2 years due to COVID restrictions. Once again, the children went through learning stations (fish identification, where to fish, casting etc.). The children then fished with assistance from the ECFAB and ECFS. Many of the
These children went home with a new fishing pole/reel combination. Parents were instructed that “now you have to take them fishing”!!
The ECFS also helped out at a children’s fishing clinic at Broderick Park on the upper Niagara River. This popular clinic had 200 plus in attendance.
The annual “Media Day” event was held on August 4th at Dunkirk harbor in Chautauqua County. This event is sponsored by the Chautauqua County tourism Bureau, The Erie County Visitors Bureau, The Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association and the Fish Advisory Board of Erie and Chautauqua Counties. Approximately 20 charter boats take out outdoor writers, politicians, and other dignitaries for a 5-hour fishing charter on Lake Erie. Once again, the great fishery in Lake Erie came through with a lot of good size walleyes being caught along with Lake Trout. One Lake Trout exceeded 16 lbs.! They then were treated to a great lunch to end the day. The purpose of this event was to promote the great fishery on Lake Erie.
I want to thank the committee for their input on this report and especially Steve Hurst, for the committee considers his input invaluable throughout the year.
Joseph Fischer, Chair of NYSCC Fish Environment Committee