Author Topic: Hatcheries  (Read 1186 times)

Offline Bobís Boat

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Hatcheries
« on: July 10, 2020, 08:22:44 pm »
Hello all. Just a thought. I wish we had a Pickeral hatchery like we use to in Midland and a hatchery for Salmon. I am sure we as fishermen and fisher ladies would be happy to volunteer as my wife and I would gladly help. As fishing people donít we need to help the fish population as the Americans do for Lake Ontario and the Native people do in Parry Sound. I fully understand the reprocussions of netting with commercial fishing. What do we need to do to help our fishery now for the future.   Any ideas ?   Blame our Government for letting our fishery down.   What a shame. I canít even take my Grandkids to catch a perch.     Thanks for reading my thoughts.     Bob.

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Offline awbringl

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Re: Hatcheries
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2020, 05:23:37 pm »
Hey Bob.  I have asked the same question specifically about pickerel/walleye and a robust hatchery/stocking program on GB / Lk Huron.  I have emailed various MNRF personnel and local contacts with no success or real definitive information from them except to say that their primary focus is on Lake Trout stocking to restore the "native top predator fish in the Bay".  Not to be negative, but from the discussion and correspondence I've had, I am not getting my hopes up for a pickerel/walleye stocking program.

Sorry if this is long winded, and I don't mean to hijack your thread, but thought you may find it interesting.  I posted the msg below on another site recently: 

I have been emailing (bugging) MNR staff about walleye stocking in Lake Huron and Georgian Bay ever since they made the decision to reduce/stop the salmon stocking programs and focus only on "native species" that are "top predators". As most of us know, "native species/top predators" is MNR lingo for Lake Trout... Their primary focus has been on stocking Lakers. My rationale, and reason for 'bugging' them is that walleye are also native to Lake Huron/G.Bay and also represent a top predator, are an incredibly popular sport fish, sought after by most/many anglers, and are much better on the plate than a greasy lake trout.

My personal take on Lake Trout, the Govt. stocking Program, and laker fishery:

The Govt. uses tax dollars (i.e., some of which comes from you and me) to stock lake trout. At first glance, this seems great right? Keep a healthy population and strong fishery right?.... The stocked lake trout are netted heavily on Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. They are netted by those with a commercial fishing license, which is pretty much restricted to Native commercial fishermen. No problem with that I suppose - they need to make a living too and I have no interest in becoming a commercial fisherman... The netted lake trout, that were stocked by the Govt. using tax dollars, are then sold at markets and commercially for our consumption. Seems good right? Our MNR, in addition to stocking the lakers, also produce/publish the Fish Consumption Guide (Eating Ontario Fish) on an annual basis. Guess which fish species is kinda/basically/essentially NOT recommended for our consumption - LAKE TROUT. You can eat a couple, just not on a regular basis, and not too many at once, or not too many per week, and certainly the Govt. don't recommend eating any that are of any decent size. Based on our Govt's advisories, you can eat lots that are 6" to 8" long (maybe if you catch a bunch in your minnow trap), and oh by the way don't eat any that are about 24" or bigger (so, the target size that most fishermen would be looking for). And definitely don't eat any if you are a woman or a child/teenager....again, this is from the Govt. consumption advisory - I'm not making it up.

So, what am I trying to say?? Basically, the Govt. has adopted a Lake Trout stocking program using tax dollars so that Lake Trout can be dumped into the lake, mostly be netted by the commercial fishermen, and then sold back to us to eat (great business for those who have the license to net the Govt. provided fish and sell them to the general public), and of course some are caught by sport fishermen.... but then they do not recommend eating them.

take tax $$$ - stock - net - sell to you and me at the market - advise you and me not to eat - take tax $$$ - REPEAT.... Make sense?

Offline Bobís Boat

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Re: Hatcheries
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2020, 06:44:18 pm »
Hello Awbring. That is a very good article and thanks for reading my post. You are 100% correct sir. I totally agree with your article. I always thought that Pickeral were the # 1 game fish. Try to catch one now that you can keep. They all seem like there in the slot size 🎣. I think we shouldíve ad a Pickeral hatchery years ago. Our Govít is definitely to blame for this. Even Lake Nippissing has a hatchery and that is a small Lake compared to GB. I thing we had a hatchery on Ogdens Beach Rd many many years ago until the Govít quit sponsoring it.  Not sure of the correct address ? I actually gave up fishing for Pickeral in GB. some years ago. My wife and I used to love going fishing but it seems now we just go for a boat ride. Thanks very much again Awbring. Shoot me off an e mail sometime.   Good fishing to all.       Bob D.

Offline MarkD

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Re: Hatcheries
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2020, 02:36:35 pm »
It has been recently discussed on this forum the situation with salmon stoking. See thread 'Salmon spoons'.
I think there are two different problems.
First is commercial fishing (netting) on GB.
The second is stoking program.
On the first one I could simply say that any commercial fishing on GB should be banned. Regardless, by native or any others.  (As additional note: The current Prime Minister once said that ' A Canadian is the Canadian'. Seems like he was a bit wrong. The Indian Canadians are quite more Canadians than the others)
On the second one: it is obvious that MNR is just knuckle under the common social hype that everything native is good and everything which is not just bad. Without any analysis or just common sense.
But as was discussed numerous times previously, for both problems there is no light to resolve/fix them in the nearest future. MNR seems to be just deaf to the voices of those whom they are supposed to serve (not just fine for wrongdoings).
I had some hope that with the new conservative government that could be changed. But it seems like MNR is quite robust, steady and firm to their own policies and points of view.

Offline Bobís Boat

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Re: Hatcheries
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2020, 05:48:18 pm »
Perfectly said Mark. I think we should be putting back future stocks before the bowl is empty. Everyone knows what commercial fishing does or does not do ? Sure would be nice to raise our own fingerlings in the Midland area. Thanks for responding to my post and a great read. Good Ickes fishing.    Bobís Boat.

Offline John Kendell

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Re: Hatcheries
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2020, 12:01:49 pm »
Sadly hatcheries are not a quick fix or long term solution to our fishery.  I think the vast majority agree commercial fishing on the bay is nuts and should be curtailed.  And I've heard numerous reports of steelhead and chinook being caught in numbers in nets.  Plus the intense stocking of lake trout that adds pressure on baitfish and likely reduces food for other species.  The lake trout bellies I have looked at this season have often had 50+ small smelt in them.

Regarding salmon, stocking the bay now is almost pointless unless the goal is to develop a very localized fishery around a tributary with poor reproduction (which would be 4-6 weeks in late summer).  Recent studies show almost all salmon are wild in the bay.  It's no surprise seeing the explosion of chinook returning to the Notty in the late 90's and to this day, plus growing runs in the Beaver and Bighead.  Survival rates of stocked salmon are extremely low due to competition from wild salmon fry so the cost:benefit ratio is very high.  The decline of the fall salmon fishery in Owen Sound from the hay day of the late 80's and 90's that was supported by SSA's stocking is an example.  Bottom line is dumping 100,000 chinook fry would do virtually nothing in terms of fish in the box 3-4 years later.  Sadly MNRF has no staff, money (or much interest) in looking at chinook reproduction rates/fry production.  But adult returns to the Notty suggest wild fry numbers are astronomical.  On a positive, returns to the Beaver the past 2 falls have been the largest I have ever seen on that system going back to 1988 when the first salmon appeared.  The down side is fishing is very slow compared to Lake O.  SSA's salmon stocking created our amazing fishery, but nature has taken over management.  The impact of Zebra muscles and cleaner water also have direct impacts on numbers of fish and fish size.  As a kid in the 70's the millions of 5-6" alewives that came up in Meaford and Collingwood harbour from our prop wash was insane.  It's been 15-20 years since I found an alewife in a salmon's stomach up here.  The last couple years NYSDEC have estimated 20-50 million wild chinook being produced from the Salmon River each spring.  They only stock 300-500k in that river and 1.2 million total in NY waters and Ontario about 500k.  They had planned to start a new marking program to better understand the ratio of wild fish this year.  Thus our best option for improved salmon fishing on Gbay is MNRF to reduce lake trout stocking (unlikely due to the native specie band wagon).  The commercial fishery for lakers and whitefish may actually increase salmon numbers by removing other prey fish - such a conundrum.

I can't speak to walleye hatcheries as much.  However the Servern Sound walleye population did crash in the 1960's and over harvest was likely the cause.  Once slot limits and lower limits came in (1990's?) the population grew substantially.  Back in the late 70's and early 80's they were pretty rare to catch. 

Sadly MNRF has very little money for proper assessment and are managing the fishery on a shoestring budget with minimal staff.  There are some awesome people in the MNRRF, but there are some that are not in touch with anglers or reality of our fishery. 

On the bright side the chinooks seem larger and fat this year - good news for the next couple years of rigging.


Offline MarkD

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Re: Hatcheries
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2020, 04:30:42 pm »
As for commercial fishing, I don't see many efforts from different organisation - like OFAH and local fishing clubs - to stop it. It is certainly more fun to raise fish and do stoking than deal with MNR policies and push them to right direction but thinking of result - it is obviously, that stopping commercial netting would do much more than any stocking program.

John, you say that stoking salmon is pointless and that all returning to the rivers salmon is wild... May be.
But comparing to LO: what makes LO so good salmon fishing? - not extensive stoking program and absence of commercial fishing?
I don't have much trust to most of biological studies especially if they contradict common sense. Most of the scientific studies nowadays are performed with very poor methodological background so I would rather believe in common sense than in strange scientific observation.

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The commercial fishery for lakers and whitefish may actually increase salmon numbers by removing other prey fish - such a conundrum.
I'm sure no commercial fishing would target specific species and release salmons... Whatever they get in the net they sell it...
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Sadly MNRF has very little money for proper assessment and are managing the fishery on a shoestring budget with minimal staff.
It's not really about money. It's mostly about wrong policies.

Offline John Kendell

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Re: Hatcheries
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2020, 05:51:59 pm »
I'm pretty sure MNRF bought out the non-native licenses about a decade ago.  The local bands have treaty rights and every government agency is scared to death to touch it.  That is sadly a much bigger nationwide debate and I doubt will be solved for a long time.  And yes, I have heard of nets set off the mouth of Meaford harbour in November and reports of cube frozen chinooks (20 years ago) found in ditches near Own Sound.  No question the nets catch and kill all sorts of fish.  I read a recent article in one of the area magazines about a huge sturgeon being kept and killed in the nets off Giant's Tomb.  Thought they were protected...guess not.

I have worked with past politicians and senior mnrf staff - money is a huge issue.  70-80% of the fish and wildlife budget comes from licenses.  Hoping this government changes it, but after the debt from Covid-19 its unlikely.  But yes, the policy of native fish first (and only) in most cases is a serious hurdle to salmon and bows/browns, too.

For Lake O, the great fishery has much more to do with more plankton, bait fish and carrying capacity.  I know both the MNRF and the NYSDEC managers - they both fish and care deeply about the fishery there.  They are also worried in terms of a bait fish crash.  We still have massive schools and one huge year class of alewives holding up the fishery.  If it disappears the lake could see trouble.  When it comes to data, I'd say 80% comes from NYSDEC because they have a larger and focused budget.  Luckily they share info with our guys.  (Our guys have to get info from Michigan and Huron and Lake Michigan are not exactly Gbay.

The long time heavy stocking of Lake Ontario has been the backbone for years, until the last 15 years when natural reproduction took hold there too.  It took longer (my best guess is due to alewives being a main food source so adaptation to overcome thiamine took longer).  Up here the salmon had other food sources.  First evidence of wild salmon on Gbay was 1989 found on shoals near Manitoulin (SSA stocking only started in 1984, although there were fish in Huron from the US side for 20 years prior). 

Look at the eastern GTA rivers (Ganaraska, Bowmanville, Wilmot, etc).  They have insane runs of salmon and they are 99% wild.  Those systems went from very few chinook to 10,000+ per small river.  The NYSDEC/MNRF adipose clipping study in 2010-12 era showed roughly 50% wild chinooks in Lake Ontario at the time.  Salmon River, NY returns (which gets half NY's stocking and is home to the hatchery) saw wild chinook returns of 40-70% in that period, depending on the year.  Back then they estimated 5-10 million wild fry.  Now they estimate 20-50 million - from that one river!

Our local rivers (Bighead, Beaver, Notty) have never been stocked with salmon.  Only major source was SSA in Owen Sound to the Sydenham and Pot.  I think GTAA did stock chinooks a few years in the Pretty in small numbers.  Bighead and Beaver have decent runs and have had good runs since around 1990.  Started with a few dozen strays and now nature took over.  The Notty on the other hand is the backbone of the Gbay salmon population.  It was rare to see/hear of a salmon prior to 92 in there.  The big runs started in 97 with jacks and exploded in 98-2002.  In 2000 I counted over 5000 chinooks on one farm on the Pine.  I went from never seeing a chinook hooked in 1990 at Knox road to landing over 50 in one morning in 2002 myself and hitting several hundred that year under a float in the slow water.  Runs have dropped dramatically after the population crashed in the 2004-8 period.  Too many fish, not enough food.  Nature finds a way.  And now with a major boost in smelt the salmon seem to be getting larger and more plentiful.  But it will never return to the 98-02 period unless the bottom of the food chain returns.  That would require more phosphorous, no zebra muscles, and a lot of luck.

The other impact is reduced survival of hatchery fish.  Back in 1985 we all assumed a 10% return on stocking and by all accounts we got it in Lake O and Owen Sound.  Now returns on Lake O are far less and up here brutally low.  Think of it like this, the lake can handle X number of salmon.  I'll say X is 20,000 adults to keep it simple.  If mother nature is pumping in 5 million fry to get 20k adults then adding 100,000 hatchery fry (even with 5 times higher survival due to larger size) results in 2,000 adults...and only leaves 18,000 wild fish - the net count is still 20k.  The issue is X can vary all over the place.  X could be 10,000 adults one year due to a bad winter killing bait fish or 50,000 another year due to a warm winter or some other factor.  My best guess for the explosion of salmon we saw and the sudden decline in size up here was the SSA stocking maybe utilized half the food.  But when the Notty over loaded the lake with baby salmon they literally ate the cupboards bare.  Lots of fish made it through years 1-2 but by year three were going hungry.  So we saw skinny fish and adults running 5-8 pounds when they had been 20-30 pounds a decade before.




Offline MarkD

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Re: Hatcheries
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2020, 12:50:46 am »
Thanks for this comprehensive response, John. Interesting reading and something new to know and think about.
A Couple of notes on that.
Of course it is obvious that our government policies on treaty rights and other "minority" issues will be impossible to change in the near future. However it does not mean we - those who see it differently from the top politicians and social hypers - should not bother them. If we do not, they would think they think and go to the right direction while it is obvious they do not.
(I'm glad to notice that with the current provincial government at least Algonquin Claim seems to be out of discussion. But I guess if the conservatives would not sustain the upcoming election this absolute nonsense will be brought to the table again.)

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I have worked with past politicians and senior mnrf staff - money is a huge issue.
I'm not sure on that.  Every government's agency would say the same: not enough funding. But the issues we are talking about here is not about something which is not enough, but about something that is wrong in it's core approach.

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For Lake O, the great fishery has much more to do with more plankton, bait fish and carrying capacity.
Whenever I ask why there is such a noticeable difference in salmon fishing between LO and GB I get the answer: because there are a lot of forage fish in LO and very little in GB. But this is not the answer to my question but rather the second part of it. Why is that?
You mentioned here "more phosphorous" and it seems to me more close to the answer. LO is surrounded by people and industries which contribute a lot of organics and minerals into the lake. GB, on the opposite, is, in the most part, just clear water and rocky bottom and shoreline. Also note: the very South of GB, with sediment bottom (which is rich in minerals and produces organics) seems to have much better fishing and holding much more fish of different species  than the bigger other side of the lake. I'm not saying in any way that I think this is the only reason, but as with all complicated problems numerous small issues contribute to a big trouble... or a big win..

I'm still puzzled about wild/stocked salmon returning to the rivers. You are saying that
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The long time heavy stocking of Lake Ontario has been the backbone for years, until the last 15 years when natural reproduction took hold there too.  eastern GTA rivers (Ganaraska, Bowmanville, Wilmot, etc).  They have insane runs of salmon and they are 99% wild
But, as far as I know, the stocking program from both sides of LO is still the same. So, it seems like now stocked fish do not return to the rivers or, as you mentioned, there is reduced survival of hatchery fish. What was changed? Fish strains? Or the technique of introducing hatchery fish into the lake? There should be an answer. And if the answer would be known then may be MNR would not switch from salmon stocking (as unsuccessful) to laker stoking (just because it is native species).

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But it will never return to the 98-02 period unless the bottom of the food chain returns.  That would require more phosphorous, no zebra muscles, and a lot of luck.
Phosphopous... Let's think about the lake as a closed system. Phosphorous, plankton, crustaceans, alewives, smelt, salmon etsc - all part of the food circle. This circulation might be changed from year to year from decade to decade from different environmental factors, but as nutritions are still there the lake should produce top predators.... Unless we, humans, take them out in huge amounts.
I've recently started to read a book by Dan Egan 'The Death and Life of the Great Lakes'. I was just shocked: millions of pounds a year of lake trout were harvested from each of the Great Lakes, decade after decade, from late 1800s to 1940s. How would that not devastate the lakes? And, again, only nutritious lakes, like Erie or Ontario would recover from that.... And we still have commercial fishing in GB...
Zebra muscles... I personally think, this is more like the easy blame for the trouble and following social perception that all invasives are bad things by default. But is it really that bad and is it the one to blame for the problems? Zebras become just part of the food chain. I've seen whitefish on lake Simcoe full of zebras. I shot a mallard packed with it on the Severn river. Yes, I heard. Salmons, unlike lakers, are not able to switch to another food source. But whitefish do. Not sure about smelt. And, again, zebras are not going anywhere from the lakes. They do not remove nutricions from the system but rather just change its state.
Personally, I'm not a big fan to blame invasives for everything. ... After all, humans are the most prominent invasive species on the planet and without any doubt the most harmful to the environment. So far, there are no plans to eliminate them or even reduce the numbers... Many invasives now just a part of the modern environment and it seems to me pointless to blame it for its presence.

Offline John Kendell

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Re: Hatcheries
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2020, 01:08:25 pm »
Mark - drop me an e-mail and we can chat privately further if you like.  [email protected].

Regarding the food web there are several factors at play for Gbay versus the lower lakes.  Gbay is closer to Superior and northern Lake Huron versus the other lakes.  Lakes fall into classes from Oligotrophic to Eutrophic.  GB is very Oligotrophic, whereas Lake O is Oligotrophic, but closer to Eutrophic and Erie is the closest to Eutrophic.  We are further north, average 2-4C cooler, slightly less sun energy.  GB is also near the top of the Great Lakes watershed.  GB water drains from area tribs, the French and Moon.  The whole north/east side drains shield areas with thin soils, mostly conifer forest and has minimal agriculture and a small human population so there is minimal nutrient input.  The 30,000 Island section has more warm water fish due to being shallow and absorbing more solar radiation and being fed by the Moon/French systems.  As that water travels to the St Lawrence it picks up nutrients and energy along the way.  Lake Michigan and south Huron have much higher nutrient levels than GB (further south, far more input from the land/agriculture/urban areas).  Lake Erie has so many nutrients in the shallow lake it has been experiencing blooms and serious threats in the 1950/60/70's and recently.  So Lake Ontario is fed with nutrient rich water but maintains the cold water fishery due to its depth.  Erie and Ontario are also flushed quickly (2.5 and 6.5 years) versus the upper lakes take much longer. 

Another change is the human release of phosphorus and other building blocks has been cut back.  Sewage plants, fertilizer and soaps were the biggies.  The lakes were being overloaded which caused algae blooms and severe damage to many lakes and rivers.  A great example is the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire and burned in 1969.  Events like that and the near total loss of Osprey and other peak predators led to changes in the 70's and 80's that have cleaned up many of our lakes.  Our lakes were a dumping ground for waste, garbage and toxins.  PCB's, Mirex and DDT among the major pollutants.  Mercury (waste and released from sediment by acid rain) is still a major toxin today. 

Zebra muscles are a part of the reason for the decline and change from the 90's to today.  I agree they are here to stay and nature adapts.  Goby eat them and this is likely why Gobys took hold a decade after Zebra muscles did.  Many other species will benefit too.  Goby IMO help re-connect the food chain.  And other species have greatly expanded recently such like smelt.  It takes time for the system to adapt.  And salmon are also finding a way.  It took them 30+ years to adapt to Lake O food, but it was faster in other lakes.  Likely the better diversity of food which resulted in lower thiamine issues allowed them to adapt faster.  There are rivers around Superior with big runs of wild coho and the explosion of chinooks in the Notty are great examples.  Massive runs of chinook and coho in the Ganny, Wilmot and Salon River that developed in the last 10-15 years shows they have adapted to Lake O too. 

The visible changes we can see are this.  I started rigging in 86/87.  I lost sight of my orange cannonball at 6 feet in Lake O, 8-10 feet off Collingwood and at 15' in Thompson's hole (20 feet by White Cloud) in 1987.  Last year I could see my black cannonball at 25-28 feet in Lake Ontario.  Last month I could clearly see bottom in 45 fow off the Pretty.  The improved water clarity is mostly from the loss of nutrients, removed by filter feeders and from reduced inputs from the land and air.  Basically, a bucket of water has far less zoo plankton today than it did 30 years ago.  There are likely stats on some of the lakes.

Lake trout were heavily exploited to the 1940's when they crashed.  I recall peak harvest was 1890-1910 though. The GLFC blames lamprey, but other research shows toxins by 1945 prevented lake trout eggs from hatching.  I'm sure lamprey were a factor, but likely over fishing and pollution were the cause of the collapse in the late 40's.  Sturgeon were also heavily exploited.  Our Great Lakes salmon fishery started around 1970 when stocking took to deal with billions of dead alewives washing on beaches in the 1960's.  Pacific salmon stocking had failed from 1870 to 1965 too.  And our steelhead fishery is believed to have started from pond escapes on the Notty in the 1880's but did not take serious hold until the 1960's.

On the bright side Kris and others have been getting good fish over by the islands.  Hopefully the salmon start showing in numbers around Collingwood soon.  That 27 km run is risky if the weather turns. 


Offline MarkD

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Re: Hatcheries
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2020, 11:31:21 am »
John, thank you again for your comprehensive response and explanations. Really interesting reading!

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The GLFC blames lamprey, but other research shows toxins by 1945 prevented lake trout eggs from hatching.  I'm sure lamprey were a factor, but likely over fishing and pollution were the cause of the collapse in the late 40's. 
 
I also doubted that lamprey was a significant factor of laker and salmon decline. I was thinking this way: if lamprey is a major factor for salmon/trout decline, then the amount of lamprey has to be comparable to the amount of the species of interest. And it should be a lot. 
And now here is my question: is there any evidence that top predator fish would prey on lamprey? I never heard about it but I don't see a reason why not? If there is a lot of lamprey around why salmon would not catch it, at least occasionally...

Yes, I also remember I came to see LO the first time when we just came to Canada some 20 years ago, the water near shore was muddy green and now it is crystal clean with the exception of garbage floating around...

So from what you say (and I also think) all scanty nutrients in northern lakes which previously were distributed along the water column are now filtered down to the bottom.
I probably now better understand why you were saying that stocking GB is not the solution...
That suggests a couple of things.
Firstly, even though many nostalgically languish the old days great salmon fishing, we are now still in a good situation which would worsen down very likely in the near future. Simply because there are no nutrients in the water column.
Secondly, it seems like there is a need to "lift" these nutrients from the bottom to the water column.
As I mentioned before, it appears that whitefish in Simcoe adapted to feed on zebras. But very likely it is the case only for relatively large, mature individuals which cannot serve as prey for top predators. However I think there should be a number of species which could prey on goby. Any thoughts on that? I mean, maybe it is really more substantiated to stock some prey fish which would able to feed on zebras/goby  rather than salmons?

Offline dustybacon

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Re: Hatcheries
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2020, 03:47:45 pm »
That could already be happening (prey species foraging on Round Goby) with Cisco. There was a paper that was just published looking at the diets of Cisco in Lake Michigan, and it turned out a large number of the Cisco captured had Round Goby in their guts (link: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342725617_Piscivory_in_recovering_Lake_Michigan_cisco_Coregonus_artedi_The_role_of_invasive_species). I'd almost think Cisco would be the best species for sustaining a small Chinook fishery in the bay since they have the ability to adapt to other sources of prey, mind it the Cisco that would be eating gobies would likely be too large for most of the salmon in the bay. But if there's good numbers of large Cisco there should be good numbers of smaller ones. And also not to say we won't see years where there's a notable uptick in Alewife and/or Smelt numbers which would definitely help increase forage for the salmon in the bay (as well as for the Steelhead and Lake Trout), mind it I suspect these won't be long-lived when they do happen.

Offline Bobís Boat

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Re: Hatcheries
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2020, 09:36:08 pm »
Thanks very much to all the people who replied to my original topic. ( Hatcheries )  I really appreciate your comments as other people do as well. I guess we all agree on the commercial fishery.  My own personal thought is this:  Lake O fishing is so good because they stock it heavily especially on the American side.  Not sure about the Ontario side. Yes I totally understand about the bait fish. I know of 1  commercial operation on GB  caught a 36Ē Pickeral in there nets and ate it on board for lunch. True story.Not sure what we can do to enjoy our hobby. Just my own thoughts;  I think a hatchery would help Is it true that  Collingwood stalked 300,000 Lake trout last year ?  Why not salmon instead.Good luck to all and again. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.          Bob D.

Offline John Kendell

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Re: Hatcheries
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2020, 10:59:47 pm »
Thanks for the article Dusty Bacon.  I suspect various species are figuring out the Goby food source.  I've read lakers and steelhead have,  and I'm sure chinook will in certain seasons.  We seem to have a huge bump in smelt in recent years on Gbay so that plus large herring may be bolstering the larger salmon we are now seeing. 

Offline MarkD

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Re: Hatcheries
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2020, 02:54:21 pm »
Indeed, an interesting article. Thanks, dustybacon!
And I am actually surprised. It seems to me that whitefish are much more bottom feeders (lips down) compared to cisco (lips up) to be able to feed on goby.

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I suspect various species are figuring out the Goby food source. I've read lakers and steelhead have,  and I'm sure chinook will in certain seasons.
It is no surprise for lakers as they, at least in 'internal' lakes, tend to browse near the structures. Steelhead probably has much capability by its nature, since the species is able to live in different environments (from creeks to ocean). But I'm not sure about chinook, though. It seems to have much less possibilities for adaptation.
As I could understand, round goby originally from coastal relatively shallow waters. Does anybody aware how much deep goby is found in Simcoe and Great Lakes?

John, I guess you are familiar with numbers. What was MNR stocking list for salmons previously and how much is stocked now by non-government organisations. Would be interesting to compare.
Also, as you said that simple stocking is not the solution for salmons replenishing (and it does appear like that), do you know if any organisations are considering something else, like forage fish stocking, for example?