• L. Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, 2 Lines???

    Posted on February 4th, 2011 admin No comments
    Would Jim Huftanel have caught this $20,000 LOC Derby GP winner in 2006, if he, Bill Bouck, and I hadn't been running 6 lines?

    Would Jim Huftanel have caught this $20,000 LOC Derby GP winner in 2006, if he, Bill Bouck, and I hadn't been running 6 lines?

    Here’s something that has always bugged me!  When I fish on Lake Michigan, I can troll for trout and salmon with three lines.  BUT…, on Lake Ontario, I’m restricted to two lines.  If my buddy and I fish L. Michigan together in the summer, we can run a nice, effective spread…, two riggers, two Dipsys, and two copper lines off the boards, giving us a great chance to have a successful day.  Do the same on Lake Ontario and you’ll pay some hefty fines, if you get caught.

     I’ve fished L. Ontario since 1977.  I started chartering part time in 1982 and full time since 1988.  In those 34 years of fishing the lake, talking to other charter captains, and speaking with many guys fishing out of their own boats, I have never been able to figure out why New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation does not allow anglers to troll for trout and salmon with three lines instead of two??? 

    So maybe I’m not very smart, right?  Well there must be a lot of anglers in the same boat, because in all the conversations I’ve had with charter captains and guys who fish out of their own boats, they’ve never been able to give me a single reason for the two line reg, either.

    One thing is for sure…, the use of three lines per angler instead of two, increases an angler’s chance for success.  You know the deal, Pete and Mike trailer their 21-footer up to L. Ontario from somewhere in NY or PA or somewhere, launch in Oswego Harbor and go out trolling for browns.  They can only run four rods, 2 each, so they set a couple riggers and a couple planer board rods with spoons and stickbaits or whatever for browns.  They could easily fish three planer board lines from each planer board and four riggers, but the law doesn’t allow it.  They aren’t doing a thing with their four lines, meanwhile watching “Get ‘em Charters”  catching fish next to them, and are working hard to find what the browns want, with no luck.

    You know and I know that if they could run six lines instead of four, they would have a better chance of catching fish.  Instead, they don’t do well.  They bought their nonresident fishing licenses, hauled there boat that day all the way from hell and gone and paid big bucks for gas, a motel, meals, etc., etc., and were not successful.  Discouraging?  Yes?  Maybe they’ll be back, maybe they won’t.  But…, if they had caught fish and had a successful trip, the chance of them returning would certainly be greater.

    Why are they restricted to only two lines?  Would they harvest too many brown trout if they had fished three lines?  Heck, no.  The creel limit is only three fish per man.  Are brown trout overharvested in Lake Ontario?  Check the NYSDEC’s creel census data, and you’ll see that isn’t the case.  The same thing is true of all other species of trout and salmon in Lake Ontario.

    Well, what about L. Michigan?  Has the 3 lines per man reg hurt anything up there?  Absolutely not, from what I can tell.   They have been fishing 3 lines per man their for years.

    I’ve talked to many small boat anglers who watch charter boats with a captain, mate, and party of four persons fishing 10 lines and hammering fish while Pete and Mike struggle to catch a couple of fish with four lines, knowing they would increase their odds running three lines per person.

    I say we should all get together in 2011, give Pete and Mike and others a break,  and push for a regulation allowing three lines per person in Lake Ontario.

    Whaddayathink?

    Capt. Ernie