MANHATTAN (CN) – Veteran anglers saw some of the best fishing in decades this spring, according to a survey released Thursday by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
“It’s the best Chinook fishing I’ve seen since 1989,” Captain Vince Pierleoni, of Olcott said in a statement this morning through the DEC.
Chinook salmon numbers in the study were especially high, with fishermen reporting a catch rate from April through June 2018 that was 227 percent higher than the previous five-year average.
Defining catch rate as the number of fish caught per boat trip, the survey also found impressive numbers for brown trout and coho salmon fishing.
The catch rates for each species was 38 and 21 percent higher than their respective, previous five-year averages.
Atlantic salmon are not as populous in Lake Ontario, but their catch rates were also 73 percent above the previous five-year average, according to the survey.
For all trout and salmon species combined, the survey continues, the catch rate was more than 37 percent above the previous five-year average, surpassing the previous record high.
Chuck Parker, president of the New York State Conservation Council, emphasized that that numbers were good in 2017 as well.
“This is the second year in a row that the take of Chinook has been above average at Oswego, as reported by council members,” Parker said in a statement. “There are so many variables that can and do affect the quality of the fishing opportunities we have. We at the NYSCC recognize that the science-based management practices of the DEC’s Bureau of Fisheries are an integral force in sustaining the New York’s world class Lake Ontario fishery.”
The lake’s prowess was born out this May at the trout and salmon spring derby for Lake Ontario Counties where Daniel Manti, of Cortland, took home the $15,000 grand prize with a 28.1-pound Chinook salmon fished from Oswego.
A top fishing spot nationwide, Lake Ontario covers more than 2.7 million acres including its embayments and tributaries.
New York says the lake’s fisheries bring more than $112 million annually to local economies.
The statement also includes input from Captain Bob Songin of Pt. Breeze.
“The fishing out of Wilson Harbor to the Niagara River has been spectacular, with many Chinook and coho salmon hitting as well as the occasional lake trout mixed in,” Songin said.