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Recreational Fishery Survey of Sodus Bay (2008-2009)

Abstract

Sodus Bay

A one year recreational fishery survey was conducted on Sodus Bay from April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009. A roving-roving survey design was used to estimate angling effort, catch, and harvest for three fishing seasons during the 2008-09 fishing year. During a total of 231 survey days (205 daytime, 26 May-July nighttime) creel survey agents conducted 3,268 interviews, which comprised 6,973 anglers who fished 24,988 hours. The average party size was 2.1 anglers. Anglers interviewed from complete trips on average fished for 5.2 hours.

It is estimated that anglers fished Sodus Bay for approximately 59,560 angler hours from 11,410 boat trips, and 97,730 angler hours from 24,254 shore angler trips, during the daytime. Anglers fished Sodus Bay at night for approximately 1,940 angler hours from 372 boat trips, and 2,126 angler hours from 958 shore angler trips. During the survey, ice fishing was recorded as shore fishing. The majority of the daytime shore fishing effort took place during 76 days of safe ice from December 14, 2008 to March 14, 2009. Boat fishing accounted for most of the open water (April through November) fishing season. Yellow perch fishing accounted for about 17% of the total estimated daytime boat fishing effort, 74% of the daytime shore fishing effort, and nearly all of the effort in December through March. Forty two percent of the estimated daytime boat fishing effort was directed at bass, followed by fishing for anything (19%). Fishing for anything made up approximately 11% of the daytime shore effort, followed by panfish (9%). Fishing for bass accounted for 57% of the estimated nighttime boat fishing effort, followed by pike (20%), anything, and walleye (9% each). Thirty percent of the nighttime shore fishing effort was for anything, followed by bullhead (26%), and panfish (21%).

An estimated 783,290 panfish were caught from Sodus Bay for a catch rate of 4.9 fish per angler hour. Slightly less than one third, or 237,370 panfish, were harvested (1.5 per angler hour). Most of the panfish catch was yellow perch, where an estimated 619,380 were caught (3.8 per angler hour) and 192,490 were harvested (1.2 per angler hour). About two thirds of the yellow perch caught and harvested came through the ice. An estimated 75,350 warm water gamefish were caught from Sodus Bay for a catch rate of 0.47 fish per angler hour. It is estimated that only 3,260 warm water gamefish were harvested (0.02 per angler hour). Ninety two percent of the warm water gamefish catch was comprised of largemouth bass. An estimated 69,120 were caught at a rate of 0.43 per hour, only 2,430 were kept (0.02 per angler hour), and 63% of the largemouth bass released were legal sized. An estimated 106 walleye (<0.01 per angler hour) were caught, 59 (56%) were creeled and 55% of the walleye released were legal sized. Five hundred eighty northern pike and 19 walleye were caught through the ice. An estimated 10 Chinook salmon, 34 rainbow trout, and 46 brown trout were caught. All of the Chinook salmon and nearly all of the brown trout were kept. About half of the rainbow trout were released, and most of the released rainbows were legal sized.

The directed effort open water boat fishing catch rate for yellow perch was an outstanding 6.6 perch per angler hour, while the directed effort open water shore fishing catch rate for yellow perch was a similarly outstanding 7.1 perch per angler hour. The ice fishing directed effort catch rate for yellow perch was an excellent 4.4 perch per angler hour. Excellent catch rates were also observed for anglers targeting panfish, anything, gamefish, and bass. Bass anglers are taking advantage of, and generally complying with, a new off-season catch and release regulation. Angler effort targeting northern pike and walleye was comparatively low, and the directed effort catch rate of walleye was somewhat low, suggesting that despite relatively abundant populations, they are underutilized, and/or difficult to find and catch.

See full report (1.22 MB PDF)


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