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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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  #1  
Old 05-20-2013, 09:32 PM
nbstriper nbstriper is offline
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Default Stripers over run Miramichi River, considered salmon killers, whatcha' think Frank?

Frank, just about anyone that can get to right spot can catch 100, 200 even more schoolie stripers a day in the Miramichi as we speak. There are some larger fish, but I don't think many know how to target them as the fishing for stripers has been closed for ten years up until just this spring. The salmon groups are outraged at the amount of stripers. Salmon angling groups estimates are 200,000+ bass, up from approximately 2000 spawning age bass in 2002. There have been faked pictures of gutted stripers stuffed with tracking tagged salmon smolts to draw outrage from salmon anglers and put pressure on the DFO to open the retention season, which they did, for two weeks and may be opening it again in August. There will also be C&R all season. The natives want to net the river of course and are also pressuring the DFO to do this on a larger scale than will be allowed. One native fishermen has said he can put 5 gill nets out and clean the river out of stripers. I think resident anglers of the Miramichi aren't seeing the lesson to be learned... stopped keeping salmon for a few years and let them come back. They will not stop until they have decimated their striped bass population in the name of salmon conservation, ruining 10 years of work to study, conserve and restore the population. Anyone in the US ever have issues with too many stripers?

The northern New Brunswickers can have their 100s of schoolies.... Here in southern New Brunswick, I'll still take my 20-30lb average, even if its only 2-3 a day! Come on up for some bass anytime guys!
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:10 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Stripers over run Miramichi River, considered salmon killers, whatcha' think Fran

As a person who has fished for both, I have often wondered if stripers hurt the smolt salmon population. I know there have been times when great numbers of stripers in our waters occurred when we seemed to have lost salmon. But that does not make me a scientist or fishery biologist. Similarly, I have seen a lot of junk science practiced by the man on the street. The last thing we should want is a bunch of sheet-kickers telling government how to manage a fishery. And of course, as you point out, faked pictures as a means of accomplishing one's goals casts aspersions on the whole issue.

My question is has anyone ever determined the origin of this striper glut? Where do all these stripers come from? Chesepeake migrants or local spawn? What do fishery managers think regarding the preservation of Miramachi salmon? Are the stripers a cause of reduced salmon numbers? This should be a hot topic. Thanks for putting it up.
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:03 PM
nbstriper nbstriper is offline
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Default Re: Stripers over run Miramichi River, considered salmon killers, whatcha' think Fran

They are native Miramichi strain striped bass. I'm guessing from what I've read that the Dept of Fisheries and Oceans has put a lot of effort into the revitalization of striped bass numbers and have tried not to give in to political pressure from other groups to open the fishery to reduce the population. As far as salmon preservation, nothing drastic has changed in the past few years. Salmon fishing is a big money maker in the Miramichi, but according to one newspaper article about the recent opening of the striper fishery, shops are selling more tackle than ever, restaurants are busier and more kids are fishing.


The stripers will eat a smolt if it is dumb enough to swim by a bass' lips, no doubt about it, but how many get eaten is anybody's guess. The main forage species are smelt, then alewife and american shad in that river system during the spring. The striped bass and salmon co-evolved for centuries without eating each other into extinction. Now that man only killed salmon for the last ten years and left striped bass alone, is it now an issue or maybe just perceived as an issue. In New Brunswick, the fishery managers make the regulations, then groups badger their politicians during election years to change them, often with success. Bay of Fundy striped bass are no longer protected from angling during the spring spawning season, trout limits in the North have been doubled to 10 and the spring smallmouth limit was nearly increased from 0 to 10 without consulting all angling groups impacted and only put on hold until next season. Frank, the sheet kickers seem to run our fisheries.
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Old 05-22-2013, 03:15 PM
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Default Re: Stripers over run Miramichi River, considered salmon killers, whatcha' think Fran

There is a lot of error, speculation and irresponsible management in all fisheries. What we have is three groups: those who commercially benefit by taking it all now; the sheet kickers who don't have a clue who utilize some indiscript voodoo judgements; and, trained scientists who manage wildlife. The latter group are the safest but that does not mean they always know what they are doing.

Because the striper population is higher than what would be normal, the assumption is that there are too many. Next question is the salmon population at normal levels and part two of the question is if it is not normal why? What are the results of surveys, angling success or counts re the Miramichi?

This is not a private thread. Input from other members is welcome.
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Old 05-22-2013, 04:55 PM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Re: Stripers over run Miramichi River, considered salmon killers, whatcha' think Fran

For what it's worth, I've seen the same kind of eat-their-young causal inferences made with respect to striped bass and weakfish.

The crash of the striper stocks (1970s and 1980s) coincided with the greatest run of weakfish that the mid-Atlantic, in particular the mid-Atlantic states around Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, had ever seen. Delaware Bay fishermen evidently used to fill up trash cans with weakfish on a regular basis.

Then, through the 1990s and the 2000s, the striper stocks rebounded, and the weakfish declined. Where once there were weakfish everywhere but no bass, suddenly there were bass everywhere but no weakies. And just this year, there's been a resurgence of weakies, while it's apparent that the striper stocks are in trouble.

So stripers must be eating juvenile weakies, right? And vice versa?

It makes sense, huh? The only problem is that it's probably not true -- humans were almost certainly responsible for the boom-and-bust population swings of both stocks. If we could just refrain from raping ALL fish stocks, then they'd probably all be healthy.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:39 PM
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Default Re: Stripers over run Miramichi River, considered salmon killers, whatcha' think Fran

I hear your logic, Chris. But I can tell you don't quite buy into a causal relationship between the declines of the two species. I don't know either but I suspect that species' decline is never going to be explained that easily. These fish are always exhibiting population shift and no one has ever been able to explain. We touch upon it when we measure a big YOY in juvinile rivers but other than that it is all a big mystery. What I want to know, and it is more to the point of the thread, are striper and Atlantic salmon populations in the Miramachi inversely proportional? Surely fisheries managers in NB are not seeing any salmon decline due to striper encroachment or they would open up striper fishing to the masses. Surely, the Atlantic salmon of NB have a lot of clout. Stripers in NB are for the unwashed.
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:45 PM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Re: Stripers over run Miramichi River, considered salmon killers, whatcha' think Fran

It's my understanding that the St.Johns, Mirimichi and a few other rivers do have a base of broodstock stripers. While salmon fishing we often took stripers as far north as the Nipisiget and another river in the Bathurst area. I have friends who live down in southern New Brunswick and they are avid Striper fishermen. Given the chance, I'm sure DFO will protect both stocks.
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:20 AM
nbstriper nbstriper is offline
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Default Re: Stripers over run Miramichi River, considered salmon killers, whatcha' think Fran

Salmon populations have wildly fluctuated in the past few years in the Miramichi. 2011 had very good returns of 30,000+ fish, but 2012 was probably somewhere around 1/3rd of that. Smolt survival seems to be the issue that has everyone wanting a striper cull, especially in the wake of last season's poor salmon fishing. I'll have to do some digging to see if there are even any numbers for striper populations from years past. There should be some estimates from the last 10-12 years. It would be interesting to see if there is any correlation. In my area, the Bay of Fundy, there are very few salmon and few stripers, yet 3hrs drive north, they are both abundant in the Gulf of St Lawrence. Your right about salmon having clout! Oddly enough, early settlers threw the salmon on their gardens for fertilizer and ate the striped bass....how things have changed in 200-300 years.
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:24 AM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Re: Stripers over run Miramichi River, considered salmon killers, whatcha' think Fran

Quote:
Originally Posted by nbstriper View Post
Your right about salmon having clout! Oddly enough, early settlers threw the salmon on their gardens for fertilizer and ate the striped bass....how things have changed in 200-300 years.
After 1775, the start of the American Revolution, many of the New England colonists who were still loyal to the British crown, fled to Canada, especially Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. They were brought up on Striped Bass and to a lesser extend on Atlantic salmon and brought a taste for both with them.
BillH
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:53 AM
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Default Re: Stripers over run Miramichi River, considered salmon killers, whatcha' think Fran

When we fished the Maine's Penobscot salmon fishermen hooked an occasional striper and they were wildly disappointed when they saw that they did not have a salmon. To a salmon fisherman a striper is the lowest form of life.
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Old 03-15-2014, 01:41 PM
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Default Re: Stripers over run Miramichi River, considered salmon killers, whatcha' think Fran

How the heck could a thread like this ever die?
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:49 PM
musselbed musselbed is offline
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Default Re: Stripers over run Miramichi River, considered salmon killers, whatcha' think Fran

Back when the salmon and the bass were thriving and "we" were not in the picture things probably worked just fine. These fish are migrating Chesapeake fish, if, and I say if there are any spawning populations that far north they are not very big. It would be very easy to tell if they're migrating fish, test to see if there is any male fish among them. Male fish don't migrate far or grow very large.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:51 AM
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Default Re: Stripers over run Miramichi River, considered salmon killers, whatcha' think Fran

You have a point, Jack. Such determinations could be even more sophisticated if DNA technology were used to identify river specific populations. I don't really know but Canadian authorities seem to feel they have their own striper populations in the Maritimes. I have always had the feeling that not enough is known about river specific striper populations. Its all voodoo junk science from amateurs ...... like us.
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:24 AM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Re: Stripers over run Miramichi River, considered salmon killers, whatcha' think Fran

NB, After reading your original post, I searched the internet and found nothing about the Miramichi River salmon/striper issue more recent than last year. I was surprised not to find more from ASF, the river salmon associations or your DFO about the present situation.

From the 1970s throug the 1990s, while working to support our failed restoration efforts on the Merrimack River, I did a lot of work with the biologists in the field. One of the many factors which made that river restoration a failure was the fact that the Merrimack has a big influx of Striped bass and Bluefish into the estuary every Spring. Don?t let anyone kid you; stripers and blues will feed on salmon smolts at every opportunity they are given.


It appears to me that your DFO made a very determined effort to build up the striper populations in the Miramichi and a few other rivers because they provided good fishing for many more folks than do Atlantic salmon. For many years, DFO yielded to the wishes of the Atlantic Salmon Federation and other salmon interests and disregarded other species and those that fish for them in the salmon rivers. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. I hope you will keep us posted.
BillH
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:58 AM
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Default Re: Stripers over run Miramichi River, considered salmon killers, whatcha' think Fran

Never forget that commercial fishing at sea in staging areas has impacted salmon populations to a yet unknown level. The Danes know where the salmon live and can get them. But I don't know if there are protections in place today to prevent high seas fisheries. Maybe one of our "looker-uppers" can find out.

Slightly off, there is no fish, no experience, to compare with Atlantic salmon!
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