What’s it going to take to rid Skaneateles Lake of walleye, which were illegally stocked?
Or, should the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which manages the fishery, even bother?
That was the subject of a heated discussion at a “State of Skaneateles Lake” meeting held last week at Homer Elementary School.
Emily Zolleg-Horan, an aquatic biologist with the DEC’s Region 7 office in Cortland, reviewed an estimate of when the fish was illegally stocked in the lake, the ramifications of a steadily growing population in the lake – and six approaches how to deal with them.
Zolleg-Horan said that back in 2010 those participating in the DEC’s Angler Diary program on lake starting noticing a downturn in the numbers of rainbow trout being caught. DEC was unsure why that was happening in a lake, heralded as the one of the best rainbow trout fishery in the state.
There had been rumors of walleye, a toothy gamefish which are highly desired by anglers because of the taste of their meat, have been n the lake for years, but scant evidence. She noted fishermen reported one caught in 2016 and another, in 2017.
The DEC finally realized what it was up against, she said, when a 2017 netting survey on the lake produced 45 walleye, representative of at least five, year classes of fish and proof positive that walleye were successfully spawning in the lake. She said it appears the fish have been in the lake as many as 10 years to date. Who illegally put them there is not known.
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