The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)

DEC proposes increasing Oneida Lake walleye limit

- Oneida Lake Walleye Limit May Increase

The DEC recently released a proposed regulation to increase the daily possession of walleye on Oneida lake from the current three per day to five per day.

The population is at a record high of 1.2 million adult fish and the lower creel limit is no longer needed to protect the population. Both Cornell University and the DEC feel that a moderate reduction in walleye population is desirable to protect the perch population, and the walleye as well.

The past couple decades have seen a moderate population of 300,000 to 500,000 walleye but record year classes in six of the past ten years have led to a record number of fish. While this is great news for the fishery there can be too much of a good thing. The burgeoning population could easily have a negative impact on the yellow perch, one of the favorite prey of walleye. And if walleye numbers continue to grow, they could liter

ally “eat themselves out of house and home,” causing their numbers to crash.

Cornell University researcher­s at Shackleton Point feel that a moderate reduction in walleye numbers is desirable. DEC Fisheries personnel agree and feel that a moderate increase in harvest will achieve a stabilizat­ion in numbers.

To inform anglers of the situation and gain approval a simple survey was designed and administer­ed. Over 2,200 surveys were completed and the majority (two thirds) supported increasing the daily creel limit to five fish. The DEC is also inviting angler comment until October 17. You can email your comments to regulation­ with the subject line listing “Oneida Lake Walleye Regulation­s.”

High Water Causes Problems

The last few weeks of summer have been characteri­zed by steady, and at times heavy, rains. Fortunatel­y we have not had the devastatin­g flash floods that have occurred in areas of the south, but there has been destructiv­e flooding in some areas of the southern tier caused by heavy rains. Localized flooding has ruined roadways and caused severe damage to property.

The same type of heavy and persistent rain has caused significan­t damage in the Adirondack­s, washing out bridges and eroding trails. In many cases foot bridges are washed away leaving trails impassable. You should be very cautious about crossing streams that are high and fast from recent rainfall. Water rushing down these streams is fast and strong and the footing is very uncertain on steep, rocky mountainsi­des.

In some cases the access roads, particular­ly in the high peaks, are impassable due to washouts or damaged bridges. Check the DEC website for backcountr­y conditions for the latest listings of warnings or closures before setting out on a specific trip and possibly choose an alternativ­e.

Closer to home the water level on Oneida Lake has been very high despite the Caughdenoy Dam being open. Oneida Lake Associatio­n President John Harmon last weekend noted in a bulletin that with the significan­t water increase in the recent days that many docks were under water and people were pulling out their boats, etc. He suggested that people track water levels on the Canal Corporatio­n website (www.canals) for current water levels, weather updates, lock closures, and much more.

You can also call 315423-2094 for a recording of water levels, and hazards of floating debris, and more.

Regardless of where you are boating, remember that waves can cause significan­t damage to property along the shoreline, boats, or docks. Observe the “No Wake — 500 feet” rule and be slow along the shoreline. Also be on the lookout for floating debris and limbs which can be a hazard to boaters.

Reminder — Youth & Women Mentored Hunt Offered

As discussed in last week’s column the sportsmen and ECOS of Oneida and Madison Counties are again offering an opportunit­y for youth age 12 and up and women to learn and experience a mentored hunt for geese. This year the hunt will be the weekend of September 18 and 19 with safety and education day held on September 11.

Youngsters age 12 — 15 must have a small game license and a H.I.P. number.

Youngsters age 16 and up and women must have the above and a Federal Waterfowl Stamp. Space is limited for this popular event so anyone interested should register as soon as possible.

You can check the website or contact the following for forms or any questions: Scott Faulkner — sfcf@, or 315,225-0192. Steven Lakeman —, or 315-734-0648. Ricardo Grisolini — Ricardogri­, or 607316-2574

Trashing the Outdoors

The past two years have seen a big increase in people using the outdoors in New York State. In one way this is a good thing; it means that more people are getting outside and hiking, fishing, paddling, boating, hunting, or otherwise finding ways to enjoy all that New York State has to offer. But the bad news is that litter, trash, abuse, vandalism, and crime are increasing disproport­ionately. As that old Pogo cartoon from the 1970s bluntly put it — “We have met the enemy and it is us.”

Let’s be honest, these have always been a problem but the amount and scale of these problems is unpreceden­ted in recent years. In fact it seemed that in recent years things were improving and a new ethic was evolving. But the last two years have seen a rise in these problems that cannot be explained by numbers alone.

As more people wanted to get outside after the COVID lockdown and restrictio­ns of the previous months the problems increased at a rate that few people had foreseen.

Yes, it is true that more people getting outdoors would increase the likelihood and amount of overuse, abuse, and trash, etc. In many cases we realize that the people using the trails, campsites, launch sites, etc. are new to outdoor sports and do not have the “outdoors ethic.” But you have to believe that they can read signs, have common sense, or would have a sense of right and wrong.

Many people believe that a lot has to do with anti-social attitudes common or exhibited in society today. There is an abundance of selfishnes­s, meanness, uncaring, and similar attitudes in society today. Look at the attitudes exhibited by many people the past two years re. the issues posed by the COVID pandemic. The same misguided, erroneous, self-centered beliefs about masks, vaccinatio­ns, etc. permeate all of society.

If somebody has the anarchist idea that “their freedom” allows them to infect others with a deadly disease, why would they care about obeying rules or laws about leaving trash, trampling endangered plants on the High Peaks, parking in no-parking zones, etc.? If someone does not care about other people, can we expect them to care about the public places, nature, the environmen­t, or the experience of other people?

Crime has increased disproport­ionately. To be realistic, there has always been a problem, but the amount and magnitude has increased dramatical­ly. Some people believe that the examples of our leaders or others in high places, and the acceptance of such behavior by many people have infected our society. If it is OK for them and people don’t care, then it must be every person for themselves? Vandalism, flagrant disregard of parking or camping rules in areas — especially the High Peaks of the Adirondack­s, deliberate dumping of serious trash that has caused public beaches on Great Sacandaga Lake to be closed, common theft of kayaks off of vehicles parked at launch sites, major violations of fish and game laws, hunting accidents, and of course the mountains of trash or vandalism at public access areas such as hiking trailheads or boat launch sites reached new levels.

Certainly not everybody engages in such deviant behavior. Mentioning this to the people who read this column is like preaching to the choir. Perhaps the majority of offenders are good people that will come around with education and more law enforcemen­t. At the very least we can set a good example, take time to politely explain the reasoning of proper behavior, and support the need for enforcemen­t to groups that we belong to. Remember the words of Mohandas Gandhi: “It is better to walk alone than follow the crowd going the wrong way.”

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