WELCOME TO BLACK LAKE, NY - A FRESHWATER FISHERMAN'S PARADISE

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 Post subject: Slot Limit on Bass?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:16 pm 
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Location: Western New York
Hi all. I'm a newly registered member on the forum, but have been looking in on it for several years now. I have been fishing Black Lake for over 20 years and one thing I have always enjoyed is the quality of bass (especially large mouth) in the lake. I fish many other bodies of water, and while my catch rates are often comparable, the sizes are no where close to Black Lake. I truly do believe that the 15'' minimum is doing the lake a lot of good.

Though I hear many people claim they do not keep any bass, it is obvious to me that many bass are taken from the lake each year. I base this on the fact that a majority of the bass I catch are between 14.5'' and 15'' -just under the legal limit. Now with that said, please don't think that I am complaining about only catching dozens of 15'' bass. We catch plenty of hogs as well, and even if we didn't, a fishing trip full of 15'' bass is reward enough.

I keep some fish every time I come up, that's another thing I like about Black Lake. The bass taste great! I have never had a bad fillet from a B.L.B (Black Lake Bass). What I don't like to see though, are the 20+ inchers at the cleaning stations. For one, they don't taste as good and are harder to fillet, and two, those are some great fish (and great breeders) that we all would love to catch over and over.

I try to hold myself (and my fishing buddies) to a code. We keep a few bass every trip up, but make sure they are 15-17''. Fish of that size seem to have the perfect fillet on them. It can take a bass many years to reach 17+ inches. I would rather let the big ones go to fight another day. They have proven to be the "survivors" of their age class, and as such, I would rather they pass on their genes over and over again than be in my frying pan. I have missed out on bringing some BLB home before because I chose to throw a 17'' back rather than keep it, but I think it's worth it in the end.

Ultimately, it is every person right to decide what to keep and what to throw back (as long as they are of the legal size to begin with) and I would never criticize a fellow fisherman (except maybe a close fishing buddy) for keeping a legal fish. I can't help wonder though what the fishing might be like if an upper limit was placed on the Bass of Black Lake. How many big fish could our Lake really grow?

Good Luck out there. Keep those line wet!

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 Post subject: Re: Slot Limit on Bass?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:03 pm 
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LW welcome to the club. Your feeling about a slot limit is not a new idea. I think it would be a move to increase the size of the overall fishery. I and my fishing party release the big ones. Just because the Fish and Game limits say daily catch limit, that doesn't mean the lake won't suffer if every fisherman took a 5 fish limit every day all season long. There are some people of the mindset that say "The law says I can, so I will". These are the same people that see a speed limit sign that says 55 and they drive that speed if the road is dry, or snow covered. There is no room in the equation for common sense. I hope the lake is still there for my Grandchildren and beyond. If more people think and acted like yourself we have a good chance of achieving that goal.

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 Post subject: Re: Slot Limit on Bass?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:31 am 
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Line Wetter, welcome and well said!!!

I have been a proponent of slot limits for years, for the exact reasons you stated.

Even though Black Lake is a healthy lake, it won't be able to keep up with over-harvest forever.

Black Lake is weird .... it's the only lake I know of anywhere in the US that has soooo many camps and rentals on it. Because it is a destination lake, visitors tend to fish hard and take lots of fish home.

Some of the more accessible lakes in Canada had the same issue in the 80s. Once the gov't there figured it out and implemented slot limits, conservation licenses, and lower creel limits ... things got a lot better. But it took 15 years to do so.

Camps .... what are you gonna do? The community can't survive without them. The amazing fishing can't survive with them.

Oh well, it's still the best fishing I know of anywhere south of Canada.


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 Post subject: Re: Slot Limit on Bass?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:46 am 
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Location: Hammond, NY
The trouble with a slot limit is they can also be confusing...I like the new regulation in Florida for their statewide size limit which just became effective July 1st...5 bass any size, but only 1 can be over 16"....In other words, they want those who are going to take bass, to take the small ones, even if they are only 8'' long...they are actually beginning to explore the possibility that catch and release is becoming too popular...that yes, you can actually have to many bass in a lake...where the bigger bass cannot compete with smaller ones for available forage...tournament directors have to obtain an exemption from the statewide limit which allows those guys to carry their biggest 5 on just those specific days of the tournament.

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 Post subject: Re: Slot Limit on Bass?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:25 am 
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That is an interesting concept, and one that is similar to some creel limits for inland trout streams in areas of New York. However, I think it is very difficult to compare a Florida bass lake with one from Northern NY. For one, bass grow like crazy down there and may only take a couple years to reach a foot. Up north, it can take several more, and then slows down even more from there. Second, (I'm not sure of this so correct me if I'm wrong) I would bet that there are fewer voracious predators in those lakes down south (minus the gators I guess) compared to the pike and muskie in Black Lake. I could see where catch and release would encourage overpopulation and "stunting" in a lake with no prominent top end predators. Based on my observations and MrSimon's comments, I don't think there is an issue with catch and release becoming too popular on Black Lake. Many people (like myself) come up for only a weekend or two every year, and when they do, they fish long and hard, and keep a couple meals worth while there. If there weren't enough people taking fish from the lake, my guess is that the pike and muskie would do the clean-up for us.

Keep those Lines WET!

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 Post subject: Re: Slot Limit on Bass?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 11:52 am 
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Slot Limits on Bass - Size limits - Legal seasons - The problem is really about people who violate the law no matter what it is in any area of the country. As for the proper means of control lets let Nature balance it out. I'm willing to bet that Mother Nature can do a lot better job than all the DEC laws put together. Again - emphasis should be put on the violaters. Heavy fines and taking away of privilages should be the norm. Fish & Game laws can only do so much. Catch & Release


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 Post subject: Re: Slot Limit on Bass?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:13 pm 
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This topic has definitely been beaten to death on here but it is an important discussion. I think a lot of it comes down to what type of bass fishery most people prefer. If you want to be able to catch numerous decent sized bass then the 15 inch limit is probably an ok regulation. If you want a fishery that produces trophy sized fish then it probably isn't so great. The main thing I don't like about the 15 inch limit is on the few occasions when I want to keep a couple bass I would rather be keeping ones smaller then 15 inches. The smaller ones taste better and on average have less favorable genes then the larger ones. .

If I had to come up with my own proposal I would create a slot limit of being able to keep bass only in the 12-15 inch range with one fish per day greater then say 20 inches. It would be hard to regulate but in a perfect world reserve the 20+ inch size for mounting only or say 1 hour possession to show off at the shore or for the yearly biggest fish tournaments people have. Give a ticket to anyone caught cleaning a fish larger. There aren't many large bass tournaments on Black Lake anyways but you could simply give a temporary exemption to the slot limit if you have proof of being in a tournament and plan to release all fish healthy.

Another much more simple option could be to just make the limit 3 instead of 5 with smaller minimum size. Either way Black Lake maintains a tremendous bass fishery so there is nothing to be doom and gloom about regardless of the regulations.


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 Post subject: Re: Slot Limit on Bass?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 3:16 pm 
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Shane....thank you for mentioning a creel of 3....I made that suggestion to the Florida Fish and Game since they were already allowing tournament fisherman to have their own regulation....The only reason I can see why the creel on bass is 5 is for bass tournaments...Well that's a separate "catch and release" program isn't it?..They reduced walleye from 5 to 3 several years ago.

And you're right, this has been addressed over and over on this forum in the past. But the DEC doesn't read this forum. To actually get something done, a good start would be through the Black Lake Association who would probably in turn have to put in a proposal to the DEC... Which I believe is possible since the DEC already has a special bass regulation for just this lake. They just need to be convinced that having people take the bigger ones makes no sense.

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 Post subject: Re: Slot Limit on Bass?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:58 pm 
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Let's always make exceptions for what the tournament fisherman haul around in their live wells. After all, their fish don't suffer any stress. Their fish always survive endless hours tossed about in the live well, suffocating for air while being weighed on the scale and posing for pictures. Us casual fisherman will through the big ones back so the tournament boys and girls could look good at the scales. What a bunch of hogwash. "Here we go round in circles, gonna fly high like a bird in the sky." Ah pita pita ta ta ta dats all folks. Shut up and fish!!!!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Slot Limit on Bass?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:19 am 
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I'm a huge C&R guy and feel you can't be conservative enough when it comes to regulations.

I do have one concern with slot limits though. If you set a keep-slot of say, 12-16" inches, there is a chance you end up with nothing but 11.5" fish. Nobody wants that.

I think you have to cut creel limits way back too. Personally, I'd be happy with a limit of 1 per person per day. I doubt that would fly, so 3 is probably best.

Maybe stick with the 15" minimum, but also cap it somewhere between 18 and 20". Combine that with a limit of 3 per day and this lake would go from good to amazing in only a few years.

Yes yes, there would be a lot of push-back from cranky old cooler-stuffers ... and more than a few business owners. But truth be told, what's good for the fishery is good for EVERYONE. It would take some getting used to, but the result would be sustainable, world-class bass fishing ... no doubt that would bring in plenty of visitors.

PS - I think the same thing applies for pike ... maybe even more so!


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 Post subject: Re: Slot Limit on Bass?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:29 am 
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Amen to that MrSimon! I am somewhat regretful for bringing up this topic and should have known the result. I was simply proposing a "what if" question rather than bringing out an argument. There are always ways to improve. Anybody who thinks the system is perfect as is, is really missing the boat (no pun intended). A slot limit is just one of those ideas. Regardless, this lake is an amazing place to visit and/or call home. I will be up there in three weeks and cannot wait. hopefully the fish cooperate.

Keep those Lines WET!

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 Post subject: Re: Slot Limit on Bass?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:56 am 
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Where do you stay?


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 Post subject: Re: Slot Limit on Bass?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:24 pm 
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On the north end where weeds are to a maximum and jet skiers and stupid tubers are to a minimum.....my type of fishing.

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 Post subject: Re: Slot Limit on Bass?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 3:36 pm 
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Location: Marion,NY
I like the sound of that fishing in the north end. Where only the sound of signing drag can be heard. None of that other noise pollution.

Now we just need the looky loo cotton tops cruising the shorelines in pontoons to go out another 50 yards. I'm mean seriously 30 feet from shore. I know your eyes are bad but please.


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 Post subject: Re: Slot Limit on Bass?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:52 pm 
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Gentlemen,
This is one of the best topics I have read on this forum in my couple years as a member. I'd like to add on to a few of the comments. It is difficult to compare NY to Florida bass, they are not the exact same species, the Florida Largemouth is a subspecies that primarily exists from Central Florida and south. This fast growing largemouth has been stocked in California, Texas and other warm climates. I have witnessed lakes that were dried up and when refilled produce 5 lb bass in only 2 years and 10 lb bass in 4 years, and we also have lakes where a 3 lb bass is rare due to stunting. The best lakes are the catch and release lakes with great habitat. Our new regulation will hopefully help the numbers of 2.5 to 4 lb bass in the lakes that allow harvest (we have had an only one over 20" rule for at least the 20 years I have lived here, now it's only one over 16"). Although the largemouth fishing in Florida is probably the best in the world, I think Black Lake bass fishing compares because of the smallmouth/largemouth combination. I have fished Black Lake every year for 3-7 days for the past 9 years. I doubt tournaments cause much mortality on BL because the water temp rarely gets above 80 and I see very few tournaments compared to what I see in Florida. For example, Lake Toho has an open tournament every Wednesday and several club tournaments each weekends. The southern open has 200 boats entered when they come and the FLW and BASS has 100 boat. That definitely has a negative impact. I've seen far too many stiff bass being weighed in. That combined with the dozens of guides shiner fishing every day, all year long makes it hard to believe the fish stand a chance. Black Lake gets maybe 10% of the tournament pressure as Toho. I think it's just the overall fishing pressure on Black Lake that prevents it from living up to it's true potential. Many fish of all sizes are kept. Many fish are caught numerous times, making them more difficult to fool. This year I would estimate about 25% of my BL Bass had holes in their mouths from being caught and released. Lakes that receive that much pressure in Florida generally don't fish as consistent as BL.
Florida Lakes do have plenty of predators, in the water, we have Gar, Mudfish (Bowfin), Pickerel, and Gators. In the air we have eagles, ospreys, comerants and numerous wading birds that feast on fish. Many of those birds exist in NY also, but not nearly as many.
Someone suggested catch and release regs on BL. That could be incredible. There seems to be enough forage to sustain an incredible population.
I am fortunate to be a teacher in Florida, which allows me to fish my home waters in NY each summer. NY has incredible fishing for anglers with or without boats. The lakes tend to be consistent from year to year. Some of the best rivers in the world are right in NY. I'm back in Florida now dealing with 95 degree air temps and 90 degree water temps. I hope BL remains as good as it was this year or better so I can escape the heat each summer. With all the camps on the lake, I doubt DEC will ever make it a catch and release lake, but a 3 bass limit could help.
If anyone plans a Florida trip, feel free to contact me for suggestions.


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