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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
To start off I’ve spent more than 15 hours at various locations on the Scioto in the past 10 days, and only thing to show for my effort was a 23” 6lber, which I snagged L. Then I read Fishslims post about Delaware and said to myself “that’s it, something is wrong, I should be having days like this on the Scioto”. So I made good on my personal promise to call the DNR and inquire about the Scioto Eye population.

I first called the info line @ 1-800-945-3543 and was pleasantly surprised to have a live person pick up about a minute after the prompt. From there I explained what info I was after and then got transferred to Franklin county fisheries management. I spoke with a man by the name of Marty Lemquest, who seemed happy to answer my questions. He even told me to call back if I had any more…We got some good people working for the DNR ;).

Anyway here is what I found out, some of which has already been covered by Jim Corey (a big thanks again man)

From the start: Saugeye are first reared in hatcheries, where they live until they begin to once feed on zooplankton. Once the transition to zooplankton occurs they MUST be stocked, or they will starve. The stocking takes place during May/June even if the conditions are not favorable (I.E. High, muddy water). The stocked fry then feed on zooplankton until they get big enough to consume larval shad: assuming they are readily available. It’s bad news when the S-eye make the switch shad, only to find that the shad are A. not there or B. have grown to large to consume.

It’s all about the S-eye getting on the shad, if they can there in it to win it. If not, they themselves become baitfish.


So what’s wrong with the Scioto Eye’s? They’re not exactly sure. Evidently the survival rate from 1997-2001 was by all accounts unbelievable. This is why the bite was so hot in 2002-2004 (as some of you may know :D). Then, for reasons still apparently unknown, the 03’,04’,05’ stockings were almost complete failures, which is why we aren’t catching jack! (duh) The DNR has been aware of the problem, and doesn’t really have any remedy at this point. While he didn’t come right out and say it, I think the DNR really isn’t that concerned with the demise of the Scioto (S-eye). Now if Indian or Hoover started going down hill I guarantee they would have all sorts of studies to pinpoint the cause. I asked if they could potentially stock more S-eye into both O’shay and Griggs, but was informed that there are a lot of issues involved with overstocking any body of water. Again I pleaded for more, and was told “will see what we can do” (along with being told to fish Hoover and Buckeye…who-hoo impoundment bank fishing! (not my stlye) :D)

I guess will just have to wait and see if things pick up… Keep your fingers crossed :)
 

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Mad SOT YAKER!
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Great info, I too prefer river fishing(when I do get out) over impound., isn't buckeye going thru the same thing? Sounds like the olentangy and delaware lake are the places to hit doesn't it? Do most of the s-eyes hang around below the dams or do they spread out the whole river where food is?
 

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MOD SQUAD
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They’re not exactly sure. Evidently the survival rate from 1997-2001 was by all accounts unbelievable. This is why the bite was so hot in 2002-2004 (as some of you may know ). Then, for reasons still apparently unknown, the 03’,04’,05’ stockings were almost complete failures, which is why we aren’t catching jack! (duh) The DNR has been aware of the problem, and doesn’t really have any remedy at this point. While he didn’t come right out and say it, I think the DNR really isn’t that concerned with the demise of the Scioto (S-eye). Now if Indian or Hoover started going down hill I guarantee they would have all sorts of studies to pinpoint the cause.
this was discussed by ray petering at the hoover seminar this year.hoover also saw a decline in numbers last year,mainly due to poor survival of those year classes mentioned above.as also mentioned,i think he was also at a loss as to specific causes.they are however trying to get a handle on it,but there are many variables possibly involved,and it could be uncontrolable acts of nature.
as to the notion they would suddenly work harder on a possible solution if hoover or indian showed a decline is really a stretch:confused:
i don't think indian has the problem.again,from what i gathered from ray petering,indian (and buckeye)are much more fertile lakes by nature,which i think translates to more available food,longer for fresh stocked fingerlings,than hoover and other deeper lakes.this may explain some of the problem,and the dnr can't easily control that factor.in fact i believe it was said that for that reason indian and buckeye are near perfect examples of what a premier saugeye lake would be.shallow,fertile water which is ideal for fast growth with an abundance of zooplankton and shad.
though hoover's numbers (for those poor survival classes)were low last year,and possibly this year,i expect to see stocking remain at their usual levels,and nature to be allowed to take her course.meaning the dnr will not be going into panic mode and trying to come up with new ways to "save the fishery".it will be fine.

i also believe the difference(by nature of design,etc) between griggs,o'shay and other lakes,may be the biggest culprit.
 

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Just from a purely speculative point of view there might be something to related to depth of lake and amount of cover involved? For instance Indian is so shallow you could walk across it, and the bottom is covered with stumps. *Cough* prop damage! Which makes for a LOT of cover.

But Oshay, and Griggs are much deeper, so perhaps it has do with a decline in the amount of structure and cover in the resivoirs because they are deeper and the cover is limited to banks?

Just throwing that out there...I know we are talking about Scioto in general, which is shallow and has cover...did I have a point? No probably not... :)
 

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weaze,all i have is the link to the shad density study and shad/saugeye seasonal movements.
http://fishandtales.net/saugeye_study.htm
i did have access to more detailed info,but lost it:(
sorry i can't give more.the seminar was very interesting and eye opening:)
 

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Guys just to throw in a few more didbits. Last year late summer into fall was the best saugeye fishing and quanities found at Indian in at least 2-3 years. Fishing was way off then and many of the guys that fish there were thinking they were not stocking as many as said. But as mentioned by Misfit the conditions that mother nature throws out there are major factors. They had low water levels one year then the next water levels were at flood stage it effected the plant life in the lake drastically. If you fish Indian you know it is Lily pad heaven. Couple years back the lilys were sparse or dead and i feel thisatrributed to the decline in the saueyes then as mentioned it is usually a fertile lake with plenty of feed for the small frys and the small shad as well. There is and if you fish Indian tell me if i am wrong but how many small saugeyes do you catch i am talking the 5-7 inch ones like i catch at alum at delaware and elsewhere? I cannot remember the last one that size i have caught. But i have been told by crappie guys there and bass fishermen they catch them in the lily pads thru the summer. My point is the lakes with high vegitation and fertile water give places for these fish to grow and survive till they reach a larger size. Even the large saugeyes at indian in prime part of summer seem to dissappear from indian in large numbers why? I feel they park in the pads and stay there till water temps wake them up for fall feed. So if you have a place like Scioto river levels always changing drastically and not very fertile you are going to have less chance of a good survival rate. If it happens at the fertile lakes from time to time it will for sure happen more often at the lakes around here. Might be hogwash but i feel it has a major play in there survival. And we all know that the rivers are not getting stocked with the numbers they used to which reduce amount of fish as well. But i will say this last year on Oshay i caught and released more saugey in the 10-14" range while crappie fishing then i can remember for a long time back. :)
 

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Keep'n It Reel
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Last year I pulled a few of that size range eyes from the river. I was really suprised to find them in less then 2 fow. Its a pain because of all the snags in there but hey if thats where the fish are my chances are better then if not casting those areas. Did hear from a reliable source (DNR Officer) that there was a stocking in the Scioto last fall, one of them things they forgot to mention. If my memory is working it was in the 220k, number range.

Sowbelly
 

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Slim,
What makes you say that the scioto is not a fertile system? Indian and buckeye may be more eutrophic systems than the scioto, but the scioto is by no means nutrient limited.
 

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You are right i did not mean it was not fertile but in comparison to the lakes mentioned it is a total different waterway. Sorry did not mean it was a trashed river believe me i love the Scioto and fish it alot. just meant the river changes drastcally all the time and creates a harder survival rate for the frys that are released.
 

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ditto,slim.two totally different types of water bodies.the difference doesn't mean the scioto or any other water is poor quality.just that those shallow lakes have different makeups,which allow them to provide habitat more suitable for fast growth and good survival in that they warm quickly,produce plenty of vegetation,provide lots of food and cover for baitfish and other species.those things are key to the survival of young fish in their first few months.
that is why those lakes almost consistantly produce quality fish.look at the sizes of eyes,crappies,gills that come from indian,buckeye and st. mary's.
 

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I really think that the floods have had a large impact on saugeye in high flow impoundments. Three of the top 10 largest floods in the scioto watershed since 1900 have occurred in january of 05, january of 04, and again in january of 05. This coincides with the decrease in saugeye numbers in impoundments where they are stocked. These floods cause fish redistribution. I fish a watershed south of columbus that has never been stocked with saugeye, and catch more saugeye out of it than anyplace where they've been stocked. This area has been on fire since 2004, before that the saugeyes were few and far between.
 

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acklac...your post was right...saugeye action has sucked in the past few years, but used to be hot....ive only caught 8 from december to march in the scioto river..during my quest to catch as many saugeye as possible i did ok, but failed in catching a quality amount. i remember from december-feb i couldnt even keep my minnows alive because the scioto was too cold. i never caught any saugeye on a jig head and jig which i experiented with this winter...jig head and jig tiped with the biggest minnows were the only way i caught the 8 i did...dunno if that helps any..im not wasting my time with fishing for saugeye on the scioto ever again...i know theres a guy on here that always does damn good up at buckeye lake...i wish i would of tried that...anyone know when the bite stops up at buckeye for saugeye? hopefully that guy that catches all those saugeye responds
 

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the buckeye bite never really stops.patterns just change,and if you change with them,you can catch fish;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sorry for not getting back sooner guys...

as to the notion they would suddenly work harder on a possible solution if hoover or indian showed a decline is really a stretch:confused:……………. nature to be allowed to take her course.meaning the dnr will not be going into panic mode and trying to come up with new ways to "save the fishery".it will be fine.
The S-eye fishery at Indian likely results in a fair, if not tremendous economic gain for both the State of Ohio and the Marysville area. Think of all the people commuting to fish for S-eye. Most of those people are going to spend something while they are up there, say every angler spends and average of $3.00/day up there…That’s a considerable amount of revenue over the course of a year. If things started going down hill fast alot of people would feel it in there wallet, and a resolution/explanation to the problem would likely come quick. Now look at the Scioto, my guess is the City of Columbus / State of Ohio hardly see a penny from people targeting river Eye’s. IMO “If” the Scioto went downhill there wouldn’t really be any sense of economic urgency to fix the problem and therefore it likely wouldn't recieve that much attention.

In regards to mother nature taking her course, this notion ran through my head as well but it’s tricky since S-eye don't reproduce. For all species there are good years and bad years for reproduction. Say in 96’ you get a really high survival rate, that would translate into a higher rate of reproduction in 98-99’. Now say the spawning conditions for 98/99 are horrible: you still have an increased # of fish spawning that will help to offset the impact of the poor conditions. However the DNR doesn’t replicate this model, they simply stock the same amount of fish year after year . IMO any fishery that is stocked with the same amount of fish year after year will be prone to extreme up’s and down’s .

Good point on the habitat availability issue guys, came across my mind a couple times over the years too. My bet is the fry would fare much better if the DNR stocked them into the riffles north of O’shay/south of O’shay, along with the riffles south of Griggs. (as opposed to above the Dam .)


As for the Floods washing S-eye downstream, yes it happens, but I personally don’t believe it is the biggest issue. For years I have done really well after high water events, the guys at Hoover will say the same thing. However in the past few years I haven’t seen/nor caught near the amount of Eye’s that I used to (after the water comes down). This had lead me to the conclusion that the fish are not above the dam in the first place. High water is nothing new to the Scioto, IMO if S-eye did partake in mass southernly migrations (during high water) the fishery would have been poor from the start.



i will say this last year on Oshay i caught and released more saugey in the 10-14" range while crappie fishing then i can remember for a long time back. :)
That is what I’ve been waiting to hear :) BTW I managed one that went 20” and a buddy got one that went 23” on Tuesday, right as the front was blowing in. It will be interesting to see how things play out once this front lifts…whenever that may be :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
acklac...your post was right...saugeye action has sucked in the past few years, but used to be hot....ive only caught 8 from december to march in the scioto river..during my quest to catch as many saugeye as possible i did ok, but failed in catching a quality amount.
I would have been elated to catch 8 in from dec. to march! I think iv'e got..What 1? and missed a couple others. In years past I would have had close to double-digit F.O.'s by this time of year. BTW were u fishing the Upper Scioto (North of the Confluence) or Lower (south of the confluence). Sorry I didn't clarify this in the beginning, but the problems I've experianced with the are primarily in the U.Scioto.
 

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another stretch is the idea that the dnr would increase stocking at indian merely to keep the locakl economy going:confused:
i'm not sure i see the the survival rate of spawning fish compared to stocked fish as being a reason to stock more fish in years after poor survival of stocked fish:confused:
in that case,why would they not also stock others that were impacted by poor survival years?
the point i think you're missing is here are limits to how many fish will/can be reared for stocking every year.cost abnd other factors involved preclude doing that.and what's to say if they uopped the numbers when there was a bad year or two,that mother nature wouldn't interfere again?more wasted time/money would be the result.
the fact is,the dnr cannot predict what will happen to those fish and waters in advance.
the numbers they stock are what they consider to be sufficient for a good fishery under normal conditions.it works most of the time.but again,some waters experience periodic unforeseen episodes that cannot be controlled,repaired by merely temporarily stocking more fish.
 
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