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Lake Trout Found With 12 Plastic Lures In Stomach

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  • Lake Trout Found With 12 Plastic Lures In Stomach

    Not directly related to the Adirondacks, but still something I never really thought about. Definitely makes me reconsider the soft plastics in my bag.

    Imagine Barry Casselman's surprise when, while cleaning his morning catch, the eastern Ontario angler discovered a dozen artificial baits in the six-pound, 15-ounce laker's stomach.

    "It was amazing that the lake trout was still hungry enough to bite my Johnny Green lure," the Williamsburg (South Dundas) resident said via email. "I was completely shocked when I was cleaning the fish and this rubber rolled out of its belly."

    The eight ounces of plastics the 62-year-old found on May 31 was not the first surprise provided by the lake northeast of Kingston, either. Casselman, who has fished Charleston on and off for four decades, found three plastics in two other lakers there six or seven years ago.

    Artificial baits awareness
    Now, the angler who began fishing at age eight with his dad for St. Lawrence River brown bullhead catfish at Upper Canada Village is taking the opportunity to raise awareness and remind anglers not to throw plastics or old baits of any kind overboard.

    "Remember that more important than live release, is doing your best not to add foreign material that would affect the livelihood of a fish and/or an animal," Casselman wrote.

    The discovery came as less of a surprise to Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) Fisheries Biologist Adam Weir, who pointed out lakers are an "integrator species" that recycle energy and nutrients between shallow and deep waters.

    "During certain times of the year, they're likely encountering lures that are traditionally used for bass and gulping them up in shallow waters," he explained. "Anglers often use set lines for lake trout with a bait positioned on the bottom and, by comparison, a Senko or other soft plastics resemble this sort of presentation."

    No sweeping conclusions
    There's plenty of literature available on the subject - some research focuses on deposition rates and the fate of soft plastics in the environment and stomach content analyses looking at ingestion rates, for example, has been done on different species of sportfish, Weir said. Other research has explored the biodegradability of soft plastics and the impact on fish health.

    "Because of spatial, temporal, and interspecific variation, it's difficult to apply any sweeping conclusions, but it is clear that soft plastic lures are on the radar of academics, conservation organizations, and government agencies," he wrote.

    The evidence suggests the best practice of using an O-ring to prevent losing soft plastics has mixed results, Weir said.

    "Strategies like this are a step in the right direction, but it will take bigger strides from industry and manufacturers to provide more environmentally friendly options for anglers that match the current price point, as well as equal or exceed the performance of traditional soft plastic lures."

    Some jurisdictions have tried to enact bans on soft plastics - a knee-jerk reaction that won't work or be well-received by the angling community, he added. "Public awareness campaigns for anglers and providing suitable alternatives will go much further in changing behaviour and conservation outcomes in the long run."
    Attached Files
    And lungs are poisoned and shoulders bowed,
    In the smothering reek of mill and mine;
    And death stalks in on the struggling crowd?
    But he shuns the shadow of the oak and pine?
    ― George W. Sears Nessmuk, Woodcraft and Camping

  • #2
    I have seen this first hand with the browns on lake colby. Loaded with Garys. The salt content i believe has a lot to do with it. We got 5 one day all same size, One looked off color almost like that of a fish thats been dead for a while. But right out of the water it was light color and off. When i got home it had 5 half chunks of garys in its belly. I didnt eat that one but i wonder now looking back, would the amount of salt technically be like getting a pre seasononed fish? lol.


    • #3
      About 10 years ago I pulled a laker through the ice on Lake George that coughed up a plastic worm. I seldom keep bass, but about 20 years ago while at a picnic on Moreau Lake, I caught a largemouth that swallowed the hook and was bleeding pretty bad, so we decided to cook it. When I cleaned it, there was a mouse in the belly. Now I know why my grandfather had a mouse lure!

      At one time Maine considered a biodegradable plastics law. This is why:
      Life's short, hunt hard!


      • #4
        When i was a little kid an old timer once showed me how to use live mice as bait. We lived on a farm and it was as easy as putting penut butter in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket and have dozens stuck in the thing come morning. We would use thick leather gloves and put a rubber band around the mouse mid section. Instead of hooking the mouse we just hooked to the rubber band. Now in a boat in our farm pond we wouldnt cast the mice directly. We actually would set them on a wood plank that we had a rope tied to. We would let the plank float away from the boat. The whole time the mice squeel like crazy attracting allllll of the fish in the area. Once the plank was far enough out we would simply yank the rope and plank out from under the mouse and the fish would explode and fight over the mouse as soon as it hit the water. I was to young and scared to get bit so we would make him do it for us haha. He always said a mouse to a bass is like candy to a kid. He wasnt kidding, it never failed.