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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

Like many anglers I think it's pretty cool that I can go out on the river here and have a chance of catching muskie. However they are an invasive species, and they are spreading south. I suspect in a handful of years they will be throughout the entire St. John river system.

What I don't understand is why there is not an uproar against these fish? They are a top level predator, with no natural enemies. Nothing to control their population except us anglers... and the majority of the serious musky anglers seem to be practicing catch and release. (although I could easily be wrong here).

Look at the uproar of asian carp getting into the great lakes. Or smallmouth getting into the miramichi river system. Is the problem with these two examples only because of money? (i.e. the fishing industry in the great lakes and the salmon industry (tourism, etc) in the Miramichi?

Personally I'd love to have salmon and trout improve in the St John system, but that seems even less likely with the introduction of these top predators. What about the sturgeon in the river? There is almost nowhere else on the east coast of North America with such a strong sturgeon population, but it is mostly isolated to this one river system. Will they eat young sturgeon?

I'm really not advocating the removal of muskie. I think it's too late for that now anyway. I just think it interesting that this invasive species seems almost welcomed.
 

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Asian carp are a completely different story and thier invasion is a completely different story/problem. They are not much for a sport fish, dangerous to humans because of thier frenzied leaps when boats are near. they also destroy habitat etc..

The only way to really improve the salmon population on the river would be the removal of the dam at mactaquac. while there is a fishway at the dam, it does not make it easy in any way for the salmon to migrate past it.

that said, yes muskie probably eat trout, but thier top menu items are suckers, gasperau, perch, and fallfish. probably bullheads and eels too. I can only assume that they are having some effect on baitfish populations.

Also consider other reasons that the trout fishery has gone downhill specifically overfishing and the introduction of Smallmouth Bass. Bass love trout just as much as any other predator and the average keeper bass is capable of eating an 8" trout.

Sturgeon are probably not eaten by muskies often or at all. Their bony plates are more like talons when they are small. they are very sharp and will cut you up if you aren't careful!

anyways, Muskie are great sportfish and a good way to attract anglers back to the St john river. They may be a top predator, but below the dam they are on the same level as striped bass.

We used to have a world class salmon fishery on the SJ, it's sad that it will likely never be that good again, but there is also potential for a world class muskie fishery in this river's future.. time will tell
 

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A little late now to be up in arms,muskies have been in the upper river for over 30 years,the first one noticed trying to go though the dam was 1983 or 84.I'm sure strippers eat young muskie,salmon,trout,etc.they are only one of many species of fish not native to here(smallmoutm,pickerel,brown and rainbow trout)it's just the newest.Not sayin they haven't had and impact but for as long as they have been around things look to be looking after themselves and the goverm't has done more to mess things up in our fisherey than any fish could.I do practice catch and release but not just muskie all fish.I will keep one fish per year(striper)I'm a fisherman of over 40 years who just loves to fish
 

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Bob D

Why wouldn't the muskie be welcomed!

Our Fearless Provincial Leaders built the Mactaquac Dam in the '60's and this has pretty much singlehandedly done the most to tear apart what was at one time a world class Atlantic Salmon fishery. As if catching the fish in traps and trucking them upstream would replace their natural inborn instincts, simply because the guys with all the brains were too cheap to have a fishway desugned into the dam, figuring- " Hey, we can have a perpetual make-work project here" and be heroes forever; go figure.

Then along comes an accidental discharge of a few muskie from Quebec about the same time; through spring floods as I heard it, and they come along and find a niche in the pecking order and step in to fill it. Lo and behold, a growing high class fishery, replacing one ruined by man's shortsightedness.

Isn't God or Nature or whatever you may believe in wonderful!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Why wouldn't the muskie be welcomed!

Our Fearless Provincial Leaders built the Mactaquac Dam in the '60's and this has pretty much singlehandedly done the most to tear apart what was at one time a world class Atlantic Salmon fishery. As if catching the fish in traps and trucking them upstream would replace their natural inborn instincts, simply because the guys with all the brains were too cheap to have a fishway desugned into the dam, figuring- " Hey, we can have a perpetual make-work project here" and be heroes forever; go figure.

Then along comes an accidental discharge of a few muskie from Quebec about the same time; through spring floods as I heard it, and they come along and find a niche in the pecking order and step in to fill it. Lo and behold, a growing high class fishery, replacing one ruined by man's shortsightedness.

Isn't God or Nature or whatever you may believe in wonderful!
I certainly don't deny that they represent a great opportunity for a new fishing industry. As I said earlier, I'm excited by the possibility of catching them. However there is a lot of unknown. We don't know what the introduction of these fish will do for current native fish in the St John. It might be 50 years before we realize what could happen. The world is full of invasive species that have done far more damage than anyone could have predicted. Look at rabbits in Australia - they are worse than rats. Or look at the Cane Toad, which was introduced to Australia to stop the invasive species of cane beetle.

My point is that you don't know what damage introducing a new species can cause. With no natural predators to keep them in check, what will do so in the St. John?

Maybe I missed it when they were first introduced into the St John, but I see warnings every year on largmouth bass or zebra mussels, etc., but not a boo on muskies. I tend to agree with you that it was welcomed because of it's potential for bringing in more anglers to the area.

I just find it funny that when it appears that there might be a new cottage industry as a result, nobody is talking about the potential dangers.
 

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There not as welcome as some might think , the powers that be are still killing them just as fast as they can get their hands on them .
I'm with you on this one Bob .
 

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I agree the're not that welcome. I think there is a vocal group of muskie fisherman, who like to sing the praises of them, and promote catch and release but I believe we should be promoting retension of invasive species(smallmouth, pickerel, muskie,browns and rainbows)as oposed to our native species(stripers,etc.) As for our government protecting smallmouth bass ie.a bag limit of 2 and 0 before july 1, is rediculous!
 

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Really guys I think that we need to strike a balance in NB, that is best for NB. I think that we need to travel the middle road it's not practical to say that any non-indigenous fish should be eradicated. However I do believe that certain watersheds could carry some sort of status that would favor the native fish and invasives would be targeted for removal and other watershed like the SJR could be managed for a multispecies trophy fishery. Really the Saint John river has such a mix of different fish species that arrived by one means or another and they are here now so why not take advantage of them. Where as the Miramichi / Restigouche and other northen watersheds with only a minimal low number of invasive fish should be kept in as prisitine a state as possible. I'm certainly not advocating expanding any invasive species of fish into new watersheds however why not take full advantage of them where they exist. I really think that the muskie fishery in the SJR has the potential to surpass all other trophy muskie fisheries in Canada and the US.

Bill G.
 

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Really guys I think that we need to strike a balance in NB, that is best for NB. I think that we need to travel the middle road it's not practical to say that any non-indigenous fish should be eradicated. However I do believe that certain watersheds could carry some sort of status that would favor the native fish and invasives would be targeted for removal and other watershed like the SJR could be managed for a multispecies trophy fishery. Really the Saint John river has such a mix of different fish species that arrived by one means or another and they are here now so why not take advantage of them. Where as the Miramichi / Restigouche and other northen watersheds with only a minimal low number of invasive fish should be kept in as prisitine a state as possible. I'm certainly not advocating expanding any invasive species of fish into new watersheds however why not take full advantage of them where they exist. I really think that the muskie fishery in the SJR has the potential to surpass all other trophy muskie fisheries in Canada and the US.

Bill G.
Bill I would say you nailed it,couldn't agree more.Wolrd Class for sure
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Bill... I do agree with you. I started this thread just to get some conversation going, knowing full well that I was being a sh*t disturber. I never intended to organize an anti-musky campaign.

I also think the St John river has the potential to be a major angling attraction rivaling the Miramichi. With musky, stripers and sturgeon the potential for large fish is tremendous. Add smallmouth and you have a lot to attract people. I wish trout and salmon could one day be added to that list, but I don't think that will ever happen until there is a proper fish ladder at the dams. I also do feel that with the smallmouth, pickerel and musky in abundance that trout and salmon are at a huge disadvantage, and I doubt that the gov will invest enough in hatcheries etc to counter them.

So be it.

The trick is to find ways to keep them from spreading to the areas designated as non-invasive. This is truly a timely issue considering the smallmouth in Miramichi Lake. Maybe if anyone was ever caught doing this it was a massive fine and they receive a lifetime ban on fishing in New Brunswick.

Then there is also river systems that are connected to the st john that might be able to be good rivers for salmon and trout. The Hammond and Nashwaak come to mind, but can we keep the invasive fish out? Can we minimise their impact? What if there were no size or possession limits for pickerel, bass or muskie in these rivers (say above the tidal water line), and you were recommended to humanely kill any of these fish you caught? It won't stop them, but it might slow them down.
 

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I think we can all agree these invasive species are here for good but lets not protect them to the detriment of our native species.
 

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Personally I'd love to have salmon and trout improve in the St John system, but that seems even less likely with the introduction of these top predators. What about the sturgeon in the river? There is almost nowhere else on the east coast of North America with such a strong sturgeon population, but it is mostly isolated to this one river system. Will they eat young sturgeon?
The only real threat to sturgeon of the Saint John River system is Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar. Here's a quote from an article on how many sturgeon they plan on taking from the river each year with the help of the Whepley's:

"We harvest a small number of fish, about 300 to 350 fish, a year from the commercial fishery, which is enough to develop our brand name, our products, our processes and the markets, the distribution channels," he said.

Also,
"In two years, we will have some meat from males produced from aquaculture that we are going to sell into those markets that we developed, so we will just phase out the wild products and replace them with aquaculture products."

Considering how many years they've been in operation, I find it hard to believe they could raise a sturgeon to a size worth harvesting for meat. Does anyone know how much a sturgeon grows in say 10 years? hmm... maybe if they pump them full of growth hormones or specialized foods they could be a reasonable size. Are they young wild sturgeon that have been farm raised to market size?
 

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wow... thats horrible.. hope DFO finds that photo and shuts them down... it's nice to see that they are doing some farming, but farming on a scale that small will not produce enough caviar for a profitable business..

i wish they'd just ban commercial fishing for a couple years...
 

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oh ya, check out this link and check the amount of small stripers in his boat. Again, no legal commercial fishery and they are only allowed one per day like the rest of us. They have to throw the bycatch stripers overboard, dead or alive. The DFO seriously do not want this going on.

http://www.acadian-sturgeon.com/album/container.html
I'm no apologist for this outfit but aren't those fish actually Shad?
 
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