IRONDEQUOIT, NY (WROC) — Recreational boating has been hurt by the record high level of Lake Ontario, but a healthy lake is actually helping the commercial fishing business.
High water or not, the fish are still biting, and that is what keeps fisherman like Rob Westcott going, He’s a seasonal fisherman that relies on charters and hasn’t really had a place for his boat all summer.
“Travel to my home port, it’s deserted, Brockport Yacht Club, deserted, public boat launch, deserted, said Westcott.”
He runs Legacy Sport Fishing and says this year’s struggle has been the boating. Fishing has been fine.
“It’s water, fish live in the water, more water they’re probably happier. Fishing’s been great, said Westcott.”
So great, in fact, that DEC Fish Manager Steve Lapan says it’s the best in decades.
“In some cases, we think we could break records in terms of fishing success again for Chinook salmon at least for the spring and early summer,” said Lapan.
Also known as king salmon, the DEC doesn’t know why they’re biting so well. The agency says high water only helps northern pike. For the fisherman, their focus is on the catch.
“Most of the charter guys we have to figure it out,” said Westcott. “We own small businesses, so when we see that aspect really is just dock space, marina space, whatever the case is, we’ve got to go elsewhere and we have to go to other places to survive.”
One reason the fishing has been better could be because of better water quality as the focus has been to reduce pollution from runoff up and down the entire great lakes region.
The Army Corps of Engineers is forecasting Lake Ontario to drop about 10 inches by early August.