GREAT SACANDAGA LAKE FISHERIES FEDERATION INC
Great Sacandaga Lake hasn’t received any stocked walleyes since 1973 but that all changed last Thursday, Oct. 25, when the GSLFF released 4,000 5-7 inchers in the lake. The fish were purchased from Hickling’s Fish Farm in Edmeston, NY at a cost of $5,800, money raised through grants, donations, fishing contests, raffles and other sources.
An additional 2,000 walleyes of similar size were released that morning at the Northville Boat Launch on Route 30 and at Sinclair Heights. The new additions to the lake apparently like their new surroundings and scattered rapidly, hoping no doubt to meet up with some of their native-born brethren already in the lake.
The last time Great Sacandaga received any stocked walleyes was in 1973 when the Department of Environmental Conservation released a quantity of fingerlings in the lake. Back a dozen or so years ago the agency removed some walleyes for introduction into Lower Saranac Lake but hasn’t replaced any since.
The reason given at the time was that the water chemistry in both lakes was similar and it was felt the Great Sacandaga walleyes would fare better than hatchery-bred fish in the Lower Saranac.
At the time I good-naturedly accused them of “piscatorial piracy” and that term has haunted me for quite a few years. At a conference in Saranac Lake a few years later I was introduced as “Mr. Piscatorial Piracy.” It was done in jest and I took it that way but of all the titles they might have bestowed upon me that was certainly the most charitable At least I got their attention.
There’s plenty of natural walleye reproduction in Great Sacandaga but growth rates have been less than desired so the agency decided to give this stocking effort the go-ahead to see if it helps. Being a reservoir, with a widely fluctuating seasonal water level, the lake’s fish populations have a few strikes against them but it will be interesting to see how much this recent effort helps. The annual drawdown doesn’t help either, nor does the less than ideal nutrient levels in the lake, but Randy Gardinier president of the GSLFF hopes this effort will help and if it does, the organization’s stocking effort may be expanded down the road a few years to include both trout and walleyes.
Walleyes of six or seven pounds are taken annually but not many of them grow that large and it’s hoped this effort will help with not only the overall population of walleyes but their average size as well.
For over 15 years the Fisheries Federation has been trying to obtain a permit from the Department to stock walleyes in the lake but has been unsuccessful until this year, hence last Thursday’s stocking. Up until now, all the walleyes that anglers have been catching in the lake were born and bred there. Here’s hoping the recent additions like their new home. “Go forth and multiply.”
GSLFF members and volunteers assisting with last Saturday’s stocking included: Randy Gardinier, president of the organization; Jack Smith; Tom Coughlin; Rich Kedik; John Fura; Anthony Lanzi; Gus Muller; Al Aldi; Bob Nielsen; Mike Meilunas; Frank McGuire; Bryan DeLuke; and Tom Surprenant.