Chapter 5: Oneida Lake Anglers and Their Impact on Fisheries Management
Tommy L. Brown, Anthony J. VanDeValk, Les R. Wedge, and Richard T. Colesante
The strong interest of anglers and the broader public of central New York State in using the aquatic resources of Oneida Lake for food predates the 20th century. This chapter traces those interests from the late 1800s to the present. It describes management efforts by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the state legislature to manage the fisheries of Oneida Lake through regulations designed to protect the fisheries from overharvest, and it details the stocking programs of NYSDEC and the contributions of state hatcheries to Oneida Lake. Summaries of angler studies over the past half century provide insight into angler use of the lake, their socioeconomic profiles, and economic contribution to the region. For analyses of catch rates, angler behavior, and effects on fish populations, see Chapter 17 and Chapter 23.
Published accounts of the utilization of the aquatic resources of Oneida Lake go back to a 1915 study by Adams and Hankinson (1916) of the College of Forestry at Syracuse (see Chapter 3). These authors portrayed Oneida Lake in the early 20th century as a very important lake to the people of Syracuse and central New York State for providing American Eels Anguilla rostrata, frogs, game fish, and recreation. Adams and Hankinson were concerned that the lake be managed not just for anglers, but also for the production of food fish for the people of the region. Little quantitative information was available at that time on the fisheries of the lake.