Fishing enters new age with instant fishing reports via
Bill Ruth once drove from his home in Ithaca to Oswego to troll for
trout and salmon on Lake Ontario using a 3-day-old fishing report for his inspiration and planning. When
he got on the water, however, he quickly learned that the notorious Lake Ontario winds had changed everything. The fish were
no longer there. "I didn't have a network of charter captains to turn to then and I felt that pain," Ruth said.
Rochester's Rick Hajecki, Ruth's good friend and fellow part-time captain, had been let down by his share of fishing reports
he read in print or on Internet blogs, too. The same went for recorded phone "hot lines."
That's because water temperatures in Lake Ontario — the world's 14th-largest lake at 7,500 square miles — can
be more unpredictable than spring weather in Rochester. And trout and salmon migration are directly influenced by temperature
changes and baitfish availability. "The currents in Lake Ontario wreak havoc on that water,"
Hajecki said. "The water is moving constantly that even a day-old fishing report can be useless. So many variables can
move fish around in a single day." In other words, Ruth and Hajecki thought, the only useful
Lake Ontario fishing report was an instant fishing report. After a winter of brainstorming and planning, the two men, who
share a passion for netting fish and social networking, launched Lake Ontario Tweets last month. The
free service available through a partnership with the wildly popular anglers website Lake Ontario United (www.lakeontariounited.com), based in Rochester, uses the short-and-sweet messaging phenomenon of Twitter and is the first of its kind anywhere in the
fishing industry. Twitter provides real-time public information via the Internet through 140-character
messages called "tweets." In this case, the tweets are fishing reports from a network of more than 20 well-respected
and experienced Lake Ontario charter captains out on the water. In between setting a downrigger, these
captains and their first mates working out of all the major lake ports are now punching the keypads of their cell phones or
hand-held smart devices. The more technically savvy are even posting pictures and video of their catches. The beauty of L.O.
Tweets is that all of these posts are collected on a single Web page with filtering capabilities and refreshed every 30 seconds.
"It's been a lot of fun up to this point," said Hajecki, 30, who operates
Crazy Yankee Sportsfishing with his dad, Rich, and brother, Craig, fishing out of Wilson and Oak Orchard. "When on the
boat, I can tweet exactly what's going on. Last Sunday, I was able to tweet that I hooked up a nice fish and had it working
and 10 minutes later I tweeted a picture. It's as instant as you can get."
Through the LOU website, which
gets 3 million page views a month, fishermen can customize the tweets by captain or region of the lake for both the American
and Canadian shores. The tweets so far have included information on weather and wave conditions, species that are biting,
how far down and what setup was used. Some tweets even come with nautical maps pinpointing the exact location of the charter
A sample platter:
Great bite in sodus 2 day. browns on the shore
then moved out to 60 to 80 fow. took a few good kings some steelies and a coho
— Post made on May 4th, 2010 at 6:00 PM EST, By Capt. Ryan Williamson
of Fishin Magician.
More cohos with browns, bows mixed in 10-12 fow. Steady pick 2.5 mph at the
ball. Spoons off the riggers and sticks off the boards
— Post made on Apr 22nd, 2010 at 10:43 AM EST, By Capt. Jeremy Sage of JDS Custom Charters.
morning at genny cohos and browns 8 to 12 ft of water
— Post made on Apr 22nd, 2010 at 2:09 PM EST, By Capt. Sam Zucco of Dream Catcher
5:15 AM VERY WINDY stay in bed ! 3-4 waves
— Post made on Apr 10th, 2010 at 5:16 AM EST, By Capt. Jerry Felluca of Rebel Charters
Since going online
April 16, Lake Ontario Tweets has been more active than a boat deck during a triple hookup of king salmon.
"We've gotten fabulous feedback so far," said Ruth, 42, who owns Billy V Sportfishing and docks at Wilson and Sodus.
"We had 9,000 hits the first week alone and we expect that number to grow exponentially. It's mushrooming and not everyone
has their boat in yet. Once the salmon season really kicks in by Labor Day, I wouldn't be surprised if it's 5,000 to 6,000
hits a day."