Five years ago, a catch of a single keeper size landlocked Atlantic salmon on Lake George was a big deal. For decades, the thousands of salmon stocked on the lake seemed to just disappear, likely eaten by other fish as they lacked the survival instincts to get bigger.

A change in the "strain" of salmon raised by the state for stocking has changed things dramatically, and charter boat operators and others who know how to troll the lake are landing plenty of big salmon.

Charter boat operator Joe Greco, owner of Justy-Joe Charters, posted pictures online this week of a half-dozen or so keeper fish caught by his patrons, including two in the 8- to 9-pound range and several topping 20 inches. Other charter boat operators such as Jeff "J.J." Johnson of Rod Bender Charters have also touted the salmon action this summer.

Having fought and landed a salmon of nearly 5 pounds a few years ago, and remembering the unbelievable fight the fish put up, I can only imagine the fun that big salmon like those 8- to 9-pounders offer when hooked.

Many of us are quick to jump on the state Department of Environmental Conservation when things aren't going well, but in this case it seems the DEC's decision to switch to a new hatchery strain is paying dividends. The fact that the lake's smelt and cisco baitfish populations are booming has helped as well.

If you have fished for a while, you know things can

— Don Lehman

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Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on poststar.com/app/blogs.

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