Anglers can figure on another good year of walleye and yellow perch fishing on Lake Erie, at least the way Jeff Tyson, head of the Lake Erie research unit for the Division of Wildlife sees it.
“It will be similar to last year with good numbers of both walleye and yellow perch and a good mix of sizes from several year classes,” Tyson said.
Remember that great hatch of 2003? It’s lasted 11 years now and there are plenty of those fish still in the lake. Some are Fish Ohio size or better (28 inches), so the state will be handing out plenty of certificates and pins for walleyes this year.
There are also a number of fish from the 2007 and 2010 hatches which will be over the 15-inch minimum this year. The walleyes from last year’s hatch (below average, but decent) won’t be of legal size for two years.
About the only thing to slow down walleye fishing this spring would be the ice.
Tyson said there was still more than 20 inches of ice in some spots. Long, cold winters with large amounts of ice seem to slow down spawning, Tyson said. That could mean the annual walleye runs on the Maumee and Sandusky Rivers – usually mid-March to mid-April – might be a bit later this year.
The recent hatches of yellow perch haven’t been as good as the walleyes, but there will still be a decent number in the western and central basins. The average size for yellow perch in the western basin is about 8 inches. In the central basin it’s 9 inches. The further east you go, the lager the perch seem to be.
Tyson said it’s too early to predict what this year’s quotas for Ohio will be. The Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission will meet later this month and then issue quotas for each state (or province) touching Lake Erie.
Following the issuing of quotas, the Division of Wildlife will issue this year’s Lake Erie bag limits, effective on May 1.
For more information, visit wildohio.com.