In my last article I talked about perch fishing and I shared with you that the perch bite was starting to heat up on Lake Erie but there was concern that it was going to be short lived like last year. I am happy to share with you that the bite continues to be red hot.
Perch action has been fantastic in the western basin for several weeks now. The perch fishermen are wall to wall in many places but most are limiting out in a few hours. The most difficult part is finding the bait. The supply of minnows is so short and the demand is so high, there is usually a line of fishermen waiting when the bait stores open up to purchase the minnows and most stores are running out in just a few hours. Regardless, it is good to see the perch bite is back and most are having tremendous success.
• There are three major proposals that were presented to the Ohio Wildlife Council this summer. The first includes removing the regulation which establishes a daily bag limit of six channel catfish when taken from public fishing waters less than seven hundred acres in size. This regulation was implemented following a study conducted during the 1990s, which suggested that channel catfish in some small reservoirs may be vulnerable to over harvest.
However, assessments of channel catfish populations conducted throughout Ohio since 2016 have revealed that these populations are characterized by high densities, low mortality, and slow growth rates. Removing the daily bag limit of six fish will promote harvest, increase the growth rates, and improve the overall health of these populations.
Another proposal affects the walleye limit in the Sandusky River and Sandusky Bay in the spring. The proposal is to remove the Sandusky River and Bay distinction for daily bag limits of walleye and allow six fish to be harvested per day in March and April when the Ohio Total Allowable Catch is 3 million fish or higher. In 2019, the Sandusky River and Bay were separately distinguished within this rule to set the daily bag limit at four walleyes to allow the Sandusky River’s spawning stock to recover after the removal of the Ballville Dam.
During the spring of 2020, the Division received numerous calls seeking clarification regarding the daily bag limit for walleye in the Sandusky River and Bay and how it interacts with the daily bag limit in the remainder of the Lake Erie sport fishing district. The resulting confusion is not warranted for the minimal level of protection that the regulation provided, and its removal is not expected to pose a risk to the recovery of the walleye population that spawn in the Sandusky River.
A third proposal is to help those big game hunters who travel out of state and what to bring back their harvest. It is proposed to amend the rule which contains restrictions on the condition of cervidae (deer, elk, moose) carcass that are brought into the state. To minimize the introduction of Chronic Wasting Disease from deer and other cervids harvested outside of Ohio, regulations were adopted which enacted a complete ban on the possession of high-risk carcass parts obtained anywhere outside of Ohio.
The proposed amendments to this rule will allow cervid carcasses or carcass parts to be brought into the state if those items are delivered to an authorized meat processor or taxidermist within twenty-four hours of entering the state. Further, the proposal describes how a meat processor or taxidermist can receive the needed authorization after completion of a Division provided training in the proper handling and disposal of the cervidae carcass.
A statewide public hearing on the proposed rules will be held on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 9 a.m. For those unable to attend the hearing, comments will also be accepted via email. Comment submission information will be available in August at wildohio.gov. The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. The council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates after considering public input at their meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 7. If passed, the proposals would take into effect Jan. 1 of 2021.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!