COLUMBUS — Lake Erie anglers can expect world-class walleye fishing opportunities to continue during the 2022 fishing season following years of strong hatches, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Lake Erie maintains its title as The Walleye Capital of the World thanks to science-based management guiding regulations that conserve and ensure long-term angling opportunities across Ohio’s waters.
Additionally, a strong yellow perch population in Lake Erie’s west zone will provide good fishing in 2022, while low catch rates are expected to continue in the central and east zones.
Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch fisheries are managed through an interagency quota system. Each jurisdiction regulates its catches to comply with annually determined safe harvest levels that ensure sustainability. The most recent quotas were announced on Friday, March 25.
The walleye daily limit on Lake Erie is six fish per angler with a 15-inch minimum length limit. Walleye hatch success has been exceptional for six of the past eight years. Anglers will mostly catch abundant 2- to 4-year-old-fish ranging from 15 to 22 inches. Larger fish from 2015 and earlier hatches will provide chances to reel in a Fish Ohio qualifying walleye (minimum 28 inches).
Abundant young fish will show up in the catch and range from 9 to 14 inches, with an increasing number of 2-year-olds reaching 15 inches as the season progresses. Anglers are encouraged to release these sub-legal fish with as little handling as possible so they can contribute to the future fishery.
Yellow perch abundance in the west zone from Toledo to Huron was above average in 2021 and is expected to remain strong in 2022, supported by consistent hatch success. The 2021 season occasionally provided good fishing in the west zone and should again in 2022. The best success is anticipated during July through mid-August during warm-water periods, and again during mid-October through November as adult perch move to shallow water to feed.
Lake Erie’s central zone from Huron to Fairport Harbor continues to experience low yellow perch abundance, primarily driven by poor to moderate hatches during the past decade. Conservative quotas continue to be set each year. In the east zone from Fairport Harbor to Conneaut, catches have been similar to the central zone with a slightly larger adult population. Catch rates are expected to remain low during the 2022 season, except for times such as late fall when adult perch congregate in larger schools near harbors.
Yellow perch daily limits for each zone remain as described in the 2022-23 fishing regulations until May 1, 2022. Any adjustments in daily limits will be announced at wildohio.gov and on an insert printed for Ohio’s fishing regulations brochure before May 1.
Smallmouth bass and largemouth bass fishing in 2022 will provide good fishing with the opportunity for trophy catches. The daily limit is five bass per day, with a 14-inch minimum size limit through Saturday, April 30, and again from June 25 to April 30, 2023. During the spawning season from May 1 to June 24, 2022, anglers may harvest one bass per day with a minimum size limit of 18 inches.
Lake Erie fishing reports, information on Lake Erie research and management programs, fisheries resources, maps, and links to other Lake Erie web resources are available at wildohio.gov. The current fishing regulations can be found on the HuntFish OH app, at wildohio.gov, or locations where fishing licenses are sold.