Big changes are coming to some perch fishermen on Lake Erie. A declining population of Lake Erie yellow perch in the central basin has prompted a reduction in the daily limit to 10 from Huron to Fairport Harbor beginning Saturday, May 1, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
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 26.
Low abundance from Huron to Fairport Harbor led to a very conservative quota for yellow perch fishing from May 1 to Feb. 28, 2022. Central basin yellow perch hatches have been well below average and strong year classes are needed to rebuild the population to prior abundances. The daily limit is 30 yellow perch until Friday, April 30.
Yellow perch abundance in the western basin provided limit catching opportunities seasonally in 2020 and remains strong in 2021. Ohio’s daily limits will remain at 30 in the western basin from Toledo to Huron and farther east from Fairport Harbor to Conneaut.
Walleye hatch success has been exceptional for five of the past seven years, setting up a bright future for The Walleye Capital of the World. The walleye daily limit on Lake Erie is 6 fish per angler with a 15-inch minimum length limit.
Walleye anglers will mostly catch abundant 2-, 3-, 6-, and 7-year-old fish that should range from 15 inches to as large as 28 inches. Abundant young fish from 2019 and 2020 hatches 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.
Smallmouth bass and largemouth bass fishing in 2021 should provide good fishing and trophy catches. The daily limit is five bass per day with a 14-inch minimum size limit through April 30, and then again from June 26, to April 30, 2022. Anglers may harvest one bass per day, with a minimum size limit of 18 inches from May 1 to June 25 during the spawning season.
Updated Lake Erie fishing reports are available by calling 888-HOOKFISH (466-5347). 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 Ohio Wildlife Council received two updates to the upcoming 2021-22 waterfowl hunting seasons during its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, March 17. Both updates were prepared by the ODNR Division of Wildlife following feedback from hunters.
The first updated proposal moves North Zone waterfowl dates for the 2021-22 season to align duck and goose hunting and include opportunities during the holidays.
New North Zone duck hunting dates were proposed from Saturday, Oct. 23 to Sunday, Oct. 31, and from Saturday, Nov. 13 to Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. New North Zone goose hunting dates were proposed from Saturday, Oct. 23 to Sunday, Oct. 31, and from Saturday, Nov. 13 to Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022.
The second updated proposal changes the special waterfowl hunting weekend for youth hunters, active-duty military, and military veterans to Saturday, Oct. 2 and Sunday, Oct. 3. Because this season is traditionally held during the first weekend in October, this proposal aligns the 2021 dates with previous years.
• An Ohio artist has taken home first place in this year’s Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp Design Competition sponsored by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Sean Johnson of Louisville, Ohio, will have his painting of canvasback ducks displayed on the Ohio wetlands habitat stamp issued in fall 2022.
Judges selected Johnson’s painting from a field of 10 original pieces of artwork submitted by artists from eight states, including three entries from Ohio. James Pieper of Wisconsin was awarded second place for his painting of hooded mergansers, while third place went to Frank Dolphens of Nebraska for his painting of green-winged teal.
Proceeds from stamp sales help fund vital wetland habitat restoration projects in Ohio. These habitats are important to many resident wildlife species, including state-endangered trumpeter swans, wetland birds, amphibians, and migratory species.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.