The Press Newspaper
Lake Erie anglers should experience another year of diverse fishing opportunities during 2011, according to biologists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.
“When you consider the variety of species and sizes of fish that are available to Ohio anglers, we are optimistic about Lake Erie fishing prospects this year,” said Roger Knight, Lake Erie fisheries program manager for the Division of Wildlife. “Weather is always the wild card on Lake Erie, but anglers who take advantage of seasonal fishing opportunities have good odds at catching walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, white bass, and steelhead, often in combination during many trips.”
Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch fisheries are managed through an interagency quota system that involves Ontario, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction regulates their catches to comply with their agency’s quotas and minimize the risk of over-fishing these species. Quotas for the upcoming fishing season are determined through consensus agreement by these jurisdictions through the Lake Erie Committee (LEC) of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, which were just recently announced for 2011.
Ohio’s walleye and yellow perch bag limits were set after the March 25 LEC quota announcement, and will go into effect May 1. As a result of the 2011 quota allocation, the walleye bag limit will be six from May 1 to Feb. 29, 2012, and four from March 1, 2012 to April 30, 2012. A 15-inch minimum size limit is in effect during the entire season. The daily bag limit for walleye remains four fish per person during April 2011. As a result of the 2011 quota allocation, the yellow perch bag limit will be 30 perch per angler in all Ohio waters from May 1, 2011 to April 30, 2012. There is no minimum size limit on yellow perch. Lake Erie anglers can find walleye and yellow perch bag limit information at ODNR offices, in special publications at bait and tackle shops, and on the Web at wildohio.com.
“Fish from the 2007 hatch grew faster than expected last year and showed up prominently in our fishery in 2010, and they should dominate the Western Basin catch this summer,” said Knight. “The 2003 hatch is still out there, and it will likely contribute many fish in the Central Basin fisheries, particularly as the waters warm up and large fish migrate eastward to cooler waters.”
“Overall, we expect to have good perch fishing in 2011, with the largest fish coming from the eastern part of the Central Basin,” said Knight.
Anglers are also advised of numerous fishing opportunities in the bays and harbors on the Ohio shoreline. These inlets offer excellent fishing for panfish including crappie and bluegill, as well as largemouth bass. In early spring, anglers may also catch an occasional Northern pike or muskellunge in vegetated areas.
Anglers are reminded that fishing conditions on Lake Erie can change hourly and adjustments are often necessary to improve success. Anglers should take into account factors such as water temperature, cloud cover, water clarity, boat traffic, wave action, structures, currents, and the amount of baitfish in the area. Anglers are also reminded to carefully monitor Lake Erie weather and to seek safe harbor before storms approach.
During the season, updated Lake Erie fishing reports are available online at wildohio.com and by calling 1-888-HOOKFISH. Division of Wildlife staff members are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at our research station facilities at Fairport Harbor (440-352-4199) for Central Basin information and at Sandusky (419-625-8062) for Western Basin information.
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