CLEVELAND, Ohio – Lake Erie troll surveys conducted by Ohio Division of Wildlife fisheries biologists have shown an unprecedented fifth consecutive year of record Lake Erie hatches around Lake Erie. Although yellow perch numbers are still low, a rapid growth rate of perch populations has been cause for optimism.
“Lake Erie walleye anglers will continue to benefit from fantastic walleye populations,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “This year’s hatch will grow to catchable sizes in two to three years, contributing to decades of excellent fishing in the Walleye Capital of the World.”
While sport and commercial anglers are disappointed with the low numbers of yellow perch in central and eastern Lake Erie, good perch fishing is expected in western Lake Erie.
“Lake Erie yellow perch are studied and managed as regional populations within management areas,” said Travis Hartman, Division of Wildlife’s Lake Erie Fisheries Program Administrator, “The Division of Wildlife Silvestre uses these areas to monitor perch hatches and, by comparing results with previous years, determine safe harvest levels.”
The daily walleye bag limit for Lake Erie anglers will definitely remain at six fish per day. Perch should continue to have the traditional 30-fish daily bag limit around western Lake Erie, but restrictions imposed in recent years will continue with a daily bag limit of just 10 perch east of Huron.
There is optimism, Hartman said. The yellow perch being surveyed are generally thriving, growing faster and longer than age groups checked in the past by biologists.
“Perch have generally changed their feeding habits,” Hartman said. “They have switched their diet from emerald shiners and small baitfish to midges, spiny water fleas and mayflies. The perch we examined are healthy and we believe they will have successful spawning seasons in the future.”
Lake Erie fish stocks are jointly managed by the states bordering Lake Erie (Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York) and the province of Ontario. Their studies will result in a total allowable catch for its waters, which will be set at the Lake Erie Committee’s annual meetings held March 29-30 in Hamilton, Ontario.
Trout Stocking Begins Cold Weather Bonanza: Trout trucks returned to Cleveland Metropark lakes this week to bring exceptional rainbow trout fishing. Although the winter ice should soon arrive, trout are the perfect game fish for both open water and ice fishing.
This year’s load of 3,000 rainbow, brook trout, golden rainbow and colorful tiger trout was released Monday into Wallace and Ranger lakes.
Shadow, Ledge and Judges lakes will receive a trout transfusion on Friday.
“Walleye Lake is the largest of the lakes and the most popular for trout anglers, so it gets about 1,400 of the foot-long trout,” said aquatic biologist Mike Durkalec.
The trout are supplied by Hooked on Trout Farm, which raises a wide variety of fish species. The tiger trout he stocked in the Cleveland Metropark lakes are true trophies, with one released in Wallace Lake stretching 21.5 inches in length.
The daily trout bag limit is three trout per angler on Wallace, Ledge, Ranger and Judge lakes. The daily bag limit on Shadow Lake and the Ohio and Erie Canal, which was stocked a few weeks ago, is five trout per day.
Where’s the rain?: Steelhead trout anglers need some rain to raise river water levels and attract a fresh batch of big trout from Lake Erie. Looks like a wet weekend is in order. But not a gully washer that closes the river fishing for the whole weekend.
In the meantime, there are already good numbers of trout in the rivers, but dress warmly. Breeder eggs and thread eggs are working right now for fly anglers, and spinners are relying on spawn bags and marabou rigs tipped with worms or fish.