Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch numbers are still strong

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Lake Erie island
A shoreline on a Lake Erie island.

COLUMBUS — Preliminary results from surveys in the western basin of Lake Erie indicate great news for Ohio anglers, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

For the second straight year, Ohio’s data points to an exceptional walleye hatch, the second-highest in the history of the survey, and the yellow perch hatch was also strong, well above its long-term average.

Each year in August, wildlife agencies from Ohio, Ontario and Michigan sample the western basin of Lake Erie in search of young-of-the-year walleye and yellow perch.

The data is compared with the results from previous years to gauge the success of the walleye and yellow perch hatches.

The 2019 August walleye hatch index was 143, the second-highest value on record for Ohio’s waters of the western basin and far above the 20-year index average of 27.

The August survey found the 2019 yellow perch hatch index to be very good at 467, which is above Ohio’s western basin 20-year index average of 317.

Catches of yearling yellow perch this year were nearly double the 20-year average and confirm the strength of last year’s class.

During the upcoming months, Ohio survey results will be combined with Ontario data to characterize the basin-wide catches of young-of-year walleye and yellow perch.

Data use

This data allows biologists to calculate an initial projection of how many young fish will enter the fishable population two years later, which will be used in the process to determine jurisdictional quotas for the 2021 fishing season.

Central basin results for walleye and yellow perch will be available later in 2019.

More information and resources are available at wildohio.gov.

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