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Published: Thursday, 4/18/2002

Lake Erie quotas boost perch, maintain walleyes

Annual catch quotas for Lake Erie have been increased for 2002 for yellow perch but will remain the same for walleye, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission has announced.

The quotas represent what biologists from lakewide agencies consider the total allowable catch that can be shared while conserving fish stocks.

The walleye catch is set at 3.4 million fish, the same as 2001. Last year the lake states and Ontario, through the GLFC's Lake Erie Committee, agreed to hold the line on walleye catches for at least three years.

That was done to give walleye stocks a chance to recover from several years of poor-to-fair reproduction. The 2001 walleye catch lakewide, including sport and Canadian commercial fishing, was 2.9 million fish, well within the committee recommendation.

Each state and Ontario are allowed shares of the catch, based on surface area within each jurisdiction. Ohio, with 51 percent of the lake, is allowed 1.7 million walleye. Ohio anglers landed 1.2 million walleye in 2001. Ontario's share, 43 percent, comes to 1.4 million walleye, almost all taken commercially. The rest of the catch is shared among Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York.

Walleye sport-angling regulations for Ohio waters remain the same as in 2001 for Lake Erie and tributaries at four fish each day per angler in March and April, and six each day the rest of the year.

“Last year was great and we expect it to be equally good this year,” said Gary Isbell about the fishing prospects. Isbell is administrator of fish management and research for the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

The lakewide quota for yellow perch has been boosted to 9.3 million pounds, from 7.1 million pounds in 2001.

“We've been monitoring the yellow perch situation closely, and we believe perch now are showing signs of good recovery,” Isbell said.

Perch stocks were depressed for much of the 1990s because of poor year-classes, which led to much more conservative quotas.

Ohio sport anglers will be allowed roughly 2.5 million perch, about 500,000 more than caught in 2001.

Ontario will be allotted 4.8 million pounds of perch, and the other states will share the rest. Perch shares are set on a different formula from walleye, based on surface area and past performance.

The Ohio sport limit for yellow perch remains 30 each day, and commercial netting rules remain in effect.

  • Fishing report - The reef complex of western Lake Erie, west of the Bass Islands and off the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, is providing the best walleye fishing action as of mid-week.

    Hair jigs in purple, blue, or chartreuse, tipped with minnows, remain top choices for vertical jigging in 12 to 18-foot depths off the reefs. Blade baits such as Sonar or Zip in gold, blue/chrome, and other bright colors also are working, said Rick Ferguson at Al Szuch Live Bait on Corduroy Road.

    Some anglers found walleye in Maumee Bay mid-week, fishing 11 feet of water south of Turtle Island and 20 feet of water northeast of the Toledo Harbor Light, said Dave Ray at Edgewater Bait in Point Place. Much of the bay is very muddy from recent runoff. Ray added that Michigan-side anglers are doing well by trolling Reef Runners in the afternoons and evenings in Brest Bay and off Stony Point at Monroe.

    Some white bass have entered the Maumee River, but good numbers of walleye remain as well, according to Maumee Valley Bait and Tackle. The water, though receding, remains high, muddy and a warm 61 degrees.

    The Sandusky River at Fremont also is high, muddy and receding. Good numbers of white bass are in the stream and should provide action as the water clears, said local Anglers Supply.

    At the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail Tournament at Port Clinton, a new one-day, five-fish PWT record was set yesterday. Pro angler Carl Grunwaldt of Green Bay, Wis., turned in five fish weighing 52.85 pounds, topping the PWT record of 48.48 pounds. About 200 fish weighing 8-14 pounds were checked in among others during this $200,000 event, which continues through tomorrow. Big fish of the day was a walleye of 14.27 pounds taken by amateur Tim Fields of Clarendon, Pa., who was fishing with pro Roger Berkland of Emmetsburg, Iowa.

    DATEBOOK

    Tomorrow-Public trapshoot, 6:30 p.m., Wolf Creek Sportsmen's Association, 349 Teachout Rd., north of State Rt. 2, Curtice; repeats Sunday 12:30 to 5 p.m., and Monday 6:30 p.m.; call Frank Schaffer, 419-691-2769.

    Tomorrow-Nature-walk leader training, 9:30 a.m. to noon, Pearson Metropark, Packer-Hammersmith Center; also, Saturday, Friends of Secor, wildflower walk, 10 a.m., Secor Metropark, Nature Discovery Center, call for reservations, 419-535-3058 extension 143; also, Saturday, volunteer conservation work, 10 a.m. to noon, Blue Creek Conservation Area, call for reservations, extension 101; also, Sunday, Earth Day festival, 1 to 5 p.m., Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, Mallard Lake Area.

    Saturday-Volunteers to restore wetlands, 10 a.m., Kitty Todd Preserve, 10420 Old State Line Rd., call The Nature Conservancy, 419-867-1521.

    Saturday-Wildflower walk, 9 a.m., Goll Woods State Nature Preserve, Fulton County, call 419-445-1775.

    Saturday-Wildflower and bird walk, 4 to 6 p.m., Van Buren State Park, State Rt. 613 east of I-75, Hancock County; call 419-832-7662.

    Saturday-Sporting Clays shoot, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 50 birds, United Conservation and Outdoor Association of Hancock County; call Don Borkosky, 419-427-4236.

    Saturday-Butterfly program, 3 p.m., Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, 14000 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor; meet at the refuge office; call 419-898-0014 extension 813.

    Saturday and Sunday-Registered trapshoots, starting 10 a.m. daily, six events, Jaqua's Gun Club, 900 East Bigelow Ave., Findlay; call the club, 419-422-0912.

    Saturday-Bowshoot, register 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sandusky County Sportsmen's Club, State Rt. 600 east of Gibsonburg, 3-D targets, call Ken Deiter, 419-288-2561.

    Steve Pollick is The Blade's outdoor writer. E-mail him at spollick@theblade.com.



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