Lake Erie walleye changes coming
Steve Hewitt, Michigan DNR’s Lake Erie Basin Coordinator, said there are potential walleye changes for 2011 for Lake Erie. Walleye management is based on a quota system. The Lake Erie Committee considered recommendations earlier this year at meetings in Ohio and Michigan.
Walleye abundance is declining again this year, and about 15 million are projected for 2011. This would be classified as in crisis mode. Them task group recommended a 2010 total allowable catch of 2.2 million walleye. The 2010 Michigan quota is 128,000 walleye. In 2003, DNRE had to make changes to regulations with help from partners: closed season April 1-May 31, bag limit to five, minimum size 15 inches. This year DNRE will be working with Lake Erie/Lake St. Clair Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee to evaluate potential reductions under bag limit, size limit and season date changes.
Other considerations in evaluating regulation options include: economic impacts, angler responses, responses of other agencies (Ohio, and Michigan move across borders) and Ohio regulations. In considering regulations options to meet the Michigan quota, DNRE willconsider how to incorporate more timely regulation responses, such as the Ohio example. Regulation changes for the current quota year would always allow DNRE torespond more quickly to walleye increases as well as decreases. The DNRE Fisheries Division will work with citizens to have regulation proposals for this fall to the NRC.
There is no feasible way to stock this size of water body with walleye, or any fish. The best years for walleye are very seasonal based even in the 2003 flux. They have very periodic reproduction, and are surprised that bad age classes have happened for so many years in a row. The bag limit is five in Michigan right now. There is a split season in Ohio. Size limit is 15 inches across all states
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