Good news for Lake Erie perch and walleye fishermen was released last week by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Department.
It looks like the 2021 hatch for both species was a record year! That’s excellent news for the future of the fishery. I just happened to watch a podcast a week ago that explained that they typically see the best walleye hatches in years when either the ice stays on the lake later than usual or when the water levels are higher than usual.
As I’ve reported in the past, the lake levels have been extremely high the last couple of years. Add into those ideal conditions that we have had record number of catchable walleye in the lake thanks to the healthy hatches of 2018 and 2019 which are now breeding age, that equates to last spring’s record hatch. That means the already strong fishery should remain excellent for years to come.
The concern for the perch numbers in recent years also got a boost with a record hatch last spring as well. The current limit for walleye is six and for perch it is thirty in the western basin and ten in the central and eastern basin. This year’s limits are supposed to be set at a March 25th meeting.
On that note, The main body of Lake Erie as well as area lakes and ponds are quickly opening back up and becoming ice free. Today’s big wind and the predicted rainfall for this coming week should put a final blow on any ice that is still holding on. That means fishing season will be here before you know it. March is a great time to get that boat and fishing gear ready so that when the water does warm up, you will be ready to go.
• Spring is quickly approaching, and with the warming temperatures comes another flurry of exciting outdoor recreational opportunities for everyone to enjoy. Before taking advantage of what spring has to offer, the ODNR Division of Wildlife is reminding all those who are planning to hunt and fish to check their license expiration dates.
Ohio’s license options give those who enjoy the outdoors more flexibility than ever before. If your hunting or fishing license has expired, you can purchase a new one online at wildohio.gov, participating agents throughout the state, and through the HuntFish OH app.
License sales fund the Division of Wildlife’s projects and programs that benefit wildlife and people. The Division of Wildlife manages or cooperatively manages more than 2 million acres of water and 750,000 acres of diverse wildlife lands. Clean water and robust habitat protect all wildlife, from the smallest bumble bee to the largest raptor, and game animals such as walleye, bass, deer, and turkey.
Ohio’s resident fishing licenses are $25 and are valid for one year from the date of purchase and can be purchased up to 30 days prior to the expiration date. A fishing license is required to fish in Ohio public waters.
Ohio’s annual resident hunting licenses for the 2022-23 seasons are $19 for adults ($10 for youth) and are available now. Hunting licenses are valid immediately after purchase through Feb. 28, 2023. All hunters, regardless of age, are required to carry a valid hunting license to hunt or trap in Ohio.
Customers also have the option of choosing automatic renewal when purchasing a license online or when using a smartphone. The selected license will renew automatically to ensure the purchaser always has a valid license.
Purchasing a license is now easier than ever with the free HuntFish OH mobile app available for Android and iOS users. Deer and turkey hunters can use the app to check-in their harvest, even without a WiFi connection. App users can also purchase permits, read current regulations, and view area maps.
Funds from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, along with excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment directly benefit wildlife management and habitat conservation efforts here in Ohio. Funds also support improvements to fishing access, shooting ranges, and wildlife areas. Visit wildohio.gov to learn more.
Until next time, Good Fishing and Good Hunting!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.