The much anticipated small game season of rabbit and pheasant arrives Nov. 6. Although some reports show that rabbit numbers may be down this fall, my observations do not reflect that thought.
Through my outdoor adventures and travels down the county roads, I have spotted quite a few rabbits, more than what I have seen for quite some time. So locally, the outlook for a successful season may be brighter than the rest of the state. Rabbit season will remain in until Feb. 29 and the daily bag limit is four. Ringneck Pheasant season will remain in until Jan. 10 with a daily bag limit of two roosters.
Trapping season opens Nov. 10 and runs through Jan. 31 for fox, raccoon, skunk, opossum, and weasel. Mink and muskrat will remain open until Feb. 29. Beaver and river otter will be open from Dec. 26 until Feb. 29th.
• Outdoors enthusiasts interested in learning the basics of pressure canning venison are encouraged to attend a free informational workshop provided by the ODNR Division of Wildlife on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Trained professionals will cover topics including venison preparation, pressure canning and canning equipment.
The workshop will be held from 6-9 p.m. All venison and equipment will be supplied. The workshop is free of charge by pre-registration is required as space is limited to 15 participants. No walk-ins will be admitted. Participants must be 18yrs. of age or older. Registered attendees will be provided with location and directions. Register by calling at 937-372-9261, or email Brittany.Kessler@dnr.state.oh.us.This course is hands on and takes place inside with some demonstrations taking place outdoors. Please dress appropriately for the workshop and for the weather.
• The Lake Erie walleye hatch is one of the largest in recent history according to fisheries biologists with ODNR. Results from combined Ontario and Ohio surveys show that the 2015 hatch index is the highest since 2003. The excellent hatch should start to show up as catchable fish in the next three years.
“With these hatch index results, we are expecting the walleye fishing in Lake Erie in the next three to five years to be exceptional,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “This is outstanding news for Ohio anglers and out-of-state anglers who enjoy fishing on Lake Erie, the Walleye Capital of the World.”
To estimate the basin-wide hatch of walleye, ODNR and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry combine their bottom trawl survey data. The resulting basin-wide average catch for 2015 is 84 walleye from the spring hatch per hectare (about 2.5 acres), which is well above the long-term average of 32 per hectare.
The 2015 yellow perch hatch also appears to have been successful in both Ohio and Ontario waters of the western. This is the fifth-best yellow perch hatch in the western basin since the interagency survey began in 1987.
“Three good yellow perch hatches in a row should help the perch population in the western basin rebuild and lead to quality yellow perch fishing over the next couple of years,” said Jeff Tyson, head of Lake Erie Fisheries Program for the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
Each year in August, wildlife agencies from around the western basin of Lake Erie sample the waters using bottom trawls in search of young of the year walleye and yellow perch. Data from these bottom trawls are combined into a basin-wide index and compared to previous years to estimate the success of the walleye and yellow perch hatches. This provides biologists with an estimate on how many young fish will enter the fishable population two years later.
Information on the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s Lake Erie research and management programs, fisheries resources, fishing reports, and maps and links to other Lake Erie Web resources are available at wildohio.gov. Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.