Updated: Jun 9
Lake Erie has experienced a significant walleye hatch this spring, ranking as the second-largest in the lake's history and the largest in 15 years, according to a survey conducted by the Ohio Division of Wildlife. The yellow perch hatch counts were also strong and above average. This news comes as a welcome relief for the fishing charter boat captains whose businesses have been affected by harmful algal blooms in recent years.
The large walleye hatch, combined with previous successful hatches and favorable weather conditions, is expected to contribute to a thriving walleye population in Lake Erie for the next two decades. Approximately 40 million walleye are estimated to be in the lake, leading to discussions about potentially raising the daily bag limit for anglers.
The successful hatch is attributed to the alignment of weather conditions and microorganisms in the Western Basin, resulting in a prolonged spawning period and an abundance of zooplankton for the young walleye to feed on.
The survey also revealed a strong yellow perch hatch, indicating a promising future for both species in Lake Erie. Similar survey results were reported in Ontario waters of the western basin by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
By James F. McCarty, The Plain Dealer
Publishing date: Sep. 14, 2018