Great Lakes Environmental Directory Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes grants exotic species water pollution water export drilling environment Great Lakes pollution Superior Michigan Huron Erie Ontario ecology Great Lakes issues wetlands Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes watershed water quality exotic species Great Lakes grants water pollution water export oil gas drilling environment environmental Great Lakes pollution Lake Superior Lake Michigan Lake Huron Lake Erie Lake Ontario Great Lakes ecology Great Lakes issues Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Resources Great Lakes activist Great Lakes environmental organizations Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat air pollution alien species threatened rare endangered species ecological Great Lakes information Success Stories Great Lakes Directory Home/News Great Lakes Calendar Great Lakes jobs/volunteering Search Great Lakes Organizations Take Action! Contact Us Resources/Links Great Lakes Issues Great Lakes News Article About Us Networking Services

Great Lakes Article:

New rules proposed to protect lake's walleye, smallmouth bass
'The outlook for the 2003 hatch is not good'
Port Clinton News Herald

COLUMBUS -- Measures designed to provide long-term stability for Lake Erie's walleye and smallmouth bass populations are being proposed and may result in significant new fishing regulations in the 2004 season.

The plan would reduce the springtime limit on walleyes from four to three fish per day from March 1 to April 30. The limit for walleyes outside of the March 1 to April 30 period is planned to stay at six fish per day.

Also planned is a proposal creating a year-round walleye size limit of 15 inches.

The proposals by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife will be finalized and presented later this summer to the Ohio Wildlife Council to be effective March 1, 2004.

"Poor weather conditions during recent springs have resulted in inconsistent and minimal walleye reproduction in Lake Erie," said Gary Isbell, executive administrator for the division's Fish Management and Research Program.

"The outlook for the 2003 hatch is not good, based on the cold, stormy spring this year."

Isbell said that while many anglers are reporting some of the best catches seen in recent years, the concern is for the future of the fishery since reproduction has been poor in two of the past three years.

The Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission has advised member agencies to prepare for a "40 percent to 60 percent reduction in total allowable catches for 2004."

"All Lake Erie agencies are examining regulation options best-suited to their area to meet this challenge," said Isbell.

State fisheries biologists are also proposing closing of smallmouth fishing in May and June, when the popular sport fish are laying eggs and guarding their nests.

The proposal comes in response to concern that the round goby, an invasive fish species, is adversely impacting smallmouth populations by preying on bass eggs and fry. Gobies arrived from eastern Europe in the ballast water of transoceanic ships and have multiplied rapidly during the 1990s, becoming abundant throughout Lake Erie.

Research conducted by the Division of Wildlife in conjunction with The Ohio State University over the last three years has documented that gobies are having a negative impact on smallmouth reproduction, as higher populations of round gobies dramatically decrease the number of smallmouth in the nesting areas.

In addition, tagging studies conducted in cooperation with the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association and Ohio Sea Grant have confirmed limited movements or small home ranges of smallmouth bass. Fish that are tagged and released are likely to be found at a later time in the same location. This raises concerns about removing smallmouth during the spawning season, and explains how serious nesting failures are to local populations.

Another potential negative factor impacting smallmouth bass is the double-breasted cormorant, a bird that dives to feed on small fish including small bass. Neither gobies nor cormorants were present in Lake Erie just 10 years ago.

No fishing regulation changes are proposed for yellow perch or white bass.

The Division of Wildlife, based on a hearing to be scheduled this summer, consultation with anglers, and further review of the recent research information, will finalize the proposals between now and September. Ohio Wildlife Council action will likely take place in October.

This information is posted for nonprofit educational purposes, in accordance with U.S. Code Title 17, Chapter 1,Sec. 107 copyright laws.
For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for
purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use," you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Great Lakes environmental information

Return to Great Lakes Directory Home/ Site Map