COLUMBUS – Lake Erie anglers can expect world-class walleye fishing opportunities to continue in the 2022 fishing season after years of heavy hatches, according to the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division of Ohio (ODNR). Lake Erie maintains its title as the walleye capital of the world through science-based management regulations that conserve and secure long-term angling opportunities in Ohio waters.
Additionally, a strong yellow perch population in the western area of Lake Erie will ensure good fishing in 2022, while low catch rates are expected to continue in the central and eastern areas.
The walleye and yellow perch fisheries in Lake Erie are managed through an inter-agency quota system. Each jurisdiction regulates its harvest to comply with annually determined safe harvest levels that ensure sustainability. The most recent quotas have been announced Friday, March 25.
The daily walleye limit on Lake Erie is six fish per angler with a minimum length limit of 15 inches. Walleye hatching success has been exceptional for six of the past eight years. Anglers will mainly catch plentiful 2 to 4 year old fish ranging from 15 to 22 inches. The biggest fish from 2015 and earlier hatches will provide chances to run a Fish for Skilled Walleye in Ohio (minimum 28 inches).
Many young fish will appear in the catch and range in size from 9 to 14 inches, with an increasing number of 2 year olds reaching 15 inches as the season progresses. Anglers are encouraged to release these sub-legal fish with as little handling as possible so they can contribute to future fishing.
Yellow perch abundance in the western Toledo to Huron area was above average in 2021 and is expected to remain strong in 2022, supported by continued hatching success. The 2021 season has at times provided good fishing in the West Zone and should again in 2022. Best success is expected from July to mid-August during warm water periods, and again from mid-October to November when the adult perch moves to shallow waters to feed.
The central area of Lake Erie from Huron to Fairport Harbor continues to experience low yellow perch abundance, primarily due to low to moderate hatching over the past decade. Conservative quotas continue to be set each year. In the eastern zone, from Fairport Harbor to Conneaut, catches were similar to those in the central zone with a slightly larger adult population. Catch rates are expected to remain low through the 2022 season, except at times like late fall when adult perch congregate in large schools near ports.
The daily yellow perch limits for each zone remain as described in the Fishing Regulations 2022-23 until May 1, 2022. Any adjustments to daily limits will be announced at wildohio.gov and on a printed insert for the Ohio Fishing Regulations brochure before May 1.
Smallmouth Bass and Largemouth Bass fishing in 2022 will provide good fishing with the possibility of trophy catches. The daily limit is five bass per day, with a minimum size limit of 14 inches until Saturday, April 30, then from June 25 to April 30, 2023. During the spawning season from May 1 to June 24, 2022, anglers can harvest one bass per day with a minimum size limit of 18 inches.
Lake Erie fishing reports, information on Lake Erie research and management programs, fisheries resources, maps, and links to other Lake Erie web resources are available at wildohio.gov. The current fishing regulations are available on the HuntFish OH Appto wildohio.govor places where fishing licenses are sold.