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Daily Court Reporter - News 2019 Lake Erie fishing outlook is once again great news for anglers


2019 Lake Erie fishing outlook is once again great news for anglers

Lake Erie anglers have the chance to experience excellent fishing opportunities on Lake Erie in 2019, according to Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Walleye angler harvest rates set records in 2018, and numerous large hatches point to a bright future for the Walleye Capital of the World.

Ohio’s Lake Erie daily bag limit for walleye is four fish per angler and the yellow perch daily bag limit is 30 fish per angler through April 30, 2019. The daily bag limit will be six walleye per angler from May 1 through Feb. 29, 2020. A 15-inch minimum size limit is in effect during the entire season for walleye. The yellow perch daily limit will remain at 30 in all of Ohio’s Lake Erie waters through April of 2020, with no minimum size limit.

“Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch fisheries are managed through an interagency quota system,” according to Kendra Wecker, Chief of the Division of Wildlife. “Each jurisdiction regulates its catches to comply with annually determined safe harvest levels that minimize the risk of over-fishing. Bag limits are based on the quota allocations determined by the interagency group.”


Walleye anglers will mostly catch abundant 4 to 5-year-old fish that will average 19 to 21 inches and could be as large as 26 inches. Abundant young fish from the 2017 and 2018 hatches will show up in anglers’ catches ranging from 9 to 14 inches. Anglers are encouraged to release these sub-legal fish with as little handling as possible, so they can contribute to the fishery in the future.

Yellow Perch

Anglers can expect good perch fishing in the western basin in 2019 as fish from the large 2014 hatch are approaching sizes up to 13 inches. Hatches from 2015 through 2017 will also provide some smaller 7- to 9-inch fish. The 2018-year class is projected to be larger than the 2014-year class and will provide increased numbers of fish in upcoming years.

Central basin anglers should expect the best fishing to be in eastern waters from Fairport Harbor to Conneaut, where the 2012- and 2014-year classes will provide numerous large fish. Central basin populations have declined from the record levels set over 10 years ago and are lacking large hatches that were more common in the past. Hatches in the area from Huron to Fairport Harbor have been consistently below average recently. Anglers’ catches in this region will mostly come from the 2014 and 2015-year classes and will average 9 inches long.

Additional Opportunities

Smallmouth bass and largemouth bass fishing in 2019 should provide both good catch rates and trophy size opportunities. Please note that new regulations were implemented for largemouth and smallmouth bass for the 2019 fishing season. The previously closed spring season now allows the harvest of one black bass per day, with a minimum size limit of 18 inches from May 1 until the fourth Saturday of June (June 22), and the daily bag limit will continue to be five black bass per day with a 14-inch minimum size limit the remainder of the season through April 30, 2020.

Updated Lake Erie fishing reports are available at or by calling 888-HOOKFISH (888-466-5347). Information is available from Division of Wildlife staff from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the Fairport Harbor station (440-352-4199) for the central basin and at the Sandusky station (419-625-8062) for the western basin. Information about the Division of Wildlife’s Lake Erie research and management programs, fisheries resources, fishing reports, maps and links to other web resources are available at

The 2019 Lake Erie Walleye Update is available in pdf form at:

About the Ohio Department of Natural Resources

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at

About the Ohio Department of Natural Resources – Division of Wildlife

The Division of Wildlife is a direct descendant of the Ohio Fish Commission, which was created by the General Assembly in 1873 to deal with declining fish populations in Ohio's inland lakes and streams. In 1949 the Division was joined with other state conservation agencies under the mantle of the newly created Department of Natural Resources. By that time the original Fish Commission's duties had expanded to include law enforcement, fish and wildlife management, propagation, research, stream improvement, and pollution investigation. The job has continued to grow. In 1968 the Division became responsible for enforcing Ohio's stream litter law. Its mission was broadened enormously in 1973 by the statutory addition of several hundred more species of wild animals to its care, and two years later by the legal mandate to identify, manage, and protect all endangered species in Ohio.

Land acquisition, harvest regulations, and licensing are fundamental tools in the management of Ohio's wildlife resources. The Division manages or cooperates in managing over three-quarters of a million acres of diverse wildlife lands throughout the state, plus more than 2 1/4 million acres of water. On the basis of biological data and public input, it issues regulations that supplement long-term statutes to protect wildlife and to provide the public with opportunities to benefit from wildlife for recreational, scientific, and other purposes.

Division of Wildlife projects are carried out by a team of nearly 500 trained personnel. Moneys from Ohio sportsmen and women provide 95 of every 100 dollars which pay for all these activities. The Division faces many challenges in the pursuit of its goal to ensure an abundance of high quality wildlife experiences for today's Ohioans and for future generations.

The Division of Wildlife believes that:

Input from constituents and open lines of communication with the public are essential.

Fish and wildlife recreational is socially and economically important to Ohio.

Sustainable consumptive use of fish and wildlife through hunting, fishing, and trapping is at the heart of effective conservation.

Fish and wildlife management must be based on the best available science.

Partnerships are necessary for effective fish and wildlife conservation.

Conservation is our priority when managing lands and waters.

The right to own and use firearms is essential to continue our hunting and shooting sports tradition.

A dedicated and professional workforce is key to achieving long-term success.

Effective fish and wildlife conservation requires integration of a unified wildlife agency.

Diverse fish and wildlife populations benefit everyone.

Providing quality customer service is critical to achieving our mission.

Diverse and dedicated funding is necessary for fish and wildlife conservation.

Fiscal responsibility is crucial to the future of Ohio's fish and wildlife management.

Date Published: April 15, 2019


Ohio Department of Natural Resources


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