Lake Erie anglers can expect world-class walleye fishing opportunities to continue during the 2022 fishing season following years of strong hatches, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Lake Erie is expected to easily maintain its title as The Walleye Capital of the World and lure anglers from around the county, thanks to science-based management guiding regulations to conserve and ensure long-term angling opportunities across Ohio’s waters.
While there has been a strong yellow perch population forecast for Lake Erie’s west zone this year, which includes Port Clinton and the Lake Erie Islands, low catch rates are expected to continue in the central and east zones.
Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch fisheries are managed through an interagency quota system.
Each jurisdiction — Ohio, Ontario, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York — regulates its sport and commercial catches to comply with safe harvest levels that ensure sustainability. The most recent quotas were announced last Friday after hearings of the lake committees of the Great Lakes fishery Commission.
The walleye daily limit on Lake Erie is six fish per angler with a 15-inch minimum length limit. Walleye hatch success has been exceptional for six of the past eight years. Anglers will mostly catch abundant 2- to 4-year-old-fish ranging from 15 to 22 inches.
Larger walleye from 2015 and earlier hatches will provide chances to reel in a Fish Ohio qualifier of 28 inches in length.
Abundant young fish will show up in the catch and range 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 the future fishery.
Yellow perch abundance in the west zone from Toledo to Huron was above average in 2021 and is expected to remain strong in 2022, with a 30 fish daily bag limit. The 2021 season occasionally provided good fishing in the west zone and should again in 2022. The best success is anticipated during July through mid-August during warm-water periods, and again during mid-October through November as adult perch move to shallow water to feed.
Lake Erie’s central zone from Huron to Fairport Harbor continues to experience low yellow perch abundance, driven by poor to moderate hatches during the past decade, and a meager daily bag of 10 yellow perch. In the east zone from Fairport Harbor to Conneaut, catch rates are expected to remain low during the 2022 season, except for times such as late fall when adult perch congregate in larger schools near harbors.
Yellow perch daily limits for each zone remain as described in the 2022-23 fishing regulations until May 1. Any adjustments in daily limits will be announced at wildohio.gov and on an insert printed for Ohio’s fishing regulations brochure before May 1.
Smallmouth bass and largemouth bass fishing in 2022 will provide good fishing with the opportunity for trophy catches. The daily limit is five bass per day, with a 14-inch minimum size limit through Saturday, April 30, and again from June 25 to April 30, 2023. During the spawning season from May 1 to June 24, anglers may 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 can be found on the HuntFish OH app, at wildohio.gov, or locations where fishing licenses are sold.