Yellow perch limit makes sense to me

The DNR reduced the daily perch limit from 50 to 25 per angler, which is fine with the author and still allows anglers to catch a mess of yellowbellies. (Photo by Tom Pink)

The recent reduction in the yellow perch limit on most Michigan waters doesn’t bother me at all, and I’m surprised it’s taken so long to make it happen. Twenty-five decent perch in the creel are the result of a good morning of fishing, the making of an even better dinner for four people. That’s a lot of fish.

Trust me, I could eat more and I certainly would. But seriously, add fries and coleslaw and dessert and a couple adult beverages and who wouldn’t be stuffed?

In the mid-1980s, I remember covering meetings in the Les Cheneaux Islands, where the yellow perch fishery had diminished significantly. At the time, fisheries biologists wondered if angling pressure had, in part, contributed to the decline, and a tagging study seemed to confirm that theory. That’s when the 7-inch size limit was introduced in Chippewa County waters of the St. Mary’s River, a regulation that has since been repealed with the implementation of the new daily possession limit. (It was later found that the booming double-crested cormorant population had as much or more to do with the Les Cheneaux perch decline, and since cormorants are no longer being controlled, it’s likely they will again become a detriment to perch populations.)

At the time, I remember some fishermen asking biologists whether yellow perch should be protected during the spawning season, much like walleye and northern pike are off-limits in the St. Mary’s and inland waters in the spring. The response was that perch are prolific and such protection was not needed, and I’m sure most anglers were happy about that since perch are readily available and caught during the spring when they move in shallow to spawn.

I enjoy fishing for perch and I’m anxiously awaiting the snow to melt off my overturned boat and the ice to clear from the boat ramps so we can go after them. I probably fish for perch and whitefish more than anything else. I rarely go home with a limit, and the same goes for just about anything I pursue outdoors, be it fish or ducks, geese, squirrels, rabbits … It’s great to get a limit on some days, but if that’s all we’re looking for when we go fishing or hunting, we might as well just pick up our protein at the grocery store.

Categories: Blog Content, Michigan – Tom Pink

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