Tuesday, February 7th, 2023
Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Lake Erie ’eyes could see a lower size limit

Staff Report

Buffalo — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is in the early stages of evaluating potentially lowering the minimum size limit of walleyes in Lake Erie from 15 inches to 12 inches

Over the last decade, the Lake Erie walleye population has produced consistently strong hatches resulting in an increase in the number of sub-legal walleyes being caught and released by anglers. Survival of these fish is low due to barotrauma (injuries caused from a change in pressure when fish are reeled up from deep water) and results in anglers having to release sub-legal fish that are already dead or not likely to survive.

As a first step, the agency is conducting a survey to better determine angler support for a potential regulation change consideration. Angler input will help inform the decision-making process.

DEC says Lake Erie has long been recognized as one of New York’s premier walleye fisheries. Walleyes are distributed widely in the lake and are available to anglers using a variety of techniques including trolling, drifting, or casting.

About 60% of all angling effort is focused on walleyes, making them the most sought-after fish in Lake Erie. Most walleyes caught in Lake Erie are between 18 and 28 inches long and weigh 4 to 8 pounds. However, trophy fish exceeding 30 inches and 10 pounds are boated regularly

The season the New York waters of Lake Erie is from May 1 to March 15 and with a six fish per-day limit and a minimum size of 15 inches.

Most anglers fish from a boat but there are also opportunities to fish from shore. Charter captains offer daily trips from the major harbors. There are several walleye tournaments throughout the summer that draw thousands of participants.

DEC has set up a direct link to the survey: https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/7167626/Lake-Erie-walleye-minimumsize-survey.

For more information on Lake Erie walleyes, visit: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/120717.html.

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