HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today announced that the 2018 creel limit for Lake Erie yellow perch will remain at 30 per day and the creel limit for walleye will stay at six per day.
“The 2017 assessment showed that both yellow perch and walleye populations remain at maintenance levels,” said Chuck Murray, the PFBC’s Lake Erie biologist. “Based on this, the 2018 creel limits are being held at the 2017 limits.”
At its March 29 meeting, the Lake Erie Committee allotted to Pennsylvania a yellow perch total allowable catch (TAC) of 627,668 pounds, a 3% increase from 2017, and 15% above the long-term average of 546,000 pounds. The 2018 level includes a yellow perch TAC for the commercial trap net fishery of 100,000 pounds.
Since 1996, the average harvest of yellow perch by Pennsylvania’s combined recreational (135,500 lbs.) and commercial fisheries (13,000 lbs.) has been 148,500 pounds.
Based on a 2018 abundance estimate of 41 million walleye age two or older, the walleye population has decreased by about 23% from 2017 levels, but should provide excellent fishing in 2018. The 2015 year class (age-3) is estimated to represent 56% of the population and should contribute significantly to the harvest.
The PFBC adopted a regulation in 2012 which established adaptive creel limits for walleye and yellow perch based on the annual quotas established by the Lake Erie Committee, which consists of fisheries managers from Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada.
Under the regulation, the PFBC sets daily creel limits for these species by April 15 each year.
“Adaptive fishing regulations are based on the most recent fishery assessment results and are better aligned with the current status of the yellow perch and walleye stocks,” Murray added. “This regulatory flexibility gives fisheries managers the ability to change daily harvest limits prior to the onset of the summer boat fishing season on Lake Erie.”