HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today announced that the 2020 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 2019 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 2020 creel limits will remain the same as last year.”
At its March 25 meeting, the Lake Erie Committee allotted to Pennsylvania a yellow perch total allowable catch (TAC) of 530,000 pounds, an 8% decrease from 2019, but 5% above the long-term average of 551,314 pounds. The 2020 level includes a yellow perch TAC for Pennsylvania’s commercial trap net fishery of 100,000 pounds.
Since 1996, the average harvest of yellow perch by Pennsylvania’s combined recreational (122,000 lbs.) and commercial fisheries (17,000 lbs.) is 139,000 pounds.
Based on a 2020 abundance estimate exceeding 100 million walleyes age two or older, the walleye population has more than doubled from 2019, but will be comprised mostly (75%) of two-year-old fish. The large two-year-old cohort (2018 year class) will result in a significant portion of the walleyes being under 15 inches for much of the 2020 season.
“Based on large year classes in 2015, 2018 and 2019, walleye fishing on Lake Erie should remain very good for several years,” added Murray.
The PFBC adopted a regulation in 2012 which established flexible creel limits for walleyes 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.
To avoid the spread of COVID-19, please practice social distancing while fishing under the Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order and follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control.