HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today announced that the 2017 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 2016 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 2017 creel limits are being held at the 2016 limits.”
At its March 24 meeting, the Lake Erie Committee allotted to Pennsylvania a yellow perch total allowable catch (TAC) of 610,728 pounds, a 1% decrease from 2016, but 12% above the long-term average of 543,665 pounds. The 2017 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 (136,000 lbs.) and commercial fisheries (13,000 lbs.) has been 149,000 pounds.
Based on a 2017 abundance estimate of 55 million walleye age two or older, the walleye population has increased by about 81% from 2016 levels, but will be comprised mostly (63%) of age-2 fish.
“The 2015-year class should provide better walleye fishing in 2017 and beyond,” added Murray.
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 Pa., Ohio, N.Y., Mich., 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.”