HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today announced that the 2021 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 PFBC Lake Erie Research Unit evaluates the populations of yellow perch and walleye in Lake Erie annually. If populations reach critically low levels, management actions are taken to prevent overharvest and rebuild the numbers of yellow perch and walleye in the Lake. All jurisdictions on Lake Erie adhere to this system.
“The 2020 assessment showed that both yellow perch and walleye populations in the Pennsylvania waters of Lake Erie remain at levels that don’t necessitate regulation changes,” said Chuck Murray, PFBC Lake Erie Biologist. “Based on this assessment, the 2021 creel limits are being maintained at the standard limits.”
At its March 26 meeting, the Lake Erie Committee, which consists of fisheries managers from Pennsylvania; Ohio; New York; Michigan; and Ontario, Canada, allotted to Pennsylvania a yellow perch total allowable catch (TAC) of 451,000 pounds. This allotment represents a 16% decrease from 2020 and is 18% below the long-term average of 550,621 pounds. The 2021 level includes a yellow perch TAC for Pennsylvania’s commercial trap net fishery of 100,000 pounds.
Currently, Pennsylvania accounts for a very small part of the total yellow perch harvest in Lake Erie. Yellow perch harvest has averaged about 71,000 pounds over the last five years. In 2020, Pennsylvania harvested only 21,000 pounds (0.7%) of the 3.1 million pounds harvested lake wide.
The yellow perch and walleye populations in Lake Erie are maintained strictly by natural reproduction. Good “hatches” and survival of young fish are necessary to provide fish for sport and commercial fisheries.
“While Lake Erie walleye hatches have