“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.
Under the regulation, the PFBC sets daily creel limits for these species by April 15 each year.