Walleye survey sets hatch record

by Jeff Helsdon | May 2, 2022
beach - walleye
Walleye Engbretson Underwater Photo

Last year’s Lake Erie walleye survey numbers set a new record.

Provincial and state fisheries agencies track walleye numbers by using a net with smaller mesh to assess numbers of young-of-the-year (YOY) walleye over a set area.

In the 34 years the trawl series has been taking place in the western basin, the 2003-year class has been the benchmark for strong year classes with results of 183 YOY walleye per hectare. For 2021, preliminary results from various agencies indicate 325 YOY walleye per hectare, almost double the 2003-year class.

“While estimates of 2021 cohort strength vary by source, multiple recruitment indices from Lake Erie agencies indicate the 2021 walleye hatch is the strongest observed,” said Richard Drouin, lead management biologist with the Lake Erie Management Unit of the NDMNRF.

This is the fourth consecutive year in which a strong walleye hatch on Lake Erie has been recorded, he said. Since 2017, the angler catch rate lake wide has been above the management plan target of 0.4 walleye per hour.

“It is anticipated that the recreational walleye fishery on Lake Erie will continue to be strong,” Drouin added.

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  1. Tim McKim wrote: Since the measure was in hectares this year vs acres in 2003, the total is 131 walleye per acre, less than 2003. There are 2.47 acres in 1 hectare. Did I miss something?
  2. Brian Schumaker wrote: There is a very large downside to the high walleye numbers... A friend of mine operates a minnow boat. The Emerald Shiner numbers are diminishing. His catch numbers are way down. We need to pull many of those Walleye out or the Emerald Shiner could be threatened. Raise the Walleye limit.