Lake Eric fish had an excellent hatch in 2021

Good news for Lake Erie perch and walleye anglers was announced last week by the Fisheries Department of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

It looks like the 2021 hatch for both species was a banner year! This is great news for the future of fishing. I just watched a podcast a week ago that explained that they usually see the best walleye hatches in years when ice stays on the lake later than usual or when water levels are higher higher than usual.

As I have reported in the past, lake levels have been extremely high for the past two years. Add to these ideal conditions that we had a record number of catchable walleyes in the lake thanks to healthy hatches in 2018 and 2019 which are now of breeding age, equaling last spring’s record hatch. This means that the already strong fishing should remain excellent for years to come.

Concern over perch numbers in recent years has also grown with a record hatch last spring as well. The current limit for walleye is six and for perch it is thirty in the western basin and ten in the central and eastern basin. This year’s limits are supposed to be set at a meeting on March 25.

On that note, the main body of Lake Erie as well as lakes and ponds in the region are rapidly reopening and becoming ice-free. Today’s high winds and forecast precipitation for the coming week should be the final blow to any remaining ice. This means fishing season will be here before you know it. March is the perfect time to get your boat and fishing gear ready so you’re ready to go when the water warms up.

• Spring is fast approaching, and with warming temperatures comes a new wave of exciting outdoor recreational opportunities for all to enjoy. Before enjoying what spring has to offer, the ODNR Wildlife Division reminds anyone planning to hunt and fish to check their license expiration dates.

Ohio’s licensing options give those who love the outdoors more flexibility than ever before. If your hunting or fishing license has expired, you can purchase a new one online at wildohio.gov, at participating agents statewide, and through the HuntFish OH app.

License sales fund Wildlife Division projects and programs that benefit wildlife and people. The Wildlife Division manages or cooperatively manages over 2 million acres of water and 750,000 acres of diverse wildlife lands. Clean water and a robust habitat protect all wildlife, from the smallest bumblebee to the largest raptor, including game such as walleye, bass, deer and turkey.

Ohio resident fishing licenses cost $25 and are valid for one year from the date of purchase and can be purchased up to 30 days before the expiration date. A fishing license is required to fish in public waters in Ohio.

Annual hunting licenses for Ohio residents for the 2022-23 seasons are $19 for adults ($10 for youth) and are available now. Hunting licenses are valid immediately after purchase until February 28, 2023. All hunters, regardless of age, must have a valid hunting license to hunt or trap in Ohio.

Customers also have the option to choose auto-renewal when purchasing a license online or when using a smartphone. The selected license will automatically renew to ensure that the buyer still has a valid license.

Purchasing a license is now easier than ever with the free HuntFish OH mobile app available for Android and iOS users. Deer and turkey hunters can use the app to record their harvest, even without a WiFi connection. App users can also buy permits, read current regulations and view maps of the area.

Funds from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, as well as excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment, directly benefit wildlife management and habitat conservation efforts here at home. ‘Ohio. The funds also support improved access to fishing, shooting ranges and wildlife areas. Visit wildohio.gov to learn more.

Until next time, good fishing and good hunting!

Ken Parrott is an agricultural science teacher at Northmor High School.

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