Cool approves Lake Erie fishing regulations|
Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director K.L. Cool today approved walleye fishing regulations for Lake Erie, designed to help sustain what is considered to be the nation’s finest natural walleye fishery.
The Director’s Order, drafted over several months of cooperation with myriad Lake Erie fishing interests and approved at the regular monthly meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing, represents a compromise between fishing interests and fishery managers. Each state bordering Lake Erie, and Canada, agreed to reduce its total annual walleye harvest by 40 percent through a self-selected combination of actions.
Lake Erie walleye anglers in Michigan waters presently are allowed to fish throughout the year, observing a 13-inch minimum size limit and keeping up to six fish. The new regulations, effective April 1, 2004, will close the walleye season from April 1 to May 31, increase the size limit to 15-inches, and reduce the daily bag limit to five fish.
Anglers on the Detroit River will observe identical size and daily bag limits, but the fishery will remain open year round. Lake St. Clair and St. Clair River walleye fishing regulations will remain unchanged.
The orders will remain effective through 2009, but will be reviewed annually.
“We are blessed to have the finest natural walleye fishery in the country on our Southeast shores,” Cool said. “Our science indicates that we are on the verge of seeing a dramatic decrease in Lake Erie walleye populations, caused mostly by seasonal impacts to reproduction during the past few years. By managing this unique resource proactively with regulations that accommodate anticipated population shortfalls, we can be assured that Lake Erie will remain a world-class destination for walleye.”
Cool also approved a property exchange that provides a connecting trail between the City of Monroe and Sterling State Park, and 104 acres of wetland on the south side of the park for anglers and waterfowl hunters. The long-awaited exchange fulfills a commitment from the DNR as part of the Sterling State Park renovation, completed this year and formally dedicated in June.
The next regular meeting of the NRC is Nov. 6-7 in Lansing.