Archives for April 2014

Biologists see good outlook for Lake Erie fishing

Lake Erie walleye fishing charter trip aboard the Stray Cat

Lake Erie walleye fishing charter trip aboard the Stray Cat Monroe Michigan

State biologists in Ohio say Lake Erie anglers should have a variety of sport fishing opportunities this year.

Biologists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources say the lake’s population of walleye, yellow perch, black bass, white bass and steelhead remains stable. They say there is a broad distribution of sizes for each species.

Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch fisheries are managed through an interagency quota system involving Ontario, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio. Each jurisdiction regulates their catches to meet the quotas and minimize the risk of over-fishing species. Seasonal quotas are determined through a consensus agreement by those jurisdictions through the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

Biologists caution that factors including water temperature and boat traffic can change lake fishing conditions.

Great Lakes Cruise Ships

Great Lakes Cruise Ship

Great Lakes Cruise Ship

Each year, more than 20 million passengers take cruise vacations — nearly 60 percent of them choosing Caribbean or Mediterranean itineraries, according to the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association.

The Great Lakes region doesn’t even appear on the organization’s list of cruise options, but perhaps it should. Everything travelers love about cruises — luxury amenities, great food and memorable ports of call — can be found right here in the Midwest.

The Great Lakes Cruise Company, for example, has a fleet of three luxury cruise ships and offers itineraries ranging from one to two weeks. Now in its 16th year, it bills itself as the world’s only travel company specializing in Great Lakes cruises.

Its eight-day Magical Lake Michigan itinerary starts and ends in Chicago and includes ports of call such as Beaver Island, Mackinac Island and Wisconsin’s picturesque Door County.

Its 16-day Great American Waterways cruise starts in Chicago and ends in Warren, R.I. Along the way, the ship travels through four of the Great Lakes, as well as the Erie Canal, the Hudson River and Narragansett Bay.

And its Great Lakes and Georgian Bay cruise, which tends to sell out months in advance, travels from Toronto to Chicago — with a stop at Niagara Falls along the way.

Prices range from $1,999 to $10,500 per person, depending on the ship, the type of room selected and the length of the trip.
The Tall Ship Manitou is also based in Traverse City, Mich., but it offers a very different experience. At 114 feet, it is one of the largest traditional sailing vessels on the Great Lakes, and it can accommodate nearly 60 passengers.

The Manitou is known primarily for its day trips and overnight “floating bed and breakfast” options — with the boat secured at the pier overnight.

But each September and October, the Manitou offers a handful of longer trips, such as a three-day fall foliage tour, a four-day astronomy cruise and a four-day wine cruise. Prices range from $529 to $889 per person.

Travelers who want to spend a night on Lake Michigan — despite a limited budget — can instead book a berth on the S.S. Badger. The car ferry shuttles across Lake Michigan between Ludington, Mich., and Manitowoc, Wisc.

From June to September, passengers traveling without cars can book an overnight, round-trip “mini cruise” for $89 — plus $49 each way for an optional private stateroom. The ferry leaves Ludington at 8:30 p.m., just in time for sunset, and returns in time for sunrise.

Lake Erie Farm Bill Program Planned in Monroe Michigan

A Farm Bill update and cover crops meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, at the Knabusch Mathematics and Science Center, 6670 Waters Edge Drive in Monroe. A presentation of Lake Erie water treatment issues will be given by Tim Murphy of the Toledo Environmental Services.

Tim Kwiatkowski of the Monroe Conservation District’s Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, will present Crop-A-Syst, and a Natural Resources Conservation Service district conservationist will present Farm Bill updates. Center director Tom Green will host a brief invasive plant identification tour.

The meeting is approved as a MAEAP Phase I meeting, according to a news release. Lunch will be provided to producers but registration is required by calling the Monroe Conservation District at 734-241-8540.

Read more:

Lake Erie walleye fishing report Monroe Michigan 4-17-2014

Lake Erie Michigan: walleye fishing is very slow, the lake is still a little muddy

Detroit River is a much different story, when the weather cooperates, walleye fishing is in full swing. A lot of limit catches were reported with numerous large females in the mix. The usual areas from the lower river at Trenton all the way up to Belle Isle are producing fish. 

Lake Erie walleye limit will remain at six through April 30, 2015

The Department of Natural Resources today announced that the daily possession limit for walleye in Michigan’s waters of Lake Erie will remain at six through April 30, 2015.

In 2011, Michigan adopted a process for setting creel limit regulations that allows the DNR to use real-time population data instead of using year-old survey results. This process parallels one adopted by Ohio in 2010.

“This regulatory process is critical to helping us manage walleye in Lake Erie in a timely manner,” said Jim Francis, DNR Fisheries Division’s Lake Erie basin coordinator. “In order to do that, the department has to set regulations in March instead of the previous autumn.”

Michigan’s daily possession limit for Lake Erie walleye is based on its share of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the lake, which is determined by the Lake Erie Committee under the guidance of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The TAC is generally based on overall abundance of walleye. The committee establishes quotas for each jurisdiction based on the percentage of habitat for adult walleye in each jurisdiction’s waters of the lake. The daily limit is based on a formula that projects how many walleye anglers can keep but still remain within the quota.

See the table below for an explanation of the formula used to set the daily creel limit.

The Total Allowable Catch for Lake Erie for 2014 is 4.027 million fish, making Michigan’s quota 235,000.

As a result of this regulatory process, the daily possession limit for walleye on Lake Erie is not set until the TAC is determined each March, which is after the annual Michigan Fishing Guide goes to press. Anglers, therefore, must annually check for changes. The DNR has developed a strategy to communicate the walleye creel limit that includes a statewide news release, an updated online Fishing Guide and a pre-recorded message at 888-367-7060 to inform anglers of the creel limit.

For 2014, there are no changes to either the fishing season or size limit for walleye on Lake Erie.


DNR to tag 3,000 walleye in Saginaw Bay waters.

DNR asks anglers to be on the lookout for tagged walleye

To improve its knowledge of walleye populations in Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay, the Department of Natural Resources’ Fisheries Division is set to tag nearly 3,000 walleye in Saginaw Bay tributary rivers over the next two weeks. A total of 1,000 walleye will be tagged in the Tittabawassee River and the remaining 2,000 in other tributary streams. To get the most information from these efforts, anglers are asked to collect data on tagged fish they catch and report it to the DNR.

Collected information can be mailed to the postal address stamped on the tag or reported on the DNR website at:

Since 1981, more than 100,000 walleye in the Saginaw Bay area have been tagged. Jaw-tagging is part of an assessment project to monitor survival and exploitation rates of this key walleye population. The program depends on anglers to report when and where a tagged walleye is caught as well as the fish’s length, weight (if known) and tag identification number. Both released and harvested walleye can be reported. Anglers then will receive a letter from the DNR, detailing the background of their fish.

“Survival rate is the rate at which walleye are surviving from one year to the next and exploitation rate is the percentage of walleye being harvested from the population,” Dave Fielder, DNR fish biologist, said. “These two measurements are essential for gauging the health of the population and fishery.”

The annual tagging operation is spearheaded by the DNR’s Southern Lake Huron Management Unit. Electrofishing boats are used to temporarily stun the fish so they can be netted and measured and a small metal tag can be affixed to the jaw of each fish.

Learn more about marked and tagged fish at

The Regional Science Consortium wins grant for Lake Erie weather buoy

4-2-2014 – Good news for Lake Erie boaters and fishermen!

The Regional Science Consortium has secured a grant to float a high-tech weather buoy in local Lake Erie waters as early as this May.

The weather buoy will provide safety data to help boaters and fishermen determine the lake water temperature, the size of the waves, turbidity, wind speed and direction, and also feature a video camera for a look at lake conditions.

The buoy will be located about five miles out in the lake, off Walnut Creek.

We are happy to also announce that once the buoy is up and operating, Jet 24/FOX66 meteorologists from your weather authority will make that information available to you every day on-air and here at

Here’s more from RSC:

Recently the Regional Science Consortium were the recipients of a grant from the Great Lakes Observing Systems (GLOS) for a Weather, Water, & Wave Buoy System. This system will be deployed May 2014 west of the Presque Isle State Park peninsula, near Walnut Creek approximately 5 miles off shore. This is only the second moored buoy in the U.S. waters of Lake Erie that will be collecting weather, water, and wave data; the other buoy is off of Sandusky/Lorain, Ohio.

The RSC Buoy System will collect the following data:

•Weather – Air Temperature, Wind Speed, Max. Wind Speed, Relative Humidity, Barometric Pressure, Daily Rain, Rain Duration, Rain Intensity, and Solar Radiation
•Water – Water Temperature, Specific Conductivity, pH, Turbidity, and Dissolved Oxygen
•Wave – Wave Height, Wave Period, and Wave Direction
•Video Camera

The data will be collected and updated every 20 minutes and can be accessed at the RSC website, the GLOS website, and through the National Weather Service for the nearshore forecast for the waters of Lake Erie off of Erie, PA. The National Weather Service will report this data on their website, NOAA weather radio, and their Dial-A-Buoy program. In addition, the buoy is also outfitted with a video camera that will collect 30 minute clips of the Lake Erie conditions and update the RSC website every hour. This buoy system will fill observation data gaps in the nearshore region of southern Lake Erie, and provide critical meteorological and physical data to support National Weather Service and local meteorological forecasts. This data is also of great importance to those that recreate on Lake Erie (i.e. boaters, sailors, anglers, swimmers)

Michigan and Ohio’s walleye, yellow perch populations stable for 2014

WINDSOR, Ontario – There will be no changes in the Ohio bag limits for Lake Erie walleye or yellow perch for 2014 after the Lake Erie Committee (LEC) of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission reported at its annual meeting that the walleye population is healthier than expected, while schools of yellow perch are in a mild slump. Michigan will not set walleye bag limits until May 1st 2014 for Lake Erie.

The Ohio walleye bag limit for Lake Erie will remain at six fish per day, four during the spring spawning season from March 1-April 30, said Jeff Tyson, head of Lake Erie fisheries management for the Ohio Division of Wildlife. The yellow perch daily bag limit will continue to be 30 for the popular pan-sized fish.

The increase in Lake Erie’s walleye population estimate was a surprise, following mediocre spawning seasons. The jump in walleye numbers was the result of the LEC’s new population assessment model for determining how many walleye are swimming in Lake Erie. The new model increased the estimated size of the walleye population to more than 22 million fish.

“The new model was developed by the Lake Erie Percid Management Advisory Group and Michigan State University,” said Tyson. “It used studies that ran the gamut of fisheries assessments, fish harvested, effort by sport and commercial fishermen, age composition of the harvest, as well as a wide range of other data.”

Tyson is comfortable with the new model, even though the last few classes of walleye have been low to average. The bonanza year class of 2003 still makes up an overwhelming 30 percent of the population. They’re now trophy fish, ensuring Lake Erie’s status as the Walleye Capital of the World, but fishermen and fisheries managers have to wonder how long that single class can buoy Lake Erie’s walleye fishery.

The total allowable catch (TAC) for Lake Erie walleye was set at 4.027 million fish, a noticeable jump from a TAC of 3.356 million in 2013. Ohio gets the lion’s share of 2.058 million fish, up from 1.715 million in 2013, with Ontario allocated 1.734 million walleye. Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York get small shares of the TAC.

Ohio does not allow commercial fishing for walleye, and sport anglers have not come close to catching Ohio’s quota of walleye in decades. In Ontario, commercial walleye fishing dominates. Even with reduced effort in recent years, netters have been able to catch the majority of the Ontario quota.

Tyson is hopeful the 2014 walleye hatch will be a good one.

“We’ve seen a pattern of decent hatches associated with fairly severe winters, like we’ve had this year,” Tyson said. “It’s only one factor, though. The success of the hatch also depends on the right precipitation in the spring, gradual warming rates, survival of walleye eggs on the reefs and forage availability for larval and juvenile fish.”

Ohio may try to restore the Sauger to Lake Erie

PORT CLINTON, Ohio — Ohio’s wildlife agency is looking into bringing back a sport fish that disappeared from Lake Erie several decades ago.

The state’s natural resources department wants to find out if it would possible to restore the sauger to the lake and rivers in northern Ohio.

Sauger disappeared from northern Ohio in the 1950s because of overfishing and habitat loss. It’s often compared with the walleye.

Ohio’s fish management administrator for Lake Erie says DNA will be a key in determining whether they can bring back the sauger.

He tells the Port Clinton News-Herald, that fish with similar genetics would have a better chance of adapting and surviving in Lake Erie.

The state is considering testing sauger from Lake Ontario, the Ohio River and a lake in Minnesota.