Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Yellow Perch catch could be good this summer; Free Fishing Weekend June 5-6

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Yellow perch action is heating up on Lake Michigan as Indiana’s Free Fishing Weekend, June 5-6, approaches.

“Anglers fishing for yellow perch from the pier out of Michigan City are beginning to pick up some real jumbos fishing from shore,” Brian Breidert, DNR Lake Michigan fisheries biologist, said in a statement released this week. “As summer approaches, more shore fishing will occur, resulting in improved angler success.”

During Free Fishing Weekend, Hoosier adults do not need a license or a trout/salmon stamp to fish Indiana waters, including the Indiana portion of Lake Michigan. Children age 17 and younger do not need a fishing license at any time. Although Indiana residents need no fishing license to fish public waters on Free Fishing Weekend, all other fishing regulations are still in effect.

Breidert said that boat anglers fishing for yellow perch on Lake Michigan waters will also find success, noting that as the lake warms throughout the summer, anglers’ catch will increase.

During recent spring gillnet surveys conducted by the DNR, yellow perch weighing up to 1.75 pounds and measuring up to 15 inches were captured in 60-feet-deep water off of Michigan City. Each spring, spawning females move into the shallows during May and early June to spawn as water temperatures warm.

Based on 2009 angler creel surveys, nearly 400,000 perch were caught in Indiana waters of the lake last year. Of those, 214,000 were kept and taken home to be eaten. Fish ranged in size from 4.5 to 15 inches, with the average size hovering around 10 inches and weighing a half-pound each.

“Perch fishing will likely remain average to above-average as a result of the dramatic surge in yellow perch reproduction in 2005,” Breidert said. “Unfortunately, one year class cannot sustain a fishery and we hope to see strong year classes in the future.”

“The ecology of the lake has changed over the years with all the exotic species. They all compete for the available food resources and each new exotic species has an impact on our native fish populations.”

Anglers fishing for yellow perch spent nearly 147,000 hours pursuing the tasty fish. The catch and harvest were both the highest of the previous 10-year period. The month of June is the beginning of the harvest, with July and August being the highest months for catching yellow perch.

The harvest rate of nearly 1.5 fish per hour and a catch rate of nearly 2.7 fish per hour are among the highest for the decade. The strong 2003 and 2005 year classes will continue to provide family-friendly fishing opportunities, both from shore and boat. Each angler may keep up to 15 fish on a daily basis.

Posted 6/2/2010




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