The good news is the recent boon in walleye hatches are out in full force feeding, taking full advantage of the mayfly run, and going after angler lures in the Western Basin. The bad news is. . . well, there really isn’t any bad news about this. Fishermen may find it somewhat annoying feeding their night crawlers to the hatch and fatiguing their reeling wrists on the small ‘eye that have taken over the June waters of the shallow end of Lake Erie. Charter boat captains may be inconvenienced by having to tote along extra bait and having to go through the extra gas to go out to deeper waters to find the larger fish that their clients can legally put in their coolers and wells. But the payoff is going to be worth it.
Next year, those small fish are going to be legal size, just as hungry and will be a reminder of what makes Lake Erie walleye fishing great. Right now, it’s merely an exercise in patience. And attitude. This hatch is an investment in the lake’s future. And there are still legal-sized walleyes out there in this dragnet of juveniles. It may be a pain to find them, but they do still exist.
Let Those Small Lake Erie Walleye Grow
As much as it pains us to go home with a lighter cooler, as tempted as we are to keep those damn-near-legal fish, we need to let them go with a tip of the hat and a see you next year. I may be a bit of a sentimental when in comes to fishing, but to me it’s all about releasing stock back into the lake for future years–and a respect for the sport. We have size-limitations and number limits for a reason. Over harvesting can knock a lake and its sport fishing to its knees.
If that isn’t enough incentive, I noticed the DNR officers are more active. In the marina I was docked at this last weekend, one particular DNR official had boats lined up in the channel and was inspecting coolers. He didn’t hesitate in handing out tickets for undersized fish to the tune of $30.00 a pop. This could make for an expensive fishing trip to those not diligent with their measuring sticks.