Can Trophy Walleyes be Kept Without Hurting Their Population
Apr 18th, 2019 by Keith Worrall 245
Modified Apr 18th, 2019 at 10:41 AM
For many years, it has been well known that there is an annual fall migration of large walleyes into the Sandusky Sub-Basin, near Huron. They are there to take advantage of the massive accumulation of gizzard shad that are attracted to the remaining warm water temperatures that they crave.
As walleye fatten up on these slow-moving targets, which flounder as water temperatures drop closer to freezing, it marks a time when some of the heaviest trophies of the year can be caught.
To date, whenever fishermen ask if keeping big female walleyes harms the population in large bodies of water, the reply offered by fisheries biologists here and elsewhere in the Midwest has been that there is no evidence that it does.
This is why Ohio and most other states allow year-round fishing and allow anglers to choose whether to keep the “hens” that they catch while fishing any month of the year.
Using slot limits to harvest only medium-size fish, allowing only one fish over a certain size or prohibiting fishing during the spawning season are often social, not biological, decisions that come from people concerned about overharvesting the resource.