Home News Ohio Department of Natural Resources Optimistic for Lake Erie Fishing Season

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Optimistic for Lake Erie Fishing Season


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Anglers gearing up for the 2024 fishing season can anticipate another year of exceptional opportunities on Lake Erie, as affirmed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

With a string of robust walleye hatches in recent years, Lake Erie continues to solidify its reputation as The Walleye Capital of the World. Additionally, the stable yellow perch population in Lake Erie’s west zone promises good fishing prospects for 2024, despite lower catch rates projected for the central and east zones.

Travis Hartman, Lake Erie Fisheries Program Administrator for the Division of Wildlife, emphasized the lake’s global recognition as a premier fishing destination for various species. Hartman credited Lake Erie’s sustained success to science-based management guiding regulations, ensuring long-term angling opportunities.

Managed through an interagency quota system, Lake Erie’s walleye and yellow perch fisheries operate within annually determined safe harvest levels, guaranteeing sustainability. The recent announcement of quotas by the Lake Erie Committee on March 22 signals the commencement of preparations for the upcoming season.


Anglers can reel in up to six walleye per day, each measuring a minimum of 15 inches. A streak of above-average walleye hatch successes, including record-breaking years, promises an abundance of 2- to 6-year-old fish, predominantly ranging from 15 to 24 inches. Younger fish, between 9 to 14 inches, are increasingly prevalent, with many reaching the legal size as the season progresses. Hartman encouraged anglers to release sub-legal fish promptly to contribute to future fisheries.

Yellow Perch

In the west zone, from Toledo to Huron, stable yellow perch abundance is expected, especially during July through mid-August and mid-October through November. Conversely, the central and east zones may experience lower catch rates, attributed to poor to moderate hatches in recent years. Despite challenges, conservative quotas aim to facilitate sustainable spawning stocks for population recovery.


The smallmouth bass and largemouth bass fishing outlook remains promising, with the opportunity for trophy catches. Fishing regulations specify daily limits and minimum size requirements to ensure sustainable management.

The economic impact of fishing in Ohio was underscored by a recent report, which revealed that anglers generated $5.5 billion in economic spending in 2022. With fishing enthusiasts flocking to Lake Erie, the region continues to play a pivotal role in Ohio’s recreational landscape.

For comprehensive fishing reports, regulations, and resources, anglers are encouraged to visit wildohio.gov or access the HuntFish OH app.