2017 Was Record Year for Lake Erie Walleye Fishing

Lake Erie walleye fishing

Angler survey finds the 2017 catch rates for Lake Erie walleye fishing in New York waters was nearly three times better than the 30-year average.

If past performance is indicative of future success, 2018 should be a great year for Lake Erie walleye fishing, according to data released by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

An angler survey of walleye catches in 2017 in the New York state waters of Lake Erie determined the year was the best in three decades, according to a DEC press release.

Anglers harvested more than 70,000 walleye in those waters in 2017, officials said. That number is nearly three times greater than the 30-year average, a level not achieved since 1989. 

"The New York State waters of Lake Erie are world famous for outstanding angling opportunities for walleye, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch," Commissioner Basil Seggos said in the news release. "Our Lake Erie waters have consistently ranked among the top three most heavily fished waters in the state, and the fishery generates more than $26 million in economic activity annually. Anglers should take advantage of Lake Erie's current conditions and experience this world-class walleye fishery for themselves in 2018."

This exceptional fishing was due in large part to strong walleye reproductive success in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2015. Recent evidence also suggests that walleye reproduction was strong again in 2016.

More from New York DEC:

Walleye are one of the most popular gamefish in New York, as they put up an exciting fight during the catch and make for tasty meal on the table. Walleye are aptly named because of their unique eyes that have a reflective layer of pigment called the tapetum lucidum, which allows them to see very well at night and during other low-light periods. This layer also gives walleye their "glassy-eyed" or "wall-eyed" appearance.

Lake Erie is continually ranked among the world's top walleye fishing destinations by angler publications, with an abundance of trophy-size walleye ranging from 8-10 lbs. and local tournament winners often scoring fish exceeding 11 lbs.

Given that walleye typically live 10 years or more in Lake Erie combined with excellent reproduction rates in recent years, anglers should experience continued, exceptional walleye fishing in future years.

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