Yellow Perch Season Approaches On Green Bay


The yellow perch season opens May 20 on Green Bay and recent surveys suggest that anglers will enjoy improved fishing and greater harvests in 2011 if fishing conditions are favorable, fish biologists say.

"We saw several really encouraging signs for the 2011 open water season and beyond," says Tammie Paoli, Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist for Green Bay. "Harvests were up last year, fish from several year classes are available to the fishery this year, and there was very good survival of fish hatched last year."

? Open water harvest of yellow perch in 2010 by sport anglers climbed to 225,995 fish from 204,209 fish in 2009, although the average size harvested was slightly smaller.

? Several year classes and sizes of female perch contributed to the just-ended 2011 spawn, boding well for the fishery this summer and the fish population for years to come.

? The relative abundance of yellow perch hatched in spring 2010 and surviving to fall ranked as the third highest in over 30 years.

The season opens May 20 in Green Bay and tributary rivers and runs through March 15, 2012. There's a daily bag limit of 15 and no minimum length limit.

2010-2011 Survey Results Roundup

DNR fish crews conduct several surveys over the year to assess yellow perch populations and keep tabs on harvests. Biologist Tammie Paoli reports these results from the past year.

Trawling surveys

Annual late summer trawl surveys continued for the 33rd year to monitor trends in yellow perch abundance. Trawling at 77 index sites at 12 locations from Green Island to Longtail Point indicated that fish hatched earlier and were a half inch larger than recent years due to an earlier than usual spawn last spring. The 2,583 young-of-the-year (YOY) perch caught per hour ranked as the third highest in more than 30 years. The majority were captured near the Peshtigo River, Pensaukee River, and Little Tail Point.

Other common species in order of abundance captured at shallow sites were white perch YOY, gizzard shad, trout perch, and spottail shiner. Deep water trawls were dominated by round goby, rainbow smelt, and alewife. However, smelt and alewife remain at much lower levels than in the 1980s and 1990s.

Sport and commercial harvest

Sport fishing harvest is estimated from an annual creel survey. Anglers reported an increase in harvest in 2010 during the open water season and also during the ice fishing season that ended in March.

Ice harvest on Green Bay was 62,829 fish, up from 33,070 in the winter of 2010, and above the 14-year average of 46,359.

The annual commercial harvest, reported by commercial fishers who are required to weigh their harvest daily, was up in 2010. Commercial fishers harvested 75,641 pounds using gill and drop nets, compared to 61,509 pounds in 2009. Since 1983, that harvest in Green Bay has been managed under a quota system and has ranged from 20,000 to 475,000 pounds.

The current quota has remained at 100,000 pounds since 2008.

Spawning assessment

The spring spawning assessment continued for the 34th year as double-ended fyke nets were set on April 18 and monitored until May 2 on Green Bay at Little Tail Point. The peak of the spawn was a week later than normal due to a cold spring. Good news is that several year classes and sizes of female perch are contributing to the 2011 spawn.

The survey captured a total of 31 species. Besides yellow perch, trout perch (minnow), spottail shiners, brown bullhead, white suckers, walleye, and round goby dominated the catches. A total of 67 walleye were captured, averaging 23.3 inches.

For more regulation news, click here.

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