Saginaw Bay fishery regulations changing

Yellow Perch

Yellow Perch

Walleye bag limits in Saginaw Bay are being raised from 5-8. Yellow Perch limits are being cut in half to twenty-five.

That’s according to Todd Grischke the Lake Huron Basin Coordinator for the DNR.

Grischke said managing the Saginaw Bay fishery is no easy task. He said it’s all about balance.

“The Walleye population has recovered. It’s totally self-sufficient, naturally reproducing. In addition to that, the prey-base is very very low. So what we’ve found is that yellow perch are an important prey item for Walleye and Yellow Perch numbers are much reduced from what they were historically.”

Grischke said the Walleye fishery has gone through a full recovery, but now Yellow Perch need some help.

“We’ve moved some commercial fishing effort out of Saginaw Bay, and we’re also looking to reintroduce Lake Herring into the Saginaw Bay area. If that Lake Herring population could take off, it would serve as a buffer for the Yellow Perch.”

Grischke said as of now, the most important fish to protect is the Yellow Perch.

“People can access Yellow Perch fishing without big boats, it’s very popular we know that. We know a lot of people get out and fish more often when Yellow Perch fishing is good, so really that’s the next one on our radar screen to try and recover and get back.”

Grischke said future management decisions for Saginaw Bay will be made based on Walleye populations.