OHIO SEASON WRAP UP|
The 1999 walleye fishing season will go down in history as one of the slower ones. Walleye action was "spotty" for lack of a better term. However, after a slow summer, good numbers of yellow perch and smallmouth bass were taken at many of the traditional fall hot spots across Lake Erie.
For the third consecutive year, yellow perch took center stage. The action heated up in early August (even earlier for the first anglers to give up on walleyes) and continued through October. An early estimate by fisheries biologists through September reveals a sport harvest of 4.85 million fish, an increase of 6 percent from the same time last year.
Good reports came from many traditional hot spots across both basins. Most catches measured
8 - 9 inches. Perch taken in the Central Basin were a lttle at 7 - 11 inches.
Hoards of baitfish and a several week period of mayfly hatches, which kept walleyes fed, are factors that may have affected the fishing. The 1999 walleye harvest was only about 1 million, a decrease of over 50 percent from 1998.
Smallmouth bass fishing was excellent. The 1999 harvest through September was close to 90,000, an increase of close to 30,000 from the previous year. The majority of the smallies measured 14 - 17 inches. Steelhead action picked up in the Central Basin tributaries in October and is expected to be excellent bcause of increasing numbers of steelhead now in the system because of the Dividion's annual stocking program.