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The number of yellow perch anglers can take in a day will be cut in half come April 1.
The new daily possession limit will be 25, reduced from 50, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
The only exceptions are Lake Erie, which will retain a 50 fish daily limit, and Lake Gogebic in Gogebic and Ontonagon counties, which will have the 25-fish daily limit, but with no more than five of those fish being 12 inches or longer.
The Michigan Natural Resources Commission approved the proposed fishing regulation change late last year after extensive public and scientific reviews, according to a DNR statement. The new regulation is effective with the start of the 2019 Michigan fishing season.
Randy Claramunt, Lake Huron basin coordinator, said it was the anglers who actually called for the change.
Claramunt said anglers thought the 50 fish limit was excessive and it was rarely met.
A DNR survey found 64 percent of anglers indicated they were in favor of more conservative regulations.
“I grew up in the Thumb myself, and the Saginaw Bay, southern Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair, perch fisheries were king back in the day, it really was,” he said.
Lowering the statewide daily possession limit also supports consistent yellow perch regulations across waterbodies, particularly connecting waters, tributaries and drowned river mouths, according to the DNR.
“The major goal for lowering the yellow perch daily possession limit was to better achieve an optimal balance between conservation and fishing opportunity, reflecting the importance and popularity of yellow perch in Michigan,” Christian LeSage, who works for the DNR’s Aquatic Species and Regulatory Affairs Unit, said in the statement. “Yellow perch are among the most sought-after game species in Michigan, and we want to ensure generations of anglers can continue to enjoy fishing for them.”
Claramunt said the 50 fish limit was set in 1979 when the perch population was abundant. He said in past years it hasn’t been thriving as well, citing invasive species as being an issue.
Claramunt echoed LeSage’s thoughts on the popularity of the fish.
“We argue it’s one of the most sought-after fishery in that area and in Michigan,” he said.
Claramunt said a few things make the fish popular.
“The easiest answer to that is all you need is a hook and a worm…it’s the most accessible fishery and it’s the most diverse fishery, you can catch perch in a farm pond or the Great Lakes…and they’re not too bad to eat,” he said.
Starting March 1, the 2019 Michigan Fishing Guide will be available online and in printed copy form at fishing license retailers. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DNRDigests.
Contact Liz Shepard at (810) 989-6273 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @lvshepard.
By: Liz Shepard - Port Huron Times Herald