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With the other thread about perch and walleye getting a lot of responses I thought I would share some information that was passed on to me by a DNR fisheries employee friend of mine regarding the status of perch and walleye in the Bay. The DNR is considering a handful of proposals to help with the perch. I believe these proposals will be discussed at an upcoming advisory meeting at Jay's in Clare. I have attached a link to the DNR's proposed management plans below. It's a very good read.

A few interesting tidbits:
- Perch reproduction is better now than what it was in the 1980s and 90s, indicating no shortage of adult spawners.
- Walleye are the prime predator of perch, so much so that most perch dont live past age 2.
- stocking, lowering bag limits, season closures and enforcing minimum size limits for perch will not be implemented as possible options to help the perch population.
- increasing bag limits and lowering minimum size limits on walleye are potential proposals.

http://www.grandrap.michigansteelhe...e_management_options_for_yellow_perch_sf_.pdf
 

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I talked to a biologist last week. Increased walleye limits and possibly stocking Cisco as a dual purpose sport fishing/forage base is also on the table.
 

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One thing i always wondered was why the walleyes in the winter r so deep say 20 ft and most perch are around the 5 ft range it seems the walleye would be right in there with the perch if thats there preffered forage i know they move shallower in the night but they have to be eating something out there during the day guess i will have to examine stomach contents next time i make it out 10 miles any thoughts?
 

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One thing i always wondered was why the walleyes in the winter r so deep say 20 ft and most perch are around the 5 ft range it seems the walleye would be right in there with the perch if thats there preffered forage i know they move shallower in the night but they have to be eating something out there during the day guess i will have to examine stomach contents next time i make it out 10 miles any thoughts?
I am not sure perch are "preferred" forage, and the size they eat are of the smaller variety. I think the walleyes chase schools of pelagic bait fish for the most part, shiners and such. I seldom find any stomach contents in the winter, their metabolism slows down and they don't need to eat as much, but it sure seems like their stomachs are empty a lot.

Feel free to disregard my ramblings......
 

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Thanks for the post:) What day is the meeting at Jays, can anyone attend? Would be a reason to shop for some goodies and go fishing on Houghton or Higgins:D

I am not sure perch are "preferred" forage, and the size they eat are of the smaller variety. I think the walleyes chase schools of pelagic bait fish for the most part, shiners and such. I seldom find any stomach contents in the winter, their metabolism slows down and they don't need to eat as much, but it sure seems like their stomachs are empty a lot.

Feel free to disregard my ramblings......
That's why you catch them. They're stomaches were empty so they bit your bait:p Sorry, couldn't help it:D
 

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I am not sure perch are "preferred" forage, and the size they eat are of the smaller variety. I think the walleyes chase schools of pelagic bait fish for the most part, shiners and such. I seldom find any stomach contents in the winter, their metabolism slows down and they don't need to eat as much, but it sure seems like their stomachs are empty a lot.

Feel free to disregard my ramblings......
I beg to differ.... this was caught this past Dec... just before freeze up... this was a 7-8'' perch in the stomach of a 7-8lb walleye...

perch chase the same schools of forage that walleyes do....:rolleyes:
 

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we caught this trolling a week before ice up. 9.5 lbr with a 12 inch sucker in her throat. Still wanted our ddhj12.. Also the fish we were catching 2 weeks ago at the island before it became a zoo were packed full of bait fish. But then again last night when I cleaned our 10 fish there stomachs were empty.. must be the reason they were chasing it 10 foot off bottom and crushing it.. I think it depends on the school your on and the location
 

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I agree that perch are not their PREFERRED forage. They'd rather eat fatty, soft prey. But of course they're opportunistic and will eat what they can catch.
 

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In my conversation with the biologist he said their primary food source changes by the season according to their studies. Heavy on shad and shiners or more focused on perch. That sounds plausible to me giving their location at given points of the season. He also said that walleye go four seasons before becoming legal size in comparison to three years when the lower food web was more plentiful and diverse. Another reason they're looking into the Cisco as a forage base. Trying to supplement the loss of smelt and alewives. I'm hopeful this happens. I'd love to see the growth rates increase to the early 90's when our average fish were 3-5# with more large specimens in the system.

The problem the walleye are posing to the perch is their predation on YOY Perch, not adults. Which in the end equates to less making it to adult sized fish.
 

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I agree that perch are not their PREFERRED forage. They'd rather eat fatty, soft prey. But of course they're opportunistic and will eat what they can catch.
Yep, perch are my preferred forage, but I'll take eyes,gills,pike etc. when I want a fish meal. Especially if their easier to catch.:D:lol:
 

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ImageUploadedByOhub Campfire1422367249.078020.jpg
They'll eat whatever they can get in their mouth. Here's a 4" gill outta a 4# walleye we got a few weeks back. I caught a 9# walleye with an 8" Bullhead in it.
 

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In my conversation with the biologist he said their primary food source changes by the season according to their studies. Heavy on shad and shiners or more focused on perch. That sounds plausible to me giving their location at given points of the season. He also said that walleye go four seasons before becoming legal size in comparison to three years when the lower food web was more plentiful and diverse. Another reason they're looking into the Cisco as a forage base. Trying to supplement the loss of smelt and alewives. I'm hopeful this happens. I'd love to see the growth rates increase to the early 90's when our average fish were 3-5# with more large specimens in the system.

The problem the walleye are posing to the perch is their predation on YOY Perch, not adults. Which in the end equates to less making it to adult sized fish.
I agree Adam, the ciscos would be great. Might even help a few silver fish out:D We've caught eyes in the river in the springtime, full of little 2 and 3" perch. Just depends what swims close when they're hugry. Gobies too.
 

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My Dad got a Laker once that had thirteen 5-6" walleye in it. Fish are predators. They eat what they can when it's available.

I think our fish are hungry, that's why it's such a shark bite out there. My buddy busted a fish off last night on the hook set. It was still down there so he jugged his other rod. It hit and he got the fish and you guessed it...his other lure was in its mouth!!!! How crazy is that!
 

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I'm encouraged by the fact that the DNR is looking at improving the perch populations. Walleyes are fun but I think to much focus was put on walleyes to the detriment of the perch. A slot size of 9" to 13" walleye with a 10 fish limit would be nice until we get the walleyes under control.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
The problem the walleye are posing to the perch is their predation on YOY Perch, not adults. Which in the end equates to less making it to adult sized fish.
This is what I gathered also. The perch are spawning great, but they arent living past age 2, probably about 4-5" long. Of course, the walleyes also eat shad, shiners, gobies, smelt, suckers, carp, gills, etc. But when you are talking about 2.5 million adult walleye in the Bay, that is alot of mouths to feed and young perch are going to be preyed upon heavily.

From the article, it sounds like adjusting walleye exploitation (through increased bag limits and/or decreasing min size limits), cormorant control and stocking ciscoes will be the primary options.
 

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I sure don't know how the DNR could get a herring population rebuilt, and I am sure this would take a decade or more, but perhaps they can look at Simcoe lake in Ontario.

The ciscoe population in Simcoe Lake has grown after a 14 year closure on their harvest and their Laker fishery is booming now. And, they did this with zebra and quagga mussels in the system, so maybe there is hope.
 
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