Lake Erie Walleyes Set for Banner Year
| May 19, 2017
David A. Brown, for Outdoor Life
Big fish and big numbers in store for this summer

If you've ever considered fishing Lake Erie for walleyes, this might be the best year to do it.

From his convincing pitch about the rosy future of Lake Erie's walleye fishing, you'd think Travis Hartman worked for the local tourism council. Not so, but as Lake Erie Program Administrator at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Sandusky Fish Research Unit, he makes a strong case — backed up by encouraging biological data.

"I think that literally, these next three to four years we'll see some of the best Lake Erie walleye fishing we've seen in a long time, so come now, while it's good!" he says.

Hartman bases his outlook on some promising numbers. Estimates from 2016 put the Erie walleye population around 33 million and nearly half of those were from the large 2014 year class. Walleyes from the 2015 year class joining the party as 2-year-olds seem a little chunkier than the previous group, Hartman said.

Combining the strength of these two recent groups with large, mature fish from 2003 yields a stellar 2017 outlook.

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