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Weigh in on DNR's draft Saginaw Bay walleye/yellow perch plan

A healthy, abundant walleye population is a big part of Michigan’s fisheries, and Saginaw Bay is no exception. These native fish provide exciting opportunities for world-class recreational fishing and play an important ecological role as a top predator.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has updated its plan for Saginaw Bay recreational fishing – and is asking the public’s help in finalizing it.

The draft Walleye and Yellow Perch Recreational Management Plan for Saginaw Bay is available for review and written comment through June 1.

Jeff Jolley, the DNR’s Southern Lake Huron Unit manager, said this draft plan reflects the status of the recovered walleye population and the department’s management effort toward maintaining diverse fishing and harvest opportunities for both walleye and perch.

“The harvest opportunities Saginaw Bay has been providing since recovery of the walleye population are a big draw for anglers,” Jolley said.

The walleye population collapsed in the 1940s and remained that way until alewife numbers declined in Lake Huron during the early 2000s. With newly hatched walleye fry released from the predation threat of alewives, their survival immediately increased and the population began to recover – as did angler catch and harvest.

Despite fast growth and quality-sized fish present, adult yellow perch abundance within Saginaw Bay has declined as walleye have expanded, and perch remain a focus of improvement.

Review, comment on the plan

The DNR Fisheries Division developed the draft Walleye and Yellow Perch Recreational Management Plan for Saginaw Bay with assistance from a citizen-based work group, the Lake Huron Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee, Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension.

The updated walleye/perch plan:

  • Describes the history of both species in Saginaw Bay.
  • Reflects the status of both species in the bay, as well as past management actions.
  • Establishes several management goals and objectives for both species and the recreational fishery they support.

The draft plan is available at Michigan.gov/DNR/Managing-Resources/Fisheries/Walleye. Send all comments via email to DNR-Fish-SaginawBayPlan@Michigan.gov by June 1.

Whether you’re targeting walleye, perch or other popular species, be sure to get a current fishing license. Visit Michigan.gov/Fishing for all the information you need to get started.