2017 Northeast Ohio fishing: Expect a lot of larger walleye and perch

2017 Northeast Ohio fishing: Expect a lot of larger walleye and perch

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - For the second straight year, Cleveland has had a mild winter. What does that mean for fishing? Well, unless you're into ice fishing, it is good news.

"When you have a mild winter you generally have a better growth rate of fish through the winter, so it equates to larger fish," said Cleveland Metroparks Aquatic Biologist Mike Durkalec. "They can feed more heavily through the winter, their metabolism stays sped up."

That is great news for Metroparks anglers, where the steelhead trout are a big hit.

"These are big salmon-sized trout that come up from Lake Erie to spawn in the river. They are an outstanding opportunity from fall through spring," said Durkalec.

But what does the warm winter mean for fishing on Lake Erie? Durkalec said sportsmen should not fret.

"Mild winters on Lake Erie can lead to poorer perch and walleye hatches, but given we've had a couple of great years for hatches leading up to this year, that is not much of a concern. We had an off the charts hatch of walleye in 2015, and this summer those fish are just reaching the legal 15-inch size," he said.

Durkalec said if you're into trophy fish, this might be your year.

"The last off-the-charts hatch of walleye we had was in 2003. Those fish are still out there and from a trophy fish perspective our DNR feels the state record could fall soon," he said.

Walleye can live to be 20 to 25 years old.

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