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Lake Erie perch Fishing Reports

SANDUSKY, Ohio - Lake Erie fishermen must be happy to see June in the rear view mirror.

It has been a difficult month, with trophy walleye in short supply, although swarms of hungry undersized walleye are chasing lures. Even more distressing has been the scarcity of yellow perch from the Ohio shoreline.

Lake Erie is not a watery wasteland, to be sure. This summer, however, it has been far from a piscatorial playground.

Catching so many small walleye from the good to excellent 2014 and 2015 hatches is gratifying. They bode well for the future of fishing around the Walleye Capital of the World.

So where are the yellow perch? Fisheries biologists aren't sure why there has been a perilously short supply of the green-and-gold fish this season. The Ohio Division of Wildlife doesn't track yellow perch as they do walleye, Lake Erie's premier game fish.

Larry Davis of Marblehead, Ohio has been chasing yellow perch all of his life as a commercial fisherman, fishing guide and sport angler. At 78, he's got some clues about the perch fishing. But even Davis is surprised perch fillets were selling for $20.99 per pound last week at Bassett's, a large grocery store in Port Clinton, Ohio.

"I fish for perch about every day, and we did fairly well earlier in the year, " said Davis by phone this week, taking a short break from setting turtle traps in a lake near Akron. "Last Sunday we got a few, about 32 of them, but the perch fishing has been very slow."

Davis is not surprised Lake Erie sport and commercial perch fishermen are struggling.

"We've got a huge hatch of June bugs and the little black flies right now and the perch have a lot to eat. We're marking perch (on sonar) all over and not getting the bites. July and August are always the slowest months for catching perch as Lake Erie water temperatures warm up.

"I believe many schools of perch and baitfish have moved to the cooler water on the Canadian side, as they often do in summer. The perch fishing hasn't been a total bust, and I expect it to start getting good again in late July."

Chris Vandergoot, fisheries biologist supervisor at the Ohio Division of Wildlife's Sandusky Research Center, also believes the yellow perch fishing will get better later in the summer.

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