The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released proposed regulations to increase the daily possession limit of walleye in Oneida Lake from three fish per day to five.
Scientists have been assessing the Oneida Lake adult walleye population annually since the mid-1950s. The population fluctuated in abundance from more than one million fish in the 1980s, to fewer than 300,000 fish in the late 1990s. In 2000, DEC reduced the daily possession limit from five to three per day to increase abundance. By 2019, the adult walleye population rebounded to an estimated one million fish, and in 2020, increased even further to a record estimate of 1.2 million fish.
While this is good news for the current fishery, the burgeoning walleye population could potentially create negative impacts on the forage base in the lake, particularly on yellow perch. The proposed moderate increase in walleye harvest is necessary for the health of both the walleye and yellow perch fisheries. A recent survey indicates most anglers support the increase and more information on the angler opinion survey can be found on DEC’s website.
The regulatory proposal is available on the DEC website for review and public comment through Oct. 17, 2021, and should be submitted via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Oneida Lake Walleye Regulations” or via mail to the Inland Fisheries Section, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753.
Photo of walleye provided by DEC.