Natural Resources Commission (NRC) member David Cozad recently proposed an amendment to a fisheries order that would allow walleye fishing on the lower portion of the Saginaw River during the spawning season.
Cozad’s amendment proposes to open the Saginaw River to walleye fishing from March 15 to the last Saturday in April with a bag limit of eight walleye. If passed, the opening would apply from West Center St. in Saginaw County to the mouth of the river.
At the October NRC meeting, Lake Huron Basin Coordinator Randy Claramunt presented population estimates and trends (slides 17-31). Claramunt said walleye populations are healthy and increasing to above an estimated 5 million walleye in Saginaw Bay.
In 2015, yellow perch bag limits were reduced from 50 to 25 because of declining populations. Walleye predation and overabundance is a contributing factor to the decline of yellow perch populations in Saginaw Bay.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) has no position on the proposed amendment. The MUCC Fisheries Committee, a subset of the MUCC Conservation Policy Board, will be reviewing the amendment.
According to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), a subset of the Lake Huron Fishery Citizen Advisory Committee has been taking a look at the issue of increased walleye populations and was intending to bring forward a proposal next year.
Due to this being an amendment on an order up for old business, it could be voted and passed as early as the next NRC meeting on Nov. 10. You can review MUCC’s preview of the meeting here. However, this order is expected to be held through the November meeting with voting occurring at the December meeting to allow for public input.
MUCC encourages interested individuals and parties to testify at the commission meeting in November or to submit written comments to NRC@michigan.gov.