Lake Erie Fisheries Units
NEW! View the latest Lake Erie Status Report
Our Stations' Operations and Mission:
The Fairport Harbor and Sandusky Fisheries Research Units are operated by employees of the state of Ohio, Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife. Our primary mission is to assess and manage fish populations and fisheries in Lake Erie's Western and Central basins and their tributary streams. We sample Lake Erie fish populations with trawls and gill nets aboard our research vessels, the Grandon (shown at right) and the Explorer II (shown below). We use our research vessels to monitor the food web and the spread of exotic species in the lake. We monitor fish populations' abundance, growth, age, diet, and health. We also perform seasonal surveys of Lake Erie's sport fishing anglers and commercial fishing boats. We assess, protect and enhance habitat for aquatic life in Lake Erie and its tributaries. We complete environmental reviews of planned development projects in the watershed to insure habitat protection and resource integrity.
We Serve You:
We provide fishing and fishery information for the public in the form of phone information, public speaking at group functions, and boat and lab tours. Our regular business hours are Monday through Friday 8AM-5PM. We are supported solely by Ohio fishing and hunting license sales and a rebate on a federal tax on fishing equipment and boat motor fuels.
- The following regulations are currently in effect for Ohio's portion of Lake Erie and its tributaries:
- The daily bag limit for yellow perch is 30 per day through April 30, 2014, in all Ohio waters of Lake Erie.
- There is a 15" minimum size limit for walleye.
- The walleye daily bag limit is 6 fish per angler per day from May 1, 2013 - February 28, 2014, then returning to a daily bag limit of 4 walleye per angler from March 1 through April 30, 2014.
- No harvest of smallmouth bass from May 1 until the last Saturday in June, after which a 14" minimum size limit and daily bag of 5 bass (smallmouth + largemouth bass) is in effect on Lake Erie.
- A steelhead and salmon (aggregate) daily bag limit of 5 is in place from May 16 - August 31, with the daily bag limit reduced to 2 in the aggregate during Sept. 1 - May 15. There is a 12" minimum size limit on trout and salmon.
- The bag limit for muskellunge is 1 per day effective July 1, 2008.
- Report the catch of a tagged fish here
- The Lake Erie Research Units provide an electronic version of our latest annual status report: Ohio's Lake Erie Fisheries 2012 (a 3 MB PDF file; download your free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader at www.adobe.com). Previous years' status reports (available online) are listed below.
- The ODNR Office of Coastal Management has completed a Lake Erie Public Access Guide (click here) providing information about visiting Ohio's Great Lake.
- We need your help recovering PIT-tagged yellow perch as part of a research study on perch movement - click here for more information
- Find results about our Walleye Telemetry Project (click here) as we track walleye tagged in the western basin.
- Find out about the Central Basin "Dead Zone" and current research (click here)
- A panel of ODW fisheries and law enforcement professionals, members of fisheries science academia, commercial and sport fishers, and select legislators reviewed the new commercial fishing regulations subsequent to the signing of Senate Bill 77 in 2007. Click here to view the Commercial Fishing Task Force report.
- See our 'Artificial Reefs' page for more info on the Cleveland Stadium and Lakewood/Cuyahoga County Commissioners' Artificial Reefs.
The Division of Wildlife has produced a booklet entitled "Lake Erie Fishing Guide" which is available from any Division of Wildlife office, by calling or mailing our Fairport or Sandusky office, or by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE. If you want to know more about Ohio's fishes, request our popular full-color "Fish Identification Guide" and/or the latest Publication List.
Back issues of our Lake Erie Fisheries status reports are available here:
March 2012 March 2011 March 2010 March 2009 March 2008 March 2007
March 2006 March 2005 March 2004 March 2003 March 2002
To contact us:
Fairport Harbor Fish Research Unit
ODNR Division of Wildlife
1190 High St.
Fairport Harbor, Ohio 44077
Sandusky Fish Research Unit
ODNR Division of Wildlife
305 E. Shoreline Dr.
Sandusky, Ohio 44870
Division of Wildlife information: 1-800-WILDLIFE