Why the differences in daily perch limits
When asked about inconsistencies in some Great Lakes states specific to the perch harvest, for example Illinois allowing anglers 15 fish daily compared to Wisconsin's five fish daily limit, DNR Lake Michigan Fisheries Supervisor Eggold said he was very comfortable with the stance taken by Wisconsin.
"There are different philosophies," Eggold said. "I don't work for other states but I do think that we are doing things the right way to best protect the yellow perch. Illinois closes its season in July which has been the prime month for perch fishing there in the past."
Eggold said historically the bulk of the perch population has lived in more southern, shallow water eutrophic in nature.
He also said that the populations seems to be shrinking southward toward that more desirable habitat, and that for example, it is difficult today to catch a perch in Port Washington or Sheboygan where perch angling has seen tremendous years.
"It could be argued that the regulations should be different where there are more fish," Eggold said.
Eggold also said that it was difficult to convince some anglers of a perch population problem in Lake Michigan initially because great fishing and big fish were the norm in the early 90s. The problem was that no younger classes were being detected by biologists that would supplement the older fish.
"Wisconsin actually saw the problem before other states and we wanted to act even quicker on sport and commercial limit reductions," he said. "It took awhile, mainly because of a lot of politics."
A brighter aspect of the perch crisis is that many fishing clubs are policing themselves as populations hopefully recover. Green Bay area fishermen when presented with the possibility of having daily limits raised to 25 fish, for example, pushed to have the daily limit raised to just 15 fish.
"I'm hoping that kind of thinking catches on down here too," Eggold said.