New Population Estimates Reveal Need to Increase the Possession Limit from Three to Five Fish Per Day
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released proposed regulations to increase the daily possession limit of walleye in Oneida Lake from three fish per day to the statewide daily possession limit of five fish per day.
"The walleye population in Oneida Lake is at a record high and we no longer need to maintain a reduced daily limit," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "This proposal encourages the increased harvest necessary to help sustain this outstanding fishery for years to come."
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 for this popular sport fish 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 (PDF) can be found on DEC's website.
regulations.fish with subject line "Oneida Lake Walleye Regulations" or via mail to the Inland Fisheries Section, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753.