To assess the status of warm-water fish populations in Lake Ontario’s Eastern Basin, the Lake Ontario Research Unit conducts gill-netting operations annually. The 2015 nettings captured the lowest number of smallmouth bass since 2004, and the 2015 numbers were among the lowest in 39 years of netting.
Adding to this gloomy picture is the fact that no strong year-classes of smallmouths have been detected in recent years.
Even though the 2015 nettings showed a decrease in walleye abundance, the news is a bit brighter here as the Annual Report states, “ ... with the evidence of moderate to strong reproduction in recent years, the fishery is expected to remain relatively stable for the next few years.”
In its assessment of yellow perch populations in the Eastern Basin, the Annual Report says, “in 2015, yellow perch catch declined to the lowest level in the time series. This decrease may be partly attributable to water temperature patterns and catch variability; however, angler reports also suggested lower yellow perch abundance in 2015.”