Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) officials did an experimental stocking of yellow perch at Grand Lake St. Marys on May 23. The goal of the stocking was to provide more angler opportunities while improving the self-sustaining yellow perch population.

“We believe the stocking, in conjunction with improvements in water quality, may promote recovery of yellow perch fishing at Grand Lake St. Marys,” said Rich Carter, executive administrator of Fish Management and Research with ODNR Division of Wildlife.

The 100,408 yellow perch recently stocked were raised at the Division of Wildlife’s St. Marys State Fish Hatchery and released at Behm’s Landing. All stocked fish were 1.5-2 inch “fingerlings” marked with a technique that will allow biologists to determine the difference between naturally reproduced and stocked fish. A naturally reproducing population still exists in the lake, however with a dwindling number, state officials wanted to stock the lake in hopes of increasing yellow perch fishing in the area.

This stocking represents the first time since 1944 that yellow perch were stocked in Grand Lake St. Marys, and this stocking was the largest ever one-time stocking of yellow perch in the lake.

From the Dayton Daily News' Jim Morris:

"In an attempt to improve fishing and perhaps draw more people to the area, the state has stocked 100,408 yellow perch into Grand Lake St. Marys.

The fingerlings — 1.5-2 inches long — didn’t have to travel far since they were raised in the St. Marys State Fish Hatchery at the east end of the lake.

It’s the first time since 1944 that yellow perch were stocked in the lake. It’s also the largest one-time stocking of yellow perch in the 13,500-acre lake.

Another unique aspect of the stocking is GLSM already has yellow perch. It is hoped some of the stocked fish will help revitalize that dwindling population.

Yellow perch have been caught at GLSM throughout most of its 171-year history, but for some reason perch fishing took off in the mid-1990s. Ice fishing that first year was particularly successful. In fact, people were joking that perhaps they should begin stocking Lake Erie with perch from St. Marys. The perch fishing was that good."