Yellow perch daily limits will be reduced to 10 fish in Berlin Pond under a revised “Test Water” designation being adopted by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department beginning on January 26, 2013.
A 2012 Vermont Supreme Court decision clarified that fishing is allowed on Berlin Pond after being restricted for several decades. This is the first winter people have been able to go ice fishing on Berlin Pond, and early results have been good, with high catches of large yellow perch.
“We have seen fishing pressure steadily grow during the past couple of weeks with lots of large perch being caught,” reports State Fisheries Biologist Rich Kirn. “While many anglers are catching relatively few fish, others have been successful in nearing or reaching their daily limit of 50 perch. In three days on the ice, we observed that 12 percent of the anglers harvested more than 50 percent of the fish.”
Kirn says studies of unexploited fish populations, such as those in Berlin Pond, suggest these populations often comprise a high proportion of old, slow-growing fish that are vulnerable to angling when opened to fishing. The high fishing effort and catches of large yellow perch would ultimately affect the quality of this fishery.
“I am signing this “test water” designation reducing the daily limit of yellow perch to 10 fish in an effort to protect the fishery as a sustainable resource while allowing anglers to enjoy taking home a few perch for dinner,” said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry. “Now that we have some data from recent creel surveys, we recognize the need to act immediately.”
“The fish populations in Berlin Pond will adjust to fishing,” added Kirn. “We expect the yellow perch population density, fish size and growth rates will change. We will continue to monitor the fish populations at Berlin Pond and use this information to develop appropriate fishing regulations for the future.”
“We are excited that anglers have the opportunity to enjoy the unique fishery provided by the opening of Berlin Pond,” said Berry. “Our plan is to sustain this fishery for the long term and we feel the test-water designation will help support that goal. We also encourage anglers to be respectful and use legal access points while at the pond and remove any trash from the ice before leaving.”
Logo courtesy Vermont Fish and Wildlife