Maumee River walleye run is off to a big start

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MAUMEE (WTVG) - One of the sure signs of spring is the walleye run. Thousands of anglers will take part in the fishing frenzy, and it means millions of dollars for the economy.

If you don't fish, Tuesday may have seemed a bit cold to get in the water. However, if you're an angler you know the conditions were ideal. The good news is that experts say it's only going to get better in the days ahead.

Brad Baker brought his big catch to Maumee Tackle Fishing Outfitters to be weighed,"We always drive here to get away and have some fun. We happened to get very lucky today."

The walleye run lures people from all over the country and abroad.
Mario Campos is the owner of the Maumee tackle shop, "This morning we did licenses for people from China, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and 2-3 other states. And that's just today."

Baker made the trip from Battle Creek, Michigan. He's going home with one heck of a fish story, "I landed a monster walleye. She was about 11 pounds. Have you ever caught one that big before? One other time, and that one is on my wall. Now I have to decide if I am going to put this one on my wall too."

While things are off to a good start, Campos says this year's run is a bit behind, "Last year in 2018 we saw the first walleye caught in February. This year we're about a month behind that time frame. Once the water temperature hits forty degrees. The walleye feel the warm up and they swim up river to spawn."

But this is shaping up to be another banner year. Darryl Smith is a local charter captain who also helps out at Maumee Tackle Fishing Outfitters, "This is going to be a real good year. Next week the fishing will probably start getting hot. Today was very good. With the warmer temperatures and the rain on the way, things are only only to get better."

Campos says there is science behind that theory, "The last two to three years there have been record hatches. So we've had a record number of walleye eggs hatching and high survival rates. Because of that we're expecting superior walleye numbers for the next ten years."

Campos says the big catches mean big money for the region, "We figure about 10,000 fishermen will visit the Maumee River in March and April. That translates to $7-$9 million for local communities at restaurants, bars, hotels and local businesses like the tackle shop." And that's no fish story.

Maumee Tackle Fishing Outfitters posts regular updates on fishing conditions in the Maumee River.

We've posted a link.