Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Division of Wildlife
305 E. Shoreline Dr.
Sandusky, OH 44870
October 27, 2000
Contact: Melissa Hathaway or Doug Johnson : (419) 625-8062
Walleye Feeding Frenzy on Lake Erie
SANDUSKY, OHIO -- Lake Erie walleye anglers are finally getting
their wish for some fantastic fishing they can finally write home about.
Charter guides and anglers are converging on the Huron area which is where
the best action is taking place, according to the Ohio Department of Natural
Resources, Division of Wildlife.
"Anglers are having a banner fall fishing season on Lake Erie, as long as
the weather cooperates," said Doug Johnson, fisheries biologist with the
Division's Lake Erie Research Unit in Sandusky. "This is the late fall
walleye bite of very large fish that everyone has been waiting for, and the
Huron area is definitely the hot spot right now."
Lake Erie charter boat captains discovered this late-season walleye bonus
about 10 years ago, and many move their boats to the Huron area to take
advantage of this unique fishery. Johnson explained. A large school of
fish migrating westward from the Central Basin hangs off shore in an area
that divides the Western and Central basins. It is a bowl-like area where
these fish seem to stage in preparation for the winter months. Large
schools of gizzard shad, a walleye's preferred food, also are plentiful in
this area that creates a walleye feeding frenzy.
Since the last few days of September, the buzzword on Lake Erie has been
"Huron". However, some anglers are following fish as they move westward and
fishing from Huron to east of Kelleys Island. Some walleye catches are also
being reported east of Huron to the Vermilion/Lorain area. Many limit
catches and very large fish in the 5 to 14-pound range are being reported.
Anglers are trolling spoons and crankbaits, drifting worm harness
with gold blades, working bottom bouncers with worm harnesses, and casting
mayfly rigs or weight-forward spinners. Anglers are reminded there is a
daily bag limit of 10 walleyes per angler.
"Many anglers targeted yellow perch and smallmouth bass this summer because
the walleye fishing was challenging," Johnson said. "Now this fall walleye
bonanza is the best walleye fishing of the entire year. It's the perfect
way to end the fishing season."
Shoreline anglers may also get a piece of this action, said Johnson. A cold
weather snap could drive the gizzard shad into warmer waters near
shorelines. This would hopefully lure walleyes in close enough to piers and
breakwalls in pursuit of the baitfish, to create a shore fishery. If
anglers are successful at this fishery, "Huron" will still be a buzzword as
the Huron Pier is traditionally one of the hot spots for this walleye pier
fishery. Other good locations are generally the Catawba/Marblehead area,
such as Catawba State Park dock, Mazurik fishing access, and Lakeside Pier;
as well as along the Sandusky shoreline at the Jackson Street Pier and
breakwall behind the city police station.
Perch anglers also continue to be very successful with many limits
of good-size perch being taken. Best locations include the Huron Pier, off
Huron, northeast of Kelleys Island area, Marble/Catawba area, (especially
off Marblehead Lighthouse), and off Cedar Point. Further east, many limits
of big perch are being taken off Vermilion to Lorain, off Cleveland,
Fairport Harbor and Ashtabula. Perch anglers are fishing with minnows near
bottom. If perch are not hitting at one location, anglers should continue
to move around to other locations until better numbers of fish are caught.
The daily bag limit is 30 perch per angler.
Anglers can get a recorded Lake Erie fishing report by calling toll-free
1-888-HOOK FISH (1-888-466-5347). In the local Sandusky exchange call
Weather conditions are always a big factor for Lake Erie fishing and
fall is no exception. Anglers should get a Lake Erie marine forecast before
traveling to the region and again before venturing out on the water.