Ohio Division of Wildlife
Lake Erie Fisheries Research Unit
305 E. Shoreline Dr.
Sandusky, Ohio 44870
January 7, 2000
Contact: Melissa Hathaway: (419) 625-8062
Popular Angling Magazine Names Lake Erie as Top Destination
SANDUSKY, OHIO - Lake Erie continues to rank among the best sport
fisheries in the world, according to In-Fisherman Magazine. In a recently
published special issue "Angling Adventures 2000," the popular fishing
publication named Lake Erie a top 10 angling destination for walleyes,
smallmouth bass, and steelhead trout, reports the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
"These designations by the expert staff of In-Fisherman are more testimony
to the mixed bag of angling opportunities this world class fishery continues
to provide," said Mike Budzik, chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
"Lake Erie not only remains unchallenged as the Walleye Capital of the
World, but the lake's smallmouth bass fishery has moved up the ranks in the
last decade to rival smallmouth fishing anywhere else in the country. In
addition, the Division's steelhead stocking program has created a superb
stream fishery in Central Basin tributaries that becomes more popular as
anglers discover this fishery."
In-Fisherman Magazine rated Lake Erie first among "this year's
world's best smallmouth bites." The magazine revealed, "No doubt, Erie is
today's most storied smallmouth fishery. On Erie, the bass tend to average
3 pounds, with a few exceeding 9 pounds. From the flatlands surrounding
Erie's Western Basin to the rocky, hilly terrain of western New York,
smallmouths inhabit every bay and reef."
Angling pressure for these fun-to-catch, feisty jumpers has
quadrupled on the lake over the past decade. Lake Erie has become such a
popular hot spot for smallmouth angling that the Division of Wildlife is
conducting a smallmouth bass study to ensure that the population remains
stable to support the fishing pressure.
"We have increased the legal size limit and deceased the bag limit
beginning March 1, 2000 to maintain and ensure a quality smallmouth
fishery," said Budzik.
In-Fisherman designated Lake Erie's Western and Central basins as top 10
picks for big-water walleyes. Good spawning success throughout the 1990s is
sustaining a healthy population of these popular sport fish, which have long
drawn anglers from across the country. A new state record walleye weighing
16.19 pounds was caught off Cleveland in November. The fish surpassed the
previous state record of 15.95 pounds, caught off Marblehead Lighthouse in
"We're thrilled that the Western Basin remains in the top 10," said Melinda
Huntley, executive director of the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau.
"In-Fisherman anglers should know. Anglers competing in the In-Fisherman
Professional Walleye Trail tournament set 17 out of 19 records while fishing
the Western Basin this past decade. We are looking forward to the
tournament's return to Port Clinton April 19-21, 2000."
In the Central Basin of the lake, Jim Roethler, executive director of the
Ashtabula County Visitors Bureau, responded, "It's great that In-Fisherman
recognizes the Central Basin as a top 10 site. Anyone looking for that
trophy catch in 2000 is welcome in Ashtabula County."
Roethler noted, "When the walleye are biting, the county sees a significant
increase in visitors. This has a direct impact on our local economy as
these fishermen will use hotels, campgrounds, restaurants and visit our
stores. We are very appreciative of their visits and attempt to be as
accommodating as possible."
Last but not least, angling Adventures 2000 named the Grand River, a
Lake Erie tributary in northeast Ohio, as one of North America's top 10
fishing destinations for steelhead trout. The Division has been stocking
200,000 steelhead trout in four Central Basin tributaries, including the
Grand River, and will increase that number to 400,000 in the spring of 2000.
These fish migrate out into Lake Erie and spend the summer in the cooler
part of the lake, before returning to streams in the fall through the
"Ohio has been blessed with one of the country's greatest resources
-- Lake Erie. It is the warmest and most biologically productive of the
Great Lakes, which has made it a sport fishing mecca," said Budzik.
"Interagency fisheries management and significant improvement in habitat
over the past three decades has helped maintain a world-class fishery that
provides a wealth of angling opportunities."
A couple of Ohio's inland waters made In-Fisherman's top-ten lists
as well. West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) was listed as a top 10
destination for muskie fishing. Delaware Lake (Delaware County) was
included on the list of top 10 hot spots for cold water catfish. In
addition, the Ohio River was mentioned under "more coldwater hot spots" for
its catfish angling.
In-Fisherman's staff and writers are expert anglers who travel world-wide to
experience and write about fishing opportunities. The publication was
founded by professional anglers Al and Ron Lindner.