Fishing report for the week of August 20, 2023: , ,
Fishing Report Posted: August 19, 2023

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[ Lake Erie & Tributaries Fishing Report ]

Posted by Capt. Walt Ermansons on August 19, 2023 at 23:50:23:

Wind! Wind! And MORE wind! YIKES! After not complaining much this summer about the wind and rough water which is really a common occurrence on this huge body of water, this past two week period has been off the charts particularly nasty. For a summer period, the conditions out on the water have been more fall like then the ďdog days of summerĒ like I had discussed in my previous report. Everyday and I mean practically EVERY day this past couple of weeks itís been super windy out over the water making for very tough fishing conditions in the high waves and even multiple days where the entire charter fleet in Ashtabula cancelled their trips because it was just too rough to go period. No matter how bad you wanted to go or how big your boat was. The only thing the wind did was change directions and velocity on some days. It hit us on different days from all around the dial but one thing was always the same. It was very windy and very rough EVERY freakin day!

And with the fish still so far offshore and having to practically creep out at a snails pace most mornings this made for really long bumpy boat rides out to the fishing grounds. I had many two hour boat rides out in the early morning darkness. Fished in rough conditions and then long bumpy rides home after still limiting out only to wake up the next day to the same nasty rough ass crap water. With a new and fresh eager crew we would head out again on the days that I thought we could get our trip in safely. But while they were fresh and eager, I was far from it. Itís been a long time since Iíve felt this beat up. All my joints hurt from these daily poundings. Every now and then this lake reminds me that this is a young mans game. With me in my 37th season now and myself being 65 years of age I also realize that my career is fast winding down. I just can not continue to take beatings like this summer after summer. We will finish out the remainder of this season and I really intend on being back next year but reality tells me that the end of chartering is nearing more quickly with each passing season now. I am just very tired and hurting as I sit here and try to put my thoughts in print on this Friday evening.

Otherwise we continue to fish most days very close to the Canadian line, some 20 plus miles out. Once out there, fishing is still very good even though the younger undersized Walleyes are still making things quite difficult for us at times. With the very rough water, many days I elected to go with just Dipsy Divers only and we still got all of our fish! Dipsy leads have been longer to compensate for wave heights and that the fact the fish seemingly appear to be as deep as they have been all summer long now. I really believe most of our Walleyes are now down about 65 foot over about 72 plus foot of water. The few days that I ran the big boards I ran my big Thundersticks back about 330 foot with great results. But again, if we can get the job done with the shorter and quicker Dipsy Divers, why would we even want to deal with having to crank back a fish from some 450 to 500 foot back? (330 foot back plus the distance down the planer board line, well away from the boat) Also since we are still cycling through so many throw back fish the shorter Dipsys make the in and out again much more quicker for us. The problem has been many times you donít even know that you are loaded up with babies. I just non stop keep checking rods anymore if I have a free moment. Again, very exhausting!

So this will be my last report in this month of August. My next report will be posted in September and then the countdown to the end of my season will begin in earnest. I pray that the winds will finally ease and that these fish begin to move back in closer to the south shore, which they should do based on past yearly migration patterns. But this entire season has been far from normal. We never really had a good tight water bite early this season and then the fish moved way offshore much sooner then in past summers. The masses of undersized fish are really beefing up now although still not of legal length. Many now look like ďthey should make itĒ till you go and measure them. Iím sure by next summer they will but people will once again have to get used to the idea of much smaller rack fulls of fish. Really great eaters but not the world class huge Walleyes that the Ashtabula area is known for. It is what it is and Iím done speculating because usually what I tell people is going to happen doesnít anyway. I guess I will just have to rest up this offseason and return next year to find out like everyone else! But first, we still got these next 5 weeks or so that we need to get through!

Capt. Walt
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