Lake Erie walleye fishing is one of the adventures you should plan for before the year ends. The fun, suspicious, and predator fish loves migrating and moving all year round. But as a visitor to this area, you need to know how to fish walleye in Lake Erie and the tips to receive more bites.
So, if you’re planning to fish walleye, this guide is for you as we’ll discuss where they live, what they eat, and the best season for this worthy trip.
Walleye Fishing Tips in Lake Erie
If you want to have an easy time fishing for walleye, it’s best to master some helpful tips. Several tips and techniques will see you smile while coming out of the water. But the best you need to consider include;
One of the best methods for Lake Erie walleye fishing is trolling. Make good use of this technique to help you catch more fish. You can reduce your speed on the water while having the fishing lines drag behind it. Cover about 2 miles per hour with the boat to make this trip successful.
Troll around the weed beds, drop-offs, or ledges where walleye like hiding. Depending on the season, you can use downriggers, divers, or planer boards for this. To increase your chances of getting more fish while trolling, have several lines in the water and maximize the area you cover.
Fish At the Shoreline
Sometimes fishing walleye at Lake Erie can be as easy as casting at the shoreline. If you are on a solo trip and don’t want to get deep in the water, time walleye as they come to eat. Shoreline fishing is best during spring or fall as the fish approach the land looking for food. You can also fish any time of the year as long as you understand walleye migration and movement patterns.
Fish at night along the shoreline in April when walleye are about 6-8 pounds. This is the right time to catch the pre-spawn walleye on the surface. But you can also fish during the day along the shorelines in Erie Lake. When Lake Erie walleye fishing during the day, target the rocky spots to have more bites. What’s good about shoreline fishing in this lake is the several spots you can explore when one becomes unfruitful.
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You shouldn’t stop fishing for walleye in winter because of the ice cover on the lake. Instead, employ the right ice tricks and ice fish in the best spots. During this time, walleye tend to hide deep in the water in the darker areas. They also hardly move and only come out at specific times when looking for food.
To catch them in this lake, use airboats or snowmobiles to reach the deep waters. But don’t forget to carry the right fishing equipment to help you attract the fish’s attention on the ice. Since ice fishing for walleye can be risky, be cautious and ensure the ice is 4-5 inches thick to allow you to walk without sinking.
When using this trick, ensure you have the best baits. It’s advisable to use live minnows for ice fishing in Lake Erie. Don’t forget to pick the right size of minnow depending on the size of walleye you’re targeting. For example, if you want to catch a bigger walleye, use a bigger live minnow that will sink faster to the bottom to attract its attention triggering a bite.
Be Ready to Move
When you’re out for Lake Erie walleye fishing in spring or summer, be ready for a tough hunt when the fish is very active. During this period, walleye migrate from their spawning grounds to warm feeding grounds. So, you need to keep moving as they move to attract their attention. Don’t forget to target them at the right water depth as they migrate to attract their attention.
Consider Fishing on The Thermocline
Walleye like hiding in the thermoclines where it receives enough oxygen, and the temperature there is more favorable than on the upper surface. They hardly move around unless in search of food. The lake forms a layer of warm, cool, and oxygenated water in summer. You can identify this layer using your sonar. It’s usually about 20-30 feet deep. When you cast through, walleye will come biting the lure, and they won’t escape if you act faster.
Target Walleye’s Prey
Walleye in Lake Erie love eating smelt, which is a predominant forage species. Don’t ignore smelt if you spot them on your sonar while fishing for walleye. Instead, take your time and patiently wait for walleye to come preying on the smelt. Then use colorful lures and target deep waters for a walleye. You can have a purple shad, pink silver sparkle glo, or pearl glo. Ensure you run the lures near the bait balls to confuse walleye and make it think it’s an injured smelt.
What To Consider When Fishing for Walleye in Lake Erie
To be successful when on your Lake Erie walleye fishing trip, you need to consider some factors. You have to know where this fish leaves every season to allow you to fish any time of the year. You also need to identify walleye prey or food and the best season to plan the trip. Below is an in-depth explanation of all these
Where walleye lives in Lake Erie
If you want to have an easy time in the water while fishing for walleye, you’ve got to know their hiding spot.
Apart from walleye being migratory species and moving around a lot, there are instances when they’re immobile. You need to target them at this time when their movements are limited. This can be around their spawning grounds along the shorelines. Walleyes will keep coming to this place to identify the perfect hiding spot on the sandy or rocky waters. You can target them at this time when they move back and forth from the hatching ground to the spawning area.
You can also find walleye in deeper waters when looking for food or favorable temperatures. During this time, you can wait for them in the central basins of Lake Eries. You will receive more bites on this part of the lake as walleye seek to find cooler waters in summer.
But if you’re ready for the fun and challenge, rely on your fish finder and go after them in the water. If you opt for this, your chances of getting more catch are high as walleye moves as a school. After catching one, the rest will follow blindly, helping you garner more fish home.
Remember, the best fishing ground will depend on the season you expect to go for Lake Erie walleye fishing. Also, most of the year, the fish will be in water depths between 5-60 feet, and their preferred temperature is 60-70 degrees F.
What Walleye Eats
Walleye have an insatiable appetite, which is why it roves on the water while looking for food. This is a hint you can use to your advantage and catch them at their feeding spots or as they approach those areas. You can also target them as they approach their prey and trick it out of the water.
This fish loves eating threadfin shad, smelt, alewives, and emerald shiners. You can look for walleye anywhere you see any of these fish. Cast your lures above or near the water column where walleye prey live to attract their attention. Avoid casting deeper as they won’t swim deeper to colder waters when they can see their prey.
Alternatively, you can use any fish as live bait to lure them out. But you can also trick them with artificial lures or baits resembling this kind of fish as they eat anything that comes their way.
When using the lures, remember that walleye have good visual capability enabling it to see and be attracted by colorful baits. They can see even in the dark, murky waters, so prepare well to tackle them.
Note that walleye’s teeth are so strong and capable of tearing the skin of a perch. This means you should be ready for a struggle after it realizes it’s hooked and tries seeking freedom.
The Best Season for Walleye Fishing
Lake Erie walleye fishing can take place any time of the year. However, there are best times you can do this and easily come out of the water with more catch. For example, walleye tend to be very active in summer, and catching them is easier. Note that the location for walleye fishing changes every season, and so does their moving and feeding pattern. Let’s break this down here;
Summer is the high season for Lake Erie walleye fishing. The weather is much more stable during this time, but the temperatures are high, forcing this fish to move deeper into the water. Here they’ll maintain their schools and only move out searching for food. You can catch them in large numbers as they follow each other blindly.
Summer fishing walleye is best in July when you can also enjoy the waters apart from the bumper fishing harvest. It’s the warmest month of the year, and most anglers come to this lake to try their luck on walleye.
The best technique to employ in this season is trolling and casting with blander boards. Summer extends from July to October, giving you enough time to experience fun fishing in Lake Erie.
Come during spring if you expect to catch spawning walleye in Lake Erie. This season, this fish will be closer to the land, looking for food and spawning ground. This season runs from February to April, and it best suits solo anglers.
You will also not require to hire a boat as the fish are around the shoreline. Don’t cast too deep and faster when fishing walleye in shallow waters. Use the right lures, which won’t sink deep faster, leaving your prey on the top surface. Also, prepare well for the unpredictable weather in spring.
Don’t shy away from fishing walleye in winter, as there are several techniques you can use to get the fish out of the ice. In these cold months, the best method to use is ice fishing.
Ensure you have the right fishing equipment to tackle the ice and stay safe throughout the trip. Drill holes before time and ensure the ice is thick enough to allow you to walk without sinking/sliding. Also, consider having company and dress warmly to beat the cold.
During this season, the weather seems favorable, and walleye can freely move around in the water. When you set out for a Lake Erie walleye fishing trip in the fall, your chances of getting bites are high on the shallow waters. This will, however, depend on the temperature and rains. Fall begins in September and ends in October.
What Are the Best Lures to Use When Fishing for Walleye?
One of the baits you can use while Lake Erie walleye fishing is spinnerbaits. It’s ideal for clear water, creating more vibrations and attracting more fish’s attention. Use heavy spinnerbaits when fishing deeper.
Minnow baits will enable you to troll and cover more water faster. Trolling at 2 miles per hour is acceptable. Be considerate of the water depths when trolling.
Use head jigs when fishing walleye out of the water. Make your jigs attractive by attaching live minnows, then see how fast you’ll hear bites.
Bottom Line about Lake Erie Walleye Fishing
Lake Erie is one of the popular fishing spots where anglers throng to catch walleye. Most anglers have confirmed that Lake Erie walleye fishing is fun and a fulfilling trip as they come out with plenty of catches.
As you plan for walleye fishing, be ready to move after the fish, and know when to strike and where to find it. But there are instances when it stays in some spots for long, which can give you a clue about the fishing patterns. Also, know the best season to come fishing for them.
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