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Fishing remains outstanding in the Western Basin of Lake Erie

Steve Chapman and his catch.

While most of us can agree this past winter was a real challenge to get through, because of the extreme cold temperatures brought on by the Polar Vortex, no one who has been fishing lately can disagree that is has helped with this years walleye and perch fishing.

I believe the last time Lake Superior froze over was in 2003, and if my memory of what the fishing was like during that season is correct, it was also an outstanding year for walleye fishing on Lake Erie.  It was also the year of the largest walleye hatch the lake has seen in many years. My fingers are crossed that this year’s hatch will rival that of 2003, but we won’t know until the DNR does their creel surveys in the fall.

The reason the freeze over was helpful is that the water temperatures have stayed much cooler than normal, as the waters move down through the Great Lakes, helping to keep the bigger walleye from moving to the deeper waters to the east.  

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Perch fishing Lake Erie’s Western Basin

With this season’s perch fishing is firing up into full swing now, and I’d like to share a few tips with those who may be going out to try it for the first time. Hopefully, it will help you put more fish in your cooler.

Minnows: The emerald shiner, which is native to Lake Erie, and can be found in most of the bait shops in the area, is the best minnow for catching perch. While the golden shiner, can work in a pinch, if you present the emerald shiner and a golden shiner at the same time, the emerald shiner will out produce the golden every time.

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Catching Walleye during a Mayfly Hatch

Frank Smith

Anyone who lives near Lake Erie is familiar with the massive Mayfly hatches we endure each spring around this time. In the “nymph” stage, they can live under water for several years. As they mature, the metamorphoses of the nymph into a mature Mayfly happens over several stages of molts, and when they reach the surface of the lake, or river, they are winged little beauties that will live for only one day.  Their only purpose at this stage is to mate and reproduce. It’s kind of sad when you think about it really, they finally free themselves of the water, and all that would gladly eat them, only to be able to soar like an eagle for one day, and then they die. 

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