By Mark Cahlik
The hot walleye fishing has continued this past week, with the bite exceptionally fast and furious. Limits being caught daily are the norm, with the walleye catches in mid-season form in recent days.
Anglers have been catching walleye heading to the north, west and east. With the fishing we have seen, and what everyone has been reporting, Port Clinton can proudly say it rules as the Walleye Capital of the World. All business owners, including me, should be using this in our advertising. I know I do at Bay’s Edge, our tackle shop, fish cleaning service and charter fishing complex.
Casters have been doing the best fishing west of the Catawba Island Club buoy to Round Reef, with schools of walleye plentiful in about 20 feet of water. Close to home hots spots include about four miles north of West Harbor in 20 to 25 feet of water and northwest of Gull Reef in 40 feet of water.
Western Lake Erie has a walleye fishing reputation that was built on casting and using weight-forward spinners tipped with nightcrawlers, such as Erie Dearies. In the 1970’s to the 1990’s the fishing was fabulous, but the fishing we are seeing now is even better.
The only thing we have really changed is that now we use “weapons” or “mayfly rigs,” which are small walleye rigs with that are created with a sinker, snap swivel, 16- to 18-inch leader and a small spinner and No. 6 hook. Tip it with a 3- to 5-inch piece of nightcrawler and start casting with spinning gear.
Trollers are still doing just as well as the casters. They have the advantage of keeping their lures in the strike zone using Tru-Trip diving planers or on-line weights, and side planer boards to keep a flotilla of lures and spinner rigs away from the sight and sound of the boat.
Just off Cedar Point, trolling with 40- to 50-foot leads with Tru-Trips will keep anglers busy reeling in fish. You will want to use either Silver Streak or Stinger spoons with the Tru-Trips, a proven method for limits of walleye over the past few weeks.
The cottonwood has started to fly, so the catfish have been biting even better than ever, which has been pretty darned good. You can start relying on raw shrimp as your bait, or you can stick with nightcrawlers, chicken livers or prepared catfish baits. The Old Bay Bridge access has been a prime spot for most anglers looking to hook into a few nice catfish. Bring on the hush puppies!
We have started to see some crappie coming in lately, as well. These are mostly being caught in some marinas and around East Harbor. The best way to catch them is to use a crappie rig with either part of a nightcrawler or a minnow.
With a good weather forecast finally at hand, the fishing will continue to get even better than it already is. If you keep catching them, we will keep cleaning them for you. On a side note, the walleye fishing has been so good that in just one day Bays Edge Fish Cleaning had over two tons of walleye come through the door.
So until next week, have fun out there fishing and keep a tight line!