By Mark Cahlik
Walleye are in the spotlight right now and will remain there in the future, both in the Western Basin and all around the Ohio shoreline. With the reports showing this is the second best hatch on record, the walleye should keep on biting.
What an incredible future for walleye fishing we have to look forward to, especially if we get more hatches over the next several years like the ones we have been having.
We have also been hearing the yellow perch have been having great hatches as well. Their bellies, however, are full of the freshwater shrimp and water fleas we’ve been seeing on our trolling lines for walleye, as well as on the commercial fishing nets. This is why I believe that the perch have not started biting well yet. Let us hope that this little problem goes away quickly so that we can all start catching some yellow perch.
The perch fishing has been very sporadic, but the best places to go to have been in shallow parts of Lake Erie in about 15 to 20 feet of water. A few of the guys that cut fish at Bay’s Edge said that the perch that they did see come through the shop didn’t have any fleas or shrimp in their bellies, but they did begin to see emerald shiner minnows.
Hopefully, this means the fleas and shrimp are starting to back off a little and as the fall season arrives we should start being able to catch perch again. Emerald shiners are starting to show up in bait shops again, which is a good thing for perch fishing. Many people prefer to fish with emerald shiners and not golden shiners.
The grade of the walleye has stepped up around Western Lake Erie, with more of the three- to five-pounders being caught. Casters have been hitting up the rock piles in depths of 15 to 20 feet. Trollers have been doing their thing east of Kelleys Island. Spoons and crankbaits are working great. Set the spoons 80 to 100 feet back from the Tru-Trip diving planers. When using Bandit crankbaits, set them 60 to a 100 feet back. Trolling speeds of 1.9 to 2.3 miles per hour have been best.
Bass fishing is the best we have seen in a few years. Cast soft craws, soft plastic tube jigs and drop shot rigs in 10 to 15 feet of water to catch bass. Catfish are going strong all around Sandusky Bay. Fresh, raw shrimp are getting the job done.
As fall arrives, get out and enjoy the great walleye fishing. As always, stay safe and have fun.