Lake Erie a bit unpredictable in May, but hot streak is coming

May 17, 2023 | Ottawa Outdoors | 0 comments

Lake Erie is warming up in the middle of May, and the walleye are slowly becoming more cooperative for groups fishing from charter boats.


Fisherman have had typical unpredictable fishing in the middle of May but as the waters continue to warm, the bonanza is just around the corner. It seems like the walleye don’t understand that we are in mid-May period, and it’s still been a grind to fill the coolers.

We do have an exceptional Lake Erie fishery, though. Even with the warmer temps this past week the average box of fish is half to full of limits right now. We need a good solid week of warm weather to bring the water temps up, and when it does the walleye bite will be sensational.

Trollers have been running between E Can and F Can along the Firing Range and between Kelleys Island and The Monument off Put-In-Bay. The speeds have been about 1.8 to 2.0 m.p.h. The walleye have been feeding a bit deeper this past week in 28 to 30 feet of water and it’s best to run lures 90 to 100 feet back. Deadeye Crankbaits and some Bandits have been hooking the biggest fish, with a 31-incher coming in on a Deadeye crank bait for Chelsea Charters. That made for a happy angler.

A few charters have started running trolling spoons behind jet divers, and finding surprising success.

There is some good news for drift and cast anglers. They have still been jigging the western reefs using hair jigs with worms, and are starting to transition over to single-hook casting harnesses better known as The Weapon this past week. Best bite seems to be mid to upper 20 feet of water. There is good bite off of Little Pickerel Reef and between Kelleys Island and The Monument off Put-In-Bay.

We also have a channel catfish report this week!

The shallow waters of Sandusky Bay are warming quickly, which is good news for the catfish bite. It has really turned on this last week, with the best spots being the Old Bay Bridge and Sunny’s Beach.

These fish are liking nightcrawlers right now and uncooked shrimp seems to be the best. Not too much luck with cut bait like shad. Big fish are being caught right now, with quantities of catfish to follow. It’s only going to get better as it gets warmer.

Fishermen are typically fishing bottom for the cats.

We have had a few reports coming in on largemouth bass, as well. The reports we are hearing are coming out of East Harbor, West Harbor and from Sandusky Bay. With the shallows getting warmer the bass are heading to spawning beds right now, which means a lot of fish in the shallow areas.

The average water depth right now for for largemouth bass, from the reports we have received, is 6 to 10 feet of water.  They are having the best luck with tube jigs and soft plastic baits, such as worms and curly tails.

Good luck fishing this week and stay safe.

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