BY MARK CAHLIK
It is great to write a fishing report when walleye fishing is like it is right now around the Western Basin of Lake Erie. Of course, the weather conditions continue to dictate where you’ll find the best fishing. Overall, west of the islands you’ll find some dirty water, and that has made for tougher fishing.
Trollers have had success probing those Western Lake Erie waters, and have now changed their trolling tactics to using Tru-Trip Trolling Diving Planers and small trolling spoons. Crankbaits are also catching walleye but spoons have been more productive this week.
Anglers have been using the on-line Tru-Trip divers set back 40 to 80 feet. The best speeds are 2.1 to 2.2 miles per hour. West of Catawba, and all the way to E Can, have been the most productive waters. Once you find the right speed and depth, the walleye fishing is outstanding.
Anglers who enjoy the drift-and-cast walleye fishing have been successful, as well. The east side of Kelleys Island has been good up to the Canadian border. The waters west of Kelleys Island to Perry’s Monument on South Bass Island have been the perfect spots to do some casting.
Those waters have stayed cleaner, helping to make casting more successful. Using Weapon-style small spinner rigs tipped with nightcrawlers in 10 to 20 feet of water has resulted in limit catches.
This week we are casting single- or double-hook Weapons. We tend to go to single hook when the mayflies start to hatch. On windier days, many people will use a bottom-bouncing set that is five to ten feet off the bottom of the lake. Those are double hook rigs with leaders that are usually 36 inches long.
The average size of this year’s walleye has been a real bonus, with limits of 20- to 25-inch fish — and many even larger — coming into the fish cleaning station. Most of those boxes of fish contain limit catches, which for charters has been between 80 and a 100 pounds. With stable winds and weather this week, the waters west of the Lake Erie Islands should explode with limit catches.
Smallmouth bass fishing has also been great. Fishing around Bass Islands in 10 to 20 feet of water has been the best spots to do some bass fishing. Jigs and tails as well as hair jigs have been the best thing to use. You can also try little lip crank baits.
Unfortunately, we have not seen very many spring catches of yellow perch coming into the shop yet. Hopefully, that is only because no one has been fishing for them because they’re focusing on the great walleye fishing.
It may be early, but don’t forget about the channel catfish, which are are on fire right now. We have been seeing tubs of catfish coming into the shop that were caught from boats and while fishing the Sandusky Bay shoreline. The Edison Bridge is where boat and shoreline anglers will want to hang out, as well as the Old Bay Bridge. The catfish are craving raw shrimp — not cooked — but some anglers have been using scented catfish baits and are still reeling them in.
Until next week, be safe out there, enjoy yourselves and be courteous to other anglers. Most importantly, keep a tight line!