Warm temps, hungry walleye a dynamic duo on Lake Erie

Jun 7, 2023 | Ottawa Outdoors | 0 comments

Bluegills were plentiful at Skipper Bud’s Fishing Derby at Derby Pond in Waterworks Park. Kenlieigh Mazur of Port Clinton caught one of the bigger panfish, a 6.75-incher, admired by her mother, Brenda Mazur, of the Ottawa County Community Foundation. (Photo by D’Arcy Patrick Egan)

Local fishermen and an invasion of walleye anglers from all over the region have seen a big surge in the walleye fishing this week, thanks to the warm weather we have enjoyed with the arrival of June. The walleye are biting in many areas right now, making it an excellent time to enjoy the Walleye Capital of the World.

Fishing guides and savvy sports anglers have been getting an early start on success this week, taking advantage of an early morning bite. Charter skippers report they’re limiting out quickly, and bringing back nice-sized fish to boot.

High-tech trolling and traditional drift-and-cast fishing has been very strong around North Bass and Middle islands, as well as in Canadian waters.

Many charters heading across the border are going to a line south of the Wagon Wheel complex west of Peele Island and focusing on deep water.

The best bet for casters seems to be north and east of the islands, and around E Can right on the border. They are using Weapons and mayfly rigs, which are single hook casting harnesses teamed with 3/4-ounce to 1 1/2-ounce  weights depending on the winds, waves and fishing conditions. The count has been 5 to 8 seconds or a slow retrieve starting on the lake bottom.The waters about three miles west of Ballast Island has been offering a good bite.

Trollers are still running Tru-Trip diving planers and spoons about 25 to 55 feet behind the boat, with a trolling speed of 1.9 to 2.1 miles per hour. If you’re having a hard time getting them to bite, try tweaking or changing your trolling program. You can increase your speeds or direction, change lures types or colors, and sometimes, trolling direction can be a key in finding the fish.

When you do find one of the nice schools of walleye, stay on them. Crane Creek has been producing walleye as well, and the Deadeye diving plugs set at 60 to 80 feet back have rounded up quick limits of six walleye. There are a lot of fish west of the islands, some smaller but a few bigger walleye are still mixed in.

With the legendary Western Lake Erie mayfly hatches soon sending swarms of bugs to the lake surface and the shoreline communities, we will be running into a lot of short walleye. Be patient and gently catch and release the smaller walleye.

Port Clinton city officials began shutting off the street lights this week to keep the swarms of mayflies from being lured by the bright lights. They’re a sign of a healthy lake and they don’t bite, so don’t complain!

Channel catfish success still going strong in the Sandusky Bay, whether it’s on one of the many catfish charters that run in the bay or if you are bank fishing. A variety of bait will tempt the cats, including uncooked shrimp, night crawlers, and emerald shiner minnows.

t seems a bit early, but I did receive a yellow perch report this week. The popular panfish were caught using crappie rigs and spreaders off the northwest corner of Kelleys Island. Sunday was a tough day due to the northeast winds that kicked up, but this week’s forecast is looking good again. Expect the walleye bite will be good this week as many more areas being producing good catches.

Stay hydrated, wear plenty of sunscreen and be courteous to all of the other boaters enjoying the outstanding walleye fishing.

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