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Lake Erie

fishing lake erie

    Lake Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes in volume (116 cubic miles). The basin is intensively farmed and is the most densely populated of the five Great lakes. Consequently it is exposed to the greatest effects from urbanization and agriculture. It measures about 241 miles across and 57 miles from north to south, with a surface area of just under 10,000 square miles. The average depth of Lake Erie is only about 62 feet (210 feet, maximum). It therefore warms rapidly in the spring and summer, and frequently freezes over in winter. The drainage basin covers parts of Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario. Because of its fertile soils, Lake Erie is the most productive of the great lakes. The lake's main fish species include walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, chinook salmon, coho salmon, rainbow trout, brown trout, northern pike, largemouth bass and carp.

    Lake Erie is the warmest and most biologically productive of the Great Lakes, and the walleye fishery is widely considered the best in the world. Every year tons of walleye are harvested from the lake, both from recreational angling and commercial fishing. The average walleye is a whopping 5-6lb with 10-12lb fish caught regularly. The walleye are caught trolling along drop offs and mid lake humps. Most productive lure is the famous erie deary, usually tipped with a whole worm or minnow. Deep diving crankbaits trolled in the same areas also produce well. For more information visit

     Maybe the tastiest table fair around, Lake Erie is full of perch. Tons are taken annually in commercial fishing nets. Anglers also fill their quotas as well, especially in the spring, when perch come inshore to spawn. Public docks are shoulder-to-shoulder this time of year, with jumbo perch hitting almost anything, although a simple bobber and worm or live/salted minnow is the most popular method of catching them. Boat anglers, usually fish near bottom with egg sinkers and 2-3 hooks baited with minnows and worms. It's not uncommon to land 2 or even 3 fish at once, when the perch schools are thick.

     With the introduction of invasive species like zebra mussels and gobies, the Lake Erie smallmouth bass population has thrived. The clearing water due to the actions of zebra mussels has increased both light penetration and visibility creating a perfect habitat for smallmouth bass. The gobies have further enhanced this fishery, since smallmouth bass forage heavily on gobies, which like to inhabit rock piles and boulder flats, the same areas where Lake Erie smallmouth bass feed. Lures which imitate the gobies can be very productive. Most anglers drift tube jigs in smoke, green and purple hues. Live bait fished near the bottom, usually minnows or crayfish can also be deadly.

     The most common trout in Lake Erie is the rainbow trout or steelhead. Caught using the same methods as for salmon, many charter captains target this majestic fish. A powerful fighter and excellent eating, makes this a popular gamefish on Lake Erie. In spring, when steelhead migrate up rivers to spawn, shore anglers enjoy a bonanza of fishing opportunities, since the lake's basin is rich with rivers and creeks. Float fishing or bottom fishing with roe can be very productive this time of year, especially along river mouths. Fishing is usually best at dawn.

Statistics & Figures:
LENGTH: 241 miles / 388 km
BREADTH: 57 miles / 92 km
AVERAGE DEPTH: 62 ft. / 19 m.
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 210 ft. / 64 m.
VOLUME: 116 cubic miles / 484 cubic km.
WATER SURFACE AREA: 9,910 sq. miles / 25,700 sq. km.
DRAINAGE BASIN AREA: 30,140 sq. miles / 78,000 sq. km.
(including islands):
871 miles / 1,402 km.
ELEVATION: 569 ft. / 173 m.
OUTLET: Niagara River and Welland Canal
RETENTION/REPLACEMENT TIME: 2.6 years (shortest of the Great Lakes)

Fishing Lake Erie NEWS!

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Will sturgeon ever come back to Lake Erie?
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Once the biggest predator in the Great Lakes, the lake sturgeon was driven to the brink of extinction. An effort is underway to make the endangered fish a more familiar sight in Lake Erie. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is participating in a ...
Ohio's walleye quota increased slightly for 2015; daily bag limits likely (blog)
Lake Erie Committee announces fishing levels for 2015Chatham Daily News

all 3 news articles »

Monroe Evening News

Fishermen rescued on Lake Erie Thursday afternoon
Monroe Evening News
Four Monroe fishermen became trapped in their boats for two hours when an ice floe surrounded them on Lake Erie Thursday afternoon. The men were operating three flat bottom boats near the mouth of the River Raisin, roughly a quarter mile from the shore ...
Ice floe traps fishermen on Lake Erie, prompting rescueWNWO NBC 24

all 50 news articles » (blog)

Lake Erie ice anglers beware; sleeping giant has one eye open (blog)
CATAWBA ISLAND, Ohio -- The thaw is in full swing around Western Lake Erie. Windy weather is now the wild card in determining how long the sensational ice fishing season for walleye will last. In the meantime, ice guides and state and federal officials ...

and more »


Lake Erie walleye trail kicks off tournament season
Sandusky Register
A number of major walleye tournaments have announced their dates and have begun taking entries for 2015. For the majority of us who don't fish tournaments, these are still worth noting in your calendars, as the weigh-ins are all open to the public and ...
Hotels, bait shops catch extra cash from frozen Lake ErieWKYC-TV
Technology opens ice to the angling massesToledo Blade
Frozen Lake Erie luring out-of-state anglers to Ohio shoreline's hotels ...The Republic

all 94 news articles »

Anglers beware: Erie can surrender its ice in a hurry
Toledo Blade
It can take weeks and even months of real winter for the “good ice” to form on Lake Erie, and then provide anglers with a variety of fishing options. Mother Nature can take the lake back in a veritable blink of an eye. After the lake was covered by ...
Early spring fishing in northeast Ohio: What's biting, and where and how to
The best things in life are freePortsmouth Daily Times
Removal Of Ice Huts

all 19 news articles »

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