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Lake Erie

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    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)

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Lake Erie - Each detailed map provides depth, contours, structure, boat ramps, and updated fishing information. Lake Erie fishing maps also include lake info such as gamefish abundance, forage base, water clarity, weedline depth, bottom composition, complete latitude/longitude grid lines and dozens of GPS waypoints & coordinates.
» Lake Erie Fishing Map

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Lake Erie NEWS!


LEEDCo awarded $40M for Lake Erie wind turbines
According to the Associated Press, the project's estimated cost is between $120 million and $128 million. The latest grant brings total federal funding for the project to nearly $51 million. The Lake Erie wind farm would be the nation's first offshore ...
Lake Erie wind farm gets $40M federal construction grantWashington Times
Surprise! LEEDCo qualifies to receive $40 million for Lake Erie wind farmCrain's Cleveland Business
Lake Erie Wind Farm Gets an Unexpected $40 Million from the FedsWKSU News
Cleveland Scene Weekly
all 15 news articles »

Xenia Gazette

Making memories on Lake Erie
Xenia Gazette
The Lake Erie morning was dawning very cold. A strong “nor-easter” had blown through the lake for the previous couple of days. Experience told me the lake will be stained with the walleye blown and scattered. It was not the kind of weather one hoped ...

and more »

Lake Erie Monsters win in double OT and will advance to the Calder Cup Finals (photos)
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Lukas Sedlak scored in the second overtime on Thursday night at The Q to give the Lake Erie Monsters a 2-1 victory over the Ontario Reign to complete a four-game sweep in the best-of-seven Western Conference title. The Monsters ...
Lake Erie sweeps its way into Calder Cup finalsThe Cannon
Lake Erie Monsters sweep Ontario, advance to Calder Cup
Lake Erie Monsters win Western Conference ChampionshipWKYC-TV
Yahoo Sports (blog) -Columbus Dispatch (blog)
all 22 news articles »

The Courier

Trout try to make Lake Erie comeback
The Courier
To determine stocking success, biologists from the Ohio Division of Wildlife, along with their counterparts in Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario, will collect lake trout catch information and fish heads from anglers, commercial fishers and future ...

and more »

Buffalo News

Outdoors by Will Elliott: How the smallmouth are biting on Lake Erie
Buffalo News
Lake Erie's special bass season from the first Saturday in May to the third-Saturday-in -June start of the regular/statewide bass season is magnetic. At times, more out-of-state anglers are on Erie waters than Buffalo-area folk spoiled by a smallmouth ...

Columbus Dispatch

Ohio plan to restore Lake Erie won't mandate farming changes
Columbus Dispatch
“It's definitely good in some regards, and it should result in improvements,” said Jeff Reutter, former director of the Ohio State University Stone Laboratory and Sea Grant on Lake Erie. “The question is, will it go far enough?” The draft plan is the ...
Gay rights dispute derails bill that would halt Lake Erie sediment
Ohio rolls out plan to fight toxic Lake Erie bloomsMichigan Radio
Western Basin of Lake Erie Collaborative Agreement releasedOhio's Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net
The Detroit News
all 20 news articles »
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