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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.

     Lake Erie has a fantastic salmon fishery. The chinook or pacific salmon is the most common, although coho can be caught as well. Trolling a variety of spoons using downriggers is the technique of choice for most anglers. Anglers follow the schools of baitfish, predominately smelt. In spring and fall concentrating closer to shore and in summer deeper, trolling spoons and plugs above and below marked fish. In the fall, many anglers try their luck casting spoons off piers or still fishing with roe on bottom. Shore action this time of year can be hot, especially at dusk and sometimes throughout the night.

     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!

Coast Guard finds submerged fishing boat, 2 bodies on Lake Erie
WDIV Detroit
The U.S. Coast Guard says it has found two bodies during it's search in western Lake Erie for three or four people after finding a partially submerged boat off the Ohio shoreline. The U.S. Coast Guard says the boat was located Thursday morning near the ...
Body found on Lake Erie during search for missing fishermen, US Coast Guard ...The Plain Dealer
Fishing boat found in Lake Erie, passengers still
UPDATE: 2 bodies recovered in search for missing boatersWKYC-TV
CTV News -The Detroit News
all 61 news articles »

Sandusky Register

2 Missing Boaters Found Dead, Search Continues for 2 More
TURTLE POINT MARINA — Coast Guard crews reported Thursday afternoon that they'd found a second body in the search for four missing boaters on Lake Erie. The body was that of a female, said authorities. Officials earlier Thursday found the body of a ...
UPDATED: Two bodies found, crews searching for missing anglersSandusky Register
Coast guard searches for missing fishing
Second Missing Boater Found
Fremont News Messenger -1370 WSPD
all 7 news articles »

2 Bodies Found In Search For Missing Boaters Near Put-In-Bay
CBS Local
SOUTH BASS ISLAND, Ohio (WWJ) - Authorities say the bodies of two of four missing boaters in western Lake Erie have been recovered off the Ohio shoreline. Officials say they recovered the bodies of two females Thursday near Put-In-Bay. Both were ...

Fishing on Lake Erie is 'still pretty good'
Sandusky Register (blog)
I would agree with the response of Captain Ed. Fishing it's not like it was when I grew up but neither is the lake. It has changed. We as charter captains, tournament anglers or recreational fishermen must do the same. There are different ways of ...

Charter boat captain: Lake Erie in poor condition
Sandusky Register (blog)
Field tiles to ditches to streams to Lake Erie had nothing to do with the algae problems being experienced in the western waters of Lake Erie? In 2013, I turned down dozens of charters because of terrible fishing. I wouldn't take their money for 2 to 5 ...

and more »

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