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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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Fishing Hot Spots Topo Maps

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!

Great Lakes Science Center celebrates moms, ships & Lake Erie
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Mather, mothers and Lake Erie are co-starring this weekend at the Great Lakes Science Center. The seasonal re-opening of the historic Steamship William G. Mather is soon upon us, along with a celebration of Lake Erie during ...

Griffins lose Game 1 to Lake Erie on power play goal in overtime
The Grand Rapids Griffins allowed two power play goals, including the game-winner with 7:37 left in overtime, to lose Game 1 of the Central Division finals to Lake Erie, 3-2. Oliver Bjorkstrand, who had two goals when the Monsters swept Rockford in the ...
Lake Erie Monsters take Game 1 win over Grand Rapids
Lake Erie Monsters stop Grand Rapids Griffins in OT,
Monsters prevail for wild Game 1 winAmerican Hockey League -Columbus Dispatch (blog)
all 9 news articles »

The Detroit News

Toxic blob on the move in Lake Erie
The Detroit News
“Recent news has brought to light that sediment years ago dredged from the Cuyahoga River and disposed of in an area of Lake Erie referred to as CLA-1, has migrated from its original location,” Cleveland Water authorities said in a statement on its ...
Toxic sediment in Lake Erie may pose risk to drinking waterWKYC-TV
Toxic blob from 1970s may be nearing Cleveland water plant on Lake ErieColumbus Dispatch
Cleveland Water: Toxic Sediment in Lake Erie is 'Not a Concern'Cleveland Scene Weekly
WCBE 90.5 FM
all 11 news articles »


State funding awarded to improve Lake Erie
Algae floats in Lake Erie at Maumee Bay State Park August 4, 2014 in Oregon, Ohio. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images). Aaron P. Bernstein. Copyright 2014 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, ...
EPA awards $3.3 million GLRI grants in Lake Erie basinPort Clinton News Herald
Lake Erie funding distributed to track invaders, fight algaeWHIO
Millions set for Great LakesToledo Blade -Lansing Star
all 25 news articles »

One Green Planet

Reality Check: Our Obsession With Cheese is Turning Lake Erie Into Toxic Dump
One Green Planet
Ah, summer at Lake Erie. What could be better? Sunshine, nature, water … run-off from dairy farms causing massive algae blooms … uh, what? At 140 concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in the Lake Erie area, phosphorous and nutrient runoff ...

and more »

Environmental Working Group

Dairy Farm Pollution Fuels Lake Erie's Toxic Algae
Environmental Working Group
As summer approaches, so do the toxic algal blooms that plague Lake Erie every year, killing fish and making the water too dangerous to swim in. Phosphorous runoff from farms is the key culprit, and most of it comes from synthetic fertilizers applied ...

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