Lake Erie is a 9,940 square mile lake located with a boundary in northern Ohio. It is the shallowest and warmest of the five Great Lakes. It is well known for Walleye and Yellow Perch fishing. My favorite place to fish is out of Port Clinton, Ohio. A good place to stay is at Americas Best Value Inn on the waterfront in downtown. I have found them to be reasonably priced and I even get a discount for going fishing on the next door fishing boats. It is located next to two fishing charter services, i.e. Sassy Sal and the Fisherman’s Wharf. They operate “head boats” that go out for Walleye in the spring and Yellow Perch in the fall. They are called head boats since you pay by the head similar to party boats in Florida but at about half the price. You bring your own fishing gear and bait or buy it at their bait & tackle store.
The best time to go walleye fishing is in April or early May. To fish for walleye, you will need a fishing license and fishing gear. Some walleye can be large but to increase your chances of catching fish, you need to use a light rod under 6 feet long which is adequate for jigging with approx. 10 pound test line. Heavy gear is not necessary since the mate will net the fish and bring it into the boat for you. Pitching with a short rod may be better than trying to cast with another fisherman on each side of you. You should bring along a stringer and a heavy coat. It can get very cold out on the water. Also, rain gear is a good thing to have to prevent getting wet in the event of a rain shower. The most common method of fishing for walleye on a head boat is jigging with night crawlers. The color of the jig and the jigging action are important. A graphite rod that is not too limber works well for pitching, jigging and setting the hook. Purple is usually a good color for the jig but not always. When you sign in for the trip at the bait & tackle shop, you can ask what colors are getting the best results. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) provides tips and prospects for catching Walleye in Ohio.
Yellow Perch Fishing
During the months of Sept. & Oct. , fishing for yellow perch is at its peak. Many of the head boats have switched from walleye to fishing for yellow perch. These fish are small but very good eating. Light gear is best. A small hook and bobber rig will work but a multi-hook rig will let you catch more fish in a short time. The most productive bait is small minnows but worms and insect larvae work almost as well. Since the fish are small, you want to use a fish cleaning technique that keeps as much of the meat as possible. In addition, you will need to keep the skin on the fillets, if you are cleaning them away from home. If you are cleaning them at home and not transporting them, here is a video on cleaning yellow perch that illustrates a techniques which is fast, easy and keeps most of the meat. The bag limit changes from year to year based on fish population and ODNR's management of the resource. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ODNR) provides a lot of good information and tips to assist you in fishing for yellow perch.