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Lake Erie produces large walleye. Most fish are over the 15 inch minimum. The average walleye caught off shore is in the three to five pound range. Seven and eight pound walleye are not uncommon. The smaller fish are better table fare, although generally walleye make an excellent eating fish, second only to the yellow perch. The average age of walleye found in our waters is five to six years. Some walleye have been found to be twelve years old.

Walleye are considered sensitive to light. Generally they will not be near the surface on a bright day. At night, they may be just below the surface. Walleye are not as temperature sensitive as other fish, like the steelhead. Walleye may be holding in different temperature zones. Walleye are considered a schooling fish - if you find one, you may have found a whole school.

It is said there are two distinct walleye populations: the "resident" population of generally large fish that stay here all year and are often closer to shore, and the "migrating" population that moves into our waters during the summer and early fall. The resident walleye are the fish that are caught in the spring and early summer at night or closer to shore. The migrating population stays in the shallower western basin of Lake Erie in the winter and spring. As the water temperature of the lake rises, these fish begin to move east into the deeper waters.

Offshore Fishing
Most walleye fishing during the summer is done offshore. Trolling is by far the most popular method. About two m.p.h. is considered the ideal speed to troll for walleye. Early in the season, when the lake is still warming, the fish are generally closer to the surface. During these times, trolling with planer boards or flatlining with a diving lure is popular. As the lake warms, the walleye hold deeper. By late July and August, the fish can be found all the way to the bottom. If the fish are holding part-way down, divers and downriggers work best. If the fish are on or near the bottom, willow leaf rigs with weights and downriggers work best.

Walleye can also be taken by drift fishing if the conditions are right. This method generally works only if the boat will maintain a reasonable drift speed. Still fishing for walleye is generally not productive. Jigging for walleye is not common on Lake Erie. The most popular method for drift fishing is to use a nightcrawler rig also known as a carolina rig, fished near the bottom. Let the rig drift with the boat and bob with the waves. If a fish strikes, act fast - there is nothing to set the hook but you. If you have not experienced drift fishing, give it a try - it can be a calm and pleasant alternative to listening to the constant groan of the trolling motor.

The weight forward spinner and the nightcrawler rig is very popular on the lake. The local bait shops carry these rigs, or they can be made at home. No one lure is most popular for walleye fishing. Popular lures include spoons (the NK spoons are popular) and stick baits (including Rapalas, Storms, Bagleys and Hot -N-Tots). Deep diving plugs are used with flatlines and planer boards.

Information above from FishUSA.com web site


 • Background

 • Lake Conditions

 • Near Shore Areas

 • Walleye

 • Perch

 • Trolling & Methods