The Press Newspaper
Anglers lured from near and far to fish area waters
If baiting hooks and casting lines are your forte, then the Maumee Bay area offers many wonderful access sites for fishing. The outlook for 2009 looks very promising for the anglers who live in and visit area waterways, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife says.
“Over the years, Lake Erie has consistently provided some of the best fishing in the country,” said Roger Knight, Lake Erie fisheries program manager at ODNR, “We expect 2009 to be no different.”
Excellent fishing opportunities await walleye and yellow perch anglers, as well as those who prefer other species like smallmouth bass, white bass, and steelhead, said Knight.
Lake Erie anglers have great access to fishing in the Western and Central basins due to the numerous public boat ramps, private marinas and shoreline areas. They also benefit from having the largest charter boat industry in the Great Lakes.
Walleye: The daily bag limit is six fish from May through February 2010. A 15-inch minimum size limit is in effect during the entire season.
Yellow Perch: Perch anglers should encounter fish ranging from seven to 13 inches from the 2007, 2005 and 2003 hatches in this year's fishery. The daily bag limit is 25 yellow perch per angler in the waters west of Huron and 30 perch per angler from Huron eastward to the Pennsylvania border. There is no minimum size limit on yellow perch.
Smallmouth Bass: Smallmouth bass fishing in 2009 is expected to be fair. Although bass abundance remains below desired levels, those caught should be of excellent size (15 to 22 inches, weighing 2 to 6 pounds). Bass fishing is best in areas with good bottom structure, which is available across much of the entire Ohio near shore area.
A closed season remains in effect from May 1 through June 26 during which all black bass (smallmouth and largemouth) must be immediately released. Beginning June 27, the daily bag limit for bass will remain at five fish, with a 14-inch minimum length limit.
Steelhead: Steelhead anglers should enjoy another year of great fishing in Ohio's Lake Erie tributaries throughout the fall, winter and spring months. Good fishing opportunities will also exist on the open lake when schools of fish can be located. The daily bag limit remains at five fish per person from May 16 to August 31, and two fish per angler between September 1 and May 15, with a 12-inch minimum size limit throughout the year.
White Bass: White bass will continue to provide excellent seasonal fishing opportunities in tributaries and the open lake. The catch will be dominated by hatches from 2003 and 2005, which will include many 12- to 15-inch fish.
Anglers are also advised of numerous fishing opportunities in the bays and harbors on the Ohio shoreline. The inlets offer excellent fishing for panfish, including crappie and bluegill, as well as largemouth bass.
Anglers are reminded that fishing conditions on Lake Erie can change hourly and adjustments are often necessary to improve success. Anglers should take into account such factors as water temperature, cloud cover, water clarity, boat traffic, wave action, structure and the amount of baitfish in the area. Anglers are also reminded to carefully monitor Lake Erie weather and to seek safe harbor before storms approach.
During the season, ODNR provides an updated Lake Erie fishing report online at ohiodnr.com and by calling 1-888-HOOKFISH.
Division of Wildlife staff members are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Call Sandusky at 419-625-8062, for Western Basin information. For information on lodging, charter boat services and local launch ramps, contact one of the following lakeshore visitors bureaus:
Sandusky/Erie County Visitors Bureau at 800-255-8070.
Ottawa County Visitors Bureau at800-441-1271.
Greater Toledo Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-243-4667.
Ohio Division of Travel & Tourism at 800-BUCKEYE.
Information on the Division of Wildlife's Lake Erie research and management programs, fisheries resources, open lake and steelhead fishing reports, as well as maps and links to other Lake Erie web resources is available on the Internet at http://ohiodnr.com/wildlife.
Public Fishing Access Sites:
Note: Several marinas also provide boat ramps for the public.