Lake Erie anglers should experience another year of diverse fishing opportunities during 2010, according to biologists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.
“We expect fishing to be generally good this year, especially if you are willing to take advantage of the best opportunities,” said Roger Knight, Lake Erie fisheries program manager for the Division of Wildlife. “While fishing success will vary among species and seasons, the lake’s populations of walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, white bass and steelhead are in fair to excellent condition.”
The walleye bag limit will be six from May 1, 2010 to Feb. 28, 2011, and four from March 1, 2011 to April 30, 2011. A 15-inch minimum size limit is in effect during the entire season.
The yellow perch bag limit will be 30 perch per angler lake wide from May 1, 2010 to April 30, 2011. There is no minimum size limit on yellow perch. Lake Erie anglers can find walleye and yellow perch bag limit information at ODNR offices, in special publications at bait and tackle shops, and on the Web at wildohio.com.
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.
Ohio walleye anglers will catch fish mostly from the 2007 and 2003 hatches, with some contributions from the 2001, 2005 and 1999 hatches. Walleye from the moderate 2007 hatch will range from 14-19 inches long and will complement the larger 20- to 28-inch fish from the strong 2003 hatch as the major contributors to the Ohio catch.
Perch anglers should encounter fish ranging from 7- to 13-inch fish from the 2007, 2008, 2005 and 2003 hatches in this year’s fishery. Lake wide, perch numbers should be similar to levels observed in 2009 in the Western and Central basins. Small fish from the weak 2009 hatch may show up in the fishery in the fall.
Smallmouth bass fishing in 2010 is expected to be fair. Although bass abundance remains below desired levels, those caught should be of excellent size (15 to 22 inches, weighing two 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 25, 2010, during which all black bass (smallmouth and largemouth) must be immediately released. Beginning June 26, 2010, the daily bag limit for bass will remain at five fish, with a 14-inch minimum length limit.
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. Most Lake Erie anglers troll for steelhead in deep waters using spoons with dipsy divers or downriggers. The daily bag limit remains at five fish per person from May 16 to Aug. 31, and two fish per angler between Sept. 1 and May 15, with a 12-inch minimum size limit throughout the year.
White bass will continue to provide excellent seasonal fishing opportunities in the Maumee and Sandusky rivers and in the open lake. The catch will be dominated by hatches from 2003 and 2005, which will include many 13- to 16-inch fish. The 2006 and 2007 hatches were moderate and should contribute 10- to 14-inch fish to the fishery. Anglers should focus on major Western Basin tributaries during May and June and near shore areas of the open lake during summer months. There is no daily bag or size limit on white bass.
Anglers are also advised of numerous fishing opportunities in the bays and harbors on the Ohio shoreline. These inlets offer excellent fishing for panfish including crappie and bluegill, as well as largemouth bass. In early spring, anglers may also catch an occasional Northern pike or muskellunge in vegetated areas.
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 factors such 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, updated Lake Erie fishing reports are available online at wildohio.com and by calling 1-888-HOOKFISH.
Division of Wildlife staff members are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at Sandusky (419-625-8062) for Western Basin information. For additional information on lodging, charter boat services and local launch ramps, contact one of the following lakeshore visitors’ bureaus:
• Sandusky County Visitors Bureau - 800-255-8070
• Ottawa County Visitors Bureau - 800-441-1271
• Greater Toledo Convention & Visitors Bureau - 800-243-4667
• Ohio Division of Travel & Tourism - 800-BUCKEYE
Public Fishing Access Sites:
The following are public access sites to Lake Erie in order of location, east to west. Other sites are available, but be sure that you aren’t fishing on private property without permission.
• Bayshore Access: Bayshore Road, Bayshore to Wynn Roads (one mile north of Cedar Point Road and Maumee Bay State Park). Call 419-424-5000.
• Maumee Bay State Park: 1400 Park Rd #1, Oregon. 419-836-7758.
• Cooley Canal Public Access: Anchor Point Rd., Curtice. 419-8369185
• Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area: SR2 at Bono curve, Curtice. 419-424-5000.
• Crane Creek State Park: 13531 SR2, Oak Harbor. 419-898-0960
• Crane Creek Research Station/Magee Marsh: 13229 W SR 2, Oak Harbor. 419-898-0960
• Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge: 14000 W SR2, Oak Harbor. 419-898-0014
• Turtle Creek Fishing Access: SR2 at Turtle Creek near Oak Harbor. 419-424-5000
• Toussaint Creek Wildlife Area: SR 19 two miles south of SR 2, Oak Harbor. 419-424-5000.
• Anchor Pointe Marina: 10905 Corduroy Rd., Curtice. 419-836-2455
• Meinke Marina West, 10955 Corduroy Rd., Curtice. 419-836-7774
• Meinke Marina East, 12805 Bono Rd., Curtice. 419-836-8610
• Fenwick Marina, 10261 W. Oak Harbor Southeast Rd., Oak Harbor. 419-898-7009
• Lamberjack’s Marina, 10221 W. Locust Point Rd., Oak Harbor. 419-898-1974
• Maumee Bay Resort Marina, 1750 Park Rd #2, Oregon. 1-800-At-A-Park
• Toussaint River Marina, 4685 North Toussaint South Rd., Oak Harbor. 419-898-7020
• Turtle Creek Marina & Campground, 10041 W SR2, Oak Harbor. 419-898-7745
• Turtle Point Marina, 10275 W. Lakeview Blvd., Oak Harbor. 419-898-2003
• Wild Wings Marina & RV Park, 6395 N Russell Rd., Oak Harbor. 419-898-1416.
• Beef Creek Marina, 4385 N Rider Rd., Oak Harbor. 419-898-1829
• Al’s Harbor, 9115 W Long Beach Rd., Oak Harbor. 419-898-5346
Note: Several marinas also provide boat ramps for the public.
Emergency assistance is available by calling:
• U.S. Coast Guard Emergency Search and Rescue Station at 419-729-2020.
• Toledo Harbor Patrol at 419-936-3076.
• Lucas County Sheriff’s Dept. Marine Patrol at 419-266-1667.
• Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department Underwater Rescue at 419-734-4404.