5 tips on catching walleye on Lake Erie

Lake Erie is huge and many fishermen want to get on the lake and start fishing for walleye right away. The walleye is a very popular fish because they put up a great fight and for those who like to eat what they catch, they are quite tasty. Walleye can get quite large but are not the easiest fish to entice on the hook. With this in mind, those who are planning a trip to fish for walleye need to know a few things before they set out on their Lake Erie fishing trip. These 5 tips on catching walleye on Lake Erie can save you a great deal of heartache, wasted time and money:
1. Finding the Walleye – The first tip for anyone who wants to fish Lake Erie is actually finding the fish. Walleye tend to run deeper in warm summer months and stick to shallow waters and tributaries when they are spawning. A good rule of thumb is the larger the walleye, the deeper the water they can be found in. Use your fish finder; it is your best friend, to locate large schools of walleye. Start about a hundred yards from shore and work your way to the deeper waters. It does not take long to find the fish. If you do not have a fish finder, you can troll with more than one line set at different depths in the water in order to find out how deep the fish are on that particular day.
2. Live Bait – This is one of the fish that does not stick to a single food type. They eat anything from crayfish to minnows. In Lake Erie however, you really only need three basic baits to be effective at catching this fish. These are leeches, minnow varieties and worms with night crawlers being the best. Those who want a guarantee of success are bringing all three bait types with them because the walleye may only be striking on one particular type of bait that day. Conversely, all three may work on the day you are on the lake so having all three does not hurt and can make for a more productive day at the lake.
3. Lures – There are those who do not like to fish with live baits and who prefer to fish with a lure instead. The good news is that there are many great lures that attract and land the walleye. The Erie Dearie was created for use in Lake Erie and for catching walleye. Keep in mind that you do need to have a live bait, preferably a worm, hooked on it for optimum effectiveness. You also need to make sure that the worms are active and that you are using a light rig to get the most action out of the lure.
4. Drifting – There are many fishing methods that can be employed to catch the walleye, but on Lake Erie, drifting is the most effective. When you find a large school of the fish drop your line into the water and make sure that you keep it tight at all times. It is important to keep to a slow drift in order to keep your lines in the area that the fish are located. If you drift too far away from the school, use your trolling motor on low to get to the area where the fish were found. For drifting, you should use the Erie Dearie or small minnows. The larger minnows do not work as well to entice the fish, even the larger ones, so keep them on the small side.
5. Trolling – Finally, trolling can be effective for walleye fishing on Lake Erie. If you are planning on using this method, keep in mind that you need to stay at a slow troll and not to go too fast. Also, you want to use live bait for this method as it attracts the walleye and they strike more frequently on the live baits rather than a lure. Hook the minnow through the mouth and allow the night crawlers and leeches to dangle off of the hook. All the live baits should be in good health and should be active.
While it is not easy to fish for walleye on any lake, Lake Erie has its own issues above and beyond other lakes such as its size. Thankfully these issues can be nullified if you know where to find the walleye and how to fish for them. The fish finder is your best friend and should be employed each time you go out on the lake. Use live baits or the Erie Dearie lure along with a worm and you can almost be guaranteed a successful day at the lake. Just remember that the walleye are found in deeper waters and that drifting or trolling are the best ways to fish for them.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow walleye fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on walleye fishing since 2004.

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