The western basin is pretty much locked up. There is some open water on the Canadian side, but the ice on the southern shore is getting thick now. There has also been reports of open water outside the perry stack, so please don’t get complacent.
Please look at the weather before hitting the ice on Erie this weekend, supposed to snow pretty good. Please do not go out unless you are prepared for white out conditions, it will happen at some point this weekend. If you don’t have a GPS, stay home. It’s the only thing that will get you back to the dock safely during a storm.
These statements are not meant to scare you off, just extra precautions need to be taken before heading out. Many anglers take advantage of the thick ice we have and go out with zero safety equipment.
Walleye fishing has been spotty. Not much moving around this week by anglers because of the cold weather. It has been single digits for quite a while now. If you have been waiting on a cold spell, well it’s here. Ice thickness is between 10 and 20 inches depending on the area you are fishing. Cracks have been reported to be very dangerous right now. Some machines went thru the ice at cracks this week, and they were on the trails. Carrying a spud bar is a must! Remember, you are still walking on ice and it is never safe.
Fish are being caught as close as 1.2 miles from Catawba state park all the way to 5 miles. The key to catching right now is not setting up camp until you mark fish or catch one. Being without electronics deep into winter will most likely leave you with a skunk. Camp perry has thinned out right now because most anglers are over at Crane creek. At Crane creek anglers are moving way out toward west sister island. Mixed reports are coming in, catching and not catching. The ones that are catching fish are moving around a lot. Here is a hint that might get you into fish, get away from the packs. Machines make astronomical amounts of noise under the ice, and walleye will scatter when they here it.
Baits that have worked this past week are raps in #4 and #5, and swedish pimples tipped with minnows.
Perch are being caught around the bass islands. Most perch anglers are walking off any of the three islands into the surrounding deep water. Most fish are being caught on swedish pimples tipped with minnows.
The rivers are pretty much locked up right now. There is still some open water, but not much. Most angler targeting steelhead right now are fishing from the ice. If you ice fish in the rivers use extreme caution because of the currents under the ice. Most are getting their fish on egg sacs using tip ups or rod and reel.
Have fun this weekend if you head out!