Walleye and Perch
Ice fisherman continue to pound Lake Erie in the western basin. Just this week the East side harbor fisherman joined the action with good ice being reported on many of the rivers.
In the western basin most fisherman leave the mainland from Catawba Island and are heading west/north west to the fishing grounds. On a clear day you can see fisherman as far out as Green Island. Fisherman have warned many others that there is shifting ice so be careful in the western basin. Walleye fisherman are reporting success using swedish pimples tipped with minnows or night crawlers. Some fisherman are also using jigging rapalas to catch walleye. TIP: If you are having trouble keeping walleye on, try using a stinger hook off the bottom of your swedish pimple or jigging rapala. Perch fisherman on the western side are reporting very good fishing off of south bass island in 30-40 FOW. Minnows on spreaders or single hooks are producing most of the catches.
On the east end of lake Erie that action is heating up in the bays and harbors. Good catches of smelt have been reported as well as the occasional steelhead through the ice. Presque isle bay is now completely frozen over and anglers are reporting good catches of perch in about 20 FOW out in the middle.
Please be aware that no ice is safe ice and you should take your own precautions when venturing out on frozen water. You will need a survival suit, a buddy to tag along, and a spud bar to check the ice that is in front of you. Many people get hurt every year because they see one person on the ice and assume the whole place is good. Anglers are again reminded that you must have registration for your ATV or Snowmobile if you are going to venture out on state waters.
Walleye and Perch
Walleye and Perch continue to hit throughout the western basin of Lake Erie. Ice fishermen have taken over the lake at this point. With more cold weather in the future also, there is no stopping them now. Most ice fisherman have been either hiring a guide, or taking their own equipment out with them. Guides are plentiful and cheap this time of year for ice fishing. Most of the reports are coming from Catawba State Park, South Bass Island, and Middle Bass Island. Catawba State Park is the most popular of the three places.
Most fishermen choose to stay close together because ice fishing Lake Erie can be a bit dangerous this time of year. There are reports of at least 2 quads going in the water this week. The current is very strong right now so ice anglers should either stay on a path or take extreme caution.
Most fish this week have been taken anywhere from 1 – 7 miles from the state dock at Catawba. Popular baits include spoons tipped with night crawlers or minnows jigged in 20-32 FOW anywhere around the south passage. There are also reports of the island fisherman doing very well around Rattlesnake Island, but the walleye are on the small side with many throwbacks.
Perch have been hitting if you can find deep enough water. Most perch fishermen are around Green and Rattlesnake Island. Minnows on bare hooks or small spoons have been taking most of the perch. There have been very good reports from Presque Isle Bay regarding perch, if you go up be cautioned that there is still open water in the bay and you should avoid those areas. Other areas have reported 10 inches of ice this week.
Ice thickness reports are anywhere from 6-14 inches depending on where the strong currents are around the western basic of Lake Erie. Very strong currents are being reported in the south passage and ice fishermen have been warned to not go to this area. The Currents are destroying the ice there. If you venture off a beaten path make sure you are going slow and checking the ice as you venture out, there are a lot of bad spots out there.
WARNING – Please make sure your machines are registered with the state before you venture out on any ice, they are ticketing pretty heavily this year!
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The rivers are pretty much locked back up now. We had a good run with good water color there for a while. Anglers in Erie, PA did very well during the warm-up with multiple hookups being reported by steelhead fisherman. Elk and Walnut creek’s being the best places to look for steelhead up there right now. In Ohio, it was the same story. Rocky River and Vermilion River were both producing great numbers of steelhead during the warm-up. Some good numbers of fish have been reported coming in for the spring spawn already.
Walleye and Perch
A lot of ice fishing anglers have been hitting Catawba Island and South Bass Island this past week. Most reporting eater sized walleye, and some perch being caught. East harbor was producing some bluegill also. With the warm weather over the weekend, the ice fishing came to a halt as some anglers reported up to 6 inches of water over top of the ice. Some reported punching thru the ice with their ATV’s and Sleds. The ice is very dangerous and it will be a while before we get another batch of good ice. There is colder weather in the forecast but anglers will have to wait at least 2 weeks before prospecting the ice again.
Presque isle up in Erie, PA is the same. Anglers were reporting good catches of perch, bass, and bluegill all week until the warm up. They lost most of their ice during the rain and warmup also.
Lake Erie Modis Satellite Image as of 12 Jan 2014. As you can see the strong winds have moved the ice around a lot and there is a strong current running thru the island right now from all the water coming into the lake.
On the flip side to ice fishing, steelhead anglers are no eager to hit the water after the warmup. This warm spell will surely open the rivers and give the fisherman a good fresh run of steelhead to hunt down. In January baits should be small in presentation such as a small nymph or small egg sac. Warmer water will surely get the fish moving and eating again.
Lake Erie has began it’s winter ice making. Ice fisherman around are gathering their gear in hopes that they will once more be able to walk on Lake Erie. Lake Erie ice fishing reports have been coming in left and right from the residents of South Bass Island and Middle Bass Island. Anglers are reporting a good 3-10 inches of ice depending on where you walk off the island. Some anglers have walked from Middle Bass To South bass already. It is shaping up to be a good season. Walleye and Perch both are being caught.
The Airboats will most likely have to wait until good ice is around Catawba Island where most of them port at. There are reports of Airboats taking fisherman from South Bass Island to their shanties though.
Bay and Harbor fisher have to wait until the next cold snap. East harbor is frozen over, but no safe ice has been reported. There was open water there 2 days ago. As far as Sandusky bay no official reports have come in yet.
We will be sure to post as soon as we have good information for the area. Please be safe while fishing Lake Erie on the ice. It is very unpredictable and can swallow you up quick.