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Lake Erie Fishing Guide

Lake Erie Sport Fishing: ODNR Predicts Another Great Year for 2011!

Lake Erie Walleye and Perch Bag Limits Now Set

Ohio Division of Wildlife biologists are looking at very good fishing again for 2011. The walleye bag limit will be 6 from May, 2011 through February, 2012, and 4 from March, 2012 through April, 2012. A 15-inch minimum size does apply. The yellow perch limit is 30 per person in Ohio waters from May, 2011 through April, 2012. Lake Erie fishermen are blessed with the largest charter boat fleet on all of the Great Lakes, don't pass up this opportunity to get in on some of the action!

Lake Erie Walleye

Most of the walleyes will come from the 2007 (17-22 inches) and 2003 (22-28 inches) hatches, with the 2001, 2005, 2006, and 2008 hatches playing more of a minor role. Walleye from good hatches in the 1990s are still around with large sizes making them good candidates for "Fish Ohio" status. The 2007 walleye hatch grew really well last year and will play a big role in the Western Basin, while the Central Basin will benefit primarily from the 2003 hatch.

Lake Erie Perch

Lake Erie perch will range from 7- to 13-inches primarily coming from hatches in 2007, 2008, 2005, and 2003. The largest fish are expected to come from the Central Basin, with numbers of fish close to what was observed last year.

Lake Erie Steelhead

Ohio’s Lake Erie will provide an abundance of 17 to 29 inch steelhead this year with prime time during the summer months offshore in the Central Basin. The daily bag limit remains at five fish per person from May 16 through August, and 2 fish from September to May 15. There is a 12-inch minimum size limit year round.

Lake Erie Fishing Forecast 2010

Captain Marv expects another great year of walleye fishing with a lot of 7 to 8 pounders from the 2003 hatch and some good eaters in the 18" range coming from the 2007 hatch. The perch and steelhead fishing is also anticipated to be top notch. We can't wait to get back out on the lake!

This just in from O.D.N.R.: 2010 LAKE ERIE SPORT FISHING OUTLOOK IS GOOD! Lake Erie's fish populations of walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, white bass and steelhead were determined to be in fair to excellent condition. Beginning this year, walleye and yellow perch bag limits will be set after the quota announcement, and will go into effect May 1, 2010. The daily bag limit for walleye remains four fish per person during March and April, 2010. As a result of the 2010 quota allocation, the walleye bag limit will be six from May 1, 2010 to February 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.

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.

More detailed information to come: we will be listing specific hatch and size details for walleye and perch in tabular format to complement the Lake Erie Fishing Guide.

The Division of Wildlife stocks five Lake Erie streams each year with 6-8" yearling steelhead. These fish make there way out into Lake Erie for the summer to the cool, deep waters and then return to streams from the fall through the spring. Steelhead trout that have spent 2 to 3 summers out in the lake average 25" and can weigh 5 to 6 pounds. There are a good number of trophy fish that are over 30"(over 10 pounds) having spent as many as six summers in the lake.

Recent Steelhead Stocking Information provided by O.D.N.R.

The Rocky, Chagrin and Grand rivers are scheduled to receive over 90,000 fish each. Conneaut Creek is scheduled to receive 75,000 fish from Ohio and 75,000 fish from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. The Vermilion River is scheduled to receive 55,000 steelhead. Total targeted annual stocking numbers projected from Ohio hatcheries will remain at 400,000 steelhead; there are no current plans to deviate from this target. All steelhead for Ohio's program are raised at the Division of Wildlife's Castalia State Fish Hatchery. The second table serves as a rough guide to steelhead size and weight for the age of the fish.

Recent Stocking Numbers:

    105,770 105,764
      91,915   75,005
    106,164 105,058
    105,755   90,063
      55,743   82,933

Steelhead Growth Chart (below)

Years in Lake

Average Length

Average Weight (Pounds)

source: Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Lake Erie Fishing Forecast 2009

Lake Erie is set to provide another great year of fishing in 2009, according to biologists with ODNR. They predict a multitude of fishing opportunities for walleye, yellow perch, steelhead and smallmouth bass. Be sure to take advantage of charter boats and guides operating in the western and central basins of Lake Erie.


Overall, the average fish size will be excellent for this year. Ohio walleye fishermen are expected to catch fish primarily from the 2003 hatch, some from the 2001 and 2005 hatches, as well as fish from the 1999 and 2007 hatches. Walleye from the 2003 hatch should be 19" to 26" and fish from the earlier hatches should range from 23" to 28". There will also be fish from the 2005 hatch(17" to 20"). Huge walleye from good hatches in the 80s and 90s are still present and offer "Fish Ohio" (over 28") trophy opportunities. Fish from the recent 2007 hatch will be less than 15" (legal minimum guideline) for most of the season.

Yellow Perch

Most of the perch will be 7" to 13" from the 2007, 2005 and 2003 hatches. Perch numbers will be fairly similar to 2008 in both the Western Basin and Central Basin of Lake Erie. A moderate hatch from 2008 will also help the fishing, starting late next year. Good perch fishing is expected in 2009, with the Central Basin providing the largest fish. The perch limits are 25 yellow perch west of Huron and 30 perch east of Huron with no minimum size guideline on yellow perch.


Good steelhead fishing is predicted for the open waters of Lake Erie if you can get on schools of fish. The main action will occur June through August from Vermilion to Conneaut, with most fish in the 17" to 29" range. The prefered technique for steelhead is deep water trolling using spoons on dipsy divers and downriggers. The limit is five fish per angler from May 16 to August 31, and two fish per person between September 1 and May 15(12" size limit guideline in effect).

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass will be in the 15" to 22" range (2 to 6 pounds). The fish prefer areas with good bottom structure that can be found along the near shore areas of Lake Erie.

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