Port Clinton, OH
“The Walleye Capital of the World” Port Clinton has earned this title because of its state-of-the-art facilities and incredible fishing, which includes the largest private charter fleet on the Great Lakes.
There is a variety of options available for anglers. Consider
fishing from shore, a private boat or a charter boat for a great Lake Erie fishing experience.
Charter Boat Fishing
There are several types of fishing charters available. In general, “walk-on” charters or “head boats” accommodate anywhere from 20 to 50 people and have a per-person cost. They usually offer a six-hour trip. Reservations are recommended. Charter boats that handle six anglers or less are called “six-pack charters” and have a per-trip fee.
Private Boat Fishing
Private boat-launch facilities are available across the Lake Erie shoreline. Lake Erie weather can change quickly, so be sure to get a marine forecast before heading out and keep an ear to the weather radio while on the water.
Fishing From Shore
There are a variety of options available for anglers. Many public fishing piers and breakwalls provide easy shoreline access. Species most often caught from shore include panfish, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, freshwater drum and channel catfish. A variety of fish species are available seasonally to anglers throughout the Ohio waters of Lake Erie.
Walleyes prefer cool water (less than 72 degrees Fahrenheit) that is moderately clear with lots of small fish for food. Walleyes will move great distances to find these conditions, so you may have to search a site area to find schools of fish. When large schools are found, fishing can be excellent for days or weeks until conditions change.
Yellow perch, one of the most popular sport fishes in Lake Erie, are most active during daylight hours at water temperatures between 4575 degrees Fahrenheit. They have a diverse diet, including insects, plankton, mussels, crayfish and small fish. Perch use a variety of habitats in Lake Erie, ranging from rocky reefs and shallow near-shore areas to deep, soft-bottomed areas, but are always near the lake bottom. Once large schools of perch are located, fishing can be very productive. Anglers should move to find active schools if the “bite” is slow. Perch bites are often subtle “taps” that can be best felt by holding your line between your fingers and watching your rod tip for the slightest movement. Perch fishing is a great family activity because perch are so abundant and easy to catch.
Smallmouth bass prefer clear waters and are most active in Lake Erie during daylight hours at water temperatures between 4575 degrees Fahrenheit. Bass are attracted to underwater structure, such as rocks, shipwrecks, piers, logs and submerged vegetation where they can ambush their prey. They are usually found on or near the bottom, but prefer ledges and drop-offs between shallow and deeper areas. They have a diverse diet that includes small fish, crayfish and insects. When hooked, smallmouth bass are the hardest-fighting and the most acrobatic species in the lake.
Steelhead require cold water temperatures (less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit) and migrate out of the rivers into the Central Basin of Lake Erie by the end of May. They eat insects, other invertebrates and small fish. Steelhead provide great lake-fishing opportunities during the summer and early fall months.
Whether it’s by the shore, on your boat, or with a charter captain, you will find outstanding world-class sport fishing on Lake Erie. For an up-to-date Lake Erie fishing report, go to www.dnr.ohio.gov/wildlife/Fishing/freport/lakeerieweekly.htm. And don’t forget: Port Clinton is known as “The Walleye Capital of the World”!