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Lake Erie Fishing Reports "Aboard Denied"

April 2007

Fishing Reports

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April 30, 2007 (Monday) Marc

Travis was gone this weekend and in spite of my good intentions I never found the time to make any updates to this page and there is quite a bit to report.

Walleye fishing this weekend and Friday ranged from outstanding to poor. Some guys just never figured out any programs that worked but a lot did and were well rewarded. 

The jig bite off Wild Wings to Maumee Bay slowed down a bit but many fast limits were taken using hair jigs and blade baits, early in the day is better than late morning and mid day. Other colors besides purple are showing up as preferred colors with orange being a top producer for many, followed by purple and chartreuse, tipping with worms instead of minnows or bare hooked, helped a few boaters too. 14 FOW seemed the preferred depth but shallower and reef tops took fish as well.

Trollers took bigger fish near West Reef, between North Bass and Middle on the border and also the NW corner of Kelleys. These fish are migrating big time and each day will probably be a little different as far as areas go east of the Bass islands. Crankbaits and spoons behind jets were the most mentioned but harnesses took fish as well, especially behind heavy bottom bouncers. The common denominator was fishing them deep and near bottom and slow in the 1.1 to 1.4 range. Smaller fish were trolled up near the reefs and we didn't get any reports on the fishing around the cans and toward the islands, although I suspect that there are still plenty of big girls in the area. We didn't get any milkers in the fish we caught but they are still juicing copiously around the reefs. 

My best program was near the border and a 1/2 mile or more from any packs early in the day. The bite shut down both Saturday and Sunday at around 11-12 and then picked up again after 3:30-4. We caught very few fish when we entered any packs. Bare Naked & Eriedescent Reefrunners flatlined 120 back took the bulk of our fish. The board rods just didn't produce as well. We did try jets and spoons but all we caught was sheephead and white bass with them, probably due to the slow speed. I did notice that a lot of the drifters were catching fish using harnesses and bottom bouncers. Gold blades seemed to be the ticket.

WBSA's monthly meeting is Tuesday May 1st at Margaritaville, as always you are welcome to come check us out. Our speaker will be Tim White and he'll be discussing some of the states Lake Erie water quality programs. We'll also have an update on the Commercial fishing regulation changes that are in the Ohio Senate right now and nearing vote.

WBSA is also having a fish fry at Cranberry Creek Marina on June 9th. Travis will be there to meet people and we are also attempting to get someone else available to do a question and answer panel about Erie fishing and boating. This is one you don't want to miss. The food is always excellent. We do ask though that you let us know so we can plan for approximate servings needed. No cost this ones on the club but side dishes are always welcome!

Travis should be back online tomorrow or Weds.


April 26, 2007 (Thursday) Travis

Today has been a wet, windy, stormy day and it looks like the storms are going to keep coming into the night.  Once this front gets through the weekend might not be too bad.

For any of you that didn't realize it I'm a fisheries biologist with ODNR Division of Wildlife on Lake Erie.  I'm very lucky to get to do something that I enjoy.  It's still work, but I get to spend plenty of time on Lake Erie and work with population and harvest assessment on a regular basis.  Anyway, I put together a summary of all of our walleye ages from the past three years based on aging the fish with otoliths, their inner ear bones.  I hear a lot of misconceptions about how old certain size walleye are and this summary should help everyone get a better handle on Lake Erie walleye age and growth.  There are two tables on the page, one that summarizes how old walleye are in one inch intervals (15", 16", 17", etc.).  For example if you catch a 23" walleye how old is it on average and what is the age range for a fish of that size?  The table is summarized by male, female, and all fish combined.  The second table summarizes how big on average a walleye of any given age is.  For example on average how long is a 14 year old walleye and what is the observed size range?  The second table is also summarized by male, female, and all fish combined.  The file is in PDF format and is squeezed onto one page so that you can print it out and put it on your boat to impress your friends with.  If you haven't seen this sheet already I think that you'll be surprised how old some of the fish are that you catch.

Here is the link:  Walleye Age Summary 2004-2006

I will put the link above the reports so that it is still be available for the coming months.  I'll also post a link to the file in some of the popular forums so that Erie anglers that don't read this page will have access to it.

Let me know what you think.  If I can clarify anything let me know.

The most recent report from the Vermilion buoy had 11 knot E winds, 3 feet waves, falling barometric pressure and 42.8 degree water temperature on the surface.


April 25, 2007 (Wednesday) Travis

The weather really took a turn for the worse today with NE gusts near 30 mph, rain and falling temperatures.  It was a far cry from Tuesdays beautiful weather.

Two good reports came in from yesterday.  More limits were caught by jigging green and purple hair jigs in 6-9 feet of water off of the green and white buoy in Maumee Bay.  That area produced for a few days in a row.

A troller caught fish by working the edges around Cone Reef.  The best lure was a hammered chrome worm harness with blue lightning tape on the back.  Crankbaits only produced a big smallmouth bass.

As an aside, if you read my helpful hints page on spring crankbait fishing you're probably scratching your head after reading the reports from the weekend.  I probably overstated the need to troll in the top 10 to 15 feet of water.  I still stand by the fact that you're really missing out if you overlook high fish just because you're marking them down deep.  If they are active up high and you don't put anything up there you're throwing away what would have been a great day.  Also keep in mind that the best high bites seem to happen with pre-spawn fish any time from mid-March through early April.  At this point I'd say that we're headed into the post-spawn period and the high bites aren't as likely as earlier.  That all being said, this has been a spring of deeper bites.  The April LEWT was won primarily by fish hanging in 15 to 20' not 15' or less.  Recent reports with big fish have been the deeper post-spawn migrators or sulkers.  Don't overlook deep fish based on my helpful hints page, but do yourself a favor and keep one line up high so that you know if they turn on up where you can't mark them on your sonar.

The most recent report from the Vermilion buoy had 17 knot E-NE winds, 3.3 feet waves, rising barometric pressure and 42.4 degree water temperature on the surface.


April 24, 2007 (Tuesday) Travis

Two more jig reports came in today with the best spots being 0.5 miles out of Turtle Creek, Niagara Reef, and the humps in 6-9' of water near the green and white buoy in Maumee Bay.  The Maumee Bay report mentioned purple and green hair jigs.

Two trolling reports also came in today.  The first said that trailer trash reef runners 50-75' back were working well around "D" can.  The other trolling report was from a group that spent last week on the lake.  When the conditions got better later in the week they really started catching fish.  They ended up getting 6 trophies over 30" in a few days with the biggest going 31.5".  Most of the fish came from N and NE of North Bass Island.  Reef runners 55 to 145' back caught most of the fish and the biggest ones came on the deeper lures.  Colors that worked included bare naked, blue ice, easter egg, chrome blue, perch, purple prism and blue prism.

The most recent report from the Vermilion buoy had 3.9 knot E-SE winds, no waves, steady barometric pressure and 42.8 degree water temperature on the surface.


April 23, 2007 (Monday) Travis

More weekend trip reports came in today with everyone catching some fish.  Two more reports verified the fast limits off of Wild Wings marina on hair jigs (1/2 ounce purple, of course, some tipped with shiners, some with Gulp minnows).  It also sounds like there was a decent pack in the south passage (between Catawba and S. Bass) catching fish by jigging.  One report mentioned that he was going out to perch fish, but saw trollers catching walleye on West Reef.  He took his shiners and put them on a single hook behind a bait walker rig and managed to catch walleye on an 11' hump on the reef.  You don't always have to have a plan, sometimes a good day just happens.

Trolling reports have been coming from north of Kelleys Island.  One report caught fish up to 30" in the 50' hole west of Kelleys Island Shoal on reef runners 100' back (trout).  Another trolling report caught fish between Kelleys Island and Middle Bass Island on reef runners and ripsticks 45 to 80' back with bare naked getting the most hits.

The wind forecast isn't exceptional for the rest of the work week.  Let's hope that they're wrong.  At least the predicted high temperatures are supposed to stay in the 50's and above for the next 10 days.

The most recent report from the Vermilion buoy had 9.7 knot W winds, 1.3 feet waves, rising barometric pressure and 41.9 degree water temperature on the surface.


April 22, 2007 (Sunday) Travis

All the reports that have come in from the last few days have been good ones.  The jigging crowd caught fish in front of Wild Wings in 10' of water, 1 mile off of Davis Besse, just off of Turtle Creek, and 1 mile south of Turtle Island.  The two most popular jigs mentioned were purple hair jigs and green hair jigs.

The one trolling report produced a 27" fish near "F" can on a Bare Naked reef runner 35' back, a 20" fish north of Kelleys Island on a purple prism reef runner 80' back, and a 26.5" fish north of Kelleys on a Bare Naked reef runner 80' back.


April 20, 2007 (Friday) Travis

It finally feels like spring has arrived.  I'm sure that we'll still have some ugly weather, but I think that winter has given up.  Temperatures are increasing, we're getting a break from the wind, and walleye spawning is in full swing on the Camp Perry reefs.

Fast limit reports are coming from jiggers in all of the typical spring spots including Turtle Creek to Wild Wings, the Maumee Bay humps, Toussaint Reef, Round Reef, Cone Reef and also 12' of water off of the Port Clinton Moose Club.  Hair jigs have been the ticket, some tipped with shiners and some without, mostly purple in color.

I don't have any trolling reports, but you can expect it to really turn on at any time.  I might not make it out in the next week or so, but I'd be looking at F and D cans, the Middle Bass/North Bass chute, the south passage, or N of Kelleys Island if I was going out.  I'm sure plenty of you will try it this weekend with the near perfect April weather in the forecast.

I heard from Dean this week.  He wants to tell everyone hello.  He said that he and Sue are doing well, other than some health issues that come with getting old.  He did mention that fighting the health issues beats the alternative.

As Marc mentioned our old friend the Vermilion weather buoy is back up and functional.  I'll try to include current conditions in my posts from now on.

The most recent report from the Vermilion buoy had 3.9 knot W winds, no waves, falling barometric pressure and 44 degree water temperature on the surface.


April 18, 2007 (Wednesday) Marc

I don't have a whole lot to report but I do want to let you know that Don Peterson from Ole Pete's Tackle & Max from Maxed Out Enterprises has put together some color charts for Ole Pete and Stinger Spoons. I don't know about you guys but I have a heck of a time remembering all those crazy names. Anyway Don has given me permission to put them on the Club site so I'm putting them on the club picture page. It's much easier for me that way! Here's a link to all the new color charts. Evidently Max is the one who has put these charts together. Thanks Max!

I got a reminder today that the Vermilion weather buoy is back in service. This is a great help in trying to decide whether to make the drive to the lake or not.

Last but certainly not least, it looks like the weather is finally going to stabilize. The fishing should be on fire around the islands and to the west after a few days of calming conditions and the bite should pick up steadily in the Huron/Vermilion area. I'm going to give the water a couple more days to settle out and then I'll be back at them.


April 16, 2007 (Monday) Travis

The wind has been miserable since Saturday night.  The velocity is predicted to slowly decrease throughout the week, but it looks like the direction wants to stay North.

One jigging report came in from Saturday morning.  28 walleye were caught in 12' of water around Turtle Reef in 2.5 hours on orange hair jigs.  I'm not familiar with Turtle Reef unless it's another name for one of the common reefs.  I've also been getting some second hand reports that Cone Reef was good for jiggers on Saturday.


April 14, 2007 (Saturday) Travis

Despite the cold weather and wind I made it out today.  Dad, my friend Eric and I trolled from about 9:15 to 3:30 between Middle Bass and North Bass, and also south of Middle Bass.  We ended up landing 4 fish and missing 1.  The biggest was 28" and the rest were from the lower to mid 20" range.  All 4 were spawned out females.  The best area was at the west end of the channel between Middle Bass and North Bass, North of Sugar Island.  We caught 3 of the fish in that area.  The 28" fish came on a blue hawaiian deep little ripper 50' back on a monofilament rod, another came on a tennessee shad size 12 deep husky jerk 150' back on a braid rod, and the third hit a 3 way rig similar to what I was running in the tournament two weeks ago (a bare naked little ripper with the front hook removed, on a 4' leader above a reef runner used as a diver on a 2' leader, both off of a 3-way swivel).  The 3 way rig was back 50', also on a braid rod.

The 4th fish and the missed hit came south of Middle Bass, west of Put-in-Bay.  We caught the 4th fish on the blue hawaiian deep little ripper 50' back on mono and had the missed hit on the 3-way rig described above.

The water temp was around 39.8, nearly 3 degrees colder than 2 weeks ago.  Our speed was 1.0 to 1.2 mph gps speed over ground, occasionally as low as 0.8 and as high as 1.3, using our engine-mounted electric kicker.  The channel between Middle Bass and North Bass was a popular choice today with close to 20 boats in there at one point.  The water was stained, but fishable.  I could see the lower unit of my big motor, but not the prop.  Based on the satelite picture there isn't much clean water anywhere west of Cedar Point.

Thanks to all of you that showed up at the Catawba ramp at 6 tonight.  Considering the weather I felt that it was a good turn out.  Marc and I will set something similar up for later in May or June when the weather is better and more of you are up here.  It's great to finally meet those of you that regularly read the page.


April 12, 2007 (Thursday) Travis

Of course the weather hasn't exactly played out as predicted, but there has been a little fishing going on.  The sole report from this week produced limits by jigging purple hair jigs with shiners in 12' of water between Wild Wings Marina and Turtle Creek (just west of Davis Besse) on Monday and Tuesday.

Saturday doesn't look all that great, but the most recent forecast is calling for 10 or less knots from the north with temperatures pushing 40.  It's not what I would hope for, but if it holds up it will be fishable.  I'm still planning on hanging out at the Catawba State Park at around 6:00 pm to chat with anyone that wants to stop by (see Tuesday's report below).  If the weather is decent I'll park towards the back of the parking lot with my truck and boat (red Chevy Silverado and white Stratos MSX with a red stripe), or if it's rainy I'll be up at the shelter house on the pier.


April 10, 2007 (Tuesday) Travis

Well, I think that I can finally say that we're through the worst of this cold weather snap and we're heading into a period of more stable temperatures and reasonable winds, at least based on the latest forecasts.  The satellite pictures haven't been of much use lately with all of the clouds, and today's almost showed the western basin but was just too cloudy to really see what's going on.  As you can probably imagine there are no reports since early last week.

As of right now I'm planning on fishing Saturday unless the weather throws a real curveball (it never does that, does it).  My only concern are the possible thunderstorms, but that changes with every forecast.

Over the winter and spring I've done a fair number of seminars and I've had requests for videos by people that couldn't attend.  I don't have videos, but I'd like to offer an informal seminar this coming Saturday April 14 at Catawba State Park.  After I come in from fishing I'll have my boat and equipment there and anyone interested can stop by and talk about boat rigging, equipment or techniques.  I'm not going to prepare anything, I'll just answer questions and have discussions with anyone that stops by.  I'll put more information up as the day gets closer, but right now I'm thinking about setting a flexible time of 6:00 pm or so.  I'll stay as long as people are stopping by, and I'll go home whenever nobody is left (within reason).  I'm looking forward to meeting many of you that so religiously send in reports.  I'd like to put some faces to the names.  Marc and I have talked about doing this, and hopefully it's convenient for Marc to hang around too.  I haven't mentioned this Saturday to him yet, so I don't know if he'll be available or not.

If you're interested send me an e-mail and let me know so that I can get a feel for how many might stop by.  If this isn't a good Saturday I can do it at a later date.


April 5, 2007 (Thursday) Travis

Our summer-like weather earlier in the week has slipped right back into winter.  The last few days has brought winds over 30 knots, wind chills below 20 degrees and snow.  Welcome to April in Ohio.

I received one report from Tuesday just outside of Bolles Harbor in Michigan.  The marks were great from top to bottom, but they had lock jaw and didn't bite.  It sounds to me like fish all over the western basin need a little stable weather to get back on track.  We might have to wait well into next week for the wind to calm down, the temperatures to warm up, and the mud to settle out.

I got an e-mail that mentioned the need for more anglers in the FLW walleye league Michigan division tournaments.  There is one coming up in May out of Monroe on Lake Erie.  Take a look at FLWoutdoors.com for more information.

It was announced today that the perch bag limit on Ohio waters of Lake Erie will be 30 fish per day starting on April 9 (Monday).  This is in response to the significant drop in the lakewide yellow perch total allowable catch (TAC) announced by the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fish Commission.  Because the Ohio fishing license pamphlets were printed over the winter they will incorrectly list the perch limit as 40 per day.  The executive order that was announced today will nullify the pamphlets even though they've been printed.  If you fish for perch in Ohio this year don't keep more than 30 per angler per day.


April 2, 2007 (Monday) Travis

This has been a much different early spring than last year.  The pre-spawn trolling bite has been sporadic at best and the high-riding trophies really haven't turned on yet.  It isn't from a lack of fish, the marks are there for sure.  After getting my spun hub in my prop taken care of we fished Fri, Sat, and the tournament Sunday.  Over three full days of fishing we landed 6 fish total and only missed 2 other hits.  The worst part is that we were over big fish the entire time.  Constantly changing weather and water clarity had a lot to do with it.  There wasn't anything stable over the last four days.

To make a long story short there are great marks basically from east of "F" can all the way north past Niagara Reef and then east to the islands.  I know that is a huge area, but you will rarely find anywhere in there that doesn't have big hooks on your sonar.  The "best" marks are east and NE of "D" can, just east of Niagara, and also SW of Rattlesnake Island.  I also forgot to mention the huge marks right on the NW corner of Catawba.

The fish that we caught over the 3 days came on a bare naked ripshad 400 series 80' back (2 landed, 1 missed hit, including a 7 pound fish), a gold colorado blade worm harness back 25' with a 2 ounce inline weight, and then our 3 tournament fish all came on a bare naked little ripper on a 3-way rig 50' back with a bare naked reef runner on the bottom dropper used as the diver.  I took the front hook of the little ripper off to stay legal with the 3-hook per line law (2 on the reef runner, 1 on the little ripper).

I didn't only run bare naked, I ran everything else in the box.  Apparently the fish that we encountered only wanted bare naked even though the water was very stained in most cases.  It's counter intuitive to me, but that's what they hit.  The tournament winners and other high finishers used deep huskys and deep renoskys run on long lines from 150 to 200' back.  I believe that would still be less than 20' down in most cases without any extra weight.  My high fish never did turn on.  It was really a tough weekend as most tournaments this time of year take well over 40 pounds to win and the big fish is usually at least 10 to 12 pounds.  This year 28 pounds won it and the big fish was under 9 pounds.  Our measley 3 fish at 8 pounds took 14th place.  Congratulations to the teams at the top, you earned it.

It looks like we're in for some more rough, cold weather through the end of the week starting Tuesday night.  We need some stability or we might totally miss any good pre-spawn bite.  By the time things get settled down it might already be time to look for the hungry herds of post-spawn fish.

By Sunday afternoon the surface temperatures ranged from 39 to 41 degrees.



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