Excellent walleye fishing is expected at Lake Erie now through October, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Walleye catches are typically best during June, followed closely by July and August.
The 2019 season is anticipated to produce walleye fishing results that could surpass last year’s record level of success. In 2018, walleye were harvested at the highest rates recorded in nearly 40 years. More than 40 percent of walleye trips produced a limit for anglers. On average, anglers caught and kept a walleye for every 75 minutes of fishing.
“Walleye anglers can expect fishing that rivals a boom that began in 2006 and lasted several years following the exceptional 2003 hatch,” said Scott Hale, administrator of fisheries management for the Division of Wildlife. “The recent procession of good hatches points to an outstanding decade that has just begun.”
Four excellent walleye hatches between 2014-2018 point to a bright fishing season for Lake Erie, known as the Walleye Capital of the World. The 2019 walleye population is estimated to be 45 million fish ages 2 and older, with a projection exceeding 120 million fish for 2020.
“If you have ever thought about going out fishing on Lake Erie, now is the time,” said Captain Paul Pacholski, president of the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association. “With the recent walleye hatches we have had the past few years, fishing has been incredible.”
Walleye anglers are mostly catching abundant 4- to 5-year-old fish that average 19 to 21 inches and are as large as 26 inches. Smaller fish from the 2017 and 2018 hatches are showing up in anglers’ catches ranging from 9 to 14 inches. Anglers should release these sub-legal fish with as little handling as possible so they can contribute to the fishery in the future. The daily walleye limit is six fish with a 15-inch minimum length limit.
Updated Lake Erie fishing reports are available at wildohio.gov or by calling 888-HOOKFISH (888-466-5347). Information is available from Division of Wildlife staff from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the Fairport Harbor station (440-352-4199) for the central basin and at the Sandusky station (419-625-8062) for the western basin.