The ‘Walleye Capital of the World’ is poised to get even better in 2016.
According to Fisheries Biologist Chris Vandergoot of the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s Sandusky Fisheries Research Unit, the number of walleye will be up in summer 2016 after a good 2015 hatch.
Vandergoot shared the news at the Lake Erie Waterkeeper Conference in Perrysburg this past March. That doesn’t mean that the walleye action on Lake Erie isn’t hot when the weather is cold.
“It’s really amazing to see some of the new techniques, especially when you’re chasing cold-water walleye as they are right now on Western Lake Erie,” says Tommy Harris, the Kenosha, Wisconsin, maker of Tommy Harris Blades.
Back in the ’70s and ’80s, anglers stayed off the water until May. Also, the technique at the time was to drift with nightcrawler-tipped lures. Professional anglers like Gary Roach, Al Lindner and Mike McClelland changed the game, using jigs to catch early-season walleye. In March, many anglers have filled their coolers with the fish using a variety of techniques and gear.
“Pink and purple are the top walleye colors on Lake Erie,” says Harris. “Maybe a little chartreuse, too. And stick baits always sparkle best when they have a splash of orange paint on the belly.”
It is still “fishing” and not “catching,” with a variety of factors influencing the bite. Still, the early-season catch points toward a great season on Lake Erie.