Good fishing intel before hitting Lake Erie = limit


Ring, ring, ring, ring.

It must be a dream. I hear the rotary phone ringing; a steady line of single notes that sounds so much like a bicycle bell from my childhood, the same time in ancient history when rotary phones represented the only choice for here to there communications.

However it wasn’t an antique phone, but my wind-up alarm clock, calling for me to wake up. A good thing too, because a couple buddies would be hammering on my door at 6 a.m. expecting me to be ready for a day of perch fishing.

A perfect day

Hitch up the boat, fill the cooler with ice blocks, check the trailer lights, rig my perch rod with a spreader, and double-check to be sure we had a minnow bucket.

The big hand hit six and we were on our way north, heading for Fairport Harbor, Ohio, to see if we could luck into a batch of yellow perch.

A coffee to go and a stop for minnows later, we pulled into the Fairport Harbor Municipal ramp just as the sun seemed to be emerging from the big lake.

My 17-foot Crestliner made short work of the three or so miles we traveled on a nearly flat central basin. We aimed northwest out of the harbor on our way to Fairport’s well known “hump” where the bottom takes a quick dive and where fish seem to gather.

There were just three or four boats there before we arrived, but by late morning a pretty impressive pack had assembled. Obviously, the hump had been producing fish.


I try to keep track of Lake Erie action for good reason.

First, because Erie is, without argument, a phenomenal fishery to say the least. And second, because I enjoy the big lake above all other fishing spots available within a reasonable drive.

Because I had scored a couple reliable reports in recent days, I knew that we should expect lots of bites from unwanted fish such as white bass and white perch as well as our target fish, yellow perch.

Good intel for sure, reports that would make a difference in tactics.

The fact that the area we planned to fish held an abundance of non-target fish meant that the perch would be smack on the bottom, while most trash fish would be a few feet above them. The strategy then, would be to lower our minnows to the bottom before unwelcome mouths could steal them.

Extra weights were in order and indeed, the perch were glued to the bottom and hungry. Thirty fish per day is the limit and we completed ours in less than two hours.

Tips for you

Thinking of trying it? Here are some tips that might help.

Lake Shiner minnows are the key to success. When the moon is full, minnow catchers who net shiners at night by attracting them to bright lights struggle to fill their bait tanks. If you have minnows left, freeze them in water, they will work just fine as they thaw.

Use light weight rod and reel, sharp hooks, and listen to your guide.

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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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