Get your gear ready for Lake Erie walleye fishing

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Jon Crowell
Jon Crowell caught a Walleye in Pymatuning Lake in Ashtabula County, Ohio on June 22, 2019.

COLUMBUS — Thanks to a legendary run of strong walleye hatches dating back to 2015 and accelerating in 2018, there are plenty of fish in Lake Erie for anglers to catch this spring, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

Lake Erie

“Ohio’s portion of Lake Erie, better known as ‘The Walleye Capital of the World’, is one of the most productive freshwater fisheries in the world,” said Travis Hartman, Lake Erie Fisheries program administrator for the division of wildlife. “Anglers will find plenty of keeper-sized walleye, measuring at least 15 inches long, from the 2014 to 2019 hatches. Many of the 2-year-old fish will reach the minimum length by the end of the 2021 summer.”

The average harvest rate for Lake Erie walleye has recently been documented as a record four keeper walleye per five hours of fishing, meaning there is no better time to pursue this fan-favorite fish.

Additionally, trophy-sized walleye are increasing. A Lake Erie walleye 28 inches or longer qualifies anglers for recognition of a noteworthy catch from the Fish Ohio program. Records show that Lake Erie walleye entries have increased every year since 2017, culminating in 1,901 submissions in 2020.

More information can be found on the Fishing Lake Erie page at wildohio.gov.

Rivers

Lake Erie’s open water isn’t the only productive walleye fishing location. March and April are great times to fish in the Maumee and Sandusky rivers during the spring walleye run. Walleye return to the rivers to spawn during this time, providing shoreline opportunities for many anglers who enjoy the rush of river fishing.

Anglers are reminded that everyone 16 and older needs a valid Ohio fishing license when fishing in all public waters.

The daily limit for Lake Erie and its tributaries is six walleye, with a minimum length of 15 inches to be kept.

More information can be found in the 2021-2022 Ohio Fishing Regulations guide. Visit wildohio.gov to find public access locations to fish for walleye and other species, as well as fishing forecasts and species information to make your fishing trip successful.

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