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Fall Fishing on Lake Erie
By Capt. Phil Cadez

In late September as the weather changes and the nights get cooler the fish know it, s time to fatten up for the winter. You don, t have to hunt all over for the walleye because they are usually near the rocky reefs seeking any smaller fish that might be hanging around the rocks. Casting walleye weapons (single beaded no. 3 spinners) tipped with a half nightcrawler in these rocky areas will usually get you lot, s of action. These fish are more aggressive then in the summer time because they are driven to keep eating as much as they can.  It seems like they attack the baits and you know when they stop your lure.

It's best to fish this way on a moderate choppy day because they fish will be more active in the water currants. Toughest days will be on  dead calm flat water conditions. Set upwind of the reefs in 20 feet of water and try to keep the lures close to the bottom with a slow steady retrieve. Keep checking you fish locator and depths so you can speed up the retrieves as you get shallower. The walleye could be in water as shallow as 6 feet at these times. I don, t use a count down method here in this changing shallow water. I, ll let the lure hit the bottom ,then give it a pull out of the rocks are retrieve it fast enough not to hang up, but still keeping it near the bottom. Always keep you rod tip up but still be in a position to give it a good hook set.

Never go up the drift over the shallow water ,you , ll scare off the fish .  Take your time and make a big circle around and set up another drift if you have been successful. Best color spinners are gold, chartruse, hammered copper , silver or white glow . Never go back for a lure, just break it off if it gets hung up. Why scare the fish away ?

The smallmouth bass are the easiest to catch at this time of year because they are the most aggressive. A few anglers  use tube jigs bounced along the bottom but the best is live bait. Soft craws and large shiner minnows will assure you lot, s of action. Jumper, s as we call them will be found near rocky drop offs in water from 10 to 20 feet as a rule. They also tend to school up at this time as the water is cooling. If you are catching too many sheepshad in the area , move  because  the bass tend to be by them selves. Many times at this time of year I, ve had 2to 4 on at a time. It, s like a Chinese fire drill  with all the action going on.

If the chop is slight you can drift till you find a good pocket of bass. Marking it with small bouy will assist you when you set up another drift. If you continue to catch fish near the marker you seriously think of anchoring up wind of the bouy.  Once you have secured an anchoring you can always let out more line to change your spot.

Basic rigs for these good fighting fish is simple and requires only a hook, swivel, oz. Egg sinker and a two ft. leader.  First place the egg sinker on the end of the line and attach a small swivel to the end. This will keep the sinker away from the bait because you going to attach a two foot leader to that swivel.  Attach a central draft mustad no. 22 or 24  hook securely to the end of the leader. Always keep the sinker off the bottom so you don, t  hang up in the rocks. Let the bass eat the craw never set the hook too soon. Set the hook hard, keep your rod tip up, and never horse the fish. It ,s important to set the drag medium  loose so as not to break the line.  Many trophies   are caught at this time of year. Small mouth bass fishing is  good  right into November.

The yellow perch fish has been fantastic along with the walleye action in 2006 . This fishing is the easiest and get the golden ages as well as the kids  a great  opportunity to have lot, s of fun. Anchoring in deep water , fishin with shiner minnows  is all you have to do. Check with the bait shops and spot large groups of boats to find these tasty  fish. Once you star loosing bait and getting the fish around you it, s easy. Most angler use a spreader , which is a strong wire rig the resembles an upside down u with a weight imbedded in the center near the swivel in the  middle of the wire.  You shouldn,t use a small hook because they will be swallowing it every time. I use a no. 4 or no. 2 long shank hook which makes it easier to get the hook out . Make sure you inbed the hook in the shiner minnow because these little aggressive bait stealers will strip you every time. Keep the spreader weight up off the bottom from one to 2 feet . This will keep the bait off the bottom but yet very near it.. The limit is 40 per person per day.

You've still got time to get in on this great fishing. Bring a good safe seaworthy boat or secure a charter with an experienced local  guide. You can check with the Ottawa Visitors Bureau at 419-742-4386 or check out my reports on my website  at  www.cadez-charters.com .   GOOD FISHIN!