Fall is often characterized by cool, crisp
mornings, the harvesting of crops,
the turning of the leaves; but Lake Erie offers some of the best fishing
of the year from September until the ice forms making it impossible for
anglers to get out.
Large walleye that have spent the hot summer months
in the cooler deeper waters to the East start their migration to the
waters off of Huron and Vermillion in September. These fish are some of
the biggest fish you will catch all year. It is not uncommon to land a
Fish Ohio walleye this time of the year. In September, the fish are
usually found in the deeper water so the Lorain/Vermillion sandbar is a
popular area for anglers targeting fall eyes. As the water temperate
continues to drop, these fish tend to move to the shallower water closer
to shore. In fact, by late October, large walleye are caught at night
by shore fisherman off of the piers in the area.
Fall walleye can be caught a couple of different
ways. The most common method is trolling, using spoons, crank baits, or
worm harnesses. Spoons are the top producer of fish in September and
October, but once the water temperature approaches 60 degrees
Fahrenheit, crank baits become most effective.
There are two effective ways to troll spoons: The
first method requires the
use of planner boards and jet divers. The planner boards will allow
multiple lines to be spread out on each side of the boat (I typically
run 5 lines off each board). The jet divers will allow the lure to
reach depths up to 50’ and can be adjusted to the depth of the fish by
altering the amount of line that is let out. When running jets, I use a
6’ fluorocarbon leader with one end attached to the jet and the other
end attached to a spoon using a dual lock snap.
The second method is to use dipsy divers. Like jet
divers, dipsy’s can be adjusted to reach depths of 50’. They also have
directional adjustments which allow several rods to be fished on the
same side of the boat. When using both jets and dipsy’s line counter
reels are very useful to achieve desired depths.
Popular spoons on Erie include Michigan Stinger
Spoons in both the standard and scorpion sizes and Pa’s Fintail spoons.
Popular Stinger colors include: confusion, shrimp, raspberry dolphin,
monkey puke, tangerine, Dr. Kevorkian, Frankenberry, and Blueberry
Muffin. Popular Fintail colors include: Blue Marlin, Bullshark, Great
White, and Dolphin.
As the water temperature approaches 60 degrees,
crank baits begin to be the bait of choice. Crankbaits can be trolled
behind planner boards or free-lined. Snap weights can be added to
achieve greater depths. The most popular fall crankbaits include:
reef runners, rip sticks, rip shads, thundersticks, husky jerks, and
rattlin rogues with the reef runners and rip sticks being favorites of
many. Popular reef runner colors include: Erie Descent, Bubblegum,
Blueberry Muffin, Purple Demon, Cheap Sunglasses, just to name a few.
For the angler who refuses to troll, walleye can be
caught casting worm harnesses and weight forward spinners tipped with
night crawlers. However, more fish are normally caught trolling.
The yellow perch and smallmouth bass fishing is
typically excellent in the fall months as well. Like the walleye, perch
are often found near the sandbar as well as near the mouths of the
Vermillion and Huron Rivers. Old Woman’s Creek and the area off the
“Castle” are also popular areas for the perch enthusiast. Ruggles Reef
is a prime location for anyone wanting to chase smallmouth bass.
Smallmouth are known for their great fighting ability and often leap out
of the water before the fight is over. There are also steelhead roaming
the mouth of the Vermillion River in the fall that will put up a
memorable fight if hooked.
This fall, instead of putting the fishing rods away
until spring, get out and enjoy the awesome end of the year fishing on
Lake Erie. Whether you are chasing that 12 lb walleye or cooler full of
jumbo perch, both can be found in the fall off the shores of Lake Erie.
Capt. Ryan Bond
Eye Spy Fishing Charters
**We are currently booking charters for the fall season. Please call
for further details**
Eye Spy Fishing Charters
Captain Ryan Bond