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Erie’s Fall Fishing is Fantastic!
by Captain Ryan Bond


Fall is often characterized by cool, crisp mornings, the harvesting of crops, and 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