The Eastern Lake Erie
Fishing Forecast

Joe Fischer

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Some things change while many things remain the same. This statement sums up the initial forecast for Eastern Lake Erie for the year 2001. The overall fishing in the year 2000 was poor especially for walleye and bass in the eastern basin. Offshore walleye fishing (5-10 miles offshore) did have a period of approximately 6 weeks in July and August where the migratory western Basin walleye produced excellent fishing for experienced Lake Erie walleye fishermen. During this time frame the aforementioned fishermen "locked in" to a migratory school of large stationary female walleyes off the Cattaraugus Creek which resulted in many limit catches of walleyes between 5 and 10 pounds. Getting deep and away from the boat by using Dipsy Divers, wire line, Jet Planers, etc. was effective with worm harnesses, body baits and spoons the baits of choice.

"This was my worst year bass fishing in probably 10 years" commented veteran bass fisherman J. Hanley, who also hosts a TV fishing show in Buffalo. This statement sums up the Eastern Basin smallmouth bass fishing for 2000. The general opinion is that the weather played a big role in the poor bass fishing with a cold wet spring followed by a below average temperature during the summer. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) also felt that the recent population of the Round Goby, which the bass feed on, probably played a role in the poor season.

"2001 looks a little better than last year for the near shore walleye fishery as many of the excellent 1998 class year walleye will be legal size and these fish for the most part tend to stay in shallower water in the eastern basin fishery" commented William Culligan, DEC Chief of Lake Erie fisheries at Dunkirk. The near shore springtime night fishermen off Hamburg and Dunkirk should see a lot of these fish with the average size .....

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