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Trophy Walleye

Who doesn't like to fish for trophy walleyes? I know I lake chasing the big fish. We try to follow the biggest schools of mature walleyes using a network of charter captains and fishermen. We catch some giants in April like the two fish pictured above. Most of the fish we catch in April will be over 25". After the spawn, we still catch many Fish Ohio walleyes (28" and over). Most generally, we will catch at least one walleye over 28". I've had as many as six over 30" in one day and that was at the end of June. Most of the trophies we are catching right now are fish from the 2003 year class. Unbelievably, these fish comprise more than 20% of the Lake Erie population. Right now is one of the best times to catch trophy walleyes in the history of Lake Erie. The information following this will just explain our fishing methods and what to expect during different months of the year.ost

5 over 30" in 


April catch

Early April-Early May

At this time of year we target walleyes with two methods. We can fish shallow shoreline or reef areas by drifting jigs. Usually we catch the smaller male walleyes with this method. The other method we use is trolling. This time of year, we can target the big females that are staging to spawn or have already spawned. Reef Runners, Rapala Deep Down Husky Jerks, and Bandit Deep Walleye are some of our favorite lures to use in the spring. Early Spring is a great time to catch a true trophy. We have caught many walleyes over 10 pounds this time of year.


As the water warms into the upper 40's, low 50's we start switching over to crawler harnesses pulled behind jets. Wi the warming water, the walleyes will start schooling up and actively feeding on bait schools. During May and June, we generally fish from 10 miles west of the islands to just East of Kelley's Island. As the water warms into the 60's and we increase our trolling speed, we will add jets with spoons and dipsey divers to our program. As the heat of the summer moves in, we have deep water access and commonly run 20 miles to target trophy walleye to depths of 45'. Even in the heat of the summer, July can bring on some of the fastest fishing of the season. The board below was a Memorial Day limit caught just 3 miles in front of the harbor in 5 hours.

Trolling Method

The majority of our walleye fishing is done trolling. Our boat is rigged to troll big boards. If you're not familiar with big boards, we have a large board on each side of the boat that tows a line up to 200 feet out the side of the boat. If you look in the top picture, just to the left of my shoulder you can see the board flag and board tow line.This tow line will be pulled taunt by the boards which allows us to clip our rod lines to a clip which slides down this tow line. This enables us to troll a very wide path with up to 16 rods. You may think this sounds crazy, but this system has been around for a number of years and allows us to troll many rods with very little trouble. There is very little dead time in this style fishing. If you charter me, you need to be ready to work and catch fish. Most days, once we get to our spot and set the boards and rods, you will be busy for the rest of the day. Lake Erie is full of undesirable fish, and some days we have to weed through 100's of fish to catch our limit of walleye. We also deploy dipsey divers and bottom bouncers at different times of the year. The captain and the mate will be more than happy to tailor the trip to you, whether it's just sitting back and catching fish or learning the entire system so you can rig your own boat.


The picture under this is from Labor Day weekend several years ago. After we caught this limiit, the walleyes disappeared East and didn't show back up until after we pulled the boat in early November. Some years the walleyes will stay around to Labor Day, but most years we lose them in August. Sometimes we will get some good walleye trips in the late fall and some years the walleyes will wait to show up until after we have to pull the boat. If we are lucky and they show back up, we target them by trolling crankbaits. If there aren't walleyes to fish we will target jumbo perch.

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