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Planning a Trip to Lake Erie

Trying to decide whether a fishing trip to Lake Erie is for you? Well, to help you decide we put together this article and the accompanying trip planner spreadsheet that will ensure you have anything and everything you need for the adventure of a lifetime. If you are planning to fish alone, with the whole family, on your own boat, or with an experienced local guide this article and trip planner will help you better understand what you can expect for each of those experiences. But remember, first things first… you MUST purchase an Ohio Fishing License before you can fish Lake Erie!  

First, let’s take a look at Lake Erie so we can better understand exactly where we are going. Lake Erie is the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes and its coastline includes Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario. It also happens to be the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume, making it a premier fishing destination. Lake Erie is widely known as the “walleye capitol of the world” and right now just might be some of the best walleye fishing ever had on the lake due to several years of healthy walleye hatches.  

There are several different ways you can enjoy the incredible fishing on Lake Erie. Let’s break some of those down here. 

  • Fishing From the Shore: With miles of accessible coastline and numerous fishing piers, this style of fishing offers plenty of great opportunities and an extremely low barrier to entry. This is the perfect choice for a quick weeknight getaway or a fun-filled family weekend.  
  • On Your Own Boat: Lake Erie walleye fishing is great for both experienced and novice anglers, making them a great species to target on your own boat. Stop by the local bait shop to purchase a fishing license and get some local intel while you are at it. Also, be sure to check out our article “Is Your Boat Ready for Lake Erie” before you hit the water. 
  • With an Experienced and Professional Guide: If you are looking for a fishing experience where you can learn a lot and all the required gear is provided for you then fishing with a guide is for you. This is what these folks do for a living, so they are dialed in on the fish and can help you have a fun and safe day on the water.  

A tournament-style guided trip typically allows for 3-4 people and is perfect for you and a few friends or a small family. A 6-pack charter boat typically accommodates up to 6 people, perfect for a large family outing or small corporate event. Lastly, a head boat is a much larger boat capable of handling a dozen people fishing at once and is ideal for a large corporate event or a multi-family trip. 

Fishing on Lake Erie can be good year-round but it is important to note that the summer and early fall months are the most productive and the safest. If you plan on visiting Lake Erie in the winter or early spring be sure to consult a professional guide and keep a close eye on the weather so you can fish the lake safely.  

When it comes to accommodations there are countless places to stay in Ohio on or near Lake Erie. There are also pristine campgrounds and state parks on Lake Erie that offer tent camping, RVing, and cabins. Try some of the many delicious local restaurants or cook your fresh catch of the day! If you are new to fishing and have never processed your own fish before there are dozens of local fish processors that would be happy to do it for you and show you the way.  

You are going to love your time on Lake Erie. It is an amazing fishery and an even more beautiful lake. We hope this trip planner helps you prepare but also inspires you to get on the water with your friends and family.  

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