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Shore Fishing for Lake Erie Walleye

When Lake Erie walleye fishing comes to mind, most think of massive boats running many miles offshore to some of the deepest water of the lake and trolling. However, that’s not always the case. Lake Erie offers an incredibly underrated shore bite that allows even boatless anglers to catch the walleye of a lifetime, and Ohio has some prime locations to do so.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in the heart of walleye country about 15 minutes east of downtown Cleveland. I landed my first walleye from shore when I was 14 years old, and the fact that it weighed 9lbs 10oz certainly got me hooked! In this article, I’ll highlight everything you’ll need to know about this world-class walleye bite to help you put your personal best in the net this year! 

Timing:

Even though Lake Erie is an incredible fishery packed with walleyes, it’s not magical enough to produce a phenomenal shore bite 24/7. Fall and spring are the most productive seasons and night is when the giant’s eyes are shallow and feeding. Walleyes can see incredibly well in low light conditions, so nighttime offers them the prime opportunity to ambush their prey.

As water temperatures begin to cool in mid-late September, baitfish such as emerald shiners and gizzard shad move shallow, and the walleyes are right behind them. These fish will gorge themselves all fall in preparation for a harsh Lake Erie winter. I have caught walleyes shore fishing as late as Christmas Eve when weather permits.

They only get fatter as fall continues, so your odds at a giant increase the later in the year you’re willing to brave the cold! Spring is also an excellent time to shore cast walleyes. From ice-out to the end of May is typically when the bite is the best and nighttime still dominates. It is very possible to catch them in the summer months as well, but it is largely dependent on the presence of bait, and the size and number of fish are typically smaller. 

My personal best walleye weighing 12lbs even, taken shore casting around 11:00 pm on December 12, 2015.

Location:

It’s possible to catch a walleye in a number of places along the shoreline, but some areas are certainly better than others. There are some key factors to look into in order to determine if an area is a suitable location for holding big walleyes. One of those factors is bait. When a walleye is close to shore, it’s typically there for one main reason: food. If there is a large abundance of bait in an area, walleyes typically won’t be too far behind. Bait can come and go though, so if you catch fish in an area that is relatively flat, contourless, and boring they were likely only there because of the presence of bait and may not stick around long if that bait decides to leave. 

Another one of these factors is depth. When you find access to deep water close to shore on Lake Erie, it’s usually a good spot. There are many piers, seawalls, and rock jetties all along Lake Erie’s Ohio shoreline that offer access to deeper water and all are excellent places to consider trying. A rock jetty or pier at the mouth of a river is probably the best place to shore fish for walleyes on Lake Erie. These areas provide deep water access, typically some good contour, current, and almost always have baitfish close by. All the ingredients needed to attract a trophy-class walleye.

It’s very important to be cautious when fishing these environments, especially when air temps dip below freezing. A layer of ice can form over the rocks or ground you’ll need to stand on to access the water, and if that’s the case don’t even consider trying! It’s nearly impossible to stand on that icy surface and no walleye is worth risking your life over.  

Presentation:

Skip the guesswork and get your free Walleye Shore Fishing Gear List here: https://go.powderhook.com/shorefishinggearlist

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