Now, you could go by yourself… but why not bring the whole family? Walleye fishing on Lake Erie is the perfect family trip and it is an excellent way to introduce your kids to fishing and wild food. The goal of this article is to talk about how you can turn your Lake Erie fishing trip into a trip that is fun and exciting for the whole family.
Selecting a Guide
There are three primary types of guide boats on Lake Erie. There is the “tournament boat, the 6-pack boat, and the headboat. Depending on the size of your family and the type of fishing you want to do, will determine which of these guide boats you want to book.
When selecting a guide for a family fishing trip it is important to keep a few things in mind. First, let’s talk about pricing. Some guides charge a flat rate no matter how many people are on the boat and other guides will charge a fixed rate per person. For example, a guide may charge $500 whether it is just you fishing that day or you, your spouse, and two children. In other cases, a guide will charge per angler, which might make the trip cheaper or more expensive depending on the number of people coming on board.
When you are calling guides to learn about their services be sure to ask how they price their trips and decide which method is best for you. Be sure when you are looking at your budget for the trip that you include a tip for the guide as well. This is much like tipping at a restaurant, it is best to be courteous and generous with your tip.
Selecting a Place to Fish From Shore
If you do not plan to book a guide for your fishing trip, that is totally fine! There are dozens of places to fish from the shore on Lake Erie in Ohio. That being said, a few places are more family-friendly than others. Ohio State Parks on Lake Erie will often have beaches and shorelines that are perfect for family fishing. Fishing piers are another excellent option. Both the shoreline and fishing piers allow you to fish comfortably while also being able to keep an eye on your kids. Jetty fishing can be very productive as well, as it allows you to get out into deeper water and fish will hold on to the structure the jetty provides. Jetties are often constructed of large, jagged rocks that can be slippery when wet. Just be sure your kids are up for the task before venturing out on a jetty.
It is no secret that when you bring your kids along for any activity you will have to change your expectations a little. A fishing trip with the family is no different. Primarily, it is important to remember when you are fishing with your kids on a guided trip, that you are responsible for your children and the fishing guide is responsible for the fishing gear and the boat. The guide will provide fishing gear and lifejackets for all the participants on their boats, but they are not babysitters.
It is also imperative that you are honest with yourself and your guide on the fishing experience you have yourself but also that of your family. This will allow them to better serve you and your family while on board. Also, be sure you communicate with the guide on life jacket sizing for your kids.
Gear to Bring
When fishing or doing anything outside with your family, especially kids, keeping them comfortable is of utmost importance. Depending on the time of year that you take your trip to Lake Erie you will need different clothing/gear depending on the weather.
In the summer months, it is important to wear long sleeves and a hat to protect you from the sun. Sunscreen is also a good thing to have on hand. If you know your kids are getting hot, ask your guide if you can pack an umbrella for shade or ask if they have an awning on the boat.
For the spring and fall months, the weather can be more unpredictable, so it is important to bring layers of clothing depending on the changing weather conditions. A rain jacket is also a good idea to have on hand. Gloves and a warm hat will also keep your kids more comfortable, especially on the boat ride out and back.
If you are fishing with a guide, they will provide the tackle and gear needed to catch fish. If you are fishing from the shore or one of the other options mentioned above, you will need to bring your own gear. There are also tackle shops surrounding Lake Erie that have gear that you can rent for the day, which is an excellent option for larger families.
Lastly, bring a cooler or any other large container that will hold ice so you can keep all the delicious walleye and perch you catch. There are fish cleaning stations and professional fish cleaners all over Lake Erie in Ohio that will help you get your fish home for the whole family to enjoy.