Lake Erie Walleye Fishing Techniques

Fishing a Lake Erie Weapon

On this page/section of our website, we will deal with our Lake Erie Fishing Techniques to help you gain an advantage. Mastering these will help you outfish other anglers and even those elusive trophy walleye.

The fun of fishing a Lake Erie walleye fishing weapon is that instead of carrying expensive lures in different weights and colors to cover the bases. Therefore I have found one weapon that can do it all. A weapon is a 16 to 18-inch piece of monofilament with a snelled octopus hook on end. It has 4 to 5 beads and a clevis to hold your blade. Make a loop at the top of the weapon about 1 1/2″  long with a bead in the loop to slide your egg sinker on the weapon.

Simply change your egg sinker weight to make it heavier or lighter. You can also change the blade colors and sizes to find what’s working. I tie my weapons with a monofilament line 20 to 25-pound test line.

Incorporate a quick change clevis on your weapon so you can snap on a different blade. A folded clevis is another option when tying up a weapon because they spin with the slightest movement.

A deep cup # 4 colorado premium gold blade is used a lot on Lake Erie. The deep cup blade spins much easier than a standard blade. We recommend spending the extra money on premium gold blades because they do not tarnish. The superior premium gold finish will flash much brighter attracting more walleyes’ attention and getting you more bites! Book a Lake Erie Walleye Charters

Adding a Nightcrawler to your hook

Nightcrawlers are an essential Lake Erie fishing technique and bait. How you put your nightcrawler on your hook is very important too. Don’t bulk your hook-up with a wad of nightcrawler.

Use 1/2 nightcrawler and thread the hook up in the middle of the crawler, leaving a nice straight piece of bait hanging. This should make a 2-inch tail that adds action to your lure, which in turn catches more fish. Don’t fool yourself and put a considerable nightcrawler of bait on your hook. You are not fishing for catfish! Vast piles of bait stop your spinner blade’s natural look and action. Remember how it sinks and spins is all part of this technique. Using a waded crawler decreases your chances of attracting a hungry walleye because of the deprecated action.

 The Lake Erie Swing Technique

Cast from either the bow or the stern of the boat as the boat drifts sideways. Cast about 45 degrees upwind and close your bail right away.

Walleyes feed, looking up in the water. When your lure hits the water, lock your bail up and start your count—one thousand one, then one thousand two, etc.

A 3/4-ounce lure will sink at a rate of about one and a half feet per second. A 16 count would put your lure depth at 24 feet, just above the walleyes marking 25 feet. Crank your reel just enough to keep your line taut as the lure drops, and retrieve the slack as it works around the swing.

 About ¾ of the way around the swing, you will feel the lure get heavier as the boat drift starts pulling your lure. Slow your retrieve and let the boat finish pulling the lure around the turn.  You can catch a lot of walleye on the drop when you keep a tight line during the swing.

 Don’t waste the prime fishing spots on the boat by dragging your spinners off the bow or stern. If you are a dragger fisherman, fish on the port or starboard sides of the boat. Switch with crew members who like to stand and cast their spinners.

There is always a sweet spot in casting the swing. The trick is to find the sweet spot. Cast about ten minutes to the same spot and if you don’t get a bite, move your cast five feet up or downwind of the boat and continue to do this until you find the sweet spot!

Change Casting Angles

Changing your casting angles in the swing can also help you find a hungry walleye. If you will feel a peck or it just feels heavier, set your hook and fight your walleye back to the net.

 For the person standing next to the guy catching walleyes, watch what he is doing, cast your lure the same length and at the same angle upwind, and retrieve your line back at the same speed. If your lure comes in before he slows it down, you will soon be hooked to a walleye.

 It’s a little different fishing from each spot on the boat, so when someone is catching in a particular spot, don’t bump him out of his spot. They have the bite figured out from their spot. You must pay attention to their actions and do it from your spot.

The Lake Erie Rod Sweep Technique

Stop reeling your line in and pull your rod from one side to the other, keeping your lure spinning, then reel back as you sweep your rod back and forth to pull the lure again. It adds a jigging fallback action to your spinner and can be very useful.

Then there is the smooth, steady retrieve back to the boat. Therefore, stop and retrieve reeling two or three cranks, hesitate for 3 seconds, and repeat that back to the boat. You can also try raising and lowering your rod tip while retrieving to produce a fallback jigging action on your spinner, which entices walleyes to bite.

Every day you will need to experiment with different weights due to the wind and current. The most crucial part of drift fishing is to know the count it takes for your lure to hit the bottom of the lake.

The more times you get your lure in the strike zone, the more walleyes you will catch. Take several practice casts and count down until it makes contact with the bottom. Then start cranking two or three seconds before you hit bottom to get your spinner blade turning.

Lake Erie Bottom Bouncer Technique

To set a bottom bouncer, stop it two or three times on the way down, so the lure straightens out and doesn’t tangle. Once your bouncer hits bottom, you must find the strike zone from here. Hit bottom and lock your bail. If the walleye are a few feet up, hit the bottom with your bouncer and crank it up one to six cranks on the reel. Most bouncer fish will be caught by hitting the bottom and closing the bail on the reel. Or cranking the lure up two to four cranks off the lake bottom. This Lake Erie fishing technique is challenging to master at first, but after several tries, you should be “bouncing” like a pro and hauling in those walleyes.

Use this same recipe for bouncers under the boat off the stern and bow. Therefore the bow will produce more bouncer fish because the boat is rising and lowering in the waves, thus creating lure action on its own. The fisherman on the downwind side can get the same action with their lures by raising and tight-lining their bottom bouncers back to the bottom.

We use two hook snell rigs for bouncers about three to four feet long to separate the lure from the bouncer’s
If you are not catching fish, change what you are doing!
Change, Change, Change!

Fishing a weapon on Lake Erie’s shallow reefs can be challenging and fun.

Structure fishing differs from deep water fishing because knowing when you are on the bottom is crucial. Be prepared to break off some lures, If you are snagging up constantly, you are not retrieving your lure fast enough, or you could need a lighter-weight sinker. Keep the lure swimming over the top of the rocks, not in the rocks.

Seasonal Fishing Technique on Lake Erie

We typically start the walleye fishing season in late March to early April, depending on the winter ice thaw. In early spring, we will be fishing shallow water with hair jigs tipped with a minnow.
As the summer heats up, we will add trolling to our walleye-catching arsenal. Walleye trolling is highly productive on days when there is little to no wind for drift fishing, and we can flip over to trolling.
Our trolling tactics are hands-on. We use jet divers to take our spoons to the desired depths for catching walleyes.
Your captain and first mate will teach you how to set a jet diver and a dipsy diver and use a line counter reel.
We run seven lines off each side of the boat using planer boards. You attach the rod line with a clip to the planer board line and let it slide down the tow line. Book your Lake Erie Walleye Charter with Captain John today.
Here is an informational article on fishing rods by Sean Ward.

walleye weight vs length chartLake Erie Fishing Techniques

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Fishing the waters of Lake Erie for over 35 years
We fishing for walleye, smallmouth bass and yellow perch.