Lake Erie Walleye Fishing Techniques

Fishing a Lake Erie Weapon

This page will provide information on Lake Erie fishing techniques to help you catch more fish, including the 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. The weapon is a 16 to 18-inch piece of monofilament with a snelled octopus hook. 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.

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 often used on Lake Erie. The deep cup blade spins much more quickly 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 your Lake Erie Walleye Charters today.

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, catching 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 are 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 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. Set your hook and fight your walleye back to the net if you feel a peck or it feels heavier.

 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. You will soon be hooked to a walleye if your lure comes in before he slows it down.

 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.

Use a smooth and consistent retrieve technique to return your lure to the boat. Reel in two or three times, pause for three seconds and repeat until you reach the boat. You can also experiment with raising and lowering your rod tip while retrieving, which creates a jigging motion on your spinner and can attract more walleyes to bite. Remember to vary your technique until you find what works best for you.

You must experiment with different weights daily 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 you are cranking the lure up two to four cranks off the lake bottom. This Lake Erie fishing technique is challenging to master initially, 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 bouncers.
If you’re not catching fish, try a different approach. Consistent change is the key to success.

Casting a line for fish on the shallow reefs of Lake Erie can be both a thrilling and challenging experience.

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. We will fish shallow water in early spring 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 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.
Call now to schedule a charter.
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.