2005 LAKE ERIE FISHING OUTLOOK IS PROMISING|
COLUMBUS, OH -- Lake Erie anglers should experience some of the finest and most diverse fishing opportunities on the Great Lakes in 2005, say fisheries experts with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
"Whether ice fishing, wading rivers, casting or trolling on the lake, or shore fishing from piers or beaches, there should be a variety of seasonal opportunities for anglers in the Lake Erie region,” said Roger Knight, Lake Erie fisheries program manager at ODNR. "Good numbers of walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass and steelhead trout will again be available to Ohio anglers."
Knight noted that access to good fishing in the Western and Central basins can be found through the large number of charter boats available, as well as by numerous public boat ramps, private marinas, and shoreline areas that continue to make Ohio's Lake Erie waters a popular fishing destination.
The daily bag limit remains at three fish during March and April and increases to six fish May through February. The 15-inch minimum size limit is in effect during the entire season. Many fish from the exceptionally abundant 2003 hatch will not be of legal size until late summer. Anglers should release these smaller fish as quickly and gently as possible to reduce mortality rates. The ban on the use of treble-hooked lures in Sandusky and Maumee bays during March and April also remains in effect in 2005.
Smallmouth bass regulations enacted last year remain in effect for 2005. A closed season exists from May 1 through June 24, during which all black bass (smallmouth and largemouth) must be immediately released. The daily bag limit beginning June 25 will remain at five fish with a 14-inch minimum length limit.
Because of the changing conditions of Lake Erie, such as increases in water clarity and aquatic vegetation, there are additional options for anglers. Many of the nearshore areas and harbors offer excellent fishing for panfish, including crappie and bluegill, as well as largemouth bass. In early spring, anglers may also catch an occasional northern pike or muskellunge in these vegetated harbors.
Anglers are reminded that fishing conditions on Lake Erie can change hourly and adjustments are often necessary to improve their success. Anglers should take into account such factors as water temperature, cloud cover, water clarity, boat traffic, wave action, structure, and the amount of bait fish in the area. Anglers are also reminded to carefully monitor Lake Erie weather while fishing and to seek safe harbor before storms approach.
During the season, ODNR provides an updated, recorded Lake Erie fishing report at 1-888 HOOKFISH and online at ohiodnr.com . ODNR Division of Wildlife staff members are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at Fairport Harbor (440-352-4199) for Central Basin information and at Sandusky (419-625-8062) for Western Basin information. For additional information on lodging, charter boat services, and local launch ramps, contact one of the following lakeshore visitor’s bureaus:
Ashtabula County Convention & Visitors Bureau 800-337-6746
The ODNR Division of Wildlife maintains a series of web pages describing its Lake Erie research and management programs, fisheries resources, open lake and steelhead fishing reports, as well as maps and links to other Lake Erie web resources. This information is available on the Internet at ohiodnr.com/wildlife/fishing/fairport/index.htm