Fishing Report Lake Erie Monroe, Michigan 07/09/2015

Once again the weather is playing a big roll in the fishing on Lake Erie in the Western Basin near Monroe, Michigan. The wind seems to switch everyday and sometimes during my trips, shutting the walleye down.  Walleye fishing has been very good in the morning from 6am till about 10am. The afternoon bite has been spotty. I caught all 20 inch plus fish between Sputnik and West Sister Island in 26 to 30 feet of water Wednesday morning. I went back out on my afternoon trip and it looked like a desert, fishing was painfully slow. The walleye were deep, I fished mini disc’s from 100 to 110 feet back. I also tried 30 jet divers 90 back, both seemed to produce. The fish seemed to prefer Silver Streak spoons with copper backs.  Shrimp, puff’s, UV mango, Blueberry Muffin on the high divers 55 to 62 back and mixed Veggies on the low divers 38 to 42 back.  The North water from The Raisin River up to Stoney Point and the Fermi plant have been producing very good catchs of walleye if your drifting. Trolling has been out of the question due to massaive amouts of weeds! 

The good news is, the perch have been on the bite! limit catchs around “C” and “W” can using emerald shiners in 12 to 17 feet of water. the water looks a little muddy but the perch are there. 

A word of caution – there are still lots of floating timber in the water, so keep a sharp look out for logs.

Fishing Report Lake Erie Monroe, Michigan 06/12/2015

Walleye fishing this past week has been a little different. Ever since the big storm on Memorial Day the lake has had a different wind direction everyday! Walleye fishing moved out over the shipping channel past sputnik east because of water conditionsss.  Good size walleye are being caught North of Sputnik  in 24 feet of water, using spoons and mini disc’s 100 feet back. It’s been tough since the wind and waves are a different direction everyday., so you have do some searching till you find them. The Mayfly hatch is on and the bigger fish are biting later in the afternoon. There are still lots of logs and timber to deal with so be careful running out and back.

Walleye fishing charter trip

Walleye fishing charter Luna Pier Michigan

Fishing Report Lake Erie, Monroe MI 5-15-2015

Walleye fishing has been on the slow side near Bolles Harbor and the Brest Bay area. The surface water temperature is still on the cool side around 58 degrees. The walleye are a little sluggish, so if your trolling, troll around 1.5 to 1.8 mph. We used Deep Thunder Stick Jr. but the fish never really picked out a color. The area between the 3 stacks and Turtle Island produced some very nice eye’s a couple of days ago in 13 to 16 feet of water. Lots of White Bass just off the dumping grounds in the flats so unless your targeting them avoid those areas.  The Ohio dump produced good numbers of walleyes to. Long slow trolling with Thunder Sticks 60 to 70 feet back seemed to be the ticket. Best colors, Superman, Brown Trout,  and Fire Tiger.

Lake Erie walleye fishing

Lake Erie walleye fishing

Lake Erie Smallmouth Bass fishing improving

While walleyes and yellow perch fill the needs of Lake Erie anglers most interested in the culinary aspect of the activity, those seeking smallmouth bass tend to be concerned with the sport end of things. Few fish possess the fighting ability of the smallmouth bass; few places offer bronzebacks in the numbers and size as does Lake Erie.

During the early 2000s there was a change in the dynamics of Erie’s smallmouth bass fishery. Though adult fish were still present in good numbers, anglers were seeing fewer and fewer young fish. The introduction of the round goby, and exotic species, was blamed, at least in part. The bottom-dwelling round goby is a nest robber. Research shows that gobies prey on smallmouth nests.

Several years ago, the Ohio Division of Wildlife, instituted a closed season during the spring spawning period. This move led to a reduction of fishing pressure, one that might be having a positive impact on the smallmouth population. With fewer anglers catching bass, there are fewer nests left unguarded. While it’s not known how much an impact this regulation change has made, smallmouth bass numbers are on the increase.

“Smallmouth bass are one place where we’re seeing the catch rates improve,” said Jeff Tyson of the Ohio Division of Wildife’s Lake Erie Research Unit. “They have been bumping up steadily for the past four or five years. They’re still not at the level back in the mid-1990s. But we’re still looking at a catch rate of 0.8 fish per hour, which is a phenomenal catch rate for smallmouth bass.”

As one might expect from this, the outlook for Erie smallmouth, not only in Ohio waters but Pennsylvania, is a good one. While perhaps not quite the same as it was in the glory days of 15 to 20 years ago, it’s still quite good.  The Michigan shoreline from Brest Bay to Luna Pier has seen an uptick in catch rates over the past couple of years. The dumping grounds have also seen much higher catch rates in the past two perch seasons to.

“I’d expect more of the same for smallmouth bass,” Tyson said. “We’re seeing more consistent hatches for smallmouth in recent years. Not every year are we getting a good hatch, but if we see fish in our bottom trawler, it generally means that they’ve had a decent hatch. And we’re seeing that more frequently. We’re seeing an improvement not only in the hatches, but in the age distribution. We have a fair number of younger fish moving into the fishery, which is different from what we saw back in the early 2000s.”

Lake Erie Walleye Fishing Report Monroe Michigan 5-04-2014

Super windy conditions have shut Lake Erie Western Basin down this past week around Monroe, Brest Bay and the Toledo Light due to high winds mainly from the North East. As of yesterday the lake was a mud pit as far as I could see from shore at Toledo Beach Marina where the wind was blowing 20 out of the South West. The water in the marina was also low!

Prior to last weeks wind event walleye are being caught around Brest Bay and out in front of Sterling State park in 12 feet of water using blade baits and purple jigs tipped with a shiner minnow. The North end of the dumping grounds is producing walleye, smallmouth, and white bass

The surface temperature is still around the mid to low 40’s

Tracking Lake Erie Walleye

As Chris Vandergoot lowered a portable receiver into the water above one of western Lake Erie’s many reefs, he listened intently through his headphones as the sophisticated electronics searched the depths for that reassuring tone.

It comes quickly. That distinct “ping, ping, ping” is the sound of success.

“It’s wow, they’re back,” Vandergoot said this week, repeating his reaction when some of the walleyes he had surgically implanted acoustic transmitters in months or years earlier, had returned to the reef.

What we know about the greatest treasure trove of walleyes in the world that make Lake Erie home, is that we actually don’t know a whole lot about them. But Vandergoot, and a multinational lineup of biologists from Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario are working to change that, armed with some clever pieces of technology.

Fish are captured at various sites, usually through electrofishing, and anesthetized while a quick surgical procedure inserts an acoustic transmitter into their belly area. A few sutures close the opening, some Betadine is applied to the area to ward off infection, and after a short recovery period the fish is back in the water and ready to transmit data and start shedding some light on its travels, its habitat preferences, its favorite water temperatures, and much, much more.

The program is called GLATOS, and that is not a Greek god you forgot about from mythology class. GLATOS is in that pea soup of acronyms that are part and parcel of the intensive study of the lakes, and it stands for Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System.

There is a network of receivers spread throughout the Great Lakes, and each time one of the several hundred walleyes carrying a transmitter is within range, the receiver picks up a ping that is distinct to that particular fish.

The receivers form a picket line across the western end of the lake, in a single strand from Point Pelee to the north end of Pelee Island, and in multiple strands from the south end of Pelee Island to Kelleys Island, and from Kelleys to the mainland. There are also receivers in the Central Basin, and at Rondeau Bay on the Ontario shoreline, and in the Maumee River.

The fixed receivers are anchored to the lake bottom, where they store information on when a ping from a certain fish was received, and what conditions were present at the time. The study is in its very early stages, but when those receivers are retrieved and brought back to the Ohio Division of Wildlife Sandusky Fisheries Research Station where he works, Vandergoot is bouncing off the walls to get at the data.

Earlier studies that involved just external tags could only tell biologists that a fish had traveled from point A to point B, but the mysteries and the mother lode of information involve what takes place throughout the walleyes’ movement.

The GLATOS study should give biologists a much better grasp of migration rates and routes, which particular stocks of fish contribute the most to the Lake Erie harvest, and provide a better understanding of the spawning patterns and preferences of the lake’s walleyes.

“We’re taking the needle out of the haystack,” Vandergoot said.

The first snippets of data have been eye-opening. About five percent of the walleyes that took on transmitters in the Maumee River or out on Lake Erie ended up migrating up the Detroit River, with some moving all the way across Lake St. Clair, up the St. Clair River, and into Lake Huron.

One walleye showed up near Conneaut, some 140 miles from where it had been tagged, while another walleye that was given a transmitter during the spawning run in the Maumee River in 2011 was later detected near Port Colborne in Ontario, in the extreme eastern end of Lake Erie.

“It’s a little surprising,” Vandergoot said. “There’s a lot more mid-lake movement than we thought, and certain fish are moving significant distances. This program is giving us insight into the behavior of these fish that we never would have had otherwise.”

The fish that carry the transmitters, which have a battery life of five years, are also marked with a bright orange fin tag that alerts an angler that catches the fish to a $100 reward for returning the transmitter.

“Anytime we do something like this, it’s a bit of a gamble,” Vandergoot said about the walleye tracking program.

“There are some reservations when we put new technology in place, but the fact that this is actually working, and we get the receivers back and download the data — it’s holy cow, this is working.”

Vandergoot stressed that the tip of the iceberg is all that has been seen to this point, but as more receivers are collected and their data used to broaden our understanding of this precious resource, we will know more about Lake Erie walleyes that we ever have before.

“Just tagging fish is cool and it makes for some great pictures, but getting the data back … for scientists, that’s incredibly exciting. That’s what gets us up in the morning,” he said.

Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: mmarkey@theblade.com or 419-724-6068.

Biologists see good outlook for Lake Erie fishing

Lake Erie walleye fishing charter trip aboard the Stray Cat

Lake Erie walleye fishing charter trip aboard the Stray Cat Monroe Michigan

State biologists in Ohio say Lake Erie anglers should have a variety of sport fishing opportunities this year.

Biologists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources say the lake’s population of walleye, yellow perch, black bass, white bass and steelhead remains stable. They say there is a broad distribution of sizes for each species.

Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch fisheries are managed through an interagency quota system involving Ontario, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio. Each jurisdiction regulates their catches to meet the quotas and minimize the risk of over-fishing species. Seasonal quotas are determined through a consensus agreement by those jurisdictions through the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

Biologists caution that factors including water temperature and boat traffic can change lake fishing conditions.

Lake Erie walleye limit will remain at six through April 30, 2015

The Department of Natural Resources today announced that the daily possession limit for walleye in Michigan’s waters of Lake Erie will remain at six through April 30, 2015.

In 2011, Michigan adopted a process for setting creel limit regulations that allows the DNR to use real-time population data instead of using year-old survey results. This process parallels one adopted by Ohio in 2010.

“This regulatory process is critical to helping us manage walleye in Lake Erie in a timely manner,” said Jim Francis, DNR Fisheries Division’s Lake Erie basin coordinator. “In order to do that, the department has to set regulations in March instead of the previous autumn.”

Michigan’s daily possession limit for Lake Erie walleye is based on its share of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the lake, which is determined by the Lake Erie Committee under the guidance of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The TAC is generally based on overall abundance of walleye. The committee establishes quotas for each jurisdiction based on the percentage of habitat for adult walleye in each jurisdiction’s waters of the lake. The daily limit is based on a formula that projects how many walleye anglers can keep but still remain within the quota.

See the table below for an explanation of the formula used to set the daily creel limit.

The Total Allowable Catch for Lake Erie for 2014 is 4.027 million fish, making Michigan’s quota 235,000.

As a result of this regulatory process, the daily possession limit for walleye on Lake Erie is not set until the TAC is determined each March, which is after the annual Michigan Fishing Guide goes to press. Anglers, therefore, must annually check for changes. The DNR has developed a strategy to communicate the walleye creel limit that includes a statewide news release, an updated online Fishing Guide and a pre-recorded message at 888-367-7060 to inform anglers of the creel limit.

For 2014, there are no changes to either the fishing season or size limit for walleye on Lake Erie.

20140416-064855.jpg

Ohio may try to restore the Sauger to Lake Erie

PORT CLINTON, Ohio — Ohio’s wildlife agency is looking into bringing back a sport fish that disappeared from Lake Erie several decades ago.

The state’s natural resources department wants to find out if it would possible to restore the sauger to the lake and rivers in northern Ohio.

Sauger disappeared from northern Ohio in the 1950s because of overfishing and habitat loss. It’s often compared with the walleye.

Ohio’s fish management administrator for Lake Erie says DNA will be a key in determining whether they can bring back the sauger.

He tells the Port Clinton News-Herald, that fish with similar genetics would have a better chance of adapting and surviving in Lake Erie.

The state is considering testing sauger from Lake Ontario, the Ohio River and a lake in Minnesota.