Erie walleye fishing called 'best in a decade'
Written by The Plain Dealer   
Thursday, 15 June 2006 15:22

Lake Erie fishermen have been enjoying the good ol' days. Anglers are reporting walleye catches that rival the 1980s, when Lake Erie was heralded as the Walleye Capital of the World. The walleye fishing has exploded around the big lake, with tremendous fishing success from Toledo to Fairport Harbor.

Yellow perch have moved to shoreline spawning haunts in surprising numbers to give breakwall fishermen a chance to catch dinner, although a cool front in recent days has slowed the perch catch.

"The walleye is the top dog right now," said Mike Fedorka at Shine's Live Bait in Cleveland. "They're being caught everywhere along the Cleveland shoreline, from the Lakewood Gold Coast to Euclid General, the Willowick Towers, Lost Nation and beyond. This is the best walleye fishing we've seen around Cleveland in more than a decade."

Western Lake Erie anglers have been on a roll around the Niagara Reef complex, with limit catches becoming common once again for drift-and-cast fishermen. Yellow perch are biting, but few bother when the walleye fishing is so good.

The key has been the 2003 class of walleye, the best reproductive year in more than two decades. Those walleye are now 16 to 19 inches in length and fueling the excellent fishing. Hopefully, this year's class of walleye will be just as good after a dismal hatch in 2004 and mediocre reproduction in 2005.

Clouds of mayflies:

The mayfly season has begun around Western Lake Erie, with clouds of the non-biting, short-lived insects hatching on Lake Erie and heading ashore.

Merchants in Port Clinton already have begun to douse their nightlights, which attract swarms of mayflies. The strong mayfly hatch will last until early July and is an indication of a healthy Lake Erie, say fisheries biologists.

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