Lake Erie Summer 4-1-1


July and August are the most versatile months of the year. Every species of fish is biting.

Let’s start with the easiest, the walleye. They can be found in both shallow and deep waters during these months. It’s fun to start the day off by casting in 10 to 15 feet of water. Single-hook weapons like jigs work well when doing this.

Also, remember those Erie Dearies? They’re known as weight-forward spinners, and there are many different types. They work great in shallow water. Big walleyes cruise these depths early in the mornings and at night. When you have record numbers of fish, everything works. Usually, you’ll cast crankbaits at night in autumn, but it’s also very good right through summer. Still, the best casting numbers of fish are still out in deep water.

Large schools of fish will be west of North Bass Island all the way to West Sister Island, in 32 to 35 feet of water; also, east of Kelleys Island, north of Huron, where the water depths will be 45 feet or deeper. Fish will be suspended, so watch your fish finder.

Winning tip number one is, when you first start casting, try retrieving right away. The walleyes will be on the surface some days, and you won’t see them on your fish finder. Some days, you’ll catch a full limit that way. Trolling is also on fire at this time. Our choice of baits is spoons. We run them behind Tru-Trip baits. Again, because of the huge numbers of fish, crankbaits and worm harnesses also work well. It’s so much fun trying different things and catching so many fish. The same areas that are good for casting are good for trolling.

Lake Erie anglers need to continue catching fish and taking them home. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources wants to keep the limit at six and have more people catch and keep them. It’s hard to believe, but there’s no fake news here. Managers at most lakes prefer catch-and-release, but we want you to catch and take them home. Remember, it’s six fish a day, with no possession limit.

Now, on to smallmouth bass fishing. There are record numbers of smallmouth bass being caught as well. Two good reasons for this are, we’ve had some great hatches of smallmouths, and not many people are taking them home because of the great walleye fishing. Also, more people practice catch-and-release when fishing for smallmouths.

July is a good month to drift. Rocky flats that are 15 to 25 feet in depth are the best spots for this. Cast your favorite plastic/rubber baits on 1/4- to 3/4-ounce jigs. Goby colors work as well.

Winning tip number two is, don’t be afraid to try little-lip crankbaits. On the right days, they will out-fish the plastics. Once you get into August, anchoring off the edges of drop-offs will work best. Again, the soft plastics work well at this time.

Drop-shot rigs work great, too. Most guides will take live bait with them, with soft craws being their number one choice. Smallmouth bass love soft craws, but unfortunately, so do the sheepshead. After you catch about eight to ten sheepshead, it’s time to move.

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When you get the bass biting again, though, you’ll keep catching them. The best spots to fish for smallmouth bass are Middle and North Bass islands in Ohio, with one of my personal favorite places being Pelee Island in Ontario. It’s 15 miles from the mainland and a great place to fish for smallmouth bass. In order to fish Canadian waters, you’ll need a passport and a Canadian fishing license.

Yellow perch fishing has been king this time of year, up until last year. But the fishing has slowed. One main reason for this is because emerald shiner populations are down. The perch have started to feed on spiny water fleas, and they aren’t as schooled-up as they used to be. The ODNR says we still have plenty of yellow perch, so we hope that they’ll make a comeback soon. The best areas for perch fishing are west and east of the islands in 30 to 40 feet of water. Shiners and fat head minnows are the best baits to use.


For more information…

Captain Mark Cahlik

Mark 1 Sportfishing & Lodging

text 419-656-5060



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