Lake Erie Fishing Basics

Fishing a Lake Erie Weapon

On this page/section of our website, we will deal with our Lake Erie Fishing Techniques to help you gain an advantage. Mastering these will help you out fish other anglers and even those 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. A weapon is a 16 to 18-inch piece of monofilament with a snelled hook on the end. 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.

Simply 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 also another option when tying up a weapon because they spin with the slightest movement.

A deep cup # 4 Colorado premium gold blade is used a lot on Lake Erie. The deep cup blade spins much easier 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!

Adding a Nightcrawler to your hook

 Nightcrawlers are an essential Lake Erie Walleye fishing techniques 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 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, which in turn catches more fish. Don’t fool yourself and put a huge nightcrawler ball of bait on your hook, you are not fishing for catfish! Huge piles of bait stop the natural look and action of your spinner blade. Remember how it sinks and spins is all part of this technique. Using a waded nightcrawler decreases your chances of attracting a hungry walleye because of the deprecated action. 

Lake Erie Walleye Fishing 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 a rate of about one and a half feet per second. A 16 count would put your lure depth at 24 feet, just above the walleyes marking at 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, then 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 that sweet spot. Cast about ten minutes to the same spot and if you don’t get a bite, then move your cast five feet up or down-wind of the boat and continue to do this until you find that sweet spot!

Change Casting Angles 

Changing your casting angles in the swing can also help you find a hungry walleye. If you will feel a peck or it just feels heavier, set your hook and fight your walleye back to the net.   For the person standing next to the guy that’s catching walleyes, watch what he is doing and cast your lure the same length and at the same angle upwind and retrieve your line back at the same speed. It’s a little different fishing from each spot on the boat so when someone is catching in a certain area/ spot on the boat, don’t bump him out of his spot they have the bite figured out from their spot. You need to pay attention to what they are doing and do it from your spot.

Lake Erie Walleye Fishing Rod Sweep Techniques

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 effective triggering bites. 

The Smooth And Steady Retrieve 

Therefore stop and retrieve reeling two or three cranks and hesitate for 3 seconds and repeat that back to the boat. You can also try raising and lowering your rod tip while retrieving to produce a fallback jigging action on your spinner, which entices walleyes to bite.  

Every day you will need to experiment with different weights 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 is in the strike zone, the more walleyes you are going to 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.


Drifting and Casting Lake Erie's Shallow Reefs

 Structure fishing differs from deep water fishing in that it is crucial to know when you are on the bottom. Be prepared to break some lures or your not doing it right if you don’t, However, if you are snagging constantly you are not winding fast enough. Start with a 1/2 ounce sinker using the same rig as above and cast and count until you hit the bottom, then on the next cast start winding two or three seconds before your bottom count. There are a couple pointers I can share, the reefs are covered with Gobies, a small fish that lives right on the bottom. So when you feel several small nibbles you are on the bottom as that nibble is gobies pecking at your bait. When you feel this turn your handle 3 fast turns and do not stop go right back to a steady retrieve, always use a steady wind in shallow water. Do not drag hard on the bottom or you will snag up, start your drift just off the edge of the reef so you drift up on and over the structure.