Best Walleye Fishing in 30 Years! New York's Eastern Lake Erie

January 26, 2018
Fishing , New York , State Reports
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  • 2017 Angler Survey Catch Rates are nearly THREE TIMES GREATER than 30-Year Average

  • Anglers Harvested More than 70,000 Walleye in 2017

  • Walleye Fishing Expected to Remain Exceptional for Years to Come


While fishing Lake Erie with Captain Dan Korzenski of Hooked-Up Sportfishing from Dunkirk Harbor, NY, Ted Kokur and his three buddies landed more than 20 walleye in a morning of fishing. Korzenski is a noted trolling expert with charter openings for 2018 (716-679-9320, dkkorzenski@hotmail.com).


Stickbaits, spinner/worm rigs and spoons fished in, or just above, the thermocline in summer last year, produced limits of walleye for anglers near and far.  The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that walleye fishing on Lake Erie during the 2017 season experienced the highest recorded success in nearly 30 years.

Captain Korzenski is a local professional charter captain and shares his fish-catching success methods with all of his clients on each trip, if they want to know how.  A good thing if you own a boat and want to come back and try walleye fishing with your own tackle.  The local stopover bait and tackle store for daily catch rate success is Bill's Hooks (5139 W. Lake Rd., Dunkirk, NY; 716-366-0268), just a few miles south of the city of Dunkirk on Route 5.  Visit with Gerri Begier there and allow yourself to learn about hot lures, snaps, swivels, fluorocarbon, leadcore line, rods, reels and a dozen other things you never knew about walleye catching, lure making and finding fish if have the time.

Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "The New York State waters of Lake Erie are world famous for outstanding angling opportunities for walleye, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch,  Our Lake Erie waters have consistently ranked among the top three most heavily fished waters in the state and the fishery generates more than $26 million in economic activity annually.  Anglers should take advantage of Lake Erie's current conditions and experience this world-class walleye fishery for themselves in 2018."

DEC has conducted an angler survey on Lake Erie to estimate fishing quality and fish harvest annually since 1988.  In recent years, walleye fishing quality has been generally increasing.  Survey results for 2017 revealed record-high walleye catch rates that are nearly three times greater than the 30-year average.  DEC estimates that anglers harvested more than 70,000 walleyes in 2017, a level not achieved since 1989.

Walt Gaczewski of Elma, New York, 80 years young, full of smiles, has his hands full walleye fishing with charter captains from the Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association (www.great-lakes.org/ny/elecba; 716-672-4282) last summer.  Steelhead, giant smallmouth bass, yellow perch and white bass are also secondary catches during Lake Erie walleye fishing outings off Chautauqua County, NY.


This exceptional fishing was due in large part to contributions of strong walleye reproduction in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2015.  Recent evidence also suggests that walleye reproduction was strong again in 2016.

Walleye are one of the most popular gamefish in New York, as they put up an exciting fight during the catch and make for a tasty meal on the table.  Walleye are aptly named because of their unique eyes that have a reflective layer of pigment called the tapetum lucidum, which allows them to see very well at night and during other low-light periods.  This layer also gives walleye their "glassy-eyed" or "wall-eyed" appearance.

Lake Erie is continually ranked among the world's top walleye fishing destinations by angler publications with an abundance of trophy-size walleye ranging from 8-10 pounds, with local tournament winners often landing fish exceeding 11 pounds.

If you are looking to organize an office party outing, Captain Lance Ehrhardt from the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association (716-672-4282) can provide a listing of local charter captains that catch fish.  Erhardt prefers to keep the live bait worms on shore - he is a stickbait expert, but has clients reporting summer catches of more than 40 walleye a trip during hot summer outings.  Imagine that!

Given that walleye typically live 10 years or more in Lake Erie, combined with excellent reproduction rates in recent years, anglers should experience continued, exceptional walleye fishing in future years.

For the latest Lake Erie fishing hotline report updated weekly in summer, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9217.html.  For lodging and other information for vacation planning, wine country tours, microbrewery locations, campsites, boat launches and more, visit http://www.tourchautauqua.com/.

Boat speed, surface temperature, bottom temperature and frequent turns into "secret lake areas" where fish are found allow anglers to reap schooled walleye benefits.


 

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