Lake Erie is one of the most productive of the Great Lakes and this year walleye fishing has been its best in almost four decades holding an unprecedented 140 million walleyes. With this great news, 18 members of the RR Fishing Club headed to the small fishing hamlet of Erieau in Ontario, Canada in July to fish for the waterway’s toothiest and most dominant predator.
Erieau juts out along the northern shore of the lake with the marina nestled between the crystal-clear waters of Lake Erie and Rondeau Bay. With charters usually leaving around 7:00 a.m. and returning about 2:00 p.m., our expectations for a good first day’s catch were fair to middlin’. Shortly after dawn we hopped aboard two fishing vessels (five persons per boat) outfitted with the latest gadgets and equipment and chugged out of the harbor to depths of 40-45 feet – just above the thermocline. We would fish by trolling, the most common tactic, as it covers a lot of water. Spoons rigged on dipsy divers or jet divers were the lure of choice.
The action started quickly – we were reeling in the first walleye of the day within a few minutes of setting up. From then on, rods were constantly bent as we pulled one walleye after the next into the boat. When the rigger or board released, the captain quickly set the hook and passed the rod, and the fight, to the next angler in line. Within 2.5 hours each boat had caught its 30 fish legal limit (six fish per person). Averaged size was in the five-lb range with the largest weighing in at nine lbs. Now we’re wondering what to do for the rest of the afternoon!
Fishing days two and three repeated themselves. With walleye so plentiful, we caught our legal limit well before noon each day. Additionally, we hooked into several steelhead, although we only boated a couple. Unlike walleye, steelhead are prone to aerial acrobatics, and spend the majority of the fight out of the water rather than in it. The challenge of landing these beauties certainly added to the excitement.
Walleye fishing was awesome, but eating was even better yielding a good amount of meat for their size. Each night we feasted on our catch, deep fried right outside our cabins served along with grilled Canadian sweet corn and vine ripened tomatoes. So, what does walleye taste like? The fillets are fine and flaky with a sweet, thick, succulent and mild flavor.
Although we didn’t catch a trophy, we did catch our fill. Undeniably good eating, walleye offered a rewarding bounty for our efforts. You can bet we’ll be aboard the Erieau charters again, looking to share a wonderful day’s fishing with good friends among bent rods.
Interested in dropping a line? The RR Fishing Club meets the second Wednesday of each month at the Wildhorse Grill Boardroom at 5:00 p.m. For any inquiries, comments or suggestions contact RobsonFishing@gmail.com or Scott Baker 214-334-7664.