Shore fishing can be an exciting and rewarding way to fish for Lake Erie walleye. There are a variety of tackle, baits, locations, and techniques to catch these gators from shore. The tips in this article are targeted toward Lake Erie southern shore fishing. These techniques do hold true elsewhere, but more for Lake Erie. I should add that 99.9% of this type of fishing happens at night when the walleye slide up to the shoreline to feed on shad and other bait fish.
Most anglers choose to use a 6’ 6” – 7’ medium fast action rod when casting for walleye from shore. A good quality reel with good quality braid is also a good choice. Braided line is used for long casts, this keeps your bait in the water longer. 20 – 30 lb. will work best for your needs. A fluorocarbon leader helps with hookups as it is harder for the walleye to see. Most use a 10-15 lb. leader and keep a small spool in your bag in case you get a snag. Lastly, I would suggest a micro snap swivel so you can change out lures quickly.
Choosing the what crankbait to throw can be overwhelming as there are a lot to choose from. It can be very overwhelming, hopefully I can narrow your search down to a few select lures. First, if you are fishing deep water such as at the end of a pier, you may opt for a deep diving crankbait. If it is relatively shallow water you want one that has a shallow bill on it. The walleye will be higher in the water column at night, so carry more shallow divers than deep. Good choices in lures are Smithwick perfect 10, Reefrunner 700 series, Rapala hj12 – hj14 (jointed and un-jointed), and a Rattle trap. Personally I wouldn’t get too caught up in custom colors, if the fish are there you will get bit. The type of lure seems to have more effect on hook up ratio.
There is an art to lure retrieval when shore fishing for walleye. Some folks do a short pause almost working like a jerk bait. Some do a slow retrieve. Some nights they want the bait parallel to the bank and or bouncing off the rocks. If you others are hooking up and you aren’t keep trying different retrieves or baits until you do. You will have to figure out what the fish want. It will vary night to night.
Location, Location, and Location. Literally any pier that dips out into Lake Erie has the potential to hold walleye at night. Some popular spots to try are the Huron pier, Sandusky bay Dempsey access, Lorain pier, Edgewater pier, E55th st. in Cleveland, Lakeside (if you have access), Mazurick boat ramp, Catawba pier, and Vermillion break wall. There are other spots to try, but you will have to do some homework. There is a lot of public access along the lake, use google earth. Bait is key, you need to have bait in the area. A lot of shore anglers will not even fish if the bait is not there. Visually check for shiners or shad in the area. Also the water needs to be clean or semi-clean. I would not even waste my time in dirty water conditions.
Below is a list of public shore fishing locations:
Lorain Mile Long Pier – 301 Lakeside Ave, Lorain, OH 44052
Edgewater Pier – 6500 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, Cleveland, OH 44102
Vermilion Pier – 480 Main St, Vermilion, OH 44089
Huron Pier – 30 Main St, Huron, OH 44839
Sandusky Battery Park – 701 E Water St, Sandusky, OH 44870
Marblehead Dempsey Access – 2498 Cook Dock, Lakeside Marblehead, OH 43440
Lakeside Pier – 199 Maple Ave Lakeside Marblehead, OH 43440
Mazurik Access – 8777 N Shore Blvd Lakeside Marblehead, OH 43440
Catawba State Park – 4049 E Moores Dock Rd, Port Clinton, OH 43452
Waterworks Park Port Clinton – 74 N Jefferson St, Port Clinton, OH 43452