Shore Fishing for Walleye

shore fishing walleye lake erie

Shore fishing can be an exciting and rewarding way to fish for walleye, especially on Lake Erie in the spring or fall seasons. When a person thinks about fishing for walleye on Lake Erie they automatically think about a boat and trolling gear.  That is only half the walleye fishing battle, there are plenty of good shore fishing opportunities around the lake. There are a variety of tackle, baits, locations, and techniques to catch walleye from shore. This incredible lake offers a world class shore fishing opportunity for walleye.  Everything you need to know about shore fishing for walleye is highlighted in this guide.

When to Shore Fish for Walleye

There is no doubt Lake Erie is full of walleye.  However, there are specific times to shore fish for walleye. Spring, Fall, and Winter are the best months to shore fish for walleye. During those months, the evening, overnight, and early mornings are the best times fish.  Walleye are low-light feeders.  They will come shallow during low light periods to feed on bait fish. Shad and emerald shiners are attracted to shore lights during low light periods and, in return attract predators like walleye.  To increase your chances while shore fishing for walleye, choose to fish right after sunset or just before sunrise.  There are bite windows that happen overnight, but you will have a better chance during those times.

The best Tackle for Shore Fishing Lake Erie

jigging rod

Most anglers choose to use a 6’-6” to 7’ medium fast action rod when casting for walleye from shore. Fenwick and St. Croix both make great casting rods in that action.  Length depends on your storage requirements and casting distance.  With a longer rod you may gain some casting distance.

A quality reel with quality braid is a necessity.  The Pflueger President reel is an excellent choice that won’t break the bank.  Braided line is used for long casts, this keeps your bait in the water longer. 15-20 lb. braid will work best.  Kastking makes a great braided line as does power pro.  Depending on your budget, both are excellent choices.  A fluorocarbon leader helps with hookups as it is harder for the walleye to see.  Use a 10-15 lb. leader and keep a small spool in a bag.  Lastly, a micro snap swivel at the end of the leader is a must to make changing lures easier. Using a snap swivel over a locking type swivel will keep the lures action it was designed for.

Best Bait for Shore Fishing Walleye

shore fishing walleye

Choosing what walleye lure to throw can be overwhelming because there are a lot to choose from. 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 a bait 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 Shallow series, Rapala hj12 – hj14 (jointed and non-jointed), and a Rattle trap. Don’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.

 

Some anglers choose to change out the hooks on casting lures.  Walleye are strong fish and can exceed 12 lbs. while fishing in the fall.  Having strong aftermarket hooks can increase your chances of landing a trophy walleye.  A good aftermarket hook is anything from Gamakatsu or Owner.  Size 4 treble hooks are most common, but check with your lure manufacturer to make sure you get the right size hooks.

How to Shore Fish for Lake Erie Walleye

 

 

There is an art to lure retrieval when shore fishing for walleye. Some folks use a short pause, like working a jerk bait. Some fishermen like a slow retrieve. It all depends on what the fish want that particular night.  Casting parallel to the bank can be productive some nights. Being flexible in your technique and baits used will increase your success.  If you are not catching fish, keep changing your technique and bait.

 

Adding lead stickers to your lure can help with suspension and diving.  When using a shallow diver, sometimes the lure wants to float or not sink as fast as you would like.  Adding these can aid in keeping your lure in the strike zone.

 

 

Look for Bait in the Area

 

 

One of the main keys to success is seeing bait in the area.  Check for bait in the area to help decide what areas to fish. Visually check for shiners or shad in the area. Also, the water needs to be clean or semi-clean.  Fishing dirty / stained water is almost always wasted time from shore.  The walleye may be in the area, but it is tough fishing in heavily stained water.

 

 

The Best Locations to Shore Fish for Walleye

 

 

Location, Location, and Location. 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 public shore fishing opportunities around the lake, but you will have to do some research.  Any park or public area on the Lake Erie has the potential for you to catch walleye at night.  Most can be found using mapping software such as Google Maps.

 

Areas with access to deep water tend to have more walleye come in at night.  Remember, walleye spend the day chasing bait in deep water offshore.  They want the the same while feeding at night.  Places like a rock cliff or extended pier are great areas to try. 

 

 

Lake Erie 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