Bass Fishing Lake Erie | Reef Complex

Lake Erie Bass Fishing
Lake Erie Bass Fishing

The following video describes in detail the information needed to have success while bass fishing Lake Erie around the reefs in the Western Basin. In this video we describe specific spots, timing, and baits to catch Lake Erie Smallmouth Bass.

Locating Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass fishing the reef complex is good all year, however, the fish move around depending on water temperature and food. In early spring, fishing in 10-15 FOW is best around each individual reef. During the spawn, fish will move closer to shore and relate to protective coves and marinas. After the spawn the fish will move back out to the last structure before hitting a sand bottom, typically in 15-22 FOW around the reefs.

During the summer months, bass can be found on a steady, rocky bottom around the reef complex. Sometimes they will be up on the reefs in the morning, but mostly off the sides on a steady bottom with structure. In between each reef are good places to look for bass in the summer time. If you find current on one side, that is a good area to try. Look for bait off the side of the reefs, not far behind will be smallmouth.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing Lures


Fishing a dropshot for smallmouth bass is the most productive way. On Lake Erie, most choose to fish a smaller profile bait with a 1/4-3/8 ounce weight depending on current and depth. A good dropshot lure to try is a halfshell. Fish the dropshot bait on a #6 hook.


In late spring and summer, a swimbait can be a fun way to catch Smallmouth Bass. With a swimbait you can fish points and underwater structure. Cast the swimbait out and reel in touching the bottom. A 3.8 swimbait works best on a 1/4 ounce head. When a dropshot or Tube jig does not work, a swimbait can be productive.

Tube Jig

A tube jig is an all around good bait to catch smallmouth bass. On Lake Erie, most fisherman are using a 3/8 ounce head and a 4″ bait. If the fish are neutral, switch to a 3″ tube. Green pumpkin works best. Drag the bait slow over the structure, don’t pop it. If you pop a tube you will have by catch.

If you like this article check out our other article on Fishing South Bass Island, Bass Islands Fishing, North Bass Island Fishing, and Bass Fishing Kelleys Island.