Fishing at night for Lake Erie walleye

Walleye Trolling at Night


Night fishing for Lake Erie Walleye has been popular for years. In the fall, walleye start to migrate to the spawning grounds in preparation for the spring. They have one thing on their mind, food. Although walleye can be caught in good numbers during the day, the action at night can be hot and heavy. The best part is you do not have to go far to find a good school for walleye feeding. In this article, we will talk about when, where, and how to focus on night fishing for walleye.



The Best Time to Night Fish for Walleye



Walleye bite at night throughout the year, but the fall is when they come in big numbers and big sizes. The action seems to be the best as the moon is setting or rising over the horizon. If you can be out during one of those times it is historically known to be good for the bite. If you are a beginner, we recommend you start your fishing in the evening when the sun is still up and get your bearings. After you get some practice and feel comfortable at night, then you can start in the twilight hours with ease.


Fishing at night takes practice and good friends.  It is not recommended to fish at night alone.  Being in the darkness on Lake Erie poses its own set of challenges.  If there is an emergency, having a buddy on board the boat will aid in recovery.



Where to Walleye Fish at Night



When looking for good places to fish at night you should be looking for 2 things. Look for structure under the water and access to deep water. If you are fishing from shore make sure there is fairly deep water close. Typically if you are fishing in the evening from a boat you will want to start a little deeper from the shore at 15 – 25 feet of water. Sometimes the bite stays good in deep water, and sometimes the fish slide in a little shallower.



Lake Erie walleye fishing at night.



It all depends on where the bait is. As the night wears on you can come up shallower in the 6-15 ft. areas if the bite slows out deep. When the fish are up that shallow they usually have bait pushed up to the shoreline. If you see bait, stay put because the fish are there.



How to Catch Walleye at Night on Lake Erie



There are a lot of ways to catch walleye at night. Cast from shore, cast from a boat, and trolling. Typically the bigger the lure at night the better. You want to move as much water with that bait as possible. It will help the fish pin down your bait and get a face full of treble hooks. Baits of choice are Perfect 10s, Husky Jerk 12 – 14, shallow and deep Bandits, and Reef Runner 700s.


Casting at night can be a challenge but if you are persistent, you will hook up. Keep moving if you are casting whether from a boat or shore. There are some nights I have moved to 8 different piers at night, got to the last one, and limited out to 1 hour. From a boat is a little easier, make sure you are marking fish before you start casting. Trolling is a different animal. While trolling at night run your baits in the top 15 ft. Sometimes the fish are feeding right under the surface. Get your planer boards out away from the boat to take advantage of the higher fish, those are the ones that are feeding. Lastly, troll a little slower than you would during daylight hours. Sometimes a little pause in your lures will trigger a strike, try shutting the trolling motor off for 10 or 15 seconds and kicking it back on if the fishing is tough.



Safety while Fishing at Night for Lake Erie Walleye



When engaging in nighttime walleye fishing, prioritizing safety is paramount to ensure an enjoyable and secure experience. Begin by equipping yourself with the appropriate safety gear, including life jackets, a reliable flashlight, and reflective clothing to enhance visibility.


Make sure you have the required Coast Guard safety equipment.  It’s crucial to inform someone about your fishing plans and expected return time, creating a safety net in case of unforeseen circumstances. Pay close attention to weather forecasts, as adverse conditions can escalate risks. Choose a well-lit location for your night fishing expedition and use navigation charts to avoid obstacles. Additionally, maintain a cautious approach when handling fishing equipment in low-light conditions, ensuring that all hooks, lines, and other gear are managed safely. By adhering to these safety measures, anglers can relish the thrill of night walleye fishing while minimizing potential risks.



Good Areas to Fish at Night for Walleye





Go out of the river and head east towards Ruggles Reef or West towards Cedar Point.  If heading west, fish the sand flats in between Huron and Cedar Point.  This is a known staging area for fall-running walleye.  If fishing Ruggles Reef, it is good on the outside edge into 7 feet of water.  It depends on where the bait is. 




Go out of the river and head East or West, but stay in line with the end of the break wall.  This is a rock shelf where walleye move in to feed.  Look for bait in the area, mostly shad.  Using live sonar inside the breakwall can be great for fishing as well.





Inside the break wall can be good at times, but outside has better fishing. In front of Edgewater Park can be hot and heavy action when the fish push the bait up.  Some anglers troll along the rock wall while some do better in open water further out.  The towns to the East and West of Cleveland also have great night fishing.  The Rocky shoreline runs for miles in both directions.



Mouse Island


The point off of Mouse Island can be good at night, just be aware of the current in the area, it can get strong after a blow.  Fish the end of the point.



Port Clinton


The shallow beaches get pretty good at night around the Portage River.  Shore fisherman frequent the waterworks pier.  Boat fishermen do well trolling in 5-10 feet of water in front of the beach in Port Clinton.  Walleye will move to this area at night to feed on shad.



Kelley’s Island


The Island offers outstanding walleye fishing at night. It has deep water on all sides.  Try fishing on the South side in front of the marina.  This area features a rocky shelf where walleye like to feed in the evenings.