Lake Erie Spring Walleye Fishing

Lake Erie Walleye
Lake Erie Walleye

Lake Erie spring walleye fishing is the best time to catch a trophy walleye. There are plenty of 10+ pound walleye swimming in the western basin after ice out. In the spring, walleye migrate to the western basin of Lake Erie and the Detroit River to spawn. The best place to find these trophy walleye is around rocky spawning areas such as reefs and shoals. Walleye can be found on top of the reefs and around them in the sandy flats. Trolling and jigging from a boat is the preferred fishing method in the spring. Jigging takes place on top of the reefs and trolling takes place around the rocky structure. Shore fishermen also have the opportunity at a trophy by fishing the Maumee or Sandusky river systems.

Where to Catch Lake Erie Walleye in the Spring

Areas to focus on for trophy spring walleye are paths to the Reef Complex and Sandusky Bay. Good areas to try are the chutes in between the islands (Starve, Middle, and Green). These areas have high currents and attract feeding walleye as they make their way to and from the spawning grounds. In those high current areas try trolling across the deep rocky points. The deep shoals in the island area will also hold walleye as they move (American Eagle Shoal, Mouse Island Reef, and Gull/Kelley’s Shoal). If targeting walleye that enter Sandusky Bay fish the Cedar Point dump, Marblehead Lighthouse, and the Cedar Point Breakwall. Fishing along the cans can also be productive as those fish move on and off the reefs (F and D Cans are always worth a look). Outside of the firing range cans on the sand flats are a popular place to troll in the spring.

When to Fish for Walleye in the Spring

The best times for spring Lake Erie Walleye Trolling is ice out until about the end of April. After that, you will find a lot of post-spawn walleye making their way out of the area. Areas to try are around the islands in high current such as the South Passage and North side of North Bass Island. The areas around F-Can have historically been good during spawning time. This is a highway for walleye coming and going to the reff complex. There are still plenty of fish that hang around to feed after the spawn, but the majority of the big fish will move East. During a tournament in mid-April one year, the winner found the leading school of post-spawn fish in Vermilion. They move out fast after they spawn.

Lake Erie Spring Fishing Tackle

In the spring there is nothing better than trolling a large crankbait. Bandits, Reef Runners, and Deep Husky Jerks work well trolled at slow speeds. As always you may have to switch colors and speeds to find what they want that particular day. Speeds range from 1 – 1.8 MPH. Varying speeds by making sharp turns will trigger strikes when the fishing is tough. Jigging is another method of catching walleye in the spring. Fishermen will drift or anchor close to the structure where walleye are spawning. Weather fronts play a big role in the success of an early spring fishing trip to Lake Erie. Just after a strong cold front can make fishing tough. Look for steady weather for a few days in a row and fish that to have the most success.