Port Clinton

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Fishing in Port Clinton

Port Clinton is a fishing village rested in the northern shores of Lake Erie. The unique charm of this quiet town makes it look frozen in time. Marina after marina is packed with Lake Erie charter boats, and it has always been like this. Everyone who has anything to do with fishing charters in Port Clinton, Ohio, know that the town just breathes, eats, and sleeps fishing. 

Known For

What makes Port Clinton different is the population of Walleye, the local dandy. Anglers who have experience in Great Lakes fishing charters will tell you that the western basin of Lake Erie is primed with the highest numbers of trophies. Its shallow waters are the spawning grounds for the majority of all the lake’s Walleye. We mean it - ask anyone in Fisherman's Wharf in Port Clinton!

But if you think that Walleye fishing in Ohio is the only thing that can keep you busy, you will be pleasantly surprised.

All typical Port Clinton Walleye charters will take you fishing over the rocky bottoms, ledges, and drop-offs. But the waters of the lake are also home to Smallmouth Bass and Perch. The Bass fishing opportunities are hot around the many reefs, rocky shoreline, and islands of the lake. Best of all, the population of these feisty fish is just always on the rise. Lake Erie Bass will jump, twist, and turn for your excitement.

Even though Port Clinton is framed by stunning beaches, it can sometimes be hard to notice all the beauty. This happens when you try to reel in jumbo Yellow Perch! Believe it or not, when you are fishing for Lake Erie Perch the only thing in your mind is how tasty your catch will be.

When spring comes, Port Clinton wakes up from its slumber and hundreds of anglers seek pre-spawn Walleye as they cruise the shallow bottoms looking for bait. Late spring sends the lake’s ‘superstar’ into deeper waters around the islands and reefs. During the summer and autumn months, anglers are busy catching their limits and sorting out their weekly dinners.

Rules & Regulations

As long as you don’t spearfish, wade or possess fishing equipment in or along Nursery Waters, which is unlawful, all you need to do is to purchase a license. An Ohio Fishing License costs around $11 daily and may be purchased in advance of a scheduled trip. To validate the license, sign it and fill in the date at the beginning of each trip. If the trip is postponed, you can keep the unvalidated license until you are able to reschedule the trip. You will also need a valid Lake Erie or Combination Trout/Salmon/Lake Erie permit. 

Types of Fishing

As soon as Walleye start biting, the fishing stays strong well into October. When you are fishing aboard a Port Clinton charter boat, you don’t even need to experiment. Drift fish the reefs and spawning areas where Walleye hang out in massive schools. Anchor with live bait, Bass minnows or soft craws. Cast your lure of choice, be it bright-colored jigs with minnows, spinners or weapons tipped with nightcrawlers and worms. Bottom fish or troll for Yellow Perch and Walleye. Some anglers prefer tubing jigs with green pumpkin seed early in the season when fishing for Bass.

If cold weather holds, anglers hop on their airboats and snowmobiles. Ice fishing trips out of Port Clinton are only safe with a professional guide - you don’t want to get stranded on the ice! When conditions permit, head out for Walleye and Perch.

Port Clinton
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Port Clinton Fishing Seasons

If the lake is frozen, go ice fishing. If it’s not, hop on the boat and follow the southerly wind. Plus, if the winter is warm, the annual spawning Walleye run can come earlier!

It’s only safe to go out if the ice is still there in the western basin. Get ready for some spring Walleye action. Trophy fishing is just around the corner - the season is coming!

It seems like the season has come! Jig or troll with planner boards with stick baits for large female Walleye. They are moving into the shallow waters, and so should you! 

This month is all about prime Walleye fishing. The western basin reef complex is the place to be right now. Book a charter and go for jigging or trolling. You’ve been waiting for it, haven’t you?

The western basin holds lots of big Walleye. They can be taken by trolling crankbaits and spoons. Fish near and over the reefs, outside shelf edge, or wherever your captain takes you.

Drift fishing is in its prime! Walleye are snapping on the western basin. Yellow Perch bite good when targeted with spreaders and shiners. The fishing is way above average.

Head out to the shallow reefs that are producing good numbers of fish. We’re talking Walleye in the hundreds! Catch a good mix of keeper Walleye. Perch can be pretty aggressive.

Turn an average of 30 Smallmouth Bass? Easy! The days are growing shorter and the waters cool down.  Walleye, Bass, and Perch are in good numbers and legal size. Deepwater reefs are the place to be!

The prime areas on the shallow reefs close to deep water can easily give you your limit catches. Troll or drift fish for Walleye. And don’t forget about Yellow Perch and Bass - the sizes can be fantastic. 

The western basin holds good numbers of Walleye. Cast spinners in the shallow waters or go for the usual trolling. Yellow Perch fishing is also outstanding with nice size and limit catches. 

The season is over and it’s time to get the charter boats off the water. Take some of your recent catches from the freezer and make a nice Perch dinner for your family. 

The western basin is quiet and the fish are getting ready for Christmas. If the lake is covered in ice, book a trip with your favorite Lake Erie guide and go ice-fishing. Try something different!

Port Clinton Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Port Clinton



Perch (Yellow)

Perch (Yellow)

Bass (Smallmouth)

Bass (Smallmouth)

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)