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Top Fishing Charters in Erie

Fishing in Erie

Erie fishing charters are a tale to be told. The “Flagship City” in northwestern Pennsylvania was clearly named after the Great Lake. It is based along the shores of the “Walleye Capital of the World” and offers a plethora of outdoor activities all year long.

Every angler should fish Erie at least once in their lives. Explore the shallowest of the Great Lakes, which has more consumable fish than all of them combined. Enjoy the beautiful nature of Presque Isle Bay State Park and cast a line in the Bay. Whatever freshwater wishes you may have, Lake Erie captains will make them happen.

Erie fishing spots

Lake Erie, PA

Erie is located right by the Central Basin of the Lake of the same name. Fishing really heats up here during the summer months, when the Lake’s “Superstar” Walleye migrate there from the western basin.

The Erie fishing season officially begins when the waters being to warm up and the bigger fish move to deeper waters. Walleye find their home somewhere around 60’ of water, where they school up and search for Smelt and Alewives.

Erie fishing picks up in early summer. Come July, and Walleye and Trout move even deeper into the depths of the Lake. Resident Walleye can be caught nearshore as the season picks up and offshore as the summer progresses. Wall-hanger-sized Walleye come back to shore by early spring.

Steelhead fishing in Erie is best during the fall months. When Lake Erie cools down, Steelies stage at the mouths of creeks for their annual run upstream. If you feel like you can’t wait until September, try targeting Steelhead while fishing for Walleye. Hooking into those acrobatic fish in the cold open water is not something you’ll soon forget!

Smallmouth Bass fishing begins in May right after their annual spawn. Those hungry and aggressive Smallies bite until early summer. It’s not uncommon to land a 6 lbs one!

Perch charters begin early in June and only get better as the summer progresses. When the bite is on, Perch fishing is incredibly exciting. You can also come across White Bass and Sheepshead while searching for schools of Jumbos. Plus, Perch are devious!

And finally, Erie’s waters are also known for their Lake Trout fishing. Lakers are probably the first target early in spring, since you can hook them even in April. Lake Trout fishing concludes by mid May or early June. But it’s exactly when the Walleye season begins, so you will be busy anyway.

Presque Isle Bay

Erie’s Presque Isle Bay is the oldest harbor on all the Great Lakes. It’s about 4.6 miles long and 1.8 miles wide. The northern shore of the Bay is formed by the Presque Isle State Park, which you could visit after your fishing trip.

Shore fishing along the Park is a popular activity. Many areas are suitable for wading, which attracts anglers who don’t feel like going out on a boat.

Perch fishing in Erie is not limited to the Lake’s productive waters. You can fish for those popular fish in the Bay, along with numerous other panfish. Those are Crappie, Sunfish, Rock Bass, and Bluegill. It might be a great idea to take your kids with you to check the bite for smaller fish in Presque Isle Bay.

It’s true that you won’t find big monsters like Walleye or Steelhead here. But even though the majority of Smallmouth Bass fishing happens in Lake Erie, the Bay is home to great numbers of both Smallies and Largemouth Bass. In recent years, the Bay has been designated as ‘Big Bass” waters, especially in summer and fall.

The Bay has decent numbers of Northern Pike in the spring, along with Musky, which could be found in the late fall.

Presque Isle Bay freezes in winter, with ice fishing taking the baton from traditional trolling charters. You can target various types of panfish, and Perch seem to be the main target in the winter months.

Erie’s fishing techniques

In early summer, Erie Walleye, Steelhead, Smallmouth Bass, and Lake Trout are caught by trolling stickbaits on planer boards. As Walleye move into deeper water later in the summer, your guide will most likely troll with downriggers, dipsy divers, and spoons. Open water drifting with jigs towards the bottom of the water column can be another productive method for Walleye.

Perch fishing Erie-style involves finding a school of fish and anchoring. Your guide will drop the bait (for example, emerald or golden shiners) below the boat until it hits the bottom, usually around 30-80 feet of water.

When Perch fishing the Bay, you can try jigging, still fishing with minnows, and casting small lures.

To get Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, your guide will cast common Bass lures, like plastic worms and crank baits.

And finally, Musky fishing in the Bay is usually done with heavy line and a very stiff rod. The locals say that you will need to be especially patient while targeting those slender monsters, since it can take a while to locate one—and even longer to get it to bite.

As with most destinations, the most popular method for ice fishing on Lake Erie and the Bay is using a small ice fishing pole or a tip-up.

Need to know

You will need to purchase a PA fishing license to fish the waters of Erie.

Erie
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Erie Fishing Seasons

Head to the creeks for ice fishing if the ice is which enough. Head to the bay with large golden shiners for Pike or just begin planning your spring season. 

Ice fishing in the bay can be pretty good if the weather conditions allow. You can target Perch with minnows or Steelhead with egg sacks. 

Walleye, Perch, Steelhead, and Smallmouth Bass can be found for those who know where to look. It might be a bit early for a boating season, but tributaries are a place to go right now. 

The jigging and trolling crowds are exploring the waters of Lake Erie tributaries for early season Walleye. If you feel like fishing, book a trip and check the bite. 

Lake Erie fishing is getting hot right now. You can test your angling skills and join a local guide for a fun day on the water. Get your hands on Walleye, Perch, and Smallmouth. Be careful with what you are allowed to keep. 

Steelhead are found offshore, Smallmouth Bass are bitting, and Walleye anglers are all equipped with the best gear and tackle to get their hands on Lake Erie's "Superstar."

The deeper waters of the central basin of Lake Erie holds large numbers of Walleye and Trout. You can fish nearshore for resident Walleye or head out to deeper waters.

Anglers are trolling Jeff divers off planers or dipsy divers with stickball and spoons. You might found some Steelhead around but it’s all about Walleye this time of year. Happy fishing!

Some places in the Erie's area offer fantastic fishing right now. You can target Walleye and Steelhead this time of year before the local captains and guides begin to wrap up the season.

Perch and Steelhead can be found in good numbers right now. Walleye are also caught but the central basin might not hold good numbers right now. 

Shore limits of late fall season catches can be found right now. The boating season is over right now. If you still want to explore your options, book a trip with a local guide and check the tributaries.

The head of the bay can be a good place to go for ice fishermen. Be careful with the ice conditions and make sure you have a professional guide with you. Steelhead can be found under bridges. 

Erie Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Erie

"Full day"

Trevor Maze fished with D.D. Rod Father Sportfishing on September 15, 2018

Yes this was our first time and we will go back

"Full day trip with Captain Dick Torrelli and Steve"

Earl Stillwagon fished with Ciao Charters on August 30, 2018

Use a Charter like CIAO charter, with Capt. Dick Torrelli and Steve, they work hard and you will go home with fish.

"Booked 8 hour walleye trip, limit in 4 hours"

Barbara Smith fished with Old Timer Charters - Lake Erie on July 30, 2018

Book with Old Timers Charter for a first rate experience. I would definitely recommend them!!!!

"Caught our limit"

Andrew Mead fished with Old Timer Charters - Lake Erie on July 28, 2018

Don't drink the night before. Take motion sickness meds. Look at the waves and sit relaxed as possible. Do that and it'll be fine.

Top Targeted Species in Erie

Walleye

Perch (Yellow)

Bass (Smallmouth)