With the boys working hard this summer making money for college and with lots of fair projects in the barn, we decided to stick closer to home for this summer’s adventure.
So, we booked five days of camping at East Harbor up on the western basin of Lake Erie. We’ve never camped there, but we have always heard great things about the facilities, so we decided to give it a try. The three of us headed up for the last week of June and had a great trip.
The are several very large camping areas with plenty of lots and most of them have shade. Many of the sections are fairly spacious as well. Most of the lots only offer electricity but we loved the facilities and I would certainly go back again. The amenities are very nice and well maintained. Zoe especially enjoyed the many miles of biking trails. East Harbor is close to most of the action in the area no matter what you want to do or explore.
When you are up at Lake Erie there are lots of things to do no matter what kind of budget you are on. Many head to the islands for sightseeing or partying but we decided to stick near Marblehead and Port Clinton. A couple of trips to the beaches for Zoe and a trip or two exploring the Marblehead lighthouse for Mom. We especially enjoyed a morning of kayaking on the Portage River. We saw a lot of ducks and three bald eagles spent most of the morning with us. And of course, no trip is complete to the area without a perch meal or two at Jolly Rogers in Port Clinton. It is one of my favorite places to get fish.
The highlight of the trip is the boys took a day off of work to drive up and we did an evening walleye charter. I’ve been hearing fantastic fishing reports for the better part of a month. Most of June so many boats catching their limits in only a few hours of fishing in the morning. A lot of stories of leaving the dock by six and back by eight with limits. Many experienced walleye fishermen are saying this is the best the lake has offered in twenty years and we wanted to find out for ourselves.
With mom and Zoe going, we opted for just a four hour evening charter instead of a full day. We weren’t sure if they would be up for eight hours. Plus, the evening charters are a tad bit cheaper. We used a charter outfit called Fat Boy Charters run by Captain Jeff Myers and I would highly recommend him. His boat is located in Vermillion which is an advantage this time of year. With the heat wave we had most of June, many of walleye have headed for deeper water and you can get there much quicker down by Vermillion and Lorain than you can from the traditional spring areas like Port Clinton and Marblehead.
Captain Jeff did a wonderful job putting us onto the fish in a short amount of time. With the wind out of the south due to storms in the area, we didn’t have much of a drift so we started out by trolling with down riggers in forty feet of water. We headed towards Lorain, and after a short couple of hours of a slow troll, we had close to twenty keeper walleyes in the boat. Most were in the sixteen to seventeen inch range which are the best for eating, but we had several over twenty inches as well.
After the wind picked up, we headed back towards Vermillion where we started and finished the evening drifting with spoons tipped with nightcrawlers. By the time the evening was done, the final count was twenty-seven keepers for the five of us. A very nice trip that was short for the ladies and yet netted us several wonderful meals for the summer.
So, I found out first hand that all of the fishing hype I’ve been hearing is true. Lake Erie has been red hot this spring for walleye. If you haven’t been up chasing walleye for a while, this is the summer to do it. The ODNR Division of Wildlife are telling us that those 15-17 inch walleye are mostly from the great 2015 and 2014 hatches and there are plenty of them. They are predicting that the fall perch fishing should be excellent in the western basin as well but the central basin may not be near as good. But there is still a lot of time to chase those walleyes this summer. Nothing beats a fish dinner of fried walleye or perch.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.