Unlucky fishermen learn to laugh, particularly at themselves

·3 min read
One of the two 14 1/2-inch yellow perch Dave Golowenski caught on a recent fishing outing.
One of the two 14 1/2-inch yellow perch Dave Golowenski caught on a recent fishing outing.

Different from shallow reservoirs and streams that pepper the Ohio landscape, Lake Erie can take a while to warm up.

Jackets and patience are sometimes required in mid-May during the shakedown phase of the fishing season. Capt. Bob, an age-in Medicare cardholder for but a few months, had taken the largest walleye of his life at 31½ inches a day or two earlier.

By Friday more things, including wind, sky and wave, looked good to go. Some things, stained water from a previous week of rain and catch reports from the day’s incoming boats, did not.

“The big schools haven’t made it this far yet” from the shallower western basin, Capt. Bob said at the public boat ramp in Lorain, “so the fish are local fish.”

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Casters were still taking walleyes in decent sizes and numbers by tossing plugs toward the chilled open lake while balancing atop the breakwater rocks that help form the eastern wall of the extensive harbor. Six-fish limits were more accidental than typical.

Boats take anglers far from where casters can reach, though not always where the walleye swarms are bigger or the biting better. Trolling nonetheless covers a lot of water, making the chance encounter with a fish or three or 16 seem likely.

The ostensible aim of the day’s effort was to net 18 walleyes, given three fishermen watching seven lines trailing a variety of spoons, plugs and spinners at various depths.

No matter the amount of experience, the level of expertise, the excellence and sophistication of equipment, sometimes you don’t get you want. Briefly told, a few hours of trolling conjured up two streamlined walleyes in the diminutive 18-inch length and two bulging yellow perch in the rare 14½-inch denomination.

Unbeknownst to the captain, trollers farther out were catching limits of walleye, many of them far bigger than the biggest yellow perch. Bob sent a later email offering the skinny on where he’d gone wrong.

Fishermen learn to laugh, particularly at themselves.

Erie fishing

While plenty of fishing and catching has occurred to date, the heat of summer and vacation opportunities stoke expanded angling effort. Lake Erie, being a favorite destination of central Ohio’s many boat owners, will offer anglers numerous reasons to make the trip north, the Ohio Division of Wildlife reported in its season forecast.

• Walleye – An abundance of 15- to 22-inch fish from strong hatches in recent years should provide the bulk of “keeper” walleyes with some bigger, older fish mixed in. A large population of younger walleyes in the 9- to 14-inch range could prove pesky but should be handled carefully and released.

• Yellow perch – Good hatches in the western lake suggest solid perch catching, particularly during July through mid-August and again in the fall. Poor hatches make for diminished angling prospects from Huron east.

• Bass – Smallmouth and largemouth bass both are doing well, although anglers need to develop some expertise in terms of where to find local strongholds of fish.

Parting shots

Vessel checks designed to remind boat operators about required safety and emergency equipment will be conducted Sunday free of charge by America’s Boating Club of Central Ohio, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Hollenback launch site at Alum Creek Marina. … Federal forecasters are predicting the summer’s Lake Erie algae bloom, though still subject to variability based on weather, might fall in the lower range compared with blooms during the past 15 years. … A 415-acre grasslands section, formally known as the Mallett Family Tract, has been added to the Big Island Wildlife Area west of Marion.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Outdoors: Fisherman learn quickly they don't always get what they want