Many people know that Ohio's Lake Erie playground is famous for its island-hopping fun and world-class roller coasters. But the area also offers a cost-effective family activity that receives far less attention walk-on charter boat fishing.
Geared to those wanting to spend a fun day on the lake without spending a lot of money, walk-on charter boats are a great way to experience Lake Erie sportfishing for the first time. Averaging $25 to $35 a person, the charter provides several hours of fishing in well-scouted fishing areas; all necessary bait; a bucket of ice for preserving your catch; and lots of tips on how to reel in the big ones.
Getting on board:
Hooking up with one of these fun boats, which holds from 20-30 people, is easy. Visit one of the many Internet sites, such as lake-erie.com or contact any of the region’s visitors bureaus. Most walk-on charters run twice a day, early in the morning and again around 2:30 in the afternoon. Reservations are not necessary for most walk-ons, but they are welcomed.
What to bring:
All you have to do is supply your own fishing pole, tackle and an Ohio fishing license. A one-day license costs $11, and an annual license is $19. It’s a good idea to pack along a small cooler of sodas and snacks. Remember that the sun is more intense out on the water so include a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen in your daypack. If you are prone to motion sickness, don’t forget to take whatever remedy works best for you.
Cleaning your fish:
For many people, one of the less enjoyable sides of fishing is the cleaning. Well, don’t worry because once back on shore anglers can choose from several local fish “houses” where, for a modest fee, catches can be quickly cleaned and filleted.
Including your snacks, a fishing adventure this fall can cost less than $40 a bargain by today's entertainment standards. Best of all, you’ll have some nice fresh, delicious fish fillets to show for your "work."
Numerous fishing services from Ashtabula to Toledo offer daily walk-on charters to pursue smallmouth bass, walleye or yellow perch, depending on the season. An alternative and more personalized fishing trip to consider is scheduling with a private charter boat captain. Most of these boats accommodate four-to-six people.
Charter captains will be plying Lake Erie’s waters through October and beyond if the weather allows providing their customers with some great late season fishing. Fisheries experts with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources say September and October should be great months for yellow perch and smallmouth. The walleye fishing is also expected to pick up as the fish move in closer to shore, feeding on numerous shad and baitfish.
Summer is in full swing and the fishing on Ohio’s northcoast is still hot. Now is a great time to find out first hand why national fishing magazines rank Lake Erie as one of the country’s finest fishing holes.