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In 2018 Lake Erie experienced it's best walleye spawns in modern history! That spawn will allow recreational anglers, charter captains and commercial fishermen to flourish. Ontario permits a highly regulated commercial fishery that allows licensed commercial boats to gill net many types of fish with Walleye being one of the most sought after eating fish in the world. Many anglers get frustrated with Commercial Fisherman believing the long strings of gill nets literally empty the lake of Walleye. This however is not entirely true. Yes the gill nets catch many Walleyes but while they are set but consider this, they also catch a large amount of non sought after fish like Freshwater Drum, Silver Bass and evasive species such as White Perch.
Anyone that has spent any time trolling on Lake Erie with numerous rods (Lake Erie allows two rods per person) will tell you there is nothing more frustrating than having any of the previously mentioned fish load up on your lines spinning around tangling your lines and possibly breaking lines losing expensive baits such as Rapala Tail dancers and Dipsy Divers. The Commercial Fisherman are highly regulated and also target those nuisance fish typically shipping them overseas to markets in China and Japan. By taking those course fish out of the lake at the same rate of Walleyes. The Commercial Fishery helps balance the number of fish species in the lake. Trust me I too get frustrated when I accidently troll into a poorly marked gill net losing valuable equipment. However I am thankful that our MNFR in conjunction with input from many oversight committees such as the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission. allow commercial fishing on Lake Erie. Now back to that spectacular 2018 spawn, why did this spawn occur? Well only Mother Nature knows exactly why the 2018 was blessed, however there are some indicators that do contribute to a great spawn. 2018 had an early winter warm-up, but that was quickly followed by a sudden cold spell from mid-March into April, which appears to have influenced a protracted spawning period. The cold early spring likely aligned the production of zooplankton with the walleye hatch, providing an abundance of food for the tiny walleye to feed on.
With that being said the future of Lake Erie's Walleye Fishing looks extremely bright! Hook up you boat or contact reputable charter and get out there to enjoy this fantastic fishery as its going to be extremely good for years to come!