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Places to launch and dock your boat for walleye fishing on the PA waters of Lake Erie

Places to launch and dock your boat for walleye fishing on the PA waters of Lake Erie Places to launch and dock your boat for walleye fishing on the PA waters of Lake Erie
By Dave Adams

If you're looking for a place to catch walleye and dock your boat, look no further than the Pennsylvania shores of Lake Erie.

From the walleye anglers standpoint and when boating outside of Presque Isle Bay, "It is where the walleye have been the last few years," says Captain Harland Wise of Prime Time Charters, "Beginning in late June and continuing until August, most walleye are just west of the point at Presque Isle." Wise fishes out of Lampe Marina and says that this area not only offers good walleye opportunities, but also, the protection of the bay. If rough weather hits, just motor back to the bay.

Since Lake Erie has cleared considerably in the last 10 years, the count down method is rarely used. Successful walleye fishing depends on precision trolling. Capt. Bob Romanishin of Wallhanger Charters offers this advice to help you land a few hefty walleye.

"When boating out of Presque Isle Bay, two areas generally hold walleye," says Romanishin, "East of the entrance to the bay, you can troll the 3 1/2 inch Thunderstick (black/purple, green or rainbow trout) during the early hours. Begin in 40 to 50 feet of water and continue trolling east approximately five miles. The best presentation for a plug is 150 feet lead (using 12-pound monofilament) off the planer board. This setup will keep the plug in the upper 15 feet of water. If the fish start to drop lower in the water, switch to the larger (7 inch) Thunderstick."

Romanishin adds, "West of the bay, walleye can be found by trolling the same depth for approximately four miles. If your boat has a downrigger, try using the crawler harness. Attach the harness to the downrigger, with a 50 or 100 feet lead off the ball. Vary the depth from 20 feet to 40 feet until a feeding pattern can be developed. Also, a shallow diving plug, using the same lead, can be just as effective off the downrigger."

One option to docking you're boat at Presque Isle Bay is to contact the Port Authority. According to Rosalie Hanks, administrative assistant marina operations, the Port Authority maintains five marinas in Presque Isle Bay. Depending on boat size or dock location, they can handle anything from jet skis to 65-foot yachts. Slips are available at Lampe, State Street, or Perry's Landing. The season for slip rental runs from May 1 to October 31, with prices ranging from $525 to $3810. In addition, 35 docks are maintained for transient (overnight) dockage. For information call Rosalie at 814-455-1313.

Another option for walleye hunting is the PA F&BC marina at Walnut Creek. Perhaps some of the best walleye fishing in Pennsylvania occurs when the large schools of migratory walleye enter the waters of Pennsylvania. "The walleye fishing is great during July and August," says WCO John Bowser." During this time, you can reach these walleye from the Walnut Creek Marina by fishing the area near the trenches or the Ohio Line.

According to Bowser, the season for boat slip rental at Walnut Creek runs from May 15th to the first Sunday in November. Prices at Walnut Creek are the lowest, $450 a season for up to 23 foot boats, however, with these low prices comes the biggest drawback - a long waiting list for boat slippage. Also, Walnut Creek does not have gas docks or a place to run if the weather kicks up.

You could also consider boating from the PA F&BC marina at North East. Here, you will find deeper waters (up to 140 feet within seven miles) and good walleye fishing from mid-July until mid-September. Since this area offers such easy access to a variety of water depths, you can begin fishing for walleye anywhere from two to 12 miles offshore. When targeting walleye, try combining a No. 1 Dipsy Diver with a crawler harness. Set the dipsy at 2 1/2 or 3 and vary leads between 100 and 200 feet. Also, you can try running the No. 0 dipsy, set at 0, off a planer board. For either dipsy tactic, good harness colors to use are purple/black, watermelon, or chartreuse.

The season for boat slip rental at North East runs from April 15 to October 31. 220 slips are available with prices ranging from $775 to $1025 (with electric and water). Transient slips are available at $10 per night, and North East also has a gas dock. For information call 814-725-8244.

Good Fishing and Enjoy Lake Erie
Capt. Dave Adams

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