June 21st was the first day of summer, and the temperatures are rising. It was a cooler than normal spring here in the Port Clinton area, but it feels like that is behind us now. As the water temperatures rise and get into the 70’s the big walleye are starting to move to the deeper/cooler waters to the east. As of last week the water temperature in this area was 66-69 degrees off shore.
At this time there are still plenty of big fish to be found in the Western Basin. From west of the islands, in and around Niagara Reef, C Can, to the northeast up to the red buoy North of North Bass is still producing great catches with several “Fish Ohio’s” in the bunch. Those with Canadian licenses are having much success on both sides of Pelee Island as well. If you don’t have a Canadian license, you can fish the Canadian line between North Bass and Middle Island by either trolling or drift casting crawler harnesses or trolling with spoons and crankbaits for nice sized walleye.
The further east you travel the bigger the fish will get. The trick to catching those fish is having a great sonar and mapping system on your boat, because there is really no structure out there per se, and finding that pod of active fish can be time consuming and difficult without them.
Once you find them, look at your electronics and determine the depth where they are suspended. Then determine how much line you need out to put your baits in the “zone”. The zone, as we call it, is just above where you see the fish swimming. Walleye will move up in the water column to chase your lure, but usually will not see it if it is below them, and that’s just a matter of eye placement on their heads. As you catch fish, keep track of what baits they hit on and at what depth. Then duplicate it. You should start to put more walleye in the boat at a faster pace.
Photo by Denny Ellerbrock