News from the Ohio Division of Wildlife Service last week confirmed that the 10.15-pound smallmouth bass caught in Lake Erie by an Ohio fisherman in November was a 16-year-old female and likely the largest bass ever caught from the lake.
Erie continued to impress with super catches of walleyes, smallies and steelhead trout. Few could argue that for a small investment in a fishing license, Ohio anglers now have access to some of the best freshwater fishing in the world.
When the weather is right, anglers who know what they are doing can count on the excitement and satisfaction of fishing unparalleled during an era when so many people longed to return to “the good old days” in so many aspects of their lives.
For anglers, the best time to fish is in the here and now.
The 10.15 pound sea bass caught by Gregg Gallagher of Fremont came from Ontario waters after he and his son crossed the border from Ohio on November 3. They returned to Port Clinton with the big fish and weighed it on a certified scale.
Gallagher’s catch is the crème de la crème for fishing smallmouth Erie in 2022. Throughout the season, anglers battled major bronzes from the mouth of the Detroit River to the Bass Islands to the shores of Cleveland, Erie, and Buffalo.
While the 10-plus-pounder is hauled from Canadian waters, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York waters are equally capable of producing big smallies for anglers who bounce Ned’s rigs, tube jigs, and drop-shot rigs. I wouldn’t be surprised if another smallie pushing 10 pounds gets caught in the Erie this year.
Setting a hook on a bass fattened by gobies, crayfish, perch and an abundance of spinners never gets old. In my experience, nothing compares to the moment when the hook fires a 4 or 5 pound smallmouth bass fight and the fight goes from submarine to air.
The new Erie record fish surpasses a 9.84 pound fish caught in 1984. The current small Ohio record is a 9.5 pound fish caught from Lake Erie. Biologists routinely survey Erie bass populations and find no fish to match Gallagher’s catch – although the 20-inch, seven-pound fish did appear in surveys.
The fact that Erie keeps getting better and better is a tribute to regulations that have resulted in tremendous improvements in water quality over the last 40 years and to excellent fish management practices and cooperation by authorities in Ohio, Michigan, New York, and ont.
Walleye management is a prime example of the value that can be obtained when fisheries managers share data and best practices and agree on harvest quotas and more.
Whether Youngstown-Warren anglers enjoy casting nightcrawler-and-spinner rigs or trolling crankbait and spoon, they can find great Erie walleye fishing just an hour or two from home.
Steelhead fans can book expensive expeditions to the major rivers of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Or they can invest in a tank of gas, hop on an Ohio 11 and drive to Ashtabula or the Grand river or Conneaut Creek.
The Erie Creek in Ohio offers ready-to-wear access to 8- to 10-pound steel heads from mid-September through winter to early April. During the summer months, anglers find big fish feasting around massive schools of baitfish in the cool depths of the Erie.
If you haven’t fished Lake Erie in a while, it would be wise to include it on your to-do list for 2023.
Jack Wollitz book, “General Angler” is an in-depth look at why anglers love fishing so much. Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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