Home Fishing Location Guides Complete Guide to Fishing Lake Erie

Complete Guide to Fishing Lake Erie

In this fishing guide to Lake Erie, you will learn everything that you need to know. You must have a special fishing license for the lake if you are not fishing during the correct months. You will learn about the fish in Lake Erie and when they emerge from their hiding spots. There are a few great fishing supplies stores that you can learn for reference. And you’ll be informed on the different fish and what months they are most active and easier to catch

What to Know about Lake Erie

Lake Erie is one of the Great Lakes which border the counties of Canada and the United States. It’s about 241 miles long, but it is very shallow as its depth is only 62 feet below the water level. In the summer, the lake’s water is extremely warm because its shallow depth allows the lake to warm quickly. 

One of the fish you can catch on Lake Erie is the rainbow trout. These fish tend to be aggressive and can tug on the line once they’re hooked. While this may seem complicated, many fishers say that catching them is a lot of fun. Most of the marine life in Lake Erie is active before dawn, so you’ll have to get up bright and early to have a productive fishing day.

Do You Need a Fishing License in Ohio?

Lake Erie is located in Ohio, so you may think that you need an Ohio fishing license, but this is not true. Ohio fishing licenses are different from licenses that allow you to fish in Lake Erie. The Ohio fishing license only allows you to fish in rivers and public lakes and ponds in the state. 

However, they do not apply to Lake Erie during the month of January 1st to April 30th. You can only use your Ohio fishing license to fish in Lake Erie from May to December. If you want to fish at Lake Erie anywhere from January to April, you’ll have to purchase a special Lake Erie fishing license. 

They do not cost much money as the licenses are only $11. This cost is standard no matter if you are a resident of Ohio or are just visiting or on vacation from another state or country.

Special Situations

If you are under the age of 16, you do not need to purchase any license and order the fish. But everyone needs to follow all the regulations of both Lake Erie and the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

How to Buy a License

Purchasing a fishing license is quite easy. You can mail in a license form, or call a live operator who will process a permit for you. If you are internet savvy, you can use the Ohio Division of Wildlife online customer center to buy a fishing license.

Best Time to Fish at Lake Erie

If you’re looking to save money while fishing at Lake Erie, you need to fish at the lake only between January and April. During these four months, you will not have to buy a special Lake Erie fishing license. 

But if costs and money are not the issues, then you need to know which fish are most active during your visit. Then you can learn when the best time is to go to catch the fish you want. 

If you want to fish for walleye fish, it is best to go in the summer months, from July to September. 

Are you looking to pull in smallmouth bass? Then May through November is the right time to go. If you want a king salmon fish, get ready to put on your jacket, and wear layers because you need to go during the fall, from September to October.

Types of Fish in Lake Erie

The most prominent fish in Lake Erie is the perch. They live in the water, and they are also farmed in commercial ventures. Every year they come to spawn in the spring, and that is when these fish are caught the most. But there are many fish in Lake Erie. A Fisher will also find fish like the chinook salmon, coho salmon, carp, bass, hike, and rainbow trout. 

Where to Find Fishing Supply Stores at Lake Erie

Dotted along the entire shoreline of Lake Erie, there are many different types of fishing supplies and bait stores anywhere you go. So you don’t need to fret or panic if you forget something at home.

A few great fishing bait shops that you should look for are: 

  • Fish USA Pro Shop 
  • The Lakeshore Bait and Tackle
  • Bill’s Hooks
  • Dreamcatcher Fishing Bait & Tackle
  • Shine’s Bait and Tackle

But you shall never be far from a bait and tackle store no matter what position you are on the lake. Unless you’re in the middle of the great lake in a boat with no paddle, but I’m sure you’ll be distracted with much bigger issues.

What to Do After You’re Done Fishing

When you finish a long day fishing, there are many activities you can do around Lake Erie. Depending on where you’re fishing, you can visit a winery or tour a lighthouse. If it is the summer, there will be many types of events like movies on the Harbor or open-air concerts. 

Or you, a tired fisher, can simply choose to relax and take a nap on the beach. Since most of Lake Erie’s fish come out before dawn and go into hiding around noon, you’ll have much of the day leftover to explore.


Lake Erie is one of the five Great Lakes that are in the United States and Canada. Lake Erie is the least deep of the five Great Lakes. Because of how shallow the lakewater is, it heats up very quickly during the Spring and Summer but also freezes quickly in the winter. There are many Bait and Tackle or fishing supply stores all around Lake Erie, so you will never have to worry about supplies when you’re getting close to the lake. The best time to fish is before dawn, as that is when most fish are active. Fish don’t like to come out during the day because predators can see them better. To fish in Lake Erie from January to April, you will need a special Lake Erie fishing license.

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Growing up on the south shore of Long Island, Chum Charlie has always had a passion for fishing. His favorite fish to catch is a striped bass and his favorite bait to use is bunker. Off the water, he enjoys blogging and sharing his favorite fishing tips & tricks that he has learned over the years.