10 Lake Erie Ice Fishing Tips

Using these 10 Lake Erie ice fishing tips can turn your day on the water from ice cold to red hot, figuratively speaking, of course. It’s going to be freezing either way. But, with these tips, you’ll at least be pulling in some fish while you deal with the elements.

  1. Walleye anglers should target marinas and deeper structure. At Lake Erie, there’s a wealth of structure at lower depth, including boat docks and bridge supports. Drill ice holes near them for maximum walleye potential.
  2. Lake Erie’s White Bass are the go to fish for volume. This tip for ice fishing on Lake Erie is most applicable to anglers searching for fish volume. The lake’s White Bass population has exploded large enough in recent years to allow the Ohio DNR to lift any limits on caught fish.
  3. Lake Erie Steelhead tend to congregate in tributaries. Anglers targeting this trout-salmon hybrid are best served staying off the main reservoir. Fish the rivers that flow into it for best success.
  4. Remember that ice color is not an indicator of safety. When ice fishing, the only sure way to test ice thickness is to drill. Though color differences do tell you something about purity, they don’t necessarily say much about thickness or safety.
  5. Always go with smaller than normal baits when ice fishing. Fish of all species, including those in Lake Erie, have smaller appetites during the winter. Scale down your bait size to increase your odds of getting a bite.
  6. A lighter line catches more fish. In the relatively clear waters of Lake Erie, less line visibility equals less spooked fish. Use the lightest line you can get away with, depending on the species you’re after.
  7. Never fish alone. This ice fishing tip applies everywhere, including the waters of Lake Erie. It is simply too dangerous to risk falling through the ice when no one else is around. Fish with a buddy, or at least near another group.
  8. If you’re new to Lake Erie, consider hiring a guide. Finding good spots to ice fish on Lake Erie can be complicated by the lake’s vast size. Try to get on the ice with someone who is at least partially familiar with the body of water.
  9. Ohio locals are known to prefer a specific section of Lake Erie for ice fishing. Specifically, the water area wedged in between the islands named Rattlesnake and Green is very popular. It’s safe, large, and generally productive.
  10. Don’t hesitate to use live bait. Ice fishing on Lake Erie is already tough enough without attempting to use artificial lures. Good old-fashioned minnows will help you catch White Bass, Walleye, and Yellow Perch in solid numbers. 
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