By: Captain Ryan Snyder, Erie, PA
We all know Lake Erie is the walleye fishing capital of the world. 2018 was an exceptional year for walleye fishing here. 2019 is expected to be even better.
If you have always wanted to experience Lake Erie walleye fishing, this will be a great year.
The walleye population is exploding in Lake Erie. This stems from consecutive massive hatches in 2014 and 2015. Another high-volume hatch followed in 2018. In the last two years, the walleye were smaller-sized for our lake. However, now we’re seeing very respectable-sized walleye from those big hatches. Walleye measuring over 20-inches should be common in 2019. In addition, we should see an occasional 30-inch dinosaur.
In 2019, the challenge when booking a walleye charter is different: it’s to find a captain who is willing to extend your experience if the “fish are jumping into the boat” — a very reasonable possibility.Ryan Snyder
As the walleye size increases, fishermen will have more fun with the better bites and fights on the water. You’ll take home more more meat for the freezer. If you’ve never experienced walleye before, I think you’ll agree with me that it’s the best tasting fish in the world. Walleye fillets are very mild and easy to prepare.
What to bring?
Fishing gear not needed
Leave your favorite lures and rods at home. We have hundreds of lures and 30 to 40 rods on the boat.
Be prepared for the weather. A full day fishing trip can last from 6 am to 2 pm. That’s a long time to be exposed to the elements. I strongly recommend long-sleeved shirts with UV ray protection, a baseball cap, and sunglasses. It can be quite chilly in the mornings, so dress in layers. Our boat has a hardtop to protect you from the rain. But as long as there are no thunderstorms, we will fish through rain showers. Therefore, if there is rain in the forecast, bring a raincoat.
Fishing food and refreshments
Pack snacks, lunch, and refreshments. While the primary goal of every charter is to catch a boat load of fish, you also want an enjoyable experience on Lake Erie. Not to say that your trip will be unsuccessful, but we can only catch what the lake gives us, and somedays are better than others.
Lastly, regardless of the fishing conditions, clients can: enjoy watching one of the best sunrises in the world, take a much needed break from work, and make memories with friends and family to last a life time. Many customers come back year after year for this experience.
The Thrill of the Catch
When the conditions are right for Lake Erie walleye fishing, you can expect incredibly fast action and a full cooler before you realize what has happened.
The fishing was so good in 2018 that it was difficult to not catch our clients limit of walleye too fast.Ryan Snyder
On the best days of fishing, the first rod in the water gets a fish before the second rod is out. That was the case for all of the 2018 season. The fishing was so good in 2018 that it was difficult to not catch our clients limit of walleye too fast. It’s an unusual problem to have. When it does happen, you quickly realize that being on the water and experiencing the beauty of Lake Erie, is just as important as catching a limit of walleye in a few short hours.
The Uncommon Challenge
This uncommon challenge — catching your limit too fast — caused us to deploy fewer rods to slow the bite as well as throw back some legal sized fish in hopes of catching bigger fish! On days I first mated on the Vision Quest (another Erie, PA charter that offers excellent guide services to larger groups) we would catch 30 walleye (i.e., five man limit) by 8:30am. The customers were always incredibly grateful for their fruitful day on the lake but often commented that they didn’t even get to eat lunch on the water.
The bottom line is we take what the lake gives us and this coming walleye season should be a historic one. To anyone on the fence about whether or not to book a fishing trip, I can promise it will be an unforgettable experience and well worth the cost.
About the Author
Captain Ryan Snyder is an 18 year old freshman at The Ohio State University studying mechanical engineering. He’s fished the Great Lakes with his father his entire life. He’s also been first mating for his dad, Captain Paul Snyder, on Ditch Chicken Charters since he was 13 years old. At age 16, Ryan was offered a job mating for Captain Pete Alex on the Vision Quest. Captain Pete has been chartering the Great Lakes for over 30 years and is a highly respected captain on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. In August 2018, Ryan finished his third fishing season with Captain Pete. Between Vision Quest and Ditch Chicken Charters, Ryan has been fishing full time in the summer for three straight years.
Captain Paul Snyder primarily offers walleye charters on Lake Erie. But he also offers Lake Trout charters in the spring and steelhead charters in the late summer and fall. With Captain Paul operating mainly on weekends, Ryan obtained his own Master’s Captain’s License to run the operation during the week.
About The Charters
For anyone planning to book a walleye charter, consider Ditch Chicken charters. Captains Paul and Ryan Snyder offer an incredible service for a fair rate. Their boat accommodates up to four guests. For groups larger than four, Ryan recommends Vision Quest and Black Top charters.
If these three boats are booked for the day you wish, make sure you do your research on the Captain of the boat. In previous years, the customer challenge was to find a Captain who can put you on the walleye.
In 2019, your challenge when booking a walleye charter is different: it’s to find a captain who is willing to extend your experience if the “fish are jumping into the boat” — a very reasonable possibility.