generalLake Erie Fishing Report

QUICK LINKS: 2020 ODNR Fishing Changes2020 ODNR Fishing License RatesNew 2020 ODNR Catch Limits


As our April visitors can attest, fishing is a huge part of of Put-in-Bay’s early season popularity. The Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) says the Lake Erie fishing report outlook still appears excellent two years after a record walleye harvest in 2018. According to ODNR’s Division of Wildlife, Lake Erie anglers have the opportunity to experience even more excellent fishing opportunities on Lake Erie in 2020. There are many Put-in-Bay upcoming events planned for 2020 including TWO FREE DAYS of fishing in June (June 20 and 21, 2020)!

Island Club Fishing 3 Island Club Fishing 2 Island Club Fishing

Walleye fishing harvest rates set records in 2018 which pleased the management authorities. Numerous large hatches in the past couple years point to an even brighter fishing and tourism future for Lake Erie, the Walleye Capital of the World. Ohio’s Lake Erie daily bag limit for walleye is four fish per angler and the yellow perch daily bag limit is 30 fish per angler through April 30, 2020.

Click Here to Download the 2020-2021 Fishing Regulations.

The daily bag limit will be 6 walleye per angler from May 1 through the end of the year. A 15-inch minimum size limit is in effect during the entire season for walleye. The yellow perch daily limit will remain at 30 in all of Ohio’s Lake Erie waters through the end of the year, with no minimum size limit. Put-in-Bay restaurants are excited to have so much fresh fish this upcoming season!


Important 2020 Fishing Changes

  • Free Fishing Days: June 20 and 21, 2020
  • Effective January 1, 2020, it is legal to use three rods per angler in the Lake Erie Sportfishing District.
  • New license options are available for residents (3-Year, 5-Year, 10-Year, and Lifetime Licenses)
  • Annual fishing licenses are now valid for 365 days from the date of purchase.
  • The Lake Erie fishing permit is required for nonresidents from Jan. 1 to April 30.
  • Lake Erie black bass regulations were updated.
  • The Ballville dam was removed on the Sandusky River. The new endpoint for regulation purposes is the Waterworks dam in Tiffin.
  • Crappie regulations were removed at several inland lakes.


2020 Ohio DNR Nonresident Fishing Licenses

  • Nonresident 1-Day License $14.00
  • Nonresident 1-Day Lake Erie Charter Fishing License $14.00
  • Nonresident 1-Year License Upgraded from a 1-Day $37.44
  • Nonresident 3-Day License $25.00
  • Nonresident 1-Year License $50.96
  • Nonresident Lake Erie Fishing Permit $11.00

2020 Ohio DNR Senior Fishing Licenses

  • Resident Senior 1-Year License $10.00
  • Resident Senior 3-Year License $28.60
  • Resident Senior 5-Year License $47.58
  • Resident Senior Lifetime License $84.24

2020 Ohio DNR Resident Fishing Licenses

  • Resident 1-Day License $14.00
  • Resident 1-Day Lake Erie Charter Fishing License $14.00
  • Resident 1-Year License Upgraded from a 1-Day $12.00
  • Resident 1-Year License $25.00
  • Resident 3-Year License $54.08
  • Resident 5-Year License $90.22
  • Resident 10-Year License $180.44
  • Resident 10-Year License $468.00

2020 Ohio FREE Fishing Licenses

  • Ohio residents born on or before December 31, 1937 can obtain a free license at any license outlet.
  • Persons who are mobility impaired and required the assistance of another person to cast and retrieve.
  • Holders of veteran license plates displaying the international wheelchair symbol.
  • Certain veterans who are permanently disabled.
  • Residents of state and county institutions.
  • Former prisoners of war.


2020 Ohio DNR Catch Limits

Largemouth, Smallmouth & Spotted Bass
March 1 – April 30, 2020 — 5 (singly or in combination) — 14 inches minimum
May 1 – June 21, 2020 — 1 (singly or in combination) — 18 inches minimum
June 22, 2019 – Feb. 29, 2021 — 5 (singly or in combination) — 14 inches minimum

Walleye, Saugeye & Sauger
Jan. 1 – Feb. 28, 2020 — 6 (singly or in combination) — 15 inches minimum
March 1 – April 30, 2020 — 4 (singly or in combination) — 15 inches minimum
May 1, 2019 – Feb. 29, 2021 — 6 (singly or in combination) — 15 inches minimum

Yellow Perch
March 1 – April 1, 2021 — 30 (West, Central, & East Zones) — No minimum size


New Reef Runner a walleye fishing hit: Scott Stecher of Marblehead has added to his popular line of Reef Runner lures, and the newest plug is already a hit along the Ohio shoreline. The Ripshad 44 Mag is a bit bigger than the regular Ripshad lures, with a more shad-like shape, said Stecher.

“We produced a lure that runs great and dives close to 30 feet when trolled on braided line,” Stecher said. “Hand-painted finishes, not printed, are of the highest quality and sealed with an epoxy coating. The Ripshad 44 Mag incorporates No. 4 Eagle Claw Kahle hooks, Worth split rings and tough, hand glued butyrate bodies. They’re all hand made in America.”


Ohio DNR Statement

According to Kendra Wecker, Chief of the Division of Wildlife, “Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch fisheries are managed through an inter-agency quota system. Each jurisdiction regulates its catches to comply with annually determined safe harvest levels that minimize the risk of over-fishing. Bag limits are based on the quota allocations determined by the inter-agency group.”

Lake Erie Walleye 3 Lake Erie Walleye 2 Lake Erie Walleye

Wildlife officials say most walleye keepers this season will typically be 5 years old, averaging between 19 and 21 inches and as large as 26 inches. Anglers are encouraged to release sub-legal fish with as little handling as possible, so they can contribute to the fishery in the future. Anglers’ catches of yellow perch will mostly come from the 2015-year class and will average 9 inches long.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all and Put-in-Bay businesses and residents encourage our fishing friends to please be respectful of daily catch limits and fish sizes so we can ALL enjoy fishing on Lake Erie for many years to come!

Lake Erie Perch 3 Lake Erie Perch 2 


Put-in-Bay Lodging Options

Island Club Home Rentals Victory Station Hotel Put-in-Bay Waterfront Condos

Put-in-Bay, Ohio, offers many great lodging opportunities for fishermen. After a long drive in from Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, or even further… what better way to relax than to have your very own rental cottage. The Island Club Home Rentals at Put-in-Bay is ideal for fishing groups of all sizes. They offer cottages and houses with 3 or 4 bedrooms and an average of 5 to 9 beds per rental.You can also look into staying at a Put-in-Bay resort hotel if that would better suit your tastes.

Parking is ample enough for a truck and trailer at each house and some spots can even accommodate two! April and May availability books far in advance but there are always a few openings. Contact the Island Club at 216-898-9951 or visit to check availability and base pricing (fishermen always get a great discount off the rack rates!).

Once May arrives, more lodging opportunities open up including the Put-in-Bay Condos and the Victory Station Hotel.

So if you feel like you won’t be able to get the full Put-in-Bay experience in just one day, make sure to check out our lodging options. You can book a Put-in-Bay resort, hotel, condo, or rental, but make sure you book sooner rather than later. Weekends fill up fast in the summer and you don’t want to miss out! The faster you book, the faster you can get on a Put-in-Bay ferry!