But sometimes I just get an itch to go north and do some fishing, not hard work fishing with long hours of casting, but just laying along a bank somewhere smelling fresh Lake Erie air, listening to waves lap the shoreline, and hearing the scream of hungry sea gulls. It's relaxing, rejuvenating and cost very little other than gas to get there.
I think lots of readers would like to go to the Big Lake and just do some fishing, but maybe don't know where to go or how to fish once they arrive. But there are plenty of places to fish and catching some isn't rocket science. Take a trip last spring for example. I drove up to the Huron Pier, but didn't fish it, preferring to stop upriver just a bit, park my car and fish from shore for awhile. There are several places near the mouth where you can fish, or you can walk out on the pier as far as you wish and fish there. Suit yourself.
I was using my standard two No. 6 snelled hooks about a foot apart above a one ounce sinker baited with nightcrawlers, tossed one rig out to mid-river and the other close to shore and struck up a conversation with two old timers who were already there. We had a good time telling tales and catching everything from sheepshead to white bass and carp, not too fast to make it work, just a bite now and then to keep us interested. It was a good trip.
Visitors here who are more interested in catching good sized fish and lots of them might consider reaching the river or pier just at dawn or even before and ambushing channel cats coming back downriver from a night of foraging. I've done that more than once. Or arrive just before dark and catch them heading upriver to feed. It can be no trick to use the same rigs baited with raw shrimp or cutbait, slightly crushed minnows or nightcrawlers and catch a dozen or so.
There are plenty of other places to fish on Erie, and one I visited first clear back in the 50's is Old Bay Bridge. It parallels U.S. 2 as it crosses Sandusky Bay, and to reach it you'll cross on U.S. 2, then take the first exit and double back. There's usually half a dozen or more cars here, good parking, and some like to take a small motor home there and fish for a couple of days. Here you'll catch cats, carp, sheepshead and perch along with the occasional smallmouth or largemouth bass.
Middle Harbor is another fair place to fish, and you can reach the lake from East Harbor State Park. There's a nice comfortable little fishing pier here, and while you're waiting for the usual bullheads, channel cats, carp, etc. to bite, it can be fun to watch for hordes of passing geese and occasional flights of cormorants, ducks and shore birds.
Catawba State Park on the northwest corner of Catawba Island can be productive, too. It has a nice cement pier and amenities from restrooms to a playground for kids. Don't fish it with nightcrawlers though, because the water swarms with round gobies who will instantly strip your bait. But fair sized pieces of raw shrimp should work along with cutbait and larger than usual minnows.
Finally, don't forget Mazurik and the Dempsey Access, both near Marblehead. The pair have plenty of parking and good sized fishing piers, nice places to relax and do some fishing. Or the river just outside Port Clinton which has comfortable fishing and easy access. It adds up to lazy fishing and little effort for often a decent or even good catch, reason enough to spend a pleasant summer morning up there.
Dick Martin is a free-lance writer from Shelby. Reach him at email@example.com. You can also visit his blog at outdoors withmartin.com.