Rob Holman and I had the great good fortune of fishing with Keith Eshbaugh, owner of Dutch Fork Custom Lures. He also guides on Lake Erie and I have to say, what an amazing place to go fishing! After spending a day targeting walleye, this trip was for some trophy sized mackinaw trout. Although we may have missed the peak of the spring action, Keith was pretty sure we’d get on some nice fish – if we could find them.
We launched and headed off shore around seven miles, into a drizzle and socked in conditions. The winds were calm so well layer in Grays Harbor Unders/ and Hodgman raingear we were comfortable and ready to get some big macks.
Lake Erie is a shallow lake, only around a hundred feet deep in the trough we were fishing. Which is a good thing because unlike lake Chelan, you really can catch and release these big lakers without fear of them dying. There are no blown air bladders and the fish are pretty darn tough fighters.
We ran small spin and glows right off the bottom on down riggers, bouncing the downrigger balls periodically to get the fish’s attention. It worked, as we went four for four on macks ranging 11 to 16 ½ pounds. There were no little fish. It was pretty epic knowing each fish on could be that next 20-30 pound fish that lake Erie has a ton of.
Keith noted that a few weeks earlier an average day of mack fishing was producing 20-30 fish which blows my mind. I would certainly like to come back on one of those days!
I know Lake Erie is a ways away from Washington, but I must say, what a great trip I had. We fished for four days with Keith, and then I met up with my wife JoAnn who flew over separately. After my fishing trip JoAnn and I drove from Erie to Niagara Falls, spending two days there. We toured an Amish township and learned about their interesting culture. Finally, we returned to Cleveland and hit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before flying home. If you have an opportunity to explore this part of the country I would not hesitate to recommend you check it out. There’s a lot to explore and the fishing is fantastic!
Do check out Dutch Fork Custom Lures for Keith’s amazing hand-painted clear trolling spoons, and if you do travel here Keith will get you on some amazing fishing. Tell him you heard about it on NWFR!