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By Gary Engberg
Everyone has either read, heard of, or experienced the great walleye
fishing on Lake Erie. Toledo, Port Clinton, Huron, and Marblehead are all
ports for this tremendous fishery. But, few people realize that ice fishing
for walleyes can be as fast and furious as the spring, summer, and fall
bite on Lake Erie. I regularly go to Lake Erie for this “ too good to be
true “ ice fishing. I’m now going to tell you how you can experience “
Ice Eyes “ yourself.
One of the best areas for walleyes on Lake Erie is the Bass Island
area centered around Put-In-Bay, Ohio, which is located on South Bass Island.
Put-In-Bay is the home of one of the best walleye, smallmouth, and perch
guides and charter captains on the Great Lakes in Pat Chrysler. During
the open water season, Pat runs a couple of charter boats that
are among the best in the lake. During the winter, Pat runs a small shantytown
of ice huts centered on some of the best walleye ice fishing in North America.
This may sound like propaganda, but it’s true! Eight to ten pound fish
are relatively common with the occasional eleven and twelve pounder thrown
in. The Ohio State record was taken in this area a couple of years ago.
The Ohio State record smallmouth of 9 pounds 3 ounces comes from here too.
One of his new toys is an airboat to shuttle customers around the islands
to the best fishing spots. The flight to South Bass Island and the town
of Put-In-Bay, population 500, takes about 10 minutes from the airport
at Port Clinton. The flight is on Island Airlines and costs around $50.00
round trip.The flight as I said takes only 10 minutes; so many anglers
stay for two or three days. All one needs is plenty of warm clothes and
a few personal belongings. Take a five gallon pail for any fishing tackle
and this will also serve as your seat in the your ice shanty. Also, remember
to bring a cooler for fish and leave it at the airport.
Gary Engberg with a Huge Huron "Eye"
||Pat Chrysler refers to these trophy fish as “ South Bass Island Cruisers
“ and from the moment you book a trip with him you’re in great hands. Pat
coordinates everything from your flight, to your transportation to and
from the airport, ice shanties, tackle and bait, propane for heat, and
even a on ice barbecue lunch.
Most anglers stay at one of the island bed and breakfast ( B and B
) establishments. Islanders treat you royally for $50.00 to $75.00 a day.
The food is wonderful and there’s plenty of it. Once you arrive at Pat
Chrysler’s Lake Erie town of “ Chryslerville “ you’ll meet fishermen from
all over who have come to experience Pat’s “ heavy Cruisers “Pat will gladly
share his thirty some years of Lake Erie fishing experience with his clients.
Erie ‘eyes hit a wide variety of lures, but the best according to Chrysler
are the Mann-O-Lure, Rapala ice fishing jigs, Crocodiles, and Swedish Pimples
in sizes five, seven, and nine. Color is important, with chartreuse, dark
green, green combinations, and fluorescent orange on cloudy overcast days.
On bright, sunny days brighter colors such as silver, chrome, chrome blue,
silver blue, and chartreuse are the best colors. Pat Chrysler’s fishing
package which includes the ice shanty, rods and reels, gaff, bait, and
transportation to and from the airport and shanty is about $75.00 per day
and well worth it. A three-day non-resident license is $15.00 and a yearly
one is $24.00 they allow for you to keep six fish for each day you fish.
For information contact Pat Chrysler at (419) 285-4631 or the Put-In-Bay
Chamber of Commerce at (419) 285-2832. Island Airlines can be reached at
I- (800) 368-3742. Fishing begins around the first of the year and continues
into March. Give it a try and you’ll have a fishing memory that you won’t
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