Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Lake Erie yields whale of walleye


Toledo fishing guide Ross Robertson shows off the 15.1 pound walleye that he pulled from Lake Erie.


Toledo fishing guide Ross Robertson, who recently was noted in this space for landing a trophy 8-pound smallmouth bass from western Lake Erie, earns another mention, this time for a 15.1-pound walleye.

The behemoth 'eye was just a pound shy of the state record.

"I was drifting extremely slow with a Silver Streak [worm-harness] with a No. 6 Colorado blade. The wind was blowing 25-plus and I needed two giant drift bags to slow our drift," begins Robertson.

"The heavy winds really seem to activate fish as countless giant bass and walleye have all come for me when it's howling. The key has been bigger blades and smaller weights, as well as locating the active pods.

"We may catch fish on a half-mile drift, but a football field size area has been concentrating both the larger and more active fish. Each and every day this 'area' has moved substantially."

No doubt the weekend's blow has moved that magical big-fish area to who knows where.

All Robertson would say that the huge fish was taken west of the Bass Islands. Its length was 29 1/2 inches and its girth was 23 1/2 inches. He also landed a 14-pounder last week. Other details? Reach him via

The 15-pounder was a female that did not spawn this time around and had started to reabsorb its eggs.

Travis Hartman, a state fisheries biologist on Lake Erie, said that a failure to spawn is not uncommon, though how often it happens with an individual fish or even how many females fail to spawn is hard to determine.

Most large female fish are among the first, not the last to spawn, he added, and it is late in the season now. So given its size and age, Robertson's fish likely was a non-spawner this year.

On the fishing front, last weekend's gale has turned much of western Lake Erie's prime fishing grounds into chocolate milk, a situation not being helped by the easterly blow today. It may be the latter part of the week before conditions improve.

On the Maumee and Sandusky rivers, the wind and cold slowed white bass fishing over the weekend, but action is expected to improve as the weather warms up. The run in the Sandusky should remain good to excellent for another two weeks and the Maumee run should continue into June.

A host of birding-related events continues daily through Sunday during the "Biggest Week in American Birding," regional festival from Toledo to Lorain along Lake Erie's south shore.

A daily festival schedule for this inaugural event is available at biggestweekin

The programs are many and varied, from bus and boat trips to bird walks and more.

In other birding events, Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve in Erie County along Lake Erie's south shore is hosting a bird hike at 8 a.m. Saturday.

The water, shore, and surrounding upland of this 463-acre site provide unique habitat for nearly 300 species of birds. Numbers are greatest in the spring and fall when migrating birds stop to rest before or after crossing Lake Erie. Birds often seen in the spring include yellow, yellow-rumped, yellow-throated and palm warblers, as well as blue-gray gnatcatchers, black-throated blues and American redstarts.

The preserve protects one of the last remaining barrier beaches in the Lake Erie region. The beach separates Lake Erie from East Sandusky Bay. For details call 419-202-0090.

A "birding by ear" program is set for Van Buren State Park at 9 a.m Saturday. Meet at South Shore Shelterhouse No. 3 to learn how to identify basic spring birds by their songs. The park is off State Rt. 613 east of I-75, north of Findlay. For details call naturalist Natalie Miller at 419-348-7679.

Ohio's longest-running competitive birding event, the Toledo Naturalists' Association's annual North Coast Open, takes place Saturday with teams fanning out across the region to tally the most species of birds in the day.

A countdown is set for 9 p.m. at Blackberry Corners restaurant on State Rt. 579. Inquiries should be directed to Toledo Naturalists' Association event coordinator Greg Links at

The annual Blue Weekend nature festival this coming weekend for the Oak Openings region kicks off with a birding hike Saturday at 7 a.m. at The Nature Conservancy's Kitty Todd Preserve, 10420 Old State Line Rd., in western Lucas County.

Other events at Kitty Todd and nearby preserves run through Saturday night and into Sunday. A schedule is available at

Camp Perry Shooting Club has begun summer hours, as follows: Tuesdays, noon to 9 p.m., Thursdays 6 to 11 p.m., and Sundays noon to 6 p.m. The club is on the frontage of Camp Perry, the Ohio National Guard Base west of Port Clinton on State Rt. 2.

Contact Steve Pollick at:

or 419-724-6068.

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