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Lake Erie whitefish


jimski2

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17 hours ago, Gill-T said:


Wow! This explains a lot. We have fished over some crazy graphs on Erie without catching and we thought they might be whitefish or Gizzards 

This was a nice whitefish specimen caught in early December on the Niagara Bar with Joe Cermele as part of the Meateater show. It is rare to catch one of these there, but then again no one is targeting them. 

Joe Cermele with meateater holding a whitefish caught on a jigging spoon.jpg

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On 12/30/2021 at 1:33 PM, Gill-T said:


Wow! This explains a lot. We have fished over some crazy graphs on Erie without catching and we thought they might be whitefish or Gizzards 

This is tantalizing! We have caught a pile of whitefish on the reefs on Sturgeon Bay near Green Bay icefishing. The whitefish we target are caught on slider rigs, usually a single small snelled hook on the bottom baited with a minnow, then 12" to a swivel . Above the swivel a 2nd presentation is allowed to slide on the line. typically this is baited with a gulp maggot or similiar profile bait. Alternatives to this arrangement is a meegs jig on the bottom, a rapala jig on the bottom, a small jigging spoon, etc. Sometimes a sabiki rig is used as the slider. Whitefish have a notoriously light pickup on either the main or slider bait and one must be very diligent to get hookups, main line is light Nano. It seems like targeting them in Erie should be more common but despite looking into it, I've heard very little real precise intel. I am going to reacj out to the study noted above and see if I can get some bathymetric information. Oh- another thing ; Whitefish appear to be sensitive to sonar, the hard core guys in Wisconsin discourage using vexilars especially and quite frankly I did at leat as well and usually better when I didnt evn run my Lowrance ice setup.

 

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Dunkirk commercial fisherman Charley Gloff whose boat was the G4 was fishing out of Erie, PA in the early 1950's said the smelt masses were so huge, the only way to clear them from his gill nets were to boil them out in a fifty five gallon drum of boiling water. At that time the whitefish, blue pike and other cold water species disapeared from commercial landings. The smelt were a foreign invader that fed on the small fry of the local native fisheries. In the mid 1960's Canadian commercial fishermen changed to trawling methods to harvest the smelt. The smelt were loaded in ice tubs that were transported to Detroit Airport for shipment to Asian markets. As the smelt were reduced in numbers by salmon and trout stockings fish like walleye started to return. The blue pike never returned and sport fishing groups blamed commercial fishing was the reason for this but they were using this story to increase their share of the lakes fish stock.

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Whitefish spawn in the the fall as near shore water temperatures drop, Ice fishing finds them near dop offs . Use You Tube to search for dozens of sites on Whitefish fishing methods, sites and smoking or cooking and canning.

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  • 3 months later...

Ontario commercial fishermen take over a million dollars C annually for whitefish in Lake Erie. Most of them are exported to the USA markets. American hook and line fishermen are ignorant of them unless they have a money contest.

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 4/10/2022 at 5:57 AM, jimski2 said:

Ontario commercial fishermen take over a million dollars C annually for whitefish in Lake Erie. Most of them are exported to the USA markets. American hook and line fishermen are ignorant of them unless they have a money contest.

 

I was told the whitefish in Lake Erie eat plankton and were a different species of fish compared to lake simco.

 

cannot fish for them with jigs or sonars. probably why i have never seen any at the dock.

The guy that told me this works at a local tackle shop, informed me that if you are keeping them you might as well keep and eat sheepshead too 

 

Whitefish look like a great time battling on light tackle but if I cannot eat them i will pass fishing for them..:puke:

 

 

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There is a Commercial Fishing Tug site that shows the harvest of whitefish and the processing of whitefish filets. An interest view of lake trout eggs harvested in the whitefish . The nets are shown with hundreds of large whitefish being brought aboard the boat.

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During the late century Dunkirk Harbor was supporting hundreds of commercial fishing vessels. The Erie Railroad built a line that ended at the present dock. It shipped the whitefish catch to New York and east coast communities that wanted iced down fish rather than salt cod from the ocean nearby. The ice was harvested by Dunkirk citizen during our winter here and was stockpiled in an ice house. at Dunkirk. The rail cars were loaded with fish and ice and transported on rail road trains as fresh caught fish rather than salt preserved fish.

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On 12/28/2021 at 6:44 AM, jimski2 said:

Watching local Lake Simcoe anglers catch whitefish, a trip to the local library revealed their secrets.  They salt the bottom below their hole with salted emerald shiner minnows on the bottom. They build a brass rod and solder treble hooks on it, drop it to the bottom and lift it sharply to catch whitefish attracted to their bait pile. Legal? I do not think so. But lifting jigging plugs and spoons may work.

You are right, using salted minnows to bait the hole is against regulations. I honestly haven't heard of anyone doing it for years. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Never caught a whitefish in lake Erie...but caught plenty in Lake Simcoe in May; before the season opened. They were large 24" or more. We were perch fishing at the time. This occurred at Pefferlaws. 

 

Cheers, Docwet    Everything has limitations...and I hate limitations.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/19/2022 at 10:58 AM, DocWet said:

Never caught a whitefish in lake Erie...but caught plenty in Lake Simcoe in May; before the season opened. They were large 24" or more. We were perch fishing at the time. This occurred at Pefferlaws. 

 

Cheers, Docwet    Everything has limitations...and I hate limitations.

DW,

what did you do with the whitefish...?? did you eat any..??

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