You have decided you are ready to go on a fishing charter trip to the Walleye Capital of the World, Lake Erie. By surface area (241 miles long and 57 miles wide), Lake Erie is the eleventh largest lake on Earth. Lake Erie touches four US states and Canada. That is allot of water to cover to try to catch some walleyes. Booking a fishing charter with an experienced captain will take out much of the guesswork needed, and also give you a better chance of having a good day of fishing.

Here are some considerations in helping you choose a charter boat captain:

Hand Pick Your Captain

1) Ask a friend for recommendation, if they know a captain or have been on a trip, they will give you their positive or negative experience suggestions.

2) Call the local bait shop in the general fishing area where you want to fish. The bait shop will know the captains, boats, and the fishing conditions.

3) Use an Internet search engines like You Tube or Google to help you select. Use keywords like fishing charters, walleye trip or fish (insert name of the nearest city location).

4) Search online in fishing social media groups. Facebook has a group for every type and every location for walleye fishing on Lake Erie.

5) Get a refferral from a trusted local captain. Even if the captain may not able to service your trip, he might be able reccomend a captain that can.

Communicate Fishing Requirements Prior To The Trip

Even if you have never fished before or you’re experienced angler, having a good basic understanding of your information will help your charter boat captain understand your expectations. Let’s look at the important items your captain is going to want to know.

The Who, What, When, Where and Why

Total number of people that will be fishing (adult and children) - this will help decide the minimum size and number of boats needed. Typically boats can fish 1-4 fisherman or a 4-6 person group. Larger group of people may consider 2 boats for more fishing per person. When choosing a boat, one of the most important things needed is enough shaded seating area for everyone. Though you probably plan on getting in on some sunshine, you'll want to be able to hide from it too.

Date of the trip- is important in many ways, including launch location and the seasonal walleye migration.
Number of Days fishing - 1, 2 or even more day(s) is very important for a captain’s availability and to schedule.
Launch location - do you have a specific area you want the boat to launch at or are you available to travel another area. This also may help determine any lodging needs
Will this trip be a simple get-a-way day on the lake, or wall hanging trophy hunting big fish, or maybe you are looking to fill a cooler with free range Lake Erie Walleye (excellent table fair).

General Fishing Charter Considerations

• Shared or private - will you be fishing by yourself or will you be sharing the boat with another unknown fisherman or group?

• Inshore or offshore - will there be a short boat ride or long boat ride to the fishing area?

• Techniques - what style will you be fishing ( casting, trolling, jigging or even bottom fishing) and what skill level will you need to know or learn?

• Tackle - does the captain provide fishing rods, reels, lures, hooks, and bait or do you need to bring your own.?

• Catch and keep, or catch and release - Will you need fish cleaned or are you just releasing fish back into the water?

What Does The Captain Offer?

•Boat - what type and style of boat is offered. Is it an offshore type of boat for big water, or maybe a high speed tournament style (as seen on TV) or even a shallow water craft perfect for reefs?

•Pricing package - is there a package and price that meets your expectations

•Bathroom - when nature call

•Fish Cleaning - Can the captain clean and process your catch or do you have to find a fish cleaner after the trip

•Food and beverage -Does the Captain provide any on board food services or do you need to bring your own

•Poor weather conditions - In case of poor weather conditions, does the boat have any protection or do you need foul weather gear to wear while fishing

TIP - you can communicate your trip requirements and expectations to a captain by social media messaging, text message, email or even a phone call.

Watch Out For:

Poor communication - can the captain provide feedback you need or is there confusion which will lead to disappointment?

Pricing issues - are the services offered and pricing quoted what you were led to believe or is it a poor value for your dollar?