This excursion marks the fourth stop on my fishing road trip throughout Ontario’s Southwest region. This Lake Erie walleye and rainbow trout fishing adventure took place out of Erieau in Chatham-Kent region. This was only my second ever walleye fishing trip out on Lake Erie and I was thrilled to get back out there! I’ve partnered with Ontario’s Southwest and Chatham-Kent for this adventure.

Please note: It is recommended to plan ahead before traveling by connecting with local operators and businesses to determine any new public health measures and procedures put in place.

Lake Erie Walleye & Rainbow Trout Fishing

Eric and I made our way to Erieau Marina to meet up with our fishing guide for the afternoon, Paul Powis of J&P Fishing Charters. I’ve had the chance to chat with Paul at a few fishing tradeshows over the years and was excited at the chance to finally hit the water together! As a longtime charter captain, Paul is extremely knowledgeable about walleye and rainbow trout fishing out on Lake Erie. Lake Erie is known for it’s incredible walleye population but there’s also some great rainbow trout fishing to be had out there. I knew we were in good hands for a fun adventure with Paul! Also joining us aboard Paul’s boat for this trip was his good friend, Gary Rogers.

Three anglers standing aboard a boat smiling and looking back at the fishing rods waiting for a bite
The rods are all set, waiting for a bite! From left: myself, Gary Rogers, and Paul Powis.

Paul was running various stickbaits and spoons using Dipsey Divers and downriggers to get these presentations down deeper. It didn’t take long before we were bringing in some beautiful Lake Erie walleye! I love the colour on these fish.

A man holding a walleye with a bright chartreuse stickbait hanging out of the fishes mouth
Paul with one of the first fish of the day caught on a stickbait.

When I spoke with Paul leading up to our trip, he mentioned that there was a good chance we may get into some rainbow trout as well. I had hope I’d get into one as it’s nice to check another species off the bucket list for Lake Erie. Towards the end of our outing, this gorgeous rainbow hit and I had the chance to bring it in. My day was made with the walleye but this was icing on the cake!

A woman smiling holding a rainbow trout
My first Lake Erie rainbow trout!

Check out more of our catches in the full video from this adventure:

Accommodations & Dining

Our fishing adventure wrapped up a little early due to high winds, but we were pleased with our day and the walleye action we had in the short time we were out! Just 2 kilometers from Erieau Marina is Willow Barrel Retreat, where Eric and I booked a cottage for the evening. This lovely retreat is nestled in on the shores of Rondeau Bay. The hosts, Jenna and Jeff, were so wonderful and kind. They recently purchased the retreat and have been working hard at lots of updates. They’re looking forward to welcoming more anglers with a dock onsite as well as boat, pontoon, kayak and canoe rentals. There’s plenty of space for parking as well if you bring along your own watercraft. I do have some bonus fish stories to share from our time at Willow Barrel Retreat, but first I’m going to include some details on the food we enjoyed while in the area.

Left photo: We ordered breakfast takeout at Eau Buoy Grille and it was a delicious way to start the day! We enjoyed our meal from one of the picnic tables at Willow Barrel Retreat, offering such a scenic view of Rondeau Bay.

Center photo: We heard great reviews on the pizza at Bayside Brewing Company so we had to give it a shot for lunch! My apologies – it was SO good that I almost forgot to take a photo before we ate it all! LOL! We also tried a flight of Bayside beer with my favourite being the Long Pond Lager.

Right photo: We grabbed dinner at Molly & OJ’s, another popular spot in Erieau. It was busy but we lucked out in getting a table. I would suggest making a reservation in advance during busy times. As for our meal, it was yummy! I ordered Butterfly Shrimp and Eric went with Penne Al Forno.

Some Bonus Catches!

Now for the bonus fish stories! The morning of our departure, we were chatting with the owners of Willow Barrel Retreat, Jeff and Jenna, and they offered up their fishing gear for us to use off the dock. We jumped at the opportunity and Jeff provided us with a couple rods and a tackle box. He offered a net as well but we left it back on shore as we didn’t think we would need it. I picked up a rod with a jig & grub tied on, and Eric had a Berkley PowerBait Swim Shad (pre-rigged swimbait) on. Eric landed a largemouth bass right away and we were both thrilled!

A man standing on a dock smiling with a fishing rod in one hand and a largemouth bass in the other
Eric with a largemouth bass caught off the dock at Willow Barrel Retreat.

While I was switching up presentations, Eric hooked up with ANOTHER fish he thought was a pike at first due to it’s long, slender shape. It was jumping like crazy and nearly got tangled in a dock post. After getting a better look, we were both SHOCKED to realize that Eric hooked into a steelhead (rainbow trout)!! I ran as fast as I could to grab the net and got back in time for Eric to land this unexpected catch in less than 2 feet of water! A bass and steelhead back to back? LOL! Who knew! The lake turnover recently occurred which likely brought this steelhead up shallow to chase bait. That was certainly a memorable experience for us both!

Eric with a steelhead (rainbow trout) caught off the dock in Rondeau Bay.

Needless to say, our time in the Chatham-Kent region was eventful and memorable and we look forward to our next visit!

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