Monday, March 18, 2019 Elyria 32°
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Outdoors

Walleye Fall Brawl heats up in final days

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Sunday at 8 a.m. the 2018 Fall Brawl will come to a close. It’s been a competitive tournament this year, with anglers catching some monster walleye, all with eyes on the grand prize of a fully equiped fishing boat and trailer. The top five finishers will also receive nice paydays.

This year’s Brawl was a more typical fall walleye season compared to last year, according to Craig Lewis, owner of Sheffield Lake’s Erie Outfitters, Brawl headquarters.

“Fishing overall was great this fall,” he said. “The weather slowed us down a bit. Last year we had 80 degrees in November. This was more of a normal year for us.”

In the past week Lewis said he has seen a lot of 12-pounders checked in which could mix up the leader board quite a bit heading into the final days. That’s thanks, in part, to a big contingent of anglers traveling in from out of state to hit up the Ohio waters of Lake Erie for big fish.

“There’s been people from Illinois, North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska and Michigan. Just so many out-of-towners,” said Lewis. “When you get more people on the water, you’ll start to find bigger fish.”

Arguably, when the conditions cooperate, there isn’t a better walleye fishery in the world than here on Lake Erie. With the summer walleye bite being one of the best in years, it is always encouraging to see good fishing continue into the late fall months.

The Fall Brawl award ceremony is Friday at St. Vladimir’s in Parma.

Slow opener

In the woods, Ohio’s deer-gun season got underway Monday, and I spotted plenty of hunters in blaze orange getting outdoors.

If you weren’t able to get out this week, hunters have a few more chances to gun hunt after the weeklong season ends Sunday. Dec. 15-16 is another gun weekend, along with muzzleloader season Jan. 5-8.

Per the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, hunters checked 13,614 white-tailed deer during Monday’s opening day. The number was down significantly from last year statewide when 22,366 deer were harvested on the first day.

The drop in numbers was reflected in Lorain County where 130 deer were killed compared to 200 checked in on opening day last season.

Cold stuff ahead

Soon enough the outdoor sports calendar will turn and winter sports will hit their stride — snowshoeing, cross country skiing, downhill skiing and other pursuits that involve the snow falling. It will be interesting to see what Mother Nature gives us this winter. Forecasts from meteorologists, Farmer’s Almanac and other prognosticators have varied.

In the meantime, enjoy the end of the fall and savor any opportunity to get out and walk the dog or just go for a short neighborhood walk. Winter is rapidly approaching and holiday shopping is already here. It’s the busiest time of the year along with being one of the most stressful. Some fresh air and the rare occurrence of sunshine can do you a lot of good.

Until then, enjoy the transition of the seasons, and if going out into the woods this weekend, be safe out there. No animal or trophy is worth sacrificing you or someone else’s safety.

Contact Brad Zahar at bzaharoutdoors@gmail.com.
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