Regional Reports-Midwest

Kelleys Island

The early-winter shoreline walleye action in Lake Erie's western basin is so popular that some of the traditional walleye hot spots on the mainland often are crowded beyond capacity. Instead, leave the mainland fishing crowds behind and hop a ferry out of Marblehead for the 20-minute ride to Kelleys Island. The walleyes are corralling shad against rocky shorelines all along the lake's western basin; large, minnow-imitating crankbaits, retrieved with plenty of stops to allow the fish to find them, result in savage strikes from big fish. On Kelleys Island, you can stay the night within walking distance of some of the best fishing spots along the island's south shore, including the ferry docks and privately owned lake frontage where anglers need only ask the owner to gain permission to fish. The Inn on Kelleys Island charges $75 and up per night. The Kelleys Island Ferry serves the island and departs its mainland base located on State Route 163 East on Marblehead Peninsula. A round-trip adult fare costs $9.50 and it's $16.50 per vehicle. Contact: The Inn on Kelleys Island (419-746-2258); Kelleys Island Ferry (888-255-4325 or 419-798-9763; www.kelleysislandferry.com); Erie County Visitors and Convention Bureau (800-255-3743; www.buckeyenorth.com).