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Annual Walleye Run Draws Anglers to the Toledo Region

The Mighty Maumee is the place to be for the best fishing around!

Why in the world would hundreds of men and women stand side by side in the bone-chilling water of the Maumee River every spring? To go fishing, of course! When the winter ice thaws, people congregate to Lake Erie’s surrounding tributaries to catch the area’s most prized game fish, the walleye.

The famed Walleye Run starts in early March, then the fishing really heats up in April when the water temperature hits 42 to 54 degrees, triggering the walleye into spawning mode. It’s during this time that Toledo can lay claim to the title of Walleye Capital of the World, as the Maumee River is home to the largest population of migrating walleye east of the Mississippi River.  

The best place to hook a walleye during the spawn is in rocky rapids, stone reefs, gravel bars and rubble piles. Side Cut Metropark in Maumee is one of the most popular spring run fishing destinations. The park provides easy access from W. Broadway Street to the prime spawning grounds just below the Jerome Road Rapids.

Walleye, also called walleyed pike and pike-perch, is the largest member of the perch family and is revered for its flavor and its size. It is not uncommon to catch a walleye over five pounds. The best live bait to use include minnows, night crawlers and leeches, while jigs are a popular choice for lures.

Competitive anglers will want to check out the annual Rossford Walleye Roundup Tournament, a two-day event on the Maumee River. This year’s competition will be held April 15-16, 2022. Register your team online at 2022 Walleye Roundup Tournament to compete in this popular contest.

Head over to Maumee Tackle Fishing Outfitters, just a few minutes’ drive from Side Cut Metropark, to stock up on all your fishing gear including reels, rods, lures, live bait, waders and just about anything you would need to catch your limit. Maumee Tackle also sells Ohio Fishing Licenses.

For more information on walleye fishing in Toledo, visit:

  • Metroparks Toledo for a complete listing of fishing hot spots. For current conditions, call their Walleye Hotline: 419-407-9731 (select Option 1)
  • Maumee Tackle offers online river and weathers reports
  • Fish Lake Erie website is an online community for Northwestern Ohio anglers and includes information from Ohio Division of Natural Resources (ODNR)

Photos Provided by Metroparks Toledo