Ohio's Bass Islands in the western basin of Lake Erie see thousands of visitors in the summer. In the winter, only a handful of residents remain. These islands protect the ice no matter how poor conditions are elsewhere, and if you've got an in with an islander, you've got an in for serious drop-and-reel walleye and perch fishing. Thanks to the vast connections of Hook Shots regular and Erie walleye machine Ross Robertson, host Joe Cermele got the chance to infiltrate this closed society. During the cold season, everyone on Put-In-Bay knows everyone else, and if you think you can just show up with an auger and hammer down on fish, guess again. There's no bait shop, barely an open hotel, and without a quad or snow mobile, just getting to the fishing grounds isn't easy. On the other hand, when you're hanging with the "sons of the island," there's nothing you can't do, including cashing in on the last safe fishable ice of the winter...which just happened to have insane amounts of walleyes and jumbo perch swimming below it.
Written by Joe Cermele for Field & Stream and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.