Lake Erie 4th largest of Lakes
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Lake Erie is somewhat bigger in area than Lake Ontario, it holds just one fourth as much water. It’s ran from Lake Huron via the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, and the St. Clair River, and it drains into Lake Ontario via the Niagara River. Lake Erie is the warmest and the most biologically productive of the Great Lakes. It freezes in winter and accounts for high snowfall along its leeward coast, particularly in the Appalachian Upland, south of Buffalo. The lake’s shorelines are soft and volatile, and since it’s no natural deep water harbours, man-made harbours have been constructed at Buffalo and Dunkirk (Chautauqua Co).
In ancient times, the website featured an eastward-flowing river. Ice Age glaciers scoured the valley into a lake basin and then filled it in as they melted down. The first lake, obstructed to the north by staying glaciers, was 200 feet (61 m) deeper than it’s now and drained southward through the Maumee River. Drainage shifted to the Niagara River as the glaciers continued to recede.
In the 17th century the Erie, the tribe for whom the lake was named, as well as the Huron were displaced by the Iroquois from the northern and southern shorelines of Lake Erie. Later, the Wyandot (a Huron group) settled along the western shoreline of the lake in the early 1700s. Erie was the last of the Great Lakes to be investigated by the French, who–to prevent the Iroquois and to get to Lake Huron-long favoured the northern path via the Ottawa River and Lake Nipissing.
The very first recorded European visitor was Louis Jolliet, who in 1669 entered Lake Erie from the Detroit River and followed the north coast eastward. An early French name was Lac du Chat (Lake of the Cat), really a reference to the considerable raccoons.
The very first boat on Lake Erie, as well as on the Great Lakes, was the Griffon, which Ren6-Robert Cavelier de la Salle had assembled on the Niagara River in 1679 and then used in his investigation of the upper lakes for pelts and the Northwest Passage. As the French ignored it, English traders came to Lake Erie and started to redirect the fur trade south from the French outpost on the Straits of Mackinac.
Regular disputes between the French and English finally resulted in the French and Indian War (1754-63), with a youthful George Washington’s skirmish with French lookouts outside Fort Le Boeuf [now Waterford, Pa] being one of several events that triggered the battle. Following the war, Detroit became the main English stronghold in the west. Starting in the 1760s local American Indians started a succession of wars to hinder European settlement of the region.
Shipwrights from what’s now Oswego Co came to the Niagara River to construct two 80-ton (73 MT) schooners, the first boats to sail Erie since the Griffon, to provide the besieged Fort Detroit during Pontiac’s War in 1763. The English, who kept Forts Detroit and Niagara until 1796, supported Indian raids both during and following the American Revolution. Subsequent to the War of 1812 the USA and Great Britain entered into the Rush-Bagot agreement of 1817 to demilitarise the Great Lakes. This symbolized the final rejection of British attempts to hinder US growth toward the west, and settlement along the lakeshore quickened.
In the postwar period, Lake Erie was destined to be a focus of transportation and trade in the Great Lakes region once the hurdle of Niagara Falls may be beat. The solution came with the launch of numerous canals. The end of the Erie Canal in 1825 joined the lake at Buffalo to the Hudson River; the opening of the Welland Canal in Upper Canada in 1829 linked it to Lake Ontario; and canals linking the Ohio River to the lake at Cleveland in 1832 and at Toledo in 1845 started the inside of Ohio to New York State marketplaces.
The very first steamer on Lake Erie, the 330-ton (299 MT) Walk in-the-Water, was constructed in 1818 at Black Rock [now in Erie Co]. The lake, shallow and churning, was less favourable to wind-powered craft than was nearby Lake Ontario, and steamships rapidly came to dominate the passenger commerce. The flow of passengers to the Midwest swelled with the opening of the Erie Canal and even more with the coming of train service between Albany and Buffalo in 1842.
In the 1850s many steamships surpassed 1,000 short tons (907 MT); the City of Buffalo, constructed in 1857 at 2,200 short tons (1,996 MT), was said to equal oceangoing boats in size and sophistication. Even though the preponderance of railways subsequent to the mid-19th century had slowly decreased the relevance of the Port of Buffalo, it wasn’t until the opening of the enlarged Welland Canal in 1932 as well as the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 that Buffalo’s job as a transshipment center came to an end. Boats could now sail right between the top lakes as well as the ocean. Iron ore, coal, and grain stayed the main freights.
Lake Erie’s shallow waters warm fast in the spring as well as summer, leading to its biological productivity. Commercial fishing was well created by the mid-1800s, but by the 1880s signals of misery became clear. The commercially desired whitefish and sturgeon were almost depleted by the 1920s. The herring catch, 32.2 million pounds (14.6 million kg) in 1924, fell to 5.7 million pounds (2.6 million kg) in 1925 and never regained. Studies at the time credited the decline mainly to over fishing and secondarily to pollution.
Fishers additionally found Lake Erie’s first lamprey, an invasive species that will have a crushing influence on the important commercial species. The Lake Erie herring fall sparked biological research and the first multi-state/binational conservation efforts on the Great Lakes, although successful cooperation wasn’t reached at that time. As the most desired catches dropped, fishers turned to rough fish that may be sold for fish meal, oil, or fertiliser. After 1935 rainbow smelt, an invasive species, became the most abundant forage fish for local predators, carrying through the former environmental function of the herring.
As early as the 1920s research workers issued warnings about pollution in Lake Erie, where, due to the shallow waters, human, agricultural, and industrial waste had a focused impact. By the 1950s phosphorus from laundry detergents and other nutrients from industrial and agricultural run-off were creating tremendous alga blooms, which, when they died and rotted, created unpleasant odours and depleted the water’s oxygen supply (eutrophication). With some exaggeration, environmentalists declared Lake Erie “dead” in the early 1970s.
In response, America and Canada signed the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) in 1972 to control the stream of nutriments into the lakes. Due to growing concern with industrial contaminants, consisting of those that collect in fish, the GLWQA was amended in 1978 to contain removing hazardous materials in the water, for example dioxins, furans, PCBs, mercury, and DDT. By the late 1980s the lake was fitter than it’d been in decades, and recreational fishing for walleye and smallmouth bass was becoming very popular.
Lake Erie’s Lake trout, a coldwater fish, was never plentiful in Lake Erie but found a market in the lake’s eastern basin near New York State, which now actively stocks trout. While whitefish was able to regain their amounts through diet adaptation, decreases in the amounts of forage fish, due to decreased phosphorus amounts, may jeopardy the sustained recovery of the more commercially desired predators.
In the late 1990s Lake Erie endured from renewed alga blooms and eutrophication. This time the issue wasn’t business but zebra mussels, which have tremendous levels of phytoplankton (depriving many other species of food) and then generate wastes full of phosphorus. Other recent issues are the fishhook water flea, an invasive species that have zooplankton, and an outbreak in 2000 of avian botulism, which killed hundreds of waterfowl. To fight these issues and to seek for treatments, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation tracks fish populations from a station at Dunkirk (Chautauqua Co).
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