The Walleye Capital of The World, Port Clinton, Ohio: New Year’s Eve ‘Madness at Midnight’ – A Record Catch!

The Walleye Capital of The World, Port Clinton, Ohio: New Year's Eve ‘Madness at Midnight’ – A Record Catch!

The small Lake Erie harbor town of Port Clinton, Ohio which is known as the Walleye capital of the world has a unique way to celebrate New Year’s Eve.  Each year millions of people tune in to watch the ball drop in Times Square but the residents of Port Clinton have a walleyed pike drop.  Yes, they drop a giant fish to celebrate New Years.  Sounds like fun, right?

So how did it all get started?  “The “Walleye Drop” idea came to life when “Drop Man” Dan Sedlak, with the support of the “Big Fish” Mayor Tom Brown, presented his idea to the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau and the Port Clinton Chamber of Commerce. With the assistance of John Fellhauer, John’s dad-Bob, Dan’s brother Kevin and Ron Miller of OurGuest Inn, the Drop became a reality that cold December of 1996, and 17 years later the event is a huge success!”

Port Clinton has embraced Wylie as their mascot.  During the year he can be spotted at fairs, parades, schools and senior centers.  On New Year’s Eve, “Wylie Walleye,”  is available for photos and autographs.  The original Wylie Walleye decided to retire to the Florida Keys – not exactly prime Walleye fishing terrain.  In 2012 Wylie the Walleye Jr. was born.

The Walleye Capital of The World, Port Clinton, Ohio: New Year's Eve ‘Madness at Midnight’ – A Record Catch!

At this year’s New Year’s Eve “Madness at Midnight Walleye Drop” everything went off without a hitch, however there was one part to the Walleye Drop that gained a little regional attention.  ”Wylie,” the actual 600 lb. fiberglass fish that is dropped, is starting to show some serious signs of age.  Of course this isn’t the first time he’s been a little worse for wear – there’s some intriguing history behind it.

The original paper mache Wylie weighed in at 120-pounds and measured 17 feet long.  He was created by Andre Cuthel, a contemporary artist from Berea, OH.  Wylie was replaced by his fiberglass successor after a rough (windy) New Year’s celebration in 1997 that caused him to crack.  The Wylie that is lowered today has grown a bit since those early days and now comes in the form of a 20 foot, 600 lb. fiberglass fish that was created by Jim Wendt of Jim’s Taxidermy.

At this point they are not planning to replace Wylie, they are just planning to give him a little nip and tuck :-) and some TLC.

When you’re planning your special way to ring in the 2015 New Year’s celebration don’t forget Port Clinton, Ohio and their “Madness at Midnight Walleye Drop.” You’ll enjoy all the activities surrounding the holiday for children, families and adults including great food, fun, and festivities in Port Clinton’s family friendly and accessible environment.

Check out the video below and some photos from the event!

 

 

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Annemarie is a Mom whose daughter (Robyn) has left the nest and now she is traveling the world experiencing everything the world has to offer. You can find her sipping martinis in some of the most exotics locations in the world, having a beer at her local pub or canoeing on a beautiful lake in the Adirondacks.

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31 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Isabella Grey January 12, 2014 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    Oh my God, I love this. Walleye are such mean fish too, so I kind of find this hilarious.

  2. Anita Breeze January 12, 2014 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    Well I had no idea what a walleye was! This seems like so much fun!

  3. Ronnie January 12, 2014 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    I’d prefer to see the fish drop than the ball drop. I think it’s an awesome tradition and funny jaja!

  4. Joanna Sormunen January 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    Well that is one big fish! And the tradition sounds like a lot of fun. Hope to get to see it one day :)

  5. jody January 12, 2014 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    I love walleye fishing – it’s a fine art and very exciting. I remember reading that Lake Champlain would be considered a top rate fishery EXCEPT that it’s walleye fishing was only moderately good. Here in Montreal where I’m from we call walleye “dore.” I want to go to Port Clinton!

  6. Maria January 12, 2014 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    How fun!! That is a heck of a catch!! I never heard of a Walleye. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Megan January 12, 2014 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    That is one big (even if it is fake) fish. My son loves fishing, and this was the first one he was able to name by sight.

  8. Robin (Masshole Mommy) January 12, 2014 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    Haha, that sounds like fun actually. I’ve never heard of that kind of fish – but then again, I only know a handful of types of fish.

  9. DD January 12, 2014 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    What, Devils Lake ND is not?

  10. Amanda Love January 12, 2014 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    That is surely unique. I have never heard of this before. I’ve never heard of this fish before either. Sounds like a fun way to bring in the new year.

  11. Erin January 12, 2014 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    Lol, sounds like a fun and wacky time.

  12. Chubskulit Rose January 12, 2014 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    Thinking of a fish drop instead of a ball drop is something so unique. Love the idea!

  13. Jen January 12, 2014 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    that’s such a fun tradition!

  14. Janelle January 12, 2014 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    This seems a little silly, TBH

  15. Nikki January 12, 2014 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    This sounds like lots of fun I would love to do this.

  16. Veronica January 12, 2014 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    I love fun traditions! That looks pretty awesome

  17. Pamela January 13, 2014 at 6:26 am - Reply

    This looks like fun!

  18. Jocelyn January 13, 2014 at 10:27 am - Reply

    Wow that’s hilarious!

  19. amanda January 13, 2014 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    All the great lakes surely are great. I grew up on lake superior – lots of fish there too :)

  20. Pam January 13, 2014 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    I wrote an article about a very similar celebration in a small town in Wisconsin several years ago. It is called, The Dropping of the Carp, and the town is right on the Mississippi. Lots of festivities go along with that one too. I love this kind of stuff.

  21. BusyBee January 13, 2014 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Haha I love this! Glad to see areas embracing their local color

  22. Melanie a/k/a CrazyMom January 13, 2014 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing; I had never heard of Walleye…LOVEd learning about it..

  23. Lori January 13, 2014 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    This seems like a really fun time. Thank you for posting about such an interesting event.

  24. DD January 13, 2014 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    This is pretty awesome!

  25. Fabulous Perks January 13, 2014 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    So cool! I had no idea what a walleye was. Sounds like so much fun. I would love to experience this.

  26. MK January 14, 2014 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    Definitely a different way to ring in the new year!

  27. DD January 14, 2014 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    Have you eaten walleye before?

  28. Jocelyn January 15, 2014 at 2:17 am - Reply

    My dad would love this place!

  29. Jocelyn January 15, 2014 at 2:18 am - Reply

    DD – have YOU eaten walleye?

  30. DD January 15, 2014 at 11:34 am - Reply

    Yes, I have Jocelyn and I’m not a fan. My husband loves it though.

  31. Pamela January 18, 2014 at 8:09 am - Reply

    The photos are brilliant!

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