Lake Erie Walleye School

The Lake Erie Walleye School returns to the Greater Niagara Fishing Expo, February 15-18, 2024 at the Niagara Falls Convention Center in Niagara Falls, NY. Taught by highly-skilled educators and walleye anglers, this in-depth school is for the experienced walleye angler who wants to improve their walleye catch from Lake Erie during early spring through late fall. Tickets are pre-sale only, and available for purchase online.

This intense, customized class will be taught by Capt. Lance Valentine (Teachin Fishin founder, Lake Erie walleye and marine electronics guru),  Captain Craig Sleeman (eastern basin walleye pro tournament angler), and Captain Don Ruppert (Sunset Bay Walleye Shootout founder and highly experienced eastern basin walleye angler). They have a wide range of expertise from countless hours of on-the-water experience, as well as years of tournament success and seminar presentation. 

The Lake Erie Walleye School will focus on the three main Lake Erie fishing periods (spring, summer, fall), and dive into more technical aspects for each of these seasons. The instruction will also include some detailed video footage to assist with the learning process. Attendees should have a basic knowledge of walleye and walleye fishing.

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Develop a systematic approach to consistently target and catch more and larger walleye in their time on the water
  • Maximize the use of their electronics to catch more walleye
  • Understand the impact that wind, currents, bait, light conditions, and water temperature and color have on catching walleye
  • Unlock the secrets to catching spring and fall walleye during the day
  • Effectively use both trolling and casting techniques throughout the season

The Lake Erie Walleye School consists of seven hours of detailed instruction.

Registration is $100 and include the following:

  • Admission to the Greater Niagara Fishing Expo for all four days
  • A hot buffet lunch on Saturday, with beverages available throughout the class
  • A goodie bag with a variety of the instructors' go-to baits

Tickets are pre-sale only and will be available until they are sold out!

Schedule Overview

The Lake Erie Walleye School spans three days, with the main even on Saturday, February 17, 2024, and optional activities on both Friday evening and Sunday morning. All activities, including the Greater Niagara Fishing Expo, are held at the state-of-the-art Niagara Falls Convention Center in downtown Niagara Falls, NY.

Friday, February 16 | 5:30-8:00 p.m. Opening presentation from the NYSDEC and instructors, followed by Walleye Social. The Walleye Social provides attendees the opportunity to meet the instructors and network with fellow anglers. Free drinks and appetizers will be provided. (Optional)

Saturday, February 17 | 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Check-in begins at 7 a.m., while instruction begins at 8 a.m. Attendees will enjoy detailed walleye-catching presentations until 4 p.m., with a provided lunch break.

Sunday, February 18 | 8:30-9:30 a.m. The Walleye School concludes with an open Q&A session with the instructors to cover any remaining questions that attendees may have. (Optional)


Meet the Lake Erie Walleye School Speakers

Meet the Lake Erie Walleye School Speakers

Captain Lance Valentine

As the founder of Teachin Fishin, Captain Lance Valentine has spent the past 3 decades dedicated to teaching anglers what they need to know to catch more and bigger fish. Using knowledge gained through close to a decade as a tournament angler on the Professional Walleye Trail (with 2 visits to Dunkirk, NY!), Michigan Walleye Tour and other circuits, Lance combines what he has learned on the water with a systematic, easy-to-follow way of "Teachin Fishin."

Lance fell in love with fishing as a 5-year-old on the world famous "flies only" stretch of Michigan's Au Sable River chasing stream trout, and since then has fished for walleye across the United States. Starting in 2005, Lance decided to focus on education, and has spent his time on the water as an educational charter captain on the Detroit River, Saginaw Bay and Lake Erie. He runs close to 180 trips a season, using a hands-on approach to fishing education.

While Lance is on the cutting edge of what is happening in the fishing world, his focus is on teaching anglers a systematic approach to attacking any fishing challenge by applying his 8 steps to fishing success. Lance sticks to teaching the simple things to make anglers better; like pre-trip planning, understanding how conditions affect fish, interpreting electronics properly, having a system for analyzing fishing data, picking the best presentation for the conditions at hand and quickly recognizing and dialing in a pattern.

Lance is fortunate to represent some great fishing companies such as PolarKraft and Angler Qwest boats, Suzuki Outboards, Off-Shore Tackle, Traxstech, Fish Hawk Electronics, Lowrance, MotorGuide, Warrior Lures, Smart-Troll, REC Lending, Pro-Cure Bait Scents and more.

Captain Craig Sleeman

Captain Craig Sleeman

Captain Craig Sleeman is a professional walleye angler on the National Walleye Tour and competes in tournaments in the eastern basin of Lake Erie. He is a past Grand Prize winner of the prestigious Sunset Bay Walleye Shootout.

Craig began his career in the Finger Lakes region of New York and continues to tackle competitive yellow perch tournaments in the spring. This experience has improved catchability, decision making and pre-fish planning, which have paved the way to his continued success.

With the continuous improvement in technology, Craig will share the latest cutting-edge tips on trolling, jigging and forward-facing sonar you will not want to miss! Craig's favorite technique for catching walleye is jigging, which has become an integral component throughout the year for fishing walleye in the eastern basin. He'll provide a local spin on the where and when of catching walleye in the eastern basin.

Craig is fortunate to partner with Douglas Outdoors, Doc's Tackle, Torpedo fishing products, i-1baits and 5/0 lure company, Fish Hawk Electronics, Walleye Nations Creations, Off Shore Tackle and Torpedo Fishing Products. Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn and improve your game on Lake Erie!

Captain Don Ruppert

Captain Don Ruppert

Captain Don Ruppert is a professional charter captain and tournament angler, with his home port being in Sunset Bay, New York on Lake Erie.

With over 30 years of experience fishing the New York waters of Lake Erie and beyond, Don and his team have developed several successful trolling programs for early season shallow water walleye, transitioning into a proven deep-water program as the season progresses. Don will be explaining these techniques in detail.

Capt. Ruppert will be providing actual areas to target with specific details, including GPS numbers, what lures (colors / styles) to run under certain lake conditions, and tips on how to set up your spreads (both rods and lures). Don will also be sharing some unique underwater footage of walleyes trailing baits and biting baits.

Don and his team are proud to have great longevity and relationships with many premier companies within the industry. They would like to thank Okuma, Garmin, Yaleye Lures, Fish Hawk Electronics, Offshore Tackle and Traxstech systems. Bring a notebook as Don will be sharing the details that keep them consistently finishing in the top of the tournaments!