Eastern Lake Erie Walleye School

The Greater Niagara Fishing Expo is excited to be offering for the first time an in-depth Walleye School on Saturday, February 18, 2023. This School is planned to be an annual event going forward and will be modeled after the highly successful LOTSA Salmon School held annually at the Expo which has developed to be the premier Salmon School anywhere in the Great Lakes. We expect that the Walleye School, combined with the other Walleye education available and the Walleye exhibitors, makes the Expo a "must attend" winter event for the thousands of Walleye anglers in this region.

This intense class will be taught by Capt. Lance Valentine (Teachin Fishin Lake Erie Walleye Guru), Capt. Ali Shakoor (Lake Erie Walleye Pro Tournament Angler) and Captain Craig Sleeman ( Eastern Basin Walleye Pro Tournament Angler) and Captain Don Ruppert (Highly Experienced Eastern Basin Walleye Angler). In addition, a special guest appearance will be made by Marine Electronics expert Chris McCully. All of these instructors are not only top end Walleye anglers but also highly experienced educators. They each bring with them their own vast amount of Walleye angling expertise and unique education style that will provide every attendee with new knowledge that will help them be more successful on the water in 2023.

The School is for the experienced Walleye angler who wants to improve their Walleye catch from the Eastern Basin of Lake Erie. This includes "Weekend Warriors", Competitive Derby and Tournament Anglers and Charter Captains. Attendees will learn how to:

1.Develop a systematic approach to consistently catch more Walleye in their time on the water
2.Target and catch Larger Walleye
3.Maximize the use of their Electronics to catch more Walleye
4.Understand the impact that Wind, Currents, Bait, Water Color, Water Temperature and light conditions have on catching Walleye
5.Unlock the secrets to catching Spring and Fall Walleye during the Day

Lance, Ali, Craig and Don will do a "deep dive" into their specific thought processes, specific tools and techniques they utilize to make them consistently successful chasing Walleye on Lake Erie. The focus will be on the 3 main Lake Erie fishing periods (Spring, Summer, and Fall) and dive into the more technical aspects for each of these time frames. This instruction will include some detailed video footage which should help the learning process.

Walleye School attendees are also invited to attend a "Walleye Fishing Social" on Friday evening with the instructors and a wrap up session Sunday morning to get any remaining questions answered. The Walleye Fishing Social will provide some education that won't be covered on Saturday in a very low key environment that will facilitate networking among attendees.

Sign-up early so that you are guaranteed a seat to avoid being left out in the cold. If you love to fish the Lake Erie for Walleyes, this is a great way to "Kick Off" your 2023 Season. Where else would you want to be in the Great Lakes on a Saturday in February than learning how to increase your catch from 4 expert Captains, sitting in a comfortable venue talking Walleye fishing with a room full of individuals with the same common interest that you have? Tickets are pre-sale only and will be available until they are sold out. Registration will open in September Sign-up by clicking the button below.

Walleye School Details

The overall School consists of seven hours of detailed Walleye catching instruction. The registration price of $100 includes free admission to the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo for all 4 days, a hot buffet lunch (or alternative for dietary needs) on Saturday with beverages available throughout the class and a "goodie" bag consisting of the "go to" baits of the instructors. The School begins on Friday Evening (6 to 8:30 p.m.) with an opening presentation by the Instructors and a "Social" that provides attendees the opportunity to meet and interact with the instructors in a casual setting that includes free drinks and "finger" food. This is also a great opportunity to meet your fellow attendees and build up your all-important network of fellow anglers you can communicate with both before and during your outings on the Lake. On Saturday, check in begins at 7 a.m. with the instruction starting at 8 a.m. and completing at 4 p.m. The School wraps up on Sunday morning (8:30 to 9:30 a.m.) with an hour-long open Q&A session with the Instructors covering any remaining questions that you may have.

The School (and Expo) is held at the Niagara Falls Convention Center in a "state of the art" conference room with a large screen, stage, good seating with tables and a good sound system that all make for a comfortable venue throughout the day for everyone attending. Given the quality of what you will be taught, the hot buffet lunch, the Friday night "Social", Door Prizes, "goodie bag" and free pass to the show for 4 days, it is a terrific value and a great way to start your 2023 season.

The Walleye School is not meant for novices of the Lake Erie Walleye fishery. It is a "hard core" Walleye class targeted toward providing the "experienced weekend warrior" / Tournament Angler with additional insights and details to improve their catch in the limited time they have on the water. As the Great Lakes continue to change and become a much more challenging fishery, knowledge is often the difference between having a couple of bites or having steady bites throughout the day.

With a limited amount of time for the Walleye School, the instructors will start out digging into "hardcore" topics from the start. A basic knowledge of walleye and walleye fishing will definitely help attendees understand the detailed information that will be presented. The in-depth knowledge provided by the Walleye School will give attendees the information they need to make better decisions on the water every day. A great fishing foundation can be learned by visiting and viewing the "Foundation Series" seminars on the Teachin Fishin YouTube channel.

This is a custom class that will incorporate input from the attendees, and speaker information tailored to the fishing on the East end of the Lake to build a "custom" seminar for the attendees. It is not an "off the shelf" class for the masses. Each attendee will have the opportunity to submit their most important questions/topics that they want covered in the class. The instructors will then use this input to customize the curriculum to cover these particular areas. Doing this allows the seminar to cover topics the attendees want to learn, while keeping the seminar moving by reducing questions.

Our instructors bring success filled resumes to the Walleye School including guiding, tournament success, decades of seminar presentation and countless hours of on-the -water experience on most of the best walleye waters in the country. This diversity will provide information, details and insight that no one single presenter could provide. All are skilled communicators and are well known in the fishing community for not only their skill in presenting, but their ability to make hard to understand concepts easy to understand and apply on the water and, most importantly, their willingness to share what makes them successful anglers whether guiding or tournament fishing. Each brings their own unique set of Lake Erie Walleye skills, techniques and knowledge to the class. Given the depth of the knowledge base of these instructors and their proven ability to educate anglers, we expect this school to be a high quality, comprehensive, in-depth, information-packed event.

The link to sign up will be activated in September. Early signups are encouraged to give the instructors enough time to build the curriculum for the desired topics and make sure you get a seat before they sell out.



The founder of TeachinFishin and creator of "The 8 Steps to Catching More Fish", Lance Valentine has turned a life-long passion for fishing and teaching into one of the foremost fishing education programs in the country. Started in 1998, TeachinFishin combines Lance's years of experience fishing national tournaments (PWT, RCL) and thousands of hours of guiding into seminars, programming, workshops, Fishing Education Weekends, DVDs, and Live events covering all aspects of walleye fishing and marine electronics. Lance and the TeachinFishin staff are experts at making the tough fishing questions easy to understand with information any angler can quickly use to catch more fish regardless of species or location. Recognized as an expert in marine electronics, Valentine's Sonar/GPS seminars and training DVDs are considered "must sees" by both beginner and professional anglers. Entering his third decade as a full time walleye guide and seminar speaker, Lance's friendly demeanor and high energy speaking style have made him a favorite of show goers throughout the Midwest.



Captain Ali Shakoor is a USCG licensed charter captain with over 30 years experience on the Great Lakes. Ali travels to fish the Cabelas/Bass Pro Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC), and has experience in other circuits including the Lake Erie Walleye Trail (LEWT), National Walleye Tour (NWT), and Anglers Insight Marketing (AIM). He is a 7x World Walleye Championships qualifier with several top-ten finishes. He and his partner won the 2018 MWC Lorain, OH event with a two-day record of over 89 pounds for ten post-spawn fish. He also has a win in the Anglers Insight Marketing (AIM) circuit with a 54-pound one-day total. Additionally, he has multiple other top-ten finishes and a top five finish in MWC Team of the Year Standings.

He was introduced to his love of the outdoors thru hunting and fishing around the Irish Hills area of Michigan. This inspired him to pursue a degree and career in Natural Resources. After receiving his BS in Biology, Ali received an MS in Conservation Ecology from the School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan. Currently, he is a PhD student in Evolutionary and Organismal Biology with an emphasis on Aquatic Ecology at Wayne State University. His current research focuses on the effect of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) on Walleye biology and ecology, the potential effects of Asian Carp introduction on Great Lakes food webs, and the effects of HABs and micro-plastics on baitfish and aquatic insects. He also has an interest in factors that effect walleye behavior. Ali enjoys discussing fish biology and ecology, fish behavior, invasive species, food web disruptions, and other non-biological factors including the effect of wind, weather, and waves on fish locations. His ability to link scientific concepts and research to common fishing situations, in understandable language, has made him a popular draw at fishing clubs, boat/fishing shows, and meetings such as the National Professional Anglers Association Annual Meeting. This is one you won't want to miss!

His current partnerships include: Warrior Boats, Mercury Marine, Lowrance Electronics, Fishhawk Electronics, Denali Rods, AFTCO Freshwater, Erie Marine Sales, Offshore Tackle, Airwave Pedestals, Cisco Fishing Systems, Sunline, and Worldwide Marine Insurance.


Capt. Craig Sleeman is a USCG Master Captain and a tournament walleye fisherman with over 25 years' experience. Craig began his career in the Finger Lakes region of NYS and now participates on the national walleye tour traveling the country with the best walleye fisherman on the planet. As a high school teacher with a master's degree in Art Education and 19 years in the classroom, Teachin' Fishin' is in his blood. He also continues to assist with the school fishing team and various veteran based fishing programs around the state.

With the help of his identical twin brother Ethan, and members of Team Midnight Express, the need to keep up on the ever changing technology and the improvement of various walleye techniques continues to drive the team forward. "We never stop learning about new tricks of the trade and the ever evolving fish we chase on daily basis". "The sport of fishing continues to explode with manufacturers, Rod and Reel companies and the increase in fisherman participation." The race to the top is the challenge that drives his passion to compete at the highest level.

Success on the Eastern basin stems back to a lesson learned by Professional Walleye Angler Bob Henton of Pennsylvania. A technique that some anglers overlook, and that is... In-line Worm Harness fishing. When the water slicks off, the bite gets tough, time to roll out the meat sticks! The team's Win at Sunset bay, Chautauqua Conservation club and over 6 big fish awards were written on the water using worms behind i-1baits in-line weights. This stealthy approach to tight lipped walleyes will for sure increase your catchability and get those sometimes stubborn feeders to fire. Craig will share these technical tips, you won't want to miss!

Some of the team's partnerships include, Douglas Rod company, Doc's Tackle, Torpedo fishing products, i-1baits and 5/0 lure company, Fish Hawk Electronics, Yaleye fish lures and The Live Scanner to name a few. Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn and improve your game on Lake Erie!

Capt Don Ruppert WaveTamer Sportfishing / Sunset Bay Walleye Shoot Out

Capt Don Ruppert WaveTamer Sportfishing / Sunset Bay Walleye Shoot Out

Captain Don Ruppert was born and raised in Blasdell, New York in the small town of Hoover Beach. Captain Ruppert has spent his entire childhood growing up on Lake Erie; with his first job being at his uncles bait and tackle store- Herb's Tackle Shack. Don served in the United States Coast Guard for 8 years between active and reserve duty, with stations to include both Station Buffalo and Station Niagara. He was a certified coxswain with primary job duties of search and rescue and marine law enforcement. Don has fished Lake Erie walleyes for over 30 years learning the in and outs of the every changing walleye fishery here. Sponsored by several major companies (OKUMA, TraxsTech, Garnin, Fish Hawk, Yamaha) with the sportfishing industry, he has contributed to several rod and reel designs, lure developments and technique-application research, as well as participating in equipment evolution which has been a staple in within professional fishing boats. Having over 20 years in fishing competitive tournament on both national and regional levels; the experience being brought to the school is diverse and detailed. Several wins in his career include the Ameri-Can, NCCC, Western NY Walleye Classic and countless top ten finishes within many other. Don has also developed anlong with his team the Sunset Bay Walleye Shoot Out, which has grown to be the largest walleye shoot out within the country. Volunteering when possible has been something Capt Ruppert enjoys doing; participating in over a decade of events with Cystic Fibrosis and other special groups. Don enjoys the charter side of the fishing world as owner of WaveTamer Sportfishing and being able to spend time with a wide range of people and personalities. Capt. Ruppert enjoys share his knowledge and experiences with anglers of all levels and advancing their overall experience that our Lake Erie Walleye fishery provides.

Chris McCully (Special guest Marine Electronics Expert)

Chris McCully (Special guest Marine Electronics Expert)

Captain Chris McCully operates Fine Line Sportfishing, a guide service for walleye and Steelhead on the Eastern Great Lakes and Detroit River. Chris is a true "Thinker" about fishing, and he excels at teaching the fine details of any fishing subject.

Chris has proven to be an expert on anything relating to fishing electronics, especially Lowrance products. He also works as a master marine electronics installer, trouble shooter and gives on the water electronics training classes. If you want the most from your fishing electronics, especially your sonar, Chris is the guy to talk to. Chris has worked closely with both Lowrance and MotorGuide in product development, testing, trouble shooting and integration.

His understanding of the new custom mapping options available on GPS units is second to none, and Chris excels at teaching anglers how to use the new technology to find and catch more fish.

Chris has a passion for teaching fishing, especially to beginners and young anglers and has been a valuable part of the Teachin Fishin Staff for 10 years.