Wylie the Walleye gets makeover for Port Clinton's 21st annual Walleye Drop

Wylie the Walleye gets makeover for Port Clinton's 21st annual Walleye Drop

PORT CLINTON, OH (WTOL) - For 21 years Wylie the Walleye has d ropped from a crane at the stroke of midnight in Port Clinton to reel in the New Year.

But before that happens, kids celebrate earlier with a Minnow Drop, chasing after prizes and balloons.

They can't stay up too late right? "I'm going to stay up until 2 o'clock" shouts little Cathy Gearig.

Port Clinton calls itself the "Walleye Capitol of the World".

The Walleye Drop fills up restaurants, bars and hotels in what is normally a dead time of the year in this bustling summertime tourist area.

McCarthy's Pub loves luring in the extra business.

"We have a lot of people that visit during the summer. Have summer homes and do come back for just this," said Michelle Kodak of McCarthy's.

The best place to find walleye on this night is the Port Clinton Fishery.

Folks fill up tables for dinner before Wylie resurfaces at midnight.

"I like the fresh taste, makes it feel like summer. Cold outside, got to warm up somehow. Come here for some fish," said Meghan Spuhlen.

One take home treat is walleye popcorn from the Great Lakes Popcorn Company.

Folks are reeled in by its spicy taste.

"Kind of like cajun breading you use to season the fish. Like a peppery taste," said Loria Hoffer of the store.

Five thousand people are hooked in for the big d rop at the stroke of midnight.

In recent years though old Wylie has looked a little rough around the gills.

But there's a new and improved twenty foot, 600 pound fiberglass fish this year complete with flashing LED lights.

"He's all lit up. Very exciting. He'll be able to welcome everybody into town and welcome them to Port Clinton," said Lauren Schubach of the Wylie Walleye Foundation.

And no matter what day of the year it is you can always guarantee something fishy is happening in Port Clinton.

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