Lorain Harbor–Fishing Pier

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Lorain County

Lorain Harbor–Fishing Pier
Coordinates: 41.4721039, -82.1842575
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Vehicle entrance gate to the Fishing Pier.
Drive carefully, large puddles and holes in the roadway.

Photo by Patty McKelvey
Tips for birding Lorain Harbor
The city of Lorain’s nearly 2-acre Public Boat Ramp provides six ramps and three parking lots for direct Lake Erie boating access. Entrance to the site is north of the Oberlin Avenue and First Street intersection with one-way traffic directed to exit on the drive and parking lot along First Street near the Hamilton Avenue intersections

This site is Lorain’s oldest boat launch and is locally known as “Hot Waters” because of its location between a power plant warm water discharge on the west and the former ore docks to the east (now the Lorain Public Fishing Pier access site).

Fishing access is provided around the perimeter of the on-water asphalt parking lot which has car-trailer and car-only parking. A second gravel lot is just east of the launch ramps and a third asphalt lot is about 100 years south of the launch.

The Public Boat Ramp is a city of Lorain adopt-a-spot location adopted by the Polish Fisherman’s Club.
From Ken Andrews

The lakefront in the city of Lorain is rife with great birding spots. In midwinter, one fantastic location is the fishing pier. Completely accessible by car, it’s one place you can park during a midwinter storm and wait for the rarities to come to you on the wind. You don’t need a storm for an excuse to visit; but you might need a guide or a good set of directions.

For Google Maps, use “Hot waters fishing pier.” From the light at US-6 and Oberlin Avenue, head north toward the lake. Where Oberlin Ave. takes a right turn, keep going straight, down the hill passing the Lorain Water Department on your right. This one-way lane leads to a boat ramp known as “Hot Waters” after the warm-water discharge of a former power plant. Keep the building on your right as you loop around it. You’ll now be heading away from the lake and toward the exit. Near a sign that says “Do Not Stop,” turn left through a gap in the chain-link fence. Keep going, slowly, and you’ll see two wide concrete piers extending out into the lake—birders usually favor the northern pier. You’ll know you are in the right place if it feels like your car could be swallowed by potholes. You can drive on the pier and observe birds in the water, on the breakwall, on the pier, and atop nearby buildings. A recent visit turned up a large flock of Lapland longspurs with snow buntings and horned larks feeding on cracked corn on the pier. A peregrine falcon swooped through, hunting the smaller birds. Out on the lake, waterfowl congregate in open water.
From Diana Steele, Ohio Ornithological Society Northeast Regional Director

Believe it or not, the easternmost finger of the fishing piers can attract shorebirds. If puddles form on this pier shorebirds can appear. Scoping the break walls is advisable as Spotted Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstones, Sanderling, even American Avocets have put down here in past years. And if you’ve got a boat to explore the break walls, even better! Also check the grassy area at south end of pier beyond chain link fence.
From Patty McKelvey

The Lorain Harbor is a stop on the Lake Erie Birding Trail.

About Lorain Harbor Fishing Pier
The city of Lorain’s 25.5-acre Public Fishing Pier provides fishing and scenic access to Lake Erie and the Black River. The fishing pier, located on First Street at Hamilton Avenue, is mostly unimproved and accessible to pedestrians only.

Parking is available at the adjacent Lorain Public Boat Ramp (west). No signage denotes the access. A paved concrete path extends the length of the fishing pier alongside the river.

The northern portion of the access includes two former industrial piers separated by a shipping slip. Both are accessible for fishing. Rail tracks, piles of iron ore and three massive 20-ton Hulett Iron-Ore Unloaders once occupied the space. All three Huletts, which included the last one ever built (1960), were removed in the late-1980s.
From Lake Erie Public Access Guide

Restrooms at Boat Ramp (during boating season) and Black River Landing (portable toilets).

From the Charles Berry Bridge, a paved concrete handicap accessible bulkhead used for fishing and walking extends for more than a half-mile along the river, north into Lorain Harbor.