Lake Erie tourism still strong, even after algae rumors

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Summer tourism on Lake is big business. Lake Erie Shores and Islands estimates tourism brings in more than $2,000,000,000 each year.

But fake rumors about a new drinking crisis in Toledo could hurt local business. One local charter boat captain says there's no reason to worry.

"I do think they're freaking out for no reason, yes. There is no reason to worry about what they're seeing in the water right now."

Captain Russ Merrihew and the Reel Deal still leave the marina in search of yellow perch, with a steady list of clients.

"I've been on this lake since 1950, okay, and the lake was just as bad in 1950," Merrihew said.

"It's really looking pretty good this year," Mark Shieldcastle said.

Mark Shieldcastle should know. He's been on the lake for year as one of Ohio's leading eagle and bird experts.

"This type of toxin (microcystin) isn't something we look at as a problem for birds," Shieldcastle said. "However in mammals it's another story..."

And for pets at the beach, E. Coli is the bigger concern. We saw shell collectors on the shore today, but this stretch of sand brings $40,000,000 to the birding brand each year.

"We get people who come out to bird-watch year round," Lauren McCafferty from the Black Swamp Bird Observatory said.

Lauren McCafferty say she also kayaks and paddleboards Erie.

"You certainly notice some algae, but that's to be expected. I haven't noticed anything abnormal," McCafferty said.

Back at the dock, Captain Russ says his hurdle just finding bait.

"Right now the biggest problem we have is that we cannot get emerald shiners," Merrihew said.

"I've noticed people's worries and fears being exaggerated, compared to what I actually see as the algae problem," McCafferty said.

The worst of this season's harmful algal bloom is off the coast of Monroe County. Winds over the next three days should drive that bloom towards Pelee Island.