Fishing the St. Clair River

Most years, the walleye action on the Detroit river starts to slow down during the middle of May into early June.  The white bass have usually entered into the system and catching walleye can be a challenging task.  However, Metro Detroit walleye anglers do not need to put away their gear and call it quits until the fall.  Walleye can still be caught fishing the St. Clair river.

St. Clair river eater
The St. Clair river connects Lake Huron to Lake Saint Clair which eventually leads to the Detroit river down to Lake Erie.  The St. Clair river holds so many walleye because of where it is located.  The river is home to spawning walleye from Saginaw bay plus a travel corridor for walleye moving between Lake Erie and Saginaw Bay.  Most experts believe that walleye treat the whole Lake Huron/Erie waters as one system.  Walleye can cruise from one body of water to another in days. 

The St. Clair river is deep and cold which also helps in holding walleye.  When outside temps are in the 90's the St. Clair river will be in the 60's.  Walleye will hang in the deepest areas(shipping channel) during the day and then move up on the shallow flats during night.  During the day, anglers vertical jig and then move to dragging crawler harnesses later in the summer.  During the night, anglers hand-line or utilize a tactic called whipping that is unique to the St. Clair river.  I will go into these tactics in depth in later articles.

Walleye can be caught anywhere fishing the St. Clair river but the best spots are turns in the river or areas of structure.  Basically, any area that walleye can hide out in to get away from the current and ambush prey will potentially hold fish.  The current is fast on the St. Clair river so walleye use breaks in the current to their advantage.  Walleye will face up river out of the current until a dazed bait-fish comes their way.  I often imagine a walleye hiding behind a rock attacking shad as they get swept by in the fast current while fishing the St. Clair river.

If you are thinking about fishing the St. Clair River, there are four cities you can launch from.  Starting at the southern part of the river is the city of Algonac.  The city of Algonac has two public launches.  The DNR launch can be found south of the city by the Kroger and another small public launch is by the Dairy Queen.

There are a few islands in this stretch of river along with the start of the different channels leading into Lake St. Clair.  Popular places to fish are the north channel, south channel, the head of Russel's island and the state park area up to Robert's landing.  The fish seem to show up in Algonac first along with Port Huron.

The next city to the north is Marine City.  There is one DNR launch located south of the city on M-29.  Popular places to fish are at the head of Fawn Island, mouth of the Belle river and the Edison plant to the north.  The Edison plant is good for salmon after ice out.  The plant has a warm water discharge that the fish are attracted to when the water temps are low.  Walleye will be found around the plant after the trout move out.

Further north are the cities of St. Clair and Marysville.  Fishing out of St. Clair is not as popular as the other locations.  However, fish can be caught at the mouth of Pine river and the middle grounds if you decide to go out.  The city has one public launch that is located on the Pine river.

The city of Marysville is one of the most popular areas to fish the St. Clair river and can be deadly at night whipping for walleye.  There is one public launch south of town but it is the most expensive to launch if you are not a resident.  Fish can be caught by Stag island and basically any water depth of 22 feet north of the city launch.  Fishing from shore can also be productive along the boardwalk.  Anglers toss pink jig-heads tipped with minnow plastics for walleye at night.

The last stop for fishing the St. Clair river is the city of Port Huron.  There are two public launches on the black river.  One on water street and the other on Hancock.  The fishing turns on in Port Huron before most other locations because of the spawning walleye from Saginaw Bay.  Anglers will vertical jig the mouth of the Black River from ice out until May with limits of walleye being the norm.  Locals will then turn to whipping at night south of the black river and drifting under the Blue Water Bridge from Lake Huron into the river with crawler harnesses.  The current is strongest in Port Huron so exercise caution while fishing.  Make sure you have control of your boat at all times.

The city of Port Huron is also good for fishing from shore.  Boat-less anglers can fish for walleye from the break-wall at Pine Grove Park.  Anglers will vertical jig while walking along the wall or cast body baits at night.  Many walleye are caught in the spring and summer from Pine Grove park along with salmon and smelt.

If you haven't fished the St. Clair river before, hopefully this article will help you get your bearings before you go out.  If you have fished it before, please feel free to email me if I missed any locations that need to be mentioned.  Please be careful when fishing the St. Clair river because the current is much stronger than the Detroit river and the freighters get closer and the boat traffic is heavier.



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3 comments:

koh lanta hotels said...

That sounds lovely. I hope I will get a chance to go fishing at St. Clair someday. Wonderful place.

Anonymous said...

excellent post you shared!thanks.

William C. Garcia said...

Your article is great. It's the unique article that i have read till now. I would like to go to fishing at St Clair. I got many tips for my trip. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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