Fishing Lake Saint Clair

As I have stated on this site many times, the fishing on Lake Saint Clair in Metro Detroit is top notch.  The musky fishing is world class... the smallmouth bass fishing is world class... the perch fishing (in Canada waters) is not world class but pretty close.

However, these aren't the only fish living in Lake Saint Clair.  While fishing Lake Saint Clair, anglers could also catch walleye, bluegill, sheephead, catfish, pike, steelhead, suckers, dogfish, silver bass, largemouth bass, crappie... the list goes on.  Fishing Lake Saint Clair is truly a treat.

For those of you that don't know, Lake Saint Clair is nestled between the St. Clair river and the Detroit river.  Lake Saint Clair is part of the Great Lakes chain of lakes but is not considered a "Great Lake".  The Lake is shallow with the deepest part being around 20 feet deep.

Be careful fishing Lake Saint Clair.  The lake can get rough in a hurry.  The waves on Lake Saint Clair do not roll like the other Great Lakes because of the shallow depths.  Lake Saint Clair waves are sharp and have led to many white knuckle rides back to the launch.

One unique thing about fishing Lake Saint Clair is the water clarity.  The lake is super clear making sight fishing for perch through the ice or casting to smallmouth bass a blast.  Many anglers attribute the clarity to the increase in zebra mussels in the lake.  Walleye anglers complain that the increased clarity has ruined the lake while bass anglers love the change.  To each their own I guess...

If you are interested in fishing Lake Saint Clair, where do you start?  To help answer this question, I have decided to put together a yearly plan for fishing Lake Saint Clair.  This plan should be pretty accurate but remember that the weather can jump-start or push back the pattern.

In January, ice fishing is starting to get underway.  Most of the popular spots should have ice by Jan. 1st.  Areas to target in January are the bay at Selfridge, Crocker DNR launch and Gino's/Metro Beach area.  Check out this article for driving directions.

A lot of the lake should be frozen by February.  Spots to target are Gino's/Metro Beach, Brandenburg park or Fairhaven a mile out.  Night walleye can be taken 2-3 miles out from Gino's and also around 9 mile if ice conditions are right.  However, most years, anglers cannot even access this far out so make sure the ice is good before you go.

Ice fishing is coming to a close but anglers can still access the Lake.  I like to fish Cotton road in March for big gills and perch but Fairhaven and 9 mile are also good spots.

Pike fishing is hot in Anchor bay in April.  Bluegill fishing and perch fishing also heat up.  Bluegill action can be found in 6-8 feet of water basically anywhere on the lake.  Shore fisherman can take advantage of spawning gills during April.

May is the month of the smallmouth on Lake Saint Clair.  Catch and release for smallmouth starts at the end of April.  Smallmouth can be caught all over the lake but the bay at Selfridge and the mile roads are the best.  The perch fishing is also good around the firecracker in US waters and also in Canadian waters.  Target 16 feet of water if you go.  Walleye fishing is excellent outside of the 400 club and Metro Beach during May.

Smallmouth are starting to slow down but can still be caught in 8-10 foot of water.  Perch and walleye can be found in the same locations as May early but then start to move out to the shipping channels.  Anglers use crawler harnesses and bottom bouncers to target walleye and perch.  Musky season starts in June with the best action being in Anchor Bay area.

The fishing in July and August are about the same.  The fish are deep around the shipping channels and can also be located around both rivers.  The dumping grounds at the south end of the lake is a popular area for all types of fish.

The fishing starts to pick up in September with the fish moving back shallow.  Perch fishing starts by 9 mile in front of the Grosse Pointe Yacht club.  Smallmouth/musky can be found in the same areas as June.

Perch fishing in front of the Yacht club and also in Anchor bay is hot in October and slows down into November.  The Musky fishing is the best in October with fish being scattered around the lake.  Smallmouth bass fishing is also good since the fish are trying to pack on pounds for the winter.

Fishing Lake Saint Clair in December can be tough.  Most docks are out so chasing fish in your boat is out for most anglers.  Plus, the ice is usually not thick enough to fish on until the last week or two of December. 

If the ice is strong enough to get out, most marinas will have good action for perch and gills in December.  A good location is the marina by Gino's.  Most people will be in the bay fishing for perch but the marina can give up limits of gills in December.

Hopefully this will help if you decide to fish Lake Saint Clair any point this year.  Please feel free to comment if I left anything out.

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