Regional Reports-Midwest

Lake St. Clair

The praises of Detroit's Lake St. Clair are loudly sung by touring bass pros such as Shaw Grigsby, Kevin Van Dam (who grew up fishing its waters) and Larry Nixon-all of whom feel it is perhaps the finest bass fishery in the world. Lake St. Clair continues year after year to produce limits of smallmouth bass that on average outweigh largemouth limits in some Southern states. The lake supports an excellent largemouth population, too. Within a few days, Lake St. Clair bass anglers will begin the hottest fishing period of the year-the pre-spawn and spawning fishery-during which it is commonplace to catch 50 to 100 smallies a day, with many of the fish weighing three to six pounds. St. Clair is also a fishery mired in controversy, since the Michigan bass season on the lake doesn't officially open until late June to coincide with the Ontario opener on the eastern half of the lake. It's a total catch-and-release fishery, and while the season is opposed by some biologists (who admit that they can't see that fishing has done any harm), it has been largely ignored by Department of Natural Resources conservation officers because the lake is open to walleye and pike fishing at the same time, and the officers say there's no way they can go into court and argue that the tube lure, spinnerbait or crankbait that the angler was casting couldn't have been intended for an open species. Contact: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division (517-373-1280).