Southeast Michigan FAQ

by Terry Picard and Alex Vitek
Lake St. Clair Walleye Association

Fishing clubs, and especially their members, are considered some of the best sources of fishing information for the areas where they reside. The Lake St. Clair Walleye Association continues to receive numerous requests for fishing information through the mail, on our club phone, at our monthly meetings, and now through our newly established contact on the information highway. The majority of the questions pertain to fishing on Lake St. Clair and elsewhere in southeast Michigan, but a few are more directed at fishing in general. This "Frequently Asked Questions" list has been prepared to help guide you to better fishing in our area. (Some of the sites mentioned might require an entry fee.)

Question: What are some good places to fish from shore and/or piers in the Lake St. Clair, Detroit River and St. Clair River areas?

Answer: Starting at the south end of this region and working north:

  • DETROIT RIVER;
    • Lake Erie Metropark near Rockwood
    • Elizabeth Park in Trenton
    • Bishop Park in Wyandotte
    • Belle Isle Park in Detroit
  • LAKE ST. CLAIR;
    • Metro Beach Metropark in Harrison Twp.,
    • Harley Ensign access sight(DNR) in
    • Harrison Twp.,
    • Selfridge access sight(DNR) in
    • Harrison Twp.,
    • Brandenberg Park in Chesterfield Twp.
  • ST. CLAIR RIVER;
    • Algonac State Park in Algonac
    • St. Clair Boardwalk in St. Clair
    • Marysville Park in Marysville
    • Marysville Boardwalk in Marysville

Question: What about shore fishing in other areas of southeast Michigan?

Answer:

  • LAKE ERIE;
    • The fishing pier in Luna Pier
    • Sterling State Park in Monroe (Brest Bay)
    • Point Mouille near South Rockwood (Monroe County)
    • Lake Erie Metropark near Rockwood
  • INLAND LAKES;
    • Belleville Lake in Wayne County
    • Kent Lake in Livingston/Oakland Counties
    • Cass Lake in Oakland County
    • Stoney Creek Lake in Macomb County

Question: What type of lures are used to catch Walleyes in the summer? 

Gale Radtke, president of Radtke Bait Company, with 12.5 lb. walleye taken on Radtke muskie plug.

PHOTOS: ALLEN BENAS

Answer: Crankbaits like Bombers, Hot N Tots and Wiggle Warts, along with plenty of others, are good baits when trolling for suspended fish in open-water areas of lakes. With this technique you can cover a lot of water in a short amount of time. Nightcrawler harnesses are also good for trolling as well as drifting for walleye on lakes and rivers. A slower presentation that works well on less active fish is vertical jigging. Lead-headed jigs with tube or twister-tail bodies, usually tipped with a minnow or piece of crawler, are worked up and down slowly along the bottom. Boat control is very important when jigging especially in areas with moderate to heavy current.

Shore anglers can cast and retrieve most of the lures listed above.

Question: What is a good trolling speed for Walleye?

Answer: 0.5mph to 2.5mph is the range used in most cases.

Question: In hot weather do I change my trolling speed to faster or slower?

Answer: The rule of thumb has always been to speed up your trolling during the summer and fall periods when fish are more active. The only thing is very few of these rules are ever set in stone. A good trick to try to find out what speed the fish want is to troll in a zigzag pattern. When you turn in one direction or the other, the lures on the side of the boat that your turning towards will slow down while the lures being trolled from the other side of the boat will speed up. If the fish start hitting the slower lures, slow your trolling speed. If the action picks up on the faster moving lures, you need to pick up your speed.

Question: Is night fishing for Walleye any good?

Answer: Absolutely! Many anglers believe that more trophy sized walleye are caught during the nighttime hours. The walleyes light sensitive eyes allow it to see better at night making it a natural nocturnal feeder.

Some of the access sites mentioned here might require an entry fee based on vehicle or number of people. Some might also require a fee for launching of watercraft. All sites mentioned are, to the best of our knowledge, open to the public. Sorry, but we are not always able to answer questions dealing with waters outside our immediate area of S.E. Michigan.

Publisher's note: To see what's where topographic maps help. While you can buy individual "quads" for limited areas you might consider the new, and up to date CD-ROMs that might cover 200 or more quads. These let you examine large areas in great detail to turn up new spots to fish, and they allow you to then print only the areas you want. Even better they work with GPS systems as well