The St. Clair River in southeastern Michigan is one of the most productive walleye fisheries in the state. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the river system attracts fisherman from all over the country each spring and summer. Walleye are an aggressive species, making them fun to catch, as well as popular table fare. Certain methods of catching walleye are known to produce results depending on the season, time of day, location and lure choice.
Walleye season in Michigan typically begins in early spring. In the St. Clair River, however, the walleye season begins later. Jim Barta of Michigan Sportsman Magazine says this is a result of the long journey the fish must take each year to return to Lake Huron from their spawning waters in Lake Erie. Plan to attack this species in the river beginning in late spring when the fish return and again when they head back to Lake Erie. The river's position between lakes causes it to act as a thoroughfare for walleye, which accounts for the number of fish found in the waters each season.
Walleye are a light-sensitive species and commonly stick to darker areas of the water. At midday you are likely to find them in the deep waters toward the bottom, where light is less intense. In the early morning and early evening cast into the weed beds and other shallow areas near the bank. This is where the walleye come to feed before the heat and light of the day have penetrated the shallow waters.
Barta points to several specific locations where you are likely to find large numbers of walleye. The waters between Stag Island and Blue Water Bridge as well as the Marine City area are high-volume areas.
Bait and Lures
Jigging in the St. Clair River proves most productive with ¼ to ½-ounce jigs, commonly either chartreuse or orange in color. Maintaining a vertical presentation while jigging is important, while adding live bait to the jig can also improve results. Trolling is another popular method to be used later in the season. Anglers often use rapalas, wiggle warts and spoons for trolling. As fall approaches and the fish become less active, you may find jigging in deep water with spoons leads to more bites. This method is also common among ice fishermen on nearby lakes.
Article Written By Jim Jansen
Jim Jansen has been writing articles since 2005 and has been featured in publications such as "The River Watch," and also contributes to Trails.com and LIVESTRONG.COM. He has a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Michigan State University. Jansen specializes in outdoor recreation and environmental topics.