Michigan’s Opening Day

Lakes starting to thaw.

Lakes starting to thaw.

For us Michiganders, the last Saturday in April is a day that rivals opening day of deer season or Tigers baseball opening day. The start of the Lower Peninsula’s bass catch and immediate release, musky, pike, walleye and trout on Type 1 and 2 streams draw fisherman to all bodies of water. This is the sign that summer is on it’s way.

Michigan residents are drawn to the water right from birth. We even flock to water during the winter and Michigan has some rough winters, especially this year with the most ice coverage on the Great Lakes since the 70’s and snowfall totals in many areas setting new records. So, when late March and early April come and the inland lakes become unsafe for travel and rivers swell past their banks, it’s time to start thinking about summer. There’s a short period in there when Steelhead flood the rivers to take our minds off summer, but for the many that don’t live near a Great Lakes tributary this isn’t an option.

At the beginning of April we start to get antsy. Every time you drive by a lake you’re checking the receding ice. Drive by a river and you’re observing the flow. As the ice melts along the shoreline and the rivers begin to withdraw back inside their banks we start to think about it while at work or just watching television at home. We think about summer time fishing constantly.

And so the preparation begins. You’ll start to see people hauling boats out of storage. We start going through, organizing our tackle boxes, buying new lures, tying every fly pattern that might work on our favorite stream. Planning where to go when that day finally comes. Do you go to your favorite bass spawning ground, trout stream, or walleye river? Is there a new spot that you’ve read about or seen recently just waiting to be fished? We start to think about that monster trout that followed a spinner out from behind that rock and if there is a chance that he’s still there. What about the numerous 30″+ pike you saw last year being caught on a fly rod while bluegill fishing? It’s all going to be available to you on that Saturday.

For the unprepared, there will be many line twists, snags, lost lures and boat problems. For the prepared maybe less frustration, but maybe more. You never can tell until you get out there. One thing is for sure, with all the thinking and waiting for this day to come, it will be the best day since the season closed. Now go get ’em and have fun.

For Michigan Fishing reports and tips check out www.FishMich.com

Fishing in the “D”

Detroit River Walleyes

Mike Martin with a two man limit of walleye on the Detroit River. https://www.facebook.com/MikeMartinOutdoors?fref=ts

Detroit, Michigan is known across the country for high crime rate, low real estate values and bankruptcy. For the sporting world, Detroit hosts the Red Wings who could trademark the word “WIN”, the Tigers who are a historically great team, the Pistons who have a good team for a couple seasons and then about 5 without, and finally the Lions who have been rebuilding as long as I’ve been alive. But, what most of the country overlooks is that Motown has some of the best freshwater fishing opportunities. Just about any fish can be found and in great size and abundance.

First let’s look at the Detroit River. From March 15th-April 26th, when most of Michigan is closed to walleye, pike and bass fishing, The Detroit is open for walleye and overflowing with monsters. This is the time of year when 10 pounders are easiest to find and 3 or 4 man limits are met within a couple hours some days. The river stays active until about mid-May, depending on the weather. The rest of the year perch, white bass, bluegill, rock bass, small and largemouth bass, pike, musky, crappie and channel cats can be found. Trophy sized fish of all of these are caught regularly. Being that it is easily accessed and the many fishing tournaments, the D can have heavy pressure, but this fishery can support it and still produce.

Next on our list is the crystal clear Lake St. Clair, which lies to the northeast of the Motor City. LSC is connected to Lake Huron to the north by the Saint Clair River and to Lake Erie on the south by the Detroit River. It is roughly 425 square miles and has an average depth of 11 feet. With the high water flow into and out of the lake it continually receives an abundance of fresh nutrients. This lake hosts all the main species of fish that were included in the Detroit River and not to mention one of the best smallmouth fisheries in the U.S. It is a place where small and largemouth average 2 lbs. and on some days 40-50 can be boated in a few hours. Beyond the bass fishing, it is said that Lake Saint Clair is one of the world’s best Musky fishing lakes. That’s right, in the world. Muskies over 30″ are everywhere and many in the 40″-50″ range are caught every year.

Jump to the south of Hockey Town and you’ll find Lake Erie. This Great Lake really needs no explanation. It’s well known as a world class walleye fishery. Erie produces large ‘eyes and perch all year long. It is lesser known for it’s salmon and steelhead, but produces many and has solid runs up the many tributaries around Detroit.

Combine these three fisheries with the many streams and rivers and over 400 inland lakes in the surrounding counties and you have an unbelievable fishing city. The economy of Detroit may have it’s ups and downs, but for the fisherman it will always be paradise.

For more information on fishing in Detroit or anywhere in Michigan visit www.FishMich.com