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Where would smallmouth bass be on lake st Clair in summer


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  • Super User

I think @TOXIC makes an annual trip out there every year so he may be able to help you.

 

My guess is that during midsummer they would be spread out in the abyss on offshore structure.  At least that's where they are when an Elite event is held there in the summer time.

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I don't want to contredict anyone and I have never been to St-Clair, but I fish similar water.  St Clair is not a deep lake and the water is cold. It' like a big bowl.  I would guess that you always have fish that are not deep and you also have fish in midsummer ( July) that are in the deepest section.  In June, August and September the water is cooler and there are more fish not really deep.  On the Canadian side,  I would think that June and September are the best mounths.  In summer, I would be looking for changes in depth offshore around the 20 foot mark.

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St Clair is is very unique lake.  Always has current from Huron coming through on its way to Erie and the water is cooler than you would expect, even in summer.  The best time to go IMHO is when we go at the end of May.  Depending on weather, you can get fish in pre-spawn, on the beds, and post-spawn.  Sometimes in all three stages.  Typically in the summer the smallmouth move out to deeper water around the shipping channels on submerged grass or rocks.  They are a lot harder to catch. As has been said, it is a huge bowl and you can be 2 miles offshore and still be in 10-13 feet.  I’ve only fished it a couple of times in the summer months and during our trip, Canadian waters aren’t even open to catch and release so we don’t venture over there even though our cottage is on Harsens Island and right on the Canadian border.  

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@ Reel covered it pretty good. The best time to fish for them is pre spawn April & May and early June some years based on water temps. Since your from Canada your season may vary from Michigan. The deepest water depths are probably the shipping canal. 

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Yes, I'm from Canada also, and the season is closed.  In Ontario, the bass fishing mounths are July, August and September... so prespawn and spawn are not in the picture.

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7 hours ago, Reel said:

I don't want to contredict anyone and I have never been to St-Clair, but I fish similar water.  St Clair is not a deep lake and the water is cold. It' like a big bowl.  I would guess that you always have fish that are not deep and you also have fish in midsummer ( July) that are in the deepest section.  In June, August and September the water is cooler and there are more fish not really deep.  On the Canadian side,  I would think that June and September are the best mounths.  In summer, I would be looking for changes in depth offshore around the 20 foot mark.

What about on the Michigan side ? In July and August ?

What about on the Michigan side ? In July and August ?

7 hours ago, Dwight Hottle said:

@ Reel covered it pretty good. The best time to fish for them is pre spawn April & May and early June some years based on water temps. Since your from Canada your season may vary from Michigan. The deepest water depths are probably the shipping canal. 

At what depth would smallmouth be on the Michigan side of lake st Clair ? 
During July and August ??

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The Michigan side doesn't look deeper.  Like Dwight sait, I would try to fish along the shipping canal concentrating on flat shelves along it. But that's where I would start !   It might not work.

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5 minutes ago, Reel said:

The Michigan side doesn't look deeper.  Like Dwight sait, I would try to fish along the shipping canal concentrating on flat shelves along it. But that's where I would start !   It might not work.

Can you show me on a map if you don’t mind 

Where would that be located 

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Even if I have not been there, I think giving exact locations is the worst thing you can do to a fellow fisherman.  It takes out all the fun of finding a good spot.  Use the Navionics viewer and you should be able to find a large flat spot near the chanel in 12 to 15 feet of water.

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12 minutes ago, Reel said:

Even if I have not been there, I think giving exact locations is the worst thing you can do to a fellow fisherman.  It takes out all the fun of finding a good spot.  Use the Navionics viewer and you should be able to find a large flat spot near the chanel in 12 to 15 feet of water.

I’m new to lake saint Clair where is the Chanel 

Where would that be 

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4 hours ago, Basskiller1232 said:

I’m new to lake saint Clair where is the Chanel 

Where would that be 

I would imagine it’s marked with large buoys and there will be freighters. Granted I’ve never been there either 

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The shipping channels are clearly marked on every map software and to be brutally honest just look for mapped structure and take a cruise around and you’ll see boats congregated on a depth contour.  Once you know that, you can replicate it.  If you want the easy way out, just go to the mile roads and keep going towards the center of the lake until you see groups of boats.  That will clue you in to depts.  

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Google is your friend. Start reading the first paragraph. 

https://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/publications/coast-pilot/files/cp6/CPB6_C08_WEB.pdf

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While I have never fished LSC, there are so many tournament recaps articles in Bass Times and I would bet there are all sorts of Youtube videos of Elite Tournaments held there that you could learn a lot before you get there.  Just search for articles and videos of tournaments for the time you want to go there.  

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Try the mile rds, then you will have to find them on the structure and depth can't really tell you that for sure.  Depends on the day and weather. 

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20 hours ago, crzy50 said:

Try the mile rds, then you will have to find them on the structure and depth can't really tell you that for sure.  Depends on the day and weather. 

Can you show me on the map 

If you don’t mind 

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You need to look for your self. You might learn something useful. 

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Open Up Time GIF by Mike Hitt
 

this is the type of homework you need to do yourself. You've got three locations and some seasonal advice. No one can spoon feed you everything. 

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As others have said, much more difficult in the dog days of summer when the water temp is north of 75F. I target 15’ or greater depths and watch the water temp looking for weeds or rocks. Or you can fish the edges of the shipping channels (very popular spot). Good luck. 

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On 4/9/2024 at 9:41 PM, TAUMI said:

As others have said, much more difficult in the dog days of summer when the water temp is north of 75F. I target 15’ or greater depths and watch the water temp looking for weeds or rocks. Or you can fish the edges of the shipping channels (very popular spot). Good luck. 

Thank you for your help 

In your opinion which is better doing what you do or fishing shipping channels ? 

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  • Super User

Probably enough info/help now to go "kill" some bass?

 

 

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It's out home lake, we fish it all year. If your coming up mid-summer and plan to launch out of Canada  I would use Mitchells Bay and I believe there is a public launch at Belle River. Both of those areas have produce a ton of fun SMB in the 3-4 range and fives are common if you're on them

 

Once we are post-spawn, 80% of our time is in Canadian waters. Less traffic, better fishing. Use the border as your guide. They are moving all the time but generally 15-19 FOW using drop shot , cranks and ned rig. 

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3 hours ago, SAL321 said:

It's out home lake, we fish it all year. If your coming up mid-summer and plan to launch out of Canada  I would use Mitchells Bay and I believe there is a public launch at Belle River. Both of those areas have produce a ton of fun SMB in the 3-4 range and fives are common if you're on them

 

Once we are post-spawn, 80% of our time is in Canadian waters. Less traffic, better fishing. Use the border as your guide. They are moving all the time but generally 15-19 FOW using drop shot , cranks and ned rig. 

Canada license is easy to purchase on line, do a search for Ontario non resident fishing license.

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I've fished LSC a lot the last few years. Going in I typically have 3-4 different kind of areas picked out, cycle through those Day 1, and let the fish tell me what I should be doing and where I should be going. After that the you can find patterns of similar depth/structure. But to someone's point, the entire lake is a huge bowl and any random spot could hold a giant. My PB came on my first cast after drifting for 5 minutes to tie on a new lure.

 

If that fails and there's a fair amount of boat traffic you can always look to the horizon to get a general idea of where people think they "should" be depth wise. As you look north to south you'll see boats aligned in a particular depth range.

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