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Detroit River Smallmouth Fishing

The Detroit River is well-known among anglers as one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in North America. The river is located in Southeast Michigan, and it connects Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie. This waterway is around 32 miles long and ranges from 0.5 to 2.5 miles in width. It's also known for its' fast current, deep pools, and plentiful tructure, which makes it an ideal habitat for smallmouth bass. 

The Detroit River is open for fishing all year round. However, the best time to target smallmouth bass is from late May to October. 


During this period, the water temperature is warm, and the smallmouth bass become more active and aggressive, making them easier to catch. Here are the seasonal patterns for smallmouth fishing on the Detroit River.

Late May to Early June

The smallmouth start moving to shallow

waters to spawn usually sometime around

Memorial Day to early June. Anglers can find

them in areas with sand or gravel bottoms,

such as points, flats, and shorelines. The best

time to fish for smallmouth during the spawn

is early in the morning or late in the evening.

Topwater lures such as poppers, buzzbaits, and

walking baits are the best choices for this period.

June to August

After the spawn, the smallmouth bass move to deeper waters and start feeding aggressively. You should be able to find them around structures such as rocky points, shoals, and drop-offs. During this period, smallies feed on crayfish, minnows, and other small baitfish. Therefore, jigs, crankbaits, and soft plastics imitating these baits are the best choices for this period. Anglers can fish with jigs and soft plastics by dragging them along the bottom.

September to October

As the water temperature starts to cool down, the smallmouth start moving back to shallow waters to feed. Areas with thick vegetation such as weed beds and lily pads are usually where these bass are hiding. 

With the vastness of the Detroit River, anglers can find the smallies throughout... However, there are some areas that are more productive than others. 

The Ambassador Bridge: Large bridge that connects Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario. It is a popular spot for smallmouth fishing, especially during the summer months. Anglers can find smallmouth bass around the bridge pillars and the rocky shoals nearby.

Belle Isle: Large island park located in the middle of the Detroit River. It is a popular spot for anglers, especially during the summer months. Anglers can find smallmouth bass around the rocky points, shoals, and drop-offs.

Fighting Island: Located on the Canadian side of the Detroit River. During the fall months, it is another popular spot.

With access to both Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, the Detroit River offers some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in North America. Whether you're an experienced angler or a novice, a bass fishing guide can help you navigate the waters and catch some trophy-sized smallies. Fishing guide

Charter Fishing Lake St. Clair

Thank You!

One of the keys to successful smallmouth bass fishing in the Detroit River is targeting areas with structure and rocks. Smallmouth bass are known to congregate around rocky points, shoals, and drop-offs, and anglers who can locate these areas are likely to have success.
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