We Need A Bigger Boat For Lake St. Clair…Really?

Safety always comes first so be sure the vessel is in sound mechanical shape and check the Coast Guard rules to see if any additional safety equipment should be on board.

Folks come in all shapes and sizes and so do their concerns when it comes to fishing a big body of water like Lake St. Clair. One of the top concerns expressed to me has to do with the size of their boat and why they have never brought it out on the big lake before. This is the perfect attitude to have for any boater looking to launch here for the first time. Where I come in is to point to sound and safe ways to get started so the angler can build confidence and not miss out on one of the greatest smallmouth fisheries in the world.

There is a lot to be said for the fishing in the canals at Metropolitan Beach during most of the season. If you launch from inside the park a vast series of canals can keep you busy for many trips and give you quick access to the main lake too. This might sound like the opposite of main lake fishing but not true! Some anglers make the trip from the main lake to fish here for tournaments and when the weather conditions are at their worst, you’ll have a lot of company. It’s all part of the big water experience. The largemouth can provide steady action and those anglers who are largemouth savvy can pull in some good weights.

For U.S. waters a straight west wind is going to give us miles of shoreline of flat water to fish. Pretty much every U.S. launch will work and even under high west winds, it’s comfortable to fish up to a couple of miles from shore and the fishing can be fast and furious. The Selfridge launch can provide the same kind of conditions under a strong south west wind. Another option to stay protected during high winds is to launch in the St. Clair River channel system where the islands provide cover and the bite on summer bass is at its peak. In a strong south wind the south shore of Lake St. Clair in Canada functions the same way and if the wind blows with a south easterly tack, Mitchell’s Bay is an excellent choice of a power packed fishery that will keep you coming back for more.

Sometimes there’s just no way to finesse the conditions and making an alternate choice in lakes is the better part of valor. With a small boat I wouldn’t fish Lake St. Clair

  • With high onshore winds
  • With high winds that ride up or down the shoreline
  • On the weekends after mid-morning during the peak recreational months

One look at the weather forecast can give you a read on the winds and by launching at daybreak you can beat the crowds, get in some of the best fishing of the day then go home satisfied by the time the recreational cruiser engines are getting fired up.


My first boat was a 14 foot fiberglass runabout with the windshield taken off and a bass fishing seat sunk into the flat front deck. For years we started out at the U.S. launches and went out as far as we dared until a certain level of comfort set in. Any day on Lake St. Clair is great, but those early years were some of the best of all.

There’s more on this in my first book…No Secrets on Lake St. Clair Vol. 1

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

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