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Author Topic: Coming from North Carolina to Fish St Clair the end of June...questions  (Read 1498 times)

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kbrown4595


My name is Kevin and I am from central North Carolina and have been dying to go north and catch some brownies. I catch lots of smallmouth down here in the mountain rivers where 100-150 fish days are very common. I have never fished for lake smallmouth but I've been fishing my whole life and figuring it out on a new body of water is one of my favorite things. I have a series of questions that hopefully someone can help me with. First off, is there any license I will need other than a standard michigan nonresident fishing license? I will mention that we will only be fishing on the US side. I have researched a lot about the western and northern side of the lake from the mile roads to anchor bay. If you were new to lake st claire which area would you target(not looking for gps coords or anything, just a general area). I will have a choice between an 18 foot bass boat with older electronics or my 19 foot maycraft with new electronics equipped with navionics so my question here is....would navionics make a huge difference on this lake being new to me. I understand that there is lots of grass. Down here I'm accustomed to fishing more structure and underwater humps, etc. What area would you stay in? I would prefer a campground so that I can recharge the trolling motor battery and I'm not picky on how nice it is as I will be sleeping in my truck. The location is more important to me. I looked up a campground in algonac  but I'm unsure how far away from the mile roads and anchor bay that would be driving wise. Are there any campgrounds between anchor bay and the mile roads? And is there a map of public boat accesses in these areas that I can find online? I have looked and have founded different information regarding boat accesses. I don't mind using a pay ramp at all. I will be there for 7 days so I just want to make sure I am well prepared and can maximize my time fishing. I am looking forward to it. Thank you for any information.
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djkimmel

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My name is Kevin and I am from central North Carolina and have been dying to go north and catch some brownies. I catch lots of smallmouth down here in the mountain rivers where 100-150 fish days are very common. I have never fished for lake smallmouth but I've been fishing my whole life and figuring it out on a new body of water is one of my favorite things. I have a series of questions that hopefully someone can help me with. First off, is there any license I will need other than a standard michigan nonresident fishing license? I will mention that we will only be fishing on the US side. I have researched a lot about the western and northern side of the lake from the mile roads to anchor bay. If you were new to lake st claire which area would you target(not looking for gps coords or anything, just a general area). I will have a choice between an 18 foot bass boat with older electronics or my 19 foot maycraft with new electronics equipped with navionics so my question here is....would navionics make a huge difference on this lake being new to me. I understand that there is lots of grass. Down here I'm accustomed to fishing more structure and underwater humps, etc. What area would you stay in? I would prefer a campground so that I can recharge the trolling motor battery and I'm not picky on how nice it is as I will be sleeping in my truck. The location is more important to me. I looked up a campground in algonac  but I'm unsure how far away from the mile roads and anchor bay that would be driving wise. Are there any campgrounds between anchor bay and the mile roads? And is there a map of public boat accesses in these areas that I can find online? I have looked and have founded different information regarding boat accesses. I don't mind using a pay ramp at all. I will be there for 7 days so I just want to make sure I am well prepared and can maximize my time fishing. I am looking forward to it. Thank you for any information.

Welcome to the forum and GreatLakesBass.com.

The most important first question is when are you coming? That will have a lot to do with some answers.

As long as you stay in Michigan waters you will need to buy a $1 Sportcard and the non-resident Michigan fishing license. To go into the State Park, and use the MDNR boat ramps (North Channel-Algonac, Fairhaven, Selfridge, Harley Ensign (Clinton River) and Clinton River Cutoff). See www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport for how to purchase. There is an option at times to pay a daily fee but that can quickly add up to more than the Recreation Passport annual fee.

If you search the forum thoroughly you can find a ton of information already posted on fishing areas, lures and techniques. Also boat ramps and similar needs.

Not sure what the Maycraft is like but a bigger boat with a great map can really help. Many of the best fishing spots on Lake St. clair are subtle so a better map can help find them. There is a fair amount of pondweed and some other grasses in the lake but they change every year and we won't know for a few weeks yet what the weed growth might do this year.

The only campground I've ever found to stay in myself is the Algonac State Park north of Algonac. It is about 45 minutes though by road, depending on traffic, back to the Harley Ensign/Lake St. Clair Metropark area, and a few more minutes to the couple boat ramps further South on the Mile Roads.

Make sure your boat is equipped with all the Coast Guard and Michigan required boat safety equipment.

The launch at the St. Clair Metropark ia administered by the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority. They charge $20 per day to launch ($10/vehicle and $10/boat trailer) or have annual tags ($35/vehicle, $35/boat) that is somewhat pricey. I think that is what they are charging this season anyway. I don't believe there is a different charge for residents verses nonresidents. There's a long no wake out the Black Creek to the lake and back. (For questions pertaining to fees, and more: 1-800-447-2757.)

There's one other large boat ramp open to the public at the end of 9 Mile Road - the 9 Mile Road boat ramp, run by the City of St. Clair Shores. I believe it is $15/day to launch there for nonresidents of the city.

There's pay ramp near the head of the Detroit River also - St. Jeans (City of Detroit) but I don't launch there. Safety of your property can be an issue. Sometimes there is an attendant and sometimes there isn't. It's unclear sometimes if the attendant is actually the real attendant also. I think it still costs $10/day to launch there. I don't recommend it though some people I know launch there regularly.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 12:59:53 PM by djkimmel »
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Jay-MadWags

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The campground sounds too far away from where you want to be fishing. I would look into a hotel around the Harley Ensign boat launch just north of St. Clair Metropark.  Better launch imho and it doesn't have a long no wake zone. Navionics maps are good and a bigger boat is always better on Clair. I run a Skeeter FX20 with a 250 SHO and can make it to 9 mile in 10-15 minutes from Harley depending on the conditions. Harley is also right next to Anchor bay. Just turn left. 😊  Fish should still be shallow in early June. Throw some white flukes and have a drop shot or tube close by when you drift by a bed. 8 to 3 foot of water. I hope this helps.
Good luck.
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Jay-Mad of "Team MadWags"
Jason Madigan

Firefighter Jeff


   FYI the pay launch at 9 mile is $15 per day.  And just a warning it's a fairly long walk from the launch back to the parking lot.  There are a lot of hotels up around there that are very accommodating to boaters and needing to recharge batteries.  I usually stay at the Red Roof in St. Clair Shores.  Sure I have been in nicer places but the rooms are reasonably clean and I'm not spending much time there anyway.  I usually have a first floor room but wasn't able to do that this last trip.  I still was able to run a cord down to my boat.
   I like the area of the hotel because it's right next to highway 94 and quick access to multiple launches to the north.  Have a great trip !!!!
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djkimmel

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Not surprised I had the launch fee wrong... I probably have that noted somewhere but this is what happens when I trust my 'memory...'

It is a long walk from the launch to the parking lot and back. A good idea during slow times to stow your important stuff away if you have to leave your boat alone during the long walk just in case.

There are several decent hotels in the area, and most are used to charging boats.
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
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djkimmel

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Somehow I completely missed that the title of the post says coming at the end of June... not sure how. Probably in too big a hurry, I guess.

That might be a little tougher as a lot of the Michigan spawn will be done. Will still be a few beds, especially further South along the Mile Roads, and maybe some stragglers in the shallow bays (watch where you run in there for a few obstacles) like Fisher, Goose, Muskamoot and Little Muskamoot.

There will be some bass still shallow along the Mile Roads though last year at that time they had seemed to have heavily vacated out into the lake, possibly many into Canadian waters? Anglers were catching some big bass along the Mile Roads but not a lot of bass.

Many years, many of the bass just move deeper out from the Mile Roads in stages towards the river channels and the shipping channel. It was sparse last year though. They might be anywhere from 12 to 16 to 18 feet deep. If more of the bass move into the river channels as they have done in previous years, you can find some bass along the sand edges from the North Channel to the South Channel. It's been a weaker pattern the past 2 or 3 years but with the bass doing something different every year now who knows for sure what they will do this year until they do it?

One thing that might help is with the cold, rainy weather we've had for awhile now, and the muddy to stained water that has been constant, it's possible that more bass may be doing their thing later this year? If that happens, it might be better near the end of June than last year. Plus, if the Mayfly hatch is good this year, that may provide some better fishing where they are hatching. Might hold some bass along the Mile Roads and in Anchor Bay. We'll have to wait and see.
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.

Rangerman

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Dam boy's y'all got it wrong, Just get a DNR permit on line or at the the landing. It's $30.00 buck for the year or about $8.00 per day unless thing's have changed. Note to North Carolina Fishermen they do not allow Power Loading :) :) :) They got soft concert up North. Feel free to give me a hollar. Head up in in JUne again
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Jay-MadWags

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Yes the DNR pass is the way to go. The Harley Ensign launch is a DNR launch. If the wind and weather get bad to the point where Clair gets really muddy on the American side you could always drive 35 to 40 minutes west and fish the inland lakes in Oakland county. They are great anytime of year and you will catch both smallmouth and largemouth in the 3 to 5 pound class. Another thing about those lakes is that the DNR pass works on those lakes too. Those lakes are very close to one another too so you could fish multiple lakes throughout the day.

I know you are coming to fish Clair but it would be good to have a back up plan for a day just in case the Michigan weather throws you a curveball.

Good luck.
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Shoot me an email I let you know all there is to know or should know since you from North Carolina. Our Road Trip Crew head back up 2nd week in June. This is our 8 year going for a week or longer Spring and Fall 8) Number one is don't have a gun in the boat if you get in Canada :) The make Obama look like a Pro Gun Nut :) Sure nuff LSC is one of if not the best lake I have every fished in 70 years.  Enjoy the fish but please put em back. Got a 6-14 in the fall of 2015. What a fish. Hoping the Mayfly hatch is going on when we get there it is awesome fishing during the hatch. Just carry some heavy plastic(Credit Card Type) and cash. Pack you own drinks from NC they got a 10 cent tax on all bottled water, drinks and beer. I know you not taking time to return em for the money. Too many fish to catch.  Remember  they got soft concert up there so 'NO POWER LOADING :) :) :) :) 
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kbrown4595


This is all great information and I greatly appreciate it all. I have been working a lot over the past several days so I haven't been able to respond. I do have a question....what do y'all mean by power loading? And soft concert? I also do intend to have a back up plan for the weather just in case. I run in our salt water sounds down here and know all about how nasty big water can get in a hurry. Also my trip is planned for June 18th-24th.....from.what I've been able to read online it seems as though by that time most years the smallies are on their summer pattern which I assume means deep
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Team houston


Powering your boat on to the trailer. He means concrete.
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djkimmel

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Yes - you aren't supposed to go above idle at MDNR boat ramps. He's making fun of our concrete but the real problem is our ramps are not built deep, far out into the water so powerloading creates some bad undercuts and damages some ramps - collapse, broken concrete, blow out holes you can get stuck in, or hit the gravel/rock built up at the outside of the hole, etc. There's one ramp (City of Trenton) down on the Detroit River where they will sometimes even give you a ticket for having the outboard in gear when you get on the trailer...

As far as the spawn, some will still be spawning in a few places, many will be on their way to summer waters and some will have already moved out towards wherever they head. It probably mostly depends on the forage and what it is doing. Forage has been changing a lot more recently it seems like.
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.

Firefighter Jeff


   Yeah, it's not soft concrete even though I know he was just messing.  Thing is St. Clair water levels don't get dropped 10-20 feet for winter pool like reservoirs.  Hence the concrete doesn't go out as far.

   The DNR out of state vehicle pass is a great thing.  Think it's 31 or 32 dollars.  Sticker goes on your windshield.  Thing is it works for most launches but not all.  It will work at Self Ridge, Clinton cut-off (Crocker), Harley.  Maybe more up north.  What a deal. Indiana in-state for state parks is like $46 for vehicle, and another $26 for a launch permit. 

   Also, the township launch at 9 mile which we mentioned is $15,  right now opens at 8 in the morning.  Does anyone know if it opens earlier in the summer ???

   
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Jay-MadWags

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That ramp is expensive $15 and a very long walk to and from your tow vehicle. You can only launch 2 boats at a time. Not to mention a long idle out to the lake through a shallow canal that usually has shore anglers. Last time I used that ramp I pulled 250 yards of braid off of my prop.  Don't even bother with 9 mile launch. IMHO of course😊.
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OH POWER LOADING :) :) that's is driving you boat on your drive on trailer as it was designed. Like most of the 50 state do. You subject to get a big time ticket and your bass chewed  :)  It must be a MI thing never ran it to it and any of the other states. MI DMR does have some good ramps they just don't keep em clean off very good, but the got nice restrooms. I they allowed power loading maybe it would keep the channel blow out :) :) Just poking some fun, build the ramp at proper angle with side curbs and it will not be a problem.  Oh another piece of advice so load or unload on the wrong ramps, unload on the green pole land side and load on the green poles on the water side. Crazy as hell but that's the way they do things. You going to laugh your bass off at the the way they back down the ramp and then load the boat, back it off and hole the boat at the dock while the car is being parked then everybody gets in the boat. Never thinking to leave dock area and idle back to pick to the driver and let 5 other boats unload and load. Sad and Funny at the same time. Soap Box Broke it's just the way things are in on LSC 8)
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Firefighter Jeff


   For what it's worth, I have seen more than one launch damaged from prop wash.  And just like they say the concrete collapses into the holes.
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Rangerman

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Just needling  :) I don't want a Good Ole Boy for North Carolina to end up in a Northern Jail for power loading 8) One good thing is once you get on I 77 north you don't hit s stop light till you there, but right many toll booths.  Do Not, DO NOT!!  get off I-77 as a Garmin will try and route you thru Ohio cross country. A few miles shorter but lots of lights and two lane.  Just stay on I_77 till you can get on the Ohio Turnpike. Gas prices are reasonable and lots of parking at the Travel Plaza's in Ohio and they got a few fast food joints there also.  Gas is a good bit high in the MI and Ohio area, best fill up before you get out of VA.  West VA is really high try and avoid buying gas there if possible.
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kbrown4595


I certainly do not want to get in any trouble so I am glad I learned this before going. Here in NC we can just power our boats on the trailer but thankfully mine is easy to wench on so no big deal. I have been doing a lot of research on summer small mouth on St Clair. I cannot wait to get up there. Coming from NC I all about an unstable.climate and weather as we have the worst climate/weather on the face of the earth. How stable is Michigan weather in late June? Another question I have is about the muskies.....I fish around them occasionally down here in the rivers while small mouth fishing but I've never caught one. I keep reading that the muskies all over the lake up there in the summer.....is the a particular way to catch one? I wouldn't mind crossing that off my list as well as the fresh water Drum. St Clair seems to be a target rich environment
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markgoetsch

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For muskie throw a megabass 110 or a luckycraft 100DD they won't eat anything cheaper than that!

djkimmel

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For muskie throw a megabass 110 or a luckycraft 100DD they won't eat anything cheaper than that!

;D Seems that way at times! St. Clair Muskies love spybaits too!! Caught my biggest though on a tube jig! There are some better muskie areas but overall they kind of roam all over the lake. They can show up just about anywhere!

Find some rocks anywhere and you should be able to catch a bigger sheepshead! They are more scattered in St. Clair than on Erie but that means there are a few just about everywhere. You can often sightfish small ones on the sandbars in Muscamoot Bay. They usually look blacker and don't act the same as a smallmouth.

White bass are biting like crazy right now. Maybe they are spawning? Walleye seem to be biting well so far this year too.

Weather is a little more stable here in June but considering the past couple seasons just about anything is possible maybe this year!?!
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.
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