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Author Topic: Lake Erie/St.Clair Ontario Waters  (Read 3887 times)

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StarBoard7

Lake Erie/St.Clair Ontario Waters
« on: May 19, 2012, 04:22:48 PM »

Hello all,

I know smallmouth season for the Ontario side of Erie opens near the end of June and runs until Nov.1st I believe.
My question is are you able to fish for smallies during the closed season if you catch and release?

Thanks
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djkimmel

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Re: Lake Erie/St.Clair Ontario Waters
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2012, 06:45:18 PM »

It is the same law as in Michigan - illegal to catch or attempt to catch a fish that is not in season. People do it. There's not a lot of enforcement but they do sometimes make some sweeps of their waters. You may get a few questions, you may get a ticket. Depends upon the agent, their mood, your behavior, what they saw you doing.

The Ontario bass season in Zone 19 (I believe that is the one that covers Lake Erie and their side of Lake St. Clair and the two rivers) opens the 4th Saturday in June until November 30. http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@letsfish/documents/document/mnr_e001338.pdf

Maybe after we 'fix' the Michigan bass season we can get Ontario to 'fix' their season. At least by Zone anyway. I think part of the reason they went to zones was because they do see the inevitable march of modern fish management coming their way.
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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 The Bass Federation of Michigan.

UAWBigDog

Re: Lake Erie/St.Clair Ontario Waters
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2012, 08:33:19 AM »

The bass fishing opportunities are outstanding in Ontario.  I wish the MNR would get their act together and get with Michigan's DNR and come up with some "boundary water" regulations that would satisfy the demand for bass fishing in these waters.  If they did, imagine the possibilities.  Especially when the season has been a little weird like this one has..............so far.  I have made some observations that tell me St. Clair is fishing more like mid-June rather than mid-May.  The cycle of the lake has seemed to be way ahead of schedule due to all the warm weather we had in late March and April.  Plus the lake didn't freeze over this year.  Lots of new and different things happening out there.  For those of you that know me and have my telephone number, you can call me and I'll tell you what I have observed.



BD                ;D
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djkimmel

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Re: Lake Erie/St.Clair Ontario Waters
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2012, 03:03:09 PM »

Let's get the MDNR act completely together first and THEN we can try to get the MNR act on the same page! ;D

Why don't you share with all of us? Unless you mean you are observing things on the Ontario side? Then, yes, we better wait until their season opens. I've been a good boy and haven't been on the Ontario side of Lake St. Clair before season opens for a number of years. I hope before I'm too old to enjoy it, we can bring everyone into the 21st Century so we can just enjoy our fishing.

Kind of related, sort of, to this topic - have you ever wondered if the bass in the Indiana side of Lake George are different from the bass on the Michigan side of Lake George?
« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 03:12:09 PM by djkimmel »
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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 The Bass Federation of Michigan.

UAWBigDog

Re: Lake Erie/St.Clair Ontario Waters
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2012, 06:39:15 PM »

I haven't been on the Ontario side at all since last season. I don't venture over there until the season opens myself. On the mile roads I've noticed the lack of freshwater clamshell beds I used to see. Also some of the zebra mussel beds that used to be around are smaller and some I have fished over the last years have disappeared. I don't know if Mother Nature is taking care of herself here or what. Water is down a foot at least from last year too. Those are just a few. There are more but I am going to keep to myself until I can draw some other conclusive data to prove to myself I'm not missing something. I had to get a new notepad so I can jot these things down while I'm out there. Tomorrow when I'm out there I am going to check some other waypoints I have to see if these "changes" are happening more. I have also caught more main lake largemouth than normal this year. I think I said that last year too and it's even more this year.


BD.                           ;D
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djkimmel

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Re: Lake Erie/St.Clair Ontario Waters
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2012, 12:03:54 AM »

Someone else made the same comment about largemouth bass. Seems like a cycle since it happened for a while years back. I think the lower water drives them out farther but who knows?
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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 The Bass Federation of Michigan.

UAWBigDog

Re: Lake Erie/St.Clair Ontario Waters
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2012, 07:40:02 PM »

Someone else made the same comment about largemouth bass. Seems like a cycle since it happened for a while years back. I think the lower water drives them out farther but who knows?

That would be one explanation but then you could say over the last years there have been some good spawns out on the main lake.  But like you say......Who knows??



BD                           ;D
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StarBoard7

Re: Lake Erie/St.Clair Ontario Waters
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2012, 09:36:01 PM »

Guys what lakes in Michigan are you not even allowed to attempt to catch when out of season?
I have never fished up there but man that sucks.....I don't know what I would do if I couldn't legally fish the us side of erie until July.




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djkimmel

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Re: Lake Erie/St.Clair Ontario Waters
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2012, 11:54:02 PM »

You cannot fish for any fish in Michigan that is not in season. That is a general statewide regulation. For bass, that means no bass fishing at all until the catch and release season opens the last Saturday in April for the Lower Peninsula Great Lakes and inland lakes. The Upper Peninsula catch and release season starts May 15.

You can fish for bass until December 31 on non-designated trout waters. Some designated trout waters close to all fishing or something like that around the end of November. I'd have to check to be exactly sure because I rarely fish any designated trout waters so I don't check the latest lists or remember them well. It is not a ton of lakes of rivers. I have to read the new guide every year to refresh my memory about more localized regulations.

It does suck but we are working on it. Change is hard for some people but I have seen a large number of the bass anglers of all kinds now more accepting than ever of more bass fishing.

There are a few special bass seasons in Michigan on specific lakes and areas that are different like catch and release only (Wakeley Lake) or lakes in the UP limited to 1 bass and a shorter season, the season around Beaver Island and the other islands off of Charlevoix that are close to any bass fishing until July 1 each year. There are very few lakes or areas like this.

These few exceptions generally tend to be remote. We have 11,000 lakes and most of the Great Lakes set at the statewide bass seasons so the vast majority of the water is the overall catch and release season, and regular Memorial weekend catch and keep opener. The catch and keep opener doesn't accomplish a lot anymore since 80 to 90% of all bass anglers voluntarily release all or most of their bass.

The Lake St. Clair system is maybe the biggest exception because it does not open to catch and keep until the 3rd Saturday in June. It has the same catch and release opening day as the rest of the Lower Peninsula so all this really does is limit the catch and delayed release tournament season to 3 or 4 less weeks than the rest of the Lower Peninsula. This later opener appears to be from some very old ideas that started all the way back about 1904, and supported again by a local movement around 1970 before catch and release bass fishing took hold.

I hope one of these days we can just go bass fishing whenever we want in most of the state but for now, there is a closed season. I keep having to remind myself that it has only been 6 years since we even had the extra few weeks of legal catch and release bass fishing. Before 2006, you couldn't legally fish for bass anywhere in Michigan  before Memorial weekend other than 6 test lakes for a while. Yet people have been practicing catch and release bass fishing before Memorial weekend for around 30 years. It's pretty much the same in most of the other states and provinces that have closed bass seasons.

Statewide closed seasons are not commonly used for bass. Definitely hard to argue they can be effective if lots of people ignore them anyway but that isn't the main reason closed bass seasons are not common. That is just one of the many reasons.

I used to think maybe it would never change in Michigan but that is overlooking the main principle of change. Which is: change is going to occur no matter what. It does seem to be the only thing you can really count. Change comes whether you want it not. All the time.

Now I do know we are going to get more bass fishing. It is just a matter of time - maybe limited only to how stubborn a few holdouts against change want to be. I guess we will all find out together one of these days. Meanwhile, make sure you check out the latest MDNR fishing guide. They change stuff in there every year too! :)
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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 The Bass Federation of Michigan.
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