Seasonal Patterns for Smallmouth Bass Fishing on Lake St. Clair - Michigan


Bass season opens the last Saturday in April in Michigan and runs thru December 31. Ice however, usually starts to form at launch sites by late November, so fishing in December is limited. The following is a breakdown of the seasons and some patterns that are consistent for catching Smallmouth Bass on Lake St. Clair.



Seasonal Patterns and Techniques for Smallmouth bass fishing on Lake St. Clair near Detroit, Michigan

Pre-Spawn: (late April thru mid May)

At this time of year, Smallmouth fishing on Lake St. Clair is usually good to excellent. When the water temperature hits the mid 40's thru the upper 50's, Smallies are on the prowl. A lot of fish move shallow at this time in preparation for the spawn and are actively feeding. My favorite time to fish is from opening day on, the earlier the better. Big females are actively feeding at this time and usually not hard to catch. This is a popular time of year so book your trip early for the best dates available.


Prespawn Smallmouth bass fishing on Lake St. Clair near Detroit, Michigan

Spawn: (May thru June)

Once The Smallmouth start locking on their spawning beds, they get a little tougher to catch do to their reluctance to leave their beds. During this time, Smallmouths are busy guarding their nests and usually won't venture far from them. When the fishing goes from super one week to noticeably slower the next, this is a sure sign the fish in that area are in the peek of the spawn. The key to consistent great days this time of year is being "dialed-in" to the key spawning areas and knowing which areas they have already spawned and which areas they have not. Being out there consistently is the best ways to stay tuned in to what faze the fish are in, in any specific area. That is one advantage of hiring a guide. Catch and Immediate release is extremely important this time of year.


Spawn Smallmouth bass fishing on Lake St. Clair near Detroit, Michigan

Post Spawn: (June into July)

The month of June is a great time to fish for Smallmouth Bass on Lake St. Clair. At this time of year a lot of fish are still shallow. The male Smallmouths usually hang around these areas thru out June in high numbers. The larger females start to pull out to the deeper weed patches and rock piles as the month progresses. Finding or knowing where isolated rocks and weed patches are out from the spawning areas, is key for consistently catching the bigger post-spawn females. "Time-on-the-water" is what is required to locate enough key spots and areas to consistently keep clients on fish. By early July most fish have left the shallows and the summer bite is starting.


Summer Smallmouth bass fishing on Lake St. Clair near Detroit, Michigan

Summer: (July thru early September

When the post spawn period ends on Lake St. Clair, most of the Smallmouth Bass start heading for deeper water. Their primary forage is perch, shad, and crawfish. Knowing were the bait and forage are, is the key to catching numbers of quality fish. The perch and shad have a tendency to roam. Being out there consistently and following them is a big part of "Being on Fish". The crawfish take up residency in weed beds whose location changes from year to year. Relocating the key weed beds is a process guides under go each season. Summer time Smallmouth fishing is great on St. Clair. It does take time and work to locate areas holding fish but once they are found, some of the best fishing of the year can be seen.


Fall Smallmouth bass fishing on Lake St. Clair near Detroit, Michigan

Late summer thru fall: (September thru October)

This is another great time to be bass fishing on Lake St. Clair. Two strong patterns happen during this time. The first is the movement of fish to the heavy current areas of the rivers. Spending the time to find the key current breaks and rocky flats in the river is required for consistent river fishing. The river can be just as good as and sometimes better than the lake, especially when the wind prevents main lake fishing. The second pattern is the movement of the main lake fish to the shallows. When the weeds start to die back and the water temps start to drop, a lot of Smallmouths move to the shallows. Again, being out there consistently and following the fish thru the cycles is the only way to really stay on them. These patterns usually last for a few weeks and is excellent fishing when it happens.


Winter Smallmouth bass fishing on Lake St. Clair near Detroit, Michigan

Late fall to Ice-up: (late October thru mid November)

As winter approaches the Smallmouth of St. Clair head to their winter haunts. When the water temps drop into the 40's the Smallmouth bass school up in large groups on isolated rock piles and humps on Lake St. Clair and Erie. Weather is a big concern this time of year, so watching the forecast is critical. If you can get a window of calm conditions, this is the key time to catch a trophy. Large groups of quality smallmouth are stacked up know and "Super Catches" can be had. The fish are usually in tight schools and if you aren't right on them you won't catch them. Locating these spots isn't easy, however, once you locate them they will consistently be their not only this season but for seasons to come. Over the years, myself and fellow guides have GPSed dozens of these key spots. If you want to catch a giant, consider booking a trip in the late season. The colder the water the better.


Smallmouth bass fishing guide trips on Lake St. Clair near Detroit, Michigan

In Closing

I heard in a seminar once were an angler asked the guest speaker, who is a local professional guide, "How can a guy that only fishes on Lake St. Clair two or three times a year find and catch numbers of quality fish?" His reply was short and simple, "The only place I've seen success come before work, is in the dictionary". To consistently be on them (the fish), you have to consistently be out there. Our guides spend countless hours on Lake St. Clair and their primary goal is to build a clientele of satisfied customers. Our mission is to put you "On Fish" and make sure you have an enjoyable day. If you would like to experience what Lake St. Clair has to offer, book a trip with "Michigan Bass Fishing Tour Guide Service" and let us "Put you on them".


To schedule your next bass fishing trip with Michigan Bass Fishing Tours contact:

Gerry 313-319-0100 /