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I'm planning a trip to Michigan for the holiday weekend would like to do some fishing . What are the names of lakes with early season and general locations and which do you think is best for smallmouth bass? Thanks WRH
 

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Where will you be staying when you visit? The 6 C&R lakes are located in 4 different counties.
 

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I'm pretty sure that the only Michigan waters still closed to bass fishing after Saturday, 5/24 are Lake St. Clair and the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers. Any bass anglers want to verify?
 

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PWood you are right...May 24 is open season on all waters but Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River and Detroit River...Hard to believe it's already the end of may, isn't it?
 

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Can't remember if I covered this already on this site, but someone snuck through a definition change in legislation (don't know who - MDNR says it wasn't them) for the Detroit River, mentioned only in the trout and salmon guide, that redefines the boundaries of the Detroit River from the Oak St near the top of Gross Isle to an imaginary line drawn across the mouth of the river at the southernmost tip of Celeron Island.

This technically means those several miles of channels that used to open on the regular openers for bass (Memorial weekend) and musky, now fall under the St. Clair opening days instead of the second Saturday in June for bass and June 1 for musky. If you launch out of Erie Metro this weekend, don't head very far north to bass fish or you will cross the 'dotted' line of legal to illegal.
 

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Just out of curiousity, why is it illegal to fish for bass on only the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair until June 21? Not that it makes much difference to me. I usually fish from the shore or off a rented boat off the DNR outpost at South Lake Blvd and I'm lucky if I catch 5 fish a day when I go and to this day I've never caught a bass. Is there any place out in that area that's considered a good place to fish from the shore or from a small 14' rowboat? I'm considering heading on over there this Saturday to catch some perch and other panfish for Memorial Day dinner.
 

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It is illegal to fish for bass on lake St Clair, the St Clair River and the Detroit River until June 21 this year. The law has been in effect for many years.

The rest of the state opens the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.

St Clair and the rivers are a few weeks later due to the fish spawning at a later date than the rest of the state (larger water = cooler water temps)

Mini
 

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Please excuse my ignorance when it comes to a lot of things involving fishing. I've always been more of a recreational fisher who does so occassionally so I don't really know as much as I'd like to about certain aspects of it. Although it does seem rather odd that the Great Lakes would take less time to warm up than Lake St. Clair or the two rivers. I was under the impression that the GLs were among the top 10 largest fresh water bodies in the world, or is it just that the stock of these fish is so large that it doesn't matter as much, or is it that none are present in the Great Lakes? I'm not challenging the law here, just trying to understand its reasoning and maybe gain a little insight into the world of fishing in general. I'd also like to find out how I can catch more fish than I usually do. I've tried crawlers, leaf worms, wax worms, lures, and even hotdogs when I was a kid. Maybe I'm just naturally unlucky in this area or maybe I just don't know the right spots to fish. That's one of the reasons I'm reading this board.
 

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...and that some fishing regulations are made by 'popular' belief or because it might be popular at the time it was made to 'cooperate' with another government (Ontario) or to help tourism (having opening day for most of the state on a holiday weekend), not necessarily for strong scientific or biological reasons.

vsavator, Lots of stuff has been discussed on this site on the topic of bass seasons. You could search through old threads from last spring, summer and fall, and find a bunch. There's lots of good fishing information too.

Ask specific questions and some guys will help when they can. Welcome to the site.

I'll be posting more information on bass seasons and management that I have from fisheries biologists, sites, studies and other sources. We've been told that more bass fishing in Michigan is being considered.
 

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Here's the MDNR's press release about the boundary change on the Detroit River. I figured it might be a good idea to remind anglers planning on fishing the river this holiday weekend.

DETROIT RIVER BOUNDARY CHANGE HELPS ANGLERS OBEY LAW

State conservation officials are reminding anglers of a new legal boundary on the lower Detroit River, enacted to simplify law enforcement and help anglers follow the law.

The legal boundary between the Detroit River and Lake Erie has been changed. Previously, the boundary demarking where the Detroit River ends and where Lake Erie begins was Oak Street in Wyandotte. The new boundary, changed by law and effective last June, is listed in the 2003 Michigan Trout and Salmon Guide as an imaginary east-west line across the southern tip of Celeron Island, approximately 4 miles to the south.

The area from Oak Street to the southern tip of Celeron Island is now considered Great Lakes Connecting Waters, instead of Great Lakes waters, and will be subject to an opening date of June 7 for muskellunge and June 21 for largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Lt. Dave Purol of DNR's Law Enforcement Division noted that the Oak Street boundary, which did not extend to the lake shore, was not easily recognizable by the fishing public.

"It made enforcement difficult, and confused many anglers," Purol said. "Celeron Island is a prominent physical structure in the lower Detroit River, making it a more logical boundary."
 

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WRH,

Did you get your question answered? This thread has taken quite a detour.

You might want to check out Hardy Dam Pond. It's on the west side of Michigan and has some awfully good smallies (despite the fifteen year early C&R season). It's about 30 minutes or so north of Grand Rapids.
 

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How kind of the MDNR to make fishing regulations easier on us. Take away several miles of bass fishing for a few more weeks so we have an easier boundary. Hmmm. Within a few hundred yards of Oak St is something call Grosse Isle/Hennepin Point. That could have been used as the description. Just as easy to define clearly and wouldn't have taken away several miles of bass fishing for several more weeks. Something smells.

I found out about the change this year from a note from an MDNR fisheries person from a friend. Was it this year or last? The MDNR fisheries person stated that no one at the MDNR requested nor knew about the change until they read the fishing guide. Sure would like to know exactly how this change came about and exactly why.

Some will say it doesn't matter now, but we had more opportunity taken away apparently with no input and I think that is important. It also may be inappropriate since many changes, if made by the MDNR, are required to have public input before they are made.

BTW, WRH never did say what part of the state he/she was interested in, so it's kind of hard to answer the question. We have so many good bass lakes though, it shouldn't be too hard to find one.
 
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