Traverse City Record-Eagle


October 11, 2013

Bob Gwizdz: Trolling in Canadian waters

ST. CLAIR SHORES — There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Lake St. Clair is among the premier muskellunge fisheries in the world.

The massive wide spot between the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers straddles the international border and there are fish on both sides, but it’s no secret that much of the muskie fishing during July and August takes place in Canadian waters.

But once the first hints of fall are in the air, the action returns to Michigan waters.

That’s the word from Don Miller, a long-time Lake St. Clair muskie guide who hosted me for an afternoon recently. Miller typically fishes in Ontario water in the summer because there are too many weeds in the water to efficiently troll the American side.

“Detroit is the only place in the country you can look to the south and see Canada,” Miller said. “A lot of the summer weather comes from the south and pushes weeds up to the Michigan shoreline. You have to move. There’s no getting around it.

“September is a transitional time of year, when you’re moving into fall patterns,” continued Miller, who’s been fishing St. Clair muskies most of his 60 years. “Your winds shift from south, southwest to north, northwest. The wind pushes all of the cabbage and other weeds back to the other side of the lake. It allows a troller to pull lines more effectively that time of year in the U.S. waters.”

Miller, who keeps his boat along the nautical mile off Jefferson, says there is no shortage of places to fish for fall muskies on the Michigan side of the pond.

“That area from 14 mile Road to Nine Mile Road in 14 to 17 feet of water is ideal for muskies to stage in September,” he said. “Anchor Bay always has fish. New Baltimore, the Salt River and Metro Beach are good areas. And let’s not forget the dumping grounds, off the shipping channel from Peche Island up to in front of Grosse Pointe. There are a lot of things in there that hold a whole lot of fish — both size and numbers; a lot of fish that run from 30 to 40 pounds.”

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