If you’re looking for a thrilling Walleye fishing experience, the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair are excellent destinations to consider. With the right gear, technique, and location, you can increase your chances of catching a trophy Walleye.
Lake Erie’s Walleye population is an incredibly important resource, not just for fishing enthusiasts. Walleye are a crucial part of the food chain, providing a food source for a variety of other fish species, birds, and mammals. They also help control the population of smaller fish and maintain a balance in the ecosystem.
There are a number of river access points on the river that are safe and productive with a boat. There are also a few spots on the river that are safe for using waders.
These tasty and delicious fish can be found in a variety of locations in the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair, including deep channels, drop-offs, and weed beds. It’s important to experiment with different locations and depths to find where the Walleye are biting. Using a fish finder is helpful in identifying potential Walleye hotspots.
Casting upstream while bouncing the jig with a twitching motion to lift it off the bottom so that it can catch the current while floating downstream…letting it hit bottom each time to entice a bite. Sometimes an aggressive more erratic jigging motion will produce more bites, whether in a boat or from shore, especially when there are warmer water temperatures.
The recommended test line for Walleye fishing in the Detroit River is between 6 and 10 pounds. The lighter line will allow the jig to move more naturally in the water and help you feel the Walleye bites.
Vertical jigging for Walleye is best done from a boat large enough to handle the type of water that is being fished. The boat should be at least 16’ with a deep V hull, gas-powered and also equipped with an electric trolling motor to maintain a vertical presentation of your jig in the current. A 5.5 to 6.6 medium action rod with a fast tip is best when using jigs from 5/8-1oz. Generally, the jig is dressed with a soft plastic minnow or worm to mimic food sources available to the Walleye.
Reading the water is an important skill for jigging Walleye. Look for areas where the current slows down, such as eddies or slack water, as these are often areas where Walleye will congregate. Pay attention to changes in depth, as Walleye will often move to deeper water during the day and shallower water at night.
It is notable that only 10% of the 4-10 million Walleye that migrate to the Detroit River are there to spawn. Most have already done so in Lake Erie and Ohio’s Maumee River, which are the “fish factories” of Lake Erie. The fish migrate up the Detroit River and connect waters like Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River. Most are there to follow migrating food sources which tagging data has shown they can travel as far as the Straits of Mackinac.
It is crucial for anglers to practice sustainable fishing methods and respect catch limits. By doing so, we can ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the thrill of catching a Walleye in Lake Erie and that the lake’s ecosystem remains healthy and balanced.
For chartering to experience this incredible Walleye fishing sport, contact Joel at
Captain Joel Piatek
Fish Headz Sport Fishing