Lake St. Clair, Michigan; July and August

Lake St. Clair, Michigan; July and August

Lake St. Clair, Michigan; July and August

Lions, Tigers and bass.  That's Detroit Lions, Detroit Tigers, and elbow-jarring St. Clair smallies.  When asked his favorite summer bass fishery, Bassmaster Elite rising star Jonathan Van Dam was quick to reply Lake St. Clair.  When I asked the Michigan native why he picked St. Clair after reminding him of the manifold sky-blue-water opportunities in Michigan and neighboring states, he was quick to reply:  "It's a big fishery, it has lots of fish, and it is one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in the world.  A 'good day' in the summer is 20 to 30 bronzebacks ranging from 12 inches to 6 pounds."

St. Clair smallies feed heavily on yellow perch in the summer.  Van Dam's advice was simple:  "Head  toward the middle of the lake and look for perch fisherman."  The "middle of the lake" area isn't exactly the middle, rather more like 1 to 2 miles out from the shoreline area referred to as "Mile Roads," the stretch of shoreline from Metro Park south to Ford's Point.  The water will be 14- to 19- feet deep, and the habitat will be clumps of cabbage.  Use your electronics to find groups of bass.

When he finds what he is looking for, Van Dam starts with a Strike King Series 5 crankbait.  If the crankbait doesn't produce, a drop shot or a tube gets the call.  A deep diving jerkbait always deserves time in the water.

The fish often group by size.  Keep moving until you find the quality of fish you want.  Then mark the spot with a waypoint and fish around it.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You


Steelhead Trout Niçoise Salad Recipe

This recipe for Steelhead Trout Niçoise Salad is heart healthy, paleo- and gluten-free...


Spring Walleye Fishing Tackle Choices

Steve Ryan - October 19, 2017

Spring walleye fishing often means large numbers of fish concentrated in small areas.


Using Crankbaits For Smallmouth Bass

Matt Straw - January 31, 2016

Crankin' is almost a necessity for finding bass on the Great Lakes from summer through fall.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead gets new product details from Simms Fishing Product's John Frazier about the new waterproof 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch.

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Pure Fishing's Andrew Wheeler tells Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead all about the brand new Abu Garcia Virtual rod that integrates Bluetooth technology through a free ANGLR smartphone app.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


All About Catfish

Rob Neumann

Catfish are among the most popular groups of fish with over 7 million catfish anglers...

Pike & Muskie

How To Catch Pike In Spring

Dan Johnson - April 26, 2016

Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at...

Other Fish

Must-Have Striped Bass Tackle

Rick Bach - May 04, 2017

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you...

See More Stories

More Bass


Best ChatterBaits for Bass

Steve Quinn - July 30, 2018

Don't overlook this bait for big bass.


Catching Trophy Smallmouth Bass

Matt Straw - July 01, 2019

What makes intercepting a trophy smallmouth more likely? The answers might be surprising.


Sensational New Softbaits for Bass

Steve Quinn - April 22, 2019

Steve Quinn talks new softbaits for bass from Berkley.

See More Bass

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.