Lake St Clair Fishing Report May 13, 2020

| May 13, 2020

May 13, 8:12am

From: NOAA.GOV Marine Forecast

Dan Buxton with a LSC smallmouth in May

We are marching our way toward the spawning period with a species driven by a biological imperative. It’s one of the few periods of smallmouth fishing on Lake St. Clair where a consistent trend holds, and the fishing is phenomenal.

Weather has been a factor though. In spite of the trend for smallmouth to be feeding before the spawn, too many cold nights kept some of the bite in check, mostly in the shallow waters. Much of the deeper water (9ft or more) was relentlessly beaten with some form of east winds which does affect the bite, and the comfort level of anglers.

Water temperatures in the 40’s were recorded last weekend and the snow was flying. It may not entirely feel like it above water, but we are into a definite warming trend this week. That is a best case scenario. If the trend holds or becomes stable, the following week should be our best yet for the smallmouth bite.

Tony Wise finds this beautiful female in May

Nearly every bait works during this period. Schooling smallmouth are notoriously aggressive. In many cases they will even ignore a natural color bait in favor of a bright color, even a gaudy one. “The whites, chartreuse, and outrageously colored plastics can be more effective on schooling, aggressive smallmouth,” says Capt. Wayne Carpenter

We will begin to see the frenzy of movement in smallmouth populations settle down soon though. As the “main body” spawn nears, plastics will figure heavily into our angling success.

Color will become a little more of a factor and experimentation with shades and flake colors can improve your results…or not. The key is to note the dominant and highlight colors of baits that are getting you the action that you want. Build on the color shades and patterns that are working for you, then expand from there. The “match the hatch” theory isn’t as effective at this time as just going with what you observe. Every catch tells a story, and even a catch that is not a bass can give you clues as to what the bass will be looking for.

It was definitely Trent Hupfor’s day with a bass nearly every cast at one point

Shallow bays will warm up first, and the fishing pressure will heat up there too. No matter the water temperatures, the largest stretch of productive water will be from Lake St. Clair Metropark down to the head of the Detroit River. Under the most intense fishing pressure, there is still plenty of space, and plenty of smallmouth for everyone.

NOTE: In Canada, the bass season is closed until the 4th Saturday in June.

Flats are some of the smallmouth bass’ best friends on Lake St. Clair, and especially during the spawn. (For a full understanding about flats on Lake St. Clair, see No Secrets on Lake St. Clair Vol. 3 – chapter on “St. Clair Flats.”) Particularly flats that are in shallower, warmer water. Flats that stand out as not the normal structure in an area or, flats that are the dominant structure in an area. Smallmouth love flats.

Take a long look at baits that move through the water, against plastics. A super fast retrieve probably isn’t necessary, but many moving baits offer advantages during this period. Just before they bed down, the smallmouth are mostly on the move. That means that a suspending presentation can be utterly devastating. My friend Trent found that out as he had a reprise of a trip from 2019. He clobbered them on a hard jerkbait with a color pattern that only a mother could love (perhaps momma smallmouth).

This was the first of many in the 2 to 3lb class in May

It’s never a bad idea to send out a variety of presentations. In spite of the aggressive bite and general ease of fishing Lake St. Clair this time of year, switching presentations can be rewarded. Like the dominant and highlight bait color relationship in plastics, there is a relationship between the style of presentation, and the bite. It’s a process, but a fun one. Seeing how bass react, or seeing the results from using a presentation can lead to the next educated choice in a presentation that matches, or improves on the last one.

Strong plastic bait choices should always consider the two most dominant flake colors for the smallmouth bite: purple and copper. Day in and day out, the bass will like one of these colors better than the other. Another move to make is to throw “companion baits.” These are baits that compliment each other. One proven combination has been the relationship that the smallmouth on Lake St. Clair have with Canadian Mist, and St. Clair Crayfish™. One or the other will have a stronger bite on any given day.

Consider throwing drop-shot™ tubes as well. Switching on profile (size) usually means switching to a different class of fish. Sometimes the path leads to rock bass, and other times it leads to the reason that you made the long trip all the way out to Lake St. Clair: Big smallmouth bass!


For information on stores with Xtreme Bass Tackle™ baits and launches, CLICK HERE.

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Category: Bass, Bass Lake/River Reports, Feature, Fishing

About the Author ()

Wayne Carpenter is the owner of Xtreme Bass Tackle and Combat Fishing, and author of No Secrets on Lake St. Clair.

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