The last few years have posed a serious challenge on fisherman as Canada had restrictions in place to not allow any outside people in their waters. This would include any recreational boaters or watercraft going into their waters or making landfall. This coincided with the COVID outbreak in 2020. They started this whole process with giving out warnings and telling fisherman in the Detroit River that they weren’t allowed in Canadian waters and to return to U.S. waters. It then escalated into chasing down U.S. boats on the river as well as stopping fisherman on Lake St. Clair throughout the remainder of the 2020 season. They went as far as ticketing boaters and bringing them into Canadian ports to question and ticket them or give strict written warnings. This continued through last August 2021 where Canada finally lifted the restriction.
Why is this a problem one might wonder? It is because of many factors. The Detroit River and Lake St. Clair are both split between The American shore and Canada. However, this split is not as even as one would think. The Detroit River holds many spots on both sides for Walleye to come up the river and spawn. The Canadian side however has many shallow areas which are the ideal spot for the Walleye to spawn and therefore they hold or stack up in those spots, which makes it that much harder on the Michigan side until the water warms up and the droves of Walleye keep their migration moving upstream.
When it comes to Lake St. Clair the divide isn’t ideal as we own all of Anchor Bay, which is great fishing in the early Spring and late Fall, however during the summer months the weeds have grown up tall and are near the surface. It is also filled with boats, jet skis, etc. traveling around enjoying the water but that disturbs the fish and makes it near impossible to troll with a fleet of gear out. The same holds true for the main portion of LSC. The Michigan shoreline is full of boat traffic and floating weeds that are coming down the St. Clair River system and into the lake, which the currents push them toward our shoreline. The deeper waters and better fishing because of the reasons listed make the Canadian side a much better fishing grounds. They have more open water, with far less boat traffic which makes fishing more enjoyable and productive!
Last August, we were finally able to enter and fish in Canadian waters. However, there are still restrictions for landing in Canada. In order to fish in Canadian waters all that is needed is a valid Ontario fishing license and state ID. If you plan on making landfall or anchoring in their waters at any point you will need to follow their protocols. This would include calling into the CBSA whether from your boat or as soon as you make landfall.
We are certainly happy that the borders are open and getting back to fishing our normal spots in the Detroit River and throughout LCS. Last year we saw an immediate difference in the fishing. We could fish where the weather permitted allowing a much larger area with many more options for ideal fishing conditions. The number of fish that we started catching was well over double of what our numbers of fish caught when the restrictions were in place. While we worked as hard as possible to make our clients have fun and productive experiences, we were so happy to return to a normal state of fishing and reaping the rewards of all the hard work that is put in every trip!