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Summer Bass on Lake St. Clair

The rising sun had crept up to it's halfway point between the horizon and it's highest point in the sky.  There was a slight breeze out of the southwest.  Thankfully it was just enough to keep those annoying midges away.  The smallmouth bass were "jumping in the boat" as my dad was fond of saying on one of those spectacular fishing days on Lake St. Clair.


I had guided my two brothers-in-law to a spot that I had fished many times before and was thinking that it might hold some fish that day.  Two hours and four triples later, we called our catch and release pursuit to an end.  The fish had not stopped biting; it was because we were  plum tuckered out from the constant activity.


The three of us had caught and released eighty one smallmouth that day.  And here's the kicker.  It certainly wasn't what you expect.  It was a hot day in mid-July.  That's a couple of months removed from the big numbers and hectic pre-spawn activity that Lake St. Clair is nationally known for.  No, this was the time of the year when many spring pre-spawn smallmouth bass fisherman have given up on bass and moved on to perch or muskie fishing.


My point is that summer smallmouth bass fishing in Lake St. Clair can be outstanding.  In this case it was a week or so after the mayfly hatches drew to a close.  The fish were hungry, that's for sure.  (I  don't want to give you the impression that you can't catch fish during the hex hatch.  On the contrary, I've had some super days staked out and catching smallmouth in gin clear water while watching perch and bass come up to the surface and gobble up the mayfly emergers.)


A now famous statistician once said:  "In God we trust, all others bring data."  Back in 1998 I started meticulously logging my smallmouth bass fishing trips on Lake St. Clair.  I recorded the date, weather and water conditions, anglers and catch species, location and quantity.  I put all of that into a database that I still use today.  What makes it really cool is that I can quickly generate a custom query and dig out data from the  371 LSC bass fishing trips that I've made since then.


My latest report shows that July is the winner for most productive month for smallmouth fishing in the lake, based on fish caught per trip.  While this might surprise you, it was no shock to me.  Experience had taught me that it's a great month to fish.  And August is not far behind in terms of sheer numbers.


So, for you pre-spawn only fishermen, next time you’re thinking about putting your bass rigs away for the summer, take a moment to rethink that and get out there and bend a rod!

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