Best Fishing Spots in Detroit

Anyone who said you can’t fish in the city clearly never spent time in Detroit, MI. From rolling rivers and local fishing holes to the unofficial “Sixth Great Lake,” the Detroit area offers some of the best fishing spots in the Midwest for bass, walleye, and more.

Picture this: you’re sitting on the dock, casting your line into the calm waters, waiting for the telltale tug on your bait. The sun shines, the breeze blows, and all your worries fade away. That’s the beauty of fishing – it’s a peaceful and rewarding way to spend your time.

And if you’re in Detroit, you’re in luck because there are some fantastic fishing spots to explore. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just starting, Detroit has something for everyone. So grab your gear, and let’s dive into some of the best fishing spots in Detroit that have helped many achieve their fishing goals.

Cass Lake

A few miles west of Sterling Heights, 1,280-acre Cass Lake is an excellent smallmouth bass fishing spot that also harbors crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, yellow perch, and several other species. Marshbank Park and Dodge 4 State Park provide access. Some of the best fishing takes place in summer around weed beds near deep water and in the winter through the ice near the boat launch.

Pontiac Lake

Accessible through Indian Springs Metropark, Pontiac Lake is one of the best catfish lakes in the Detroit area, with many fish in the 15 to 20-inch range and an increasing number of 10-pounders. Bass are also available, though their numbers are more impressive than their size.

Detroit River

The Detroit River is a 32-mile waterway that connects Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie. It’s a popular spot for fishing and for a good reason. The river is home to several species of fish, including bass, perch, walleye, and catfish. You can fish from the shore or rent a boat and explore the river. The river offers beautiful city skyline views, making it a unique and memorable fishing experience.

The spring walleye run in the Detroit River is nothing sort of extraordinary, as millions of fish make their way into the river from Lake Erie in search of spawning sites. Look for big ‘eyes from mid-February into April around rocky shores, reefs, and shallow humps.

Belle Isle

Belle Isle, Detroit

If you’re looking for a spot that offers a beautiful view and excellent fishing opportunities, Belle Isle is the place to be. This 982-acre island park has 5 miles of shoreline, making it a prime location for fishing. The park is home to several species of fish, including bass, pike, walleye, and catfish. You can fish from the shore or rent a boat and try your luck on the water. With its stunning views and abundance of fish, Belle Isle is a popular spot for both locals and visitors.

About 30 minutes southeast of downtown Detroit, Belleville Lake is one of Michigan’s best crappie lakes. The best time to fish here is in spring when both black and white crappies spawn in shallow reeds, weeds, brush, and wood cover.

Lake St. Clair

The great-granddaddy of all Detroit fishing spots, Lake St. Clair, spans more than 430 square miles and is one of the best smallmouth bass lakes on the planet. This freshwater lake straddles the border of Michigan and Ontario. It’s known for its excellent fishing opportunities, particularly for musky, bass, and walleye. The lake has several public access points, making it easy to find a spot to fish from. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try ice fishing during winter. Lake St. Clair is a great place to spend the day fishing, relaxing, and enjoying the beauty of nature.

You can catch fish just about any time of year, but two periods stand out: the spring spawn season and the feeding frenzy that takes place in fall as big bass stock up for winter. Consider that Lake St. Clair also offers world-class perch, walleye, and muskie action, and you’ve got one of the best fishing spots imaginable. 

A current Michigan fishing license is required for all fishing spots in the Detroit area. You can pick one up at most bait and tackle shops across the state or order yours online through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website.

Fishing in Detroit is a fantastic way to unwind, relax, and enjoy the beauty of nature. Belle Isle, Lake St. Clair, and the Detroit River are just a few of Detroit’s excellent fishing spots. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just starting, these spots offer something for everyone. So grab your gear and head out to one of these spots today – who knows, you may just catch the biggest fish of your life!

Photo of author
About the author
After a few years of writing for small local newspapers and freelancing for numerous national publications, Shaun took his skills to the Internet. Shaun's work has appeared on various sites and he is ready to tackle new topics and learn new things in the world of journalism.