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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to try and fish the river this year but could use a little help getting started. I've been told by a few people that I have enough boat to do it, but have never tried it. I live in Dearborn Heights so the distance to and from the fishing point isn't an issue. I'm pretty sure once I try it I'll enjoy it. I've never been "on the river" actually, but have fished Erie w/boards on a friends boat many times. What does it really take to catch fish there? Type of equipment? Special regulations? How does the river handle as far as boats are concerned? Is it the equivilent of fishing the Maumee except on boats????
I realize I'm probably asking allot, but any help would be great.
Thanks in advance,
Alan
 

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What kind of boat do you have? What kind of fishing? Jigging or Handlining? Jigging just about any boat will do as long as you can control it. Bait for jigging minnows and colored jig heads, 3/8 to 3/4 once depending on wind. Bounce the jig off bottom vertically underneath the boat. Take alot of jigs cause you'll lose some. Sometimes twister tails are used in place of or with the minnows.

Handling is a whole different game. A handlining reel is needed and they cost $75 to 160 depending on type and new/used. This will help with info



LINK: http://www.dwfonline.com/


This is a link to one forsale by a member of the site. http://www.michigan-sportsman.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=60700
 

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The majority of people that fish the river either jig or handline although whipping is a method that a few prefer (mostly in the St. Clair river). For jigging, boat control is a must to keep your line vertical so a smaller boat works great. I also prefer a smaller boat for handlining because the wind and current has a lesser effect and makes boat contol easier. I fished the river for many years in a 14 footer with a 15 HP and I probably caught more fish in that rig than all my later rigs combined. For handling you need to pick up a reel spooled with wire line, a shank and heavy sinkers (probably 1.5 to 2 lbs). For leaders, I usually use 30 lb mono and make my bottom lead approx 20 ft long and my top lead 40 ft. I run small light weight spoons, body baits such as Rapalas and sometimes worm harnesses ( usually in mid summer). Typically stained water is best when handlining but clean water at night can be good. Usually the jiggers do well in clean water during the daytime. Watch the reports in this forum for locations and don't be afaid to send some private messages for location info. Most everybody here is happy to help their fellow sportsmen. Good luck! :)
 

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You also might want to pick up a Det river "marked fishing map. put out by Fishing hotspots. It shows hot spots to try and is pretty accurate.
 

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I would say for a first timer on the river, I would launch at the Wyandotte launch, and fish that area either up river or down river about a mile. It's a good fish area, lots of structure, with a little slower current which will make it easier to keep you stuff vertical until you learn, and while not snag free, it's a hell of lot better then the Elizabeth Park jigging area. Which is snagggggg city.
 

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ON eye jigging, becuase, the crowds are just amazing, and, i fish the lower river, so, you will lose about 50 more jigs than fish you'll catch:eek: . But, have caught a few, only usually make a couple drifts, our boat is too big to boat control, so, that would explain it, but, boat controll is probaily the most important thing when verticle jigging. All sorts of colors work, we always use charcuse, that is the best color for lures, harnesses, and probaily jigs on the river, but, white, pink, red also work good. If you want to dodge the crowds, the river is much, much more than just a incredible eye fishery, espeissially i nearly spring. World class pike fishing is too be had, espeissially in the rocky bays of the lower river. In early spring, weeds are scarce, so, you can use body baits, which works great. Later i nthe spring, even thogh, i think its out of season, we catch(fishing for pike) gigantic smallies, and see schools of 6-8 pounders:)eek: ) cruisin around. Also, the perch fishing is great, but, you have to get there EARLY spring, like, right now even, to the cross dyke, boblo(bois blank:rolleyes: ) island, the horseshoe(though, fishery has dropped off bigtime there) the horse island flats, and a few toehrs, also, the shoals a little out in erie. They have been running jsut huge the past couple years, 16+ icnhers aren't too uncommon to be seen around there in spring:eek: Godd luck, only a couple weeks away!!;)
 

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Is your plan to fish the North end (Ambassador-to LSC) or the South end (Ambassador-to Erie)?? The south end gets more big fish but the north end has less traffic. I fish the north exclusively, some guys fish the south exclusively. Its the same fishing techniques but as a newer guy w/ the boat control thing the north end maybe better for you to learn the ropes on. Plus there are still a some big fish caught, just not as many mainly, IMO cause there is less guys trying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the responses, and so quickly I might add!
First off my boat isn't much, but it is seaworthy and has spent allot of time on Lake St. Clair with the original owner. I have a 14ft deep-v Mirrocraft with a fairly new (about 5yrs old) 9.9 Gamefisher (yes, the Sears brand Mercury). I do have a MinnKota bow mount trolling motor w/foot control on board that works excellent on the backwaters up in Ocsoda, but has never been tested in the Detroit river. It does have regulation lights, extinguisher, depth/fish finder, casting platform, and pedistal seats. I have been told it would make a pretty comfortable ride out there. I can imagine that the 9.9 would probably be the low limit on engine size, although we've all seen "that guy" out there, usually with a kid on board that just doesn't belong out in a POS craft like he's got. Heck, my buddy and I helped get two groups off Erie one year just a matter of weeks apart. I DO NOT WANT TO BE THAT GUY!!!! This is the reason I'm posing the question to the group NOW. I think I have a pretty good handle on the general idea of what goes on.
Now for the questions:
What type of artillery do I need, a rod with a backbone, or would something with "feel" work better? 6lb test, yes or no? Tip the jigs with minnows or just twister tails????
Jimbos....I have a question for you, 8 weeks a year in Emmet, just what do you do there for 8 weeks a year? I thought the only claim to fame Emmet had was the little unmarked bar next to the tracks!!! Not that I've ever been there....
Tony, actually I planned to fish the south end of the river, it's close to home and a guy I work with lives down in Rockwood, we might use his boat too, actually we bought our boats from the same guy, just 10 yrs apart, he got the better boat though, 18ft Princecraft, NICE!
Lastly, I'm familar with Wyandotte, but where's the launch? I was just down there Thursday night, I took the wife to Portofino's for her birthday. Is it near Bishop Park?
Thanks everybody,
Alan
 

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BigGrey,

All the advice you have received is excellent. I started on the Detroit River with a 14' Mirrocraft and 18hp, so you are all set as far as your vessel. Make sure your trolling battery is fully charged, because you will use most of the juice in a half day of jigging.

I like to use a 6 - 6.5 foot basic vanilla spinning rod with 6 or 8lb test. A stiffer rod would give you more feel for the bottom, but it's not mandatory. I usually use 5/8oz jigs, some people use 1/2 or 3/8 oz, all variety of colors. Normally we go with a single shiner, no twister tail, but if we aren't getting anything we'll throw on a 3" plastic grub with the shiner. We use the Ecorse Launch, which is on Jefferson, south of Southfield, just before the bridge. The Wyandotte launch is a little farther south on Jefferson. Both put you near the BASF facility which is a good slot to fish.
 

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I would use 6lb Fireline it has better feel, less stretch, and is alot stronger than mono. Sometimes when it is muddy I will try tails w/ minnows. Quick tip: Use a piece of the tail to lock in your minnow. The 9.9 and 14' is not a problem, especially cause your gonna be staying close to home (your launch site). I have a 16.5' w a 25 hp, but started with a 15' w/ 25 hp. It wasn't pretty but it caught fish, which was all that mattered. As Kroppe said have a full charge on the electric trolling motor cause you'll use it alot to keep you vertical while jigging. Your boat sounds perfect for handlining. You'll see other guys dong it down there, it can be very productive. Cehck out the links in my previous post for help. I fish mostly the north end so I'm not familiar w/ launchs, honey holes, and areas to avoid. Any other help that I can give on general knowledge, just ask. I use a medium-light rod for more sensitivity and a spinnning reel, the better set-up is a medium rod w/ baitcaster reel. Good luck and enjoy the fishing.
 

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BGS,

If this is your first time jigging the Det. R. then be prepared for lots of company in the Spring. Your boat is fine for 2 guys but I wouldn't do more. Main thing is boat control!! Especially jigging. Rod doesn't matter if your jig and line are not as vertical as possible. Line test doesn't matter, 6 vs. 8 cuz you'll lose jigs in the Trenton Channel with either. I use 6 lb. Solar XT cuz it allows me to use 1/4-3/8 oz. (1/2 oz. occasionally if it's real windy) jigs depending on size of bait/plastic. I rarely use bait though my partner nailed an 8 lb. beauty last Spring on a minnow and made me a believer. Launch at Erie Metro and motor up to the crowd at the stacks and pick a drift line. Do NOT worry about what others are doing, you'll hear it soon enough. Keep your eyes focused on where your line enters the water and use enough weight to feel your jig tapping bottom. Visualize putting the jig right in front of an 'eye and be ready to set at the slightest tug. After a few passes you'll be able to tell the rocks from the bites, mostly cuz the rocks far outnumber bites, LOL. Be patient and bring lots of jigs and plastics (I use Power Bait). But also have confidence and stick with it, you'll definitely bag some walleyes. Fishing will improve all the way into June so don't hang up the jig rod too early. Good luck and remember to post some pics of your fish!

Jim
 

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Jimbos....I have a question for you, 8 weeks a year in Emmet, just what do you do there for 8 weeks a year? I thought the only claim to fame Emmet had was the little unmarked bar next to the tracks!!! Not that I've ever been there...
That's Emmet county. I have a place about 2 miles outside of Petosky. I deer hunt my property(marginal at best, but I manage one every now and again) and for the last 20 years i've fished Little Traverse Bay, but this year if you've seen my posts it's going to be more inland lake fishing.Between my vacation, personal days and sick days, and deferred holiday pay with an additional day off instead, this year it's 9 weeks off.

I practically lived on the lower Detroit River and Lake Erie for 15 years anyway, as most of these guys that posted on this thread have, so just you'll get lots of river advice from someone.

One spot to check out and that gets 1/10 the walleye fishing pressure that the river or Trenton channel gets is the other side of Grosse Ile. Make the run around the lower end of Grosse Ile, cut between Sugar Island and G.I. keep running up river and cut between those two little funky islands(can't think of the names) go another 400 yards or so, and jig there. Loads of structure, that side warms up a little later then the channel does. Makes for a good middle of April spot.

The guy who REALLY knew his river stuff was Firetiger, I think he knows every boulder in that river, but I haven't seen him around in quite a while.

Oh yeah, for what it's worth the river now has become a hugh circus(along with the launches) in the lower river. Between hoards of out of staters, non-locals, and those ignorant as hell walleye tournaments I have zero desire to fish there again.
 

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Biggray I started out with a 16 foot starcraft and an 8 hp. your boat will be fine for the river. It sounds like a perfect handlining boat. At time you can't buy a fish jigging and can do real well pulling wire other times Jigging is the way to go. Jigging is a cheaper way to start and it sounds like your set up with your electric trolling mtr. If you get sick of the crowds head to the North end of the river. Good luck
 

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Originally posted by Jimbos


The guy who REALLY knew his river stuff was Firetiger, I think he knows every boulder in that river, but I haven't seen him around in quite a while.

I was out icefishing with him on friday,, and your right he hammers the eyes every year too! EYEBUSTER knows alot about the river, and Tom(mich),, lots of people do!

Stay away from the wyandotte area if you get a strong wind from the south in that boat, it gets very rough fast!

Maiden voyage you would be much better off going midweek,, still alot of guys fishing out there so you will find the runs. But not as many as the weekends.

It can get pretty bad, some of the guys in the bigger boats have no consideration for those in a small boat and will continously throw up 3-5' wakes all day long. Guys travel hundreds of miles to fish that river and if they are on a hot bite,,, all thinking goes to the bottom of the river,, as long as they get theyre 10#!


:rolleyes: :rolleyes:
 

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My suggestion would be to hook up with one of these guys for a day or too. I learned so much in just two fishing trips that it would have taken me forever on my own.

By the way I also use a 14 footer. Motors range from a 7.5 to a 15 depending where I’m going and what I’m doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all the great advise guys! I did plan to make my first run probably mid week to save some of the grief. Sound like the perfect reason for a "mental health day" from work!
Looks like I need to start going through my gear.
How about boat regs. for the big waters? Detroit river is considered Great Lakes waters right? I already have the basics, fire extinguisher, PFD's......what else? I tried to remember from my power squadron class what I needed. Seems to me I also need some sort of an audible distress signal and maybe flares. Is this true? I also know it would probably be a good idea to get some sort of radio, at least a handheld. Like I said, I don't want to be THAT GUY!
Alan
 

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Hey biggrey, first off let me say a BIG WELCOME TO THE SITE.

To the ONTARIO GUNNER, thanks for the complement;) What a group of guys to be mentioned with. Firetiger, is a great river fisherman, Tom is as well, this guy catches fish anytime and everytime. For proof all you need to do is look up the MWT check out the results and this guy is around the top most of the time, and a heck of a guy as well.

There are some great Detroit River fisherman on this board as well that aren't mentioned and I won't single anyone out here. Do a search on Detroit River fishing and there you will find a wealth of knowledge about our great fishery from one end to the other.

If I were to give one word of advise I guess it would be, the river is full of fish, don't lock yourself into fishing with the packs. I don't like the crowds and have found some great places on the river to wet a line with decent results, and I might add with the help from the great people of this site.

I've taken guys out from the site before and don't see where this year will be any different. I owe a couple guys a trip from last year, (you know who you are). Drop me a line (pun intended) and we'll see what we can do.

Good luck and be safe
 

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If I were to give one word of advise I guess it would be, the river is full of fish, don't lock yourself into fishing with the packs. I don't like the crowds and have found some great places on the river to wet a line with decent results, and I might add with the help from the great people of this site.
Yep, your dead on Eye. I think that's Firetigers trick. He would mention spots to me and i'd go, huh? to myself, and would have no idea where he was talking about....Glad to hear he's still nailing the eyes.:)
 

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That's funny after looking at that qoute,,,,,,,one word of advise turns into 3 full lines of babble.....lol

Jimbos, I talked to FT this morning and he's killing the perch and waiting for softwater to start pulling wire.
 
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