Fishing reel

Lake St. Clair


Species: Bass, Muskellunge

Location: Ontario


Surface area: 1,100 km²

Why we chose it

In 2012, ranked #28 in all-time hot spots

Unlike the classic Canadian smallmouth lake, southwestern Ontario’s Lake St. Clair is flat, shallow and largely featureless. Even though it’s regularly dredged to accommodate Great Lakes shipping traffic, the lake is only 10 feet deep on average. Nonetheless, St. Clair grows trophy bronzebacks faster than almost anywhere else in the country, with its many subtle breaks and humps holding huge schools all season. As an added bonus, the lake is one of the best waters in Ontario for numbers of good-sized muskies.


In 2010, Smallmouth bass; A top location for numbers of fish
When to fish: The action is consistent from the season opener until late fall.
Where to fish: Fish any one foot drop or hump you can find.
Tip: Drag Strike King Coffee Tubes or dropshot three-inch Gulp! Alive! Minnows.

—John Noel, owner of Principle Outdoors Agency


In 2009, Smallmouth bass; Great numbers of fish
When to fish: Midsummer through fall is best.
Where to fish: Look for rock rubble and rock humps.
Tip: Try drop-shot rigs, Carolina rigs or tube jigs.

—Tom Brooke, vice-president of Shimano Canada

In 2008, Muskie; Possibly the best muskie fishery in Ontario for numbers of good-sized fish
When to fish: June through November.
Where to fish:: The entire south shore of the lake.
Tip: Troll between 3.8 and 4 mph with six- to 10-inch, wide-wobbling lures such as the Creek Chub Pikie.

—Charlie Wray, host of The Fishful Thinking Show