Detroit River Walleye Fishing

Detroit River Walleye Fishing
Detroit River Walleye Fishing

Why is the Detroit River Popular for Walleye Fishing?

Every year, as many as 10 Million Walleye make their way to the Detroit River in the Spring to spawn. This is the largest walleye spawning run in the country. This in return attracts anglers from all over the world to meet in Trenton, MI for Detroit River walleye fishing. Canadians also flock to the other side of the river to get in on the action. The fishing industry around Lake Erie and the Detroit River has an estimated worth of over $1 Billion.

The Detroit River, a significant waterway connecting Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, is renowned for its exceptional walleye fishing. Anglers from all around flock to this river to experience the thrill of catching these toothy predators. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore walleye fishing in the Detroit River, covering equipment, tactics, and prime locations for a successful angling adventure. Walleye are a top predator and cool water fish. This combination makes their rocky bottom spawning grounds great for fishing in the Spring when the water reaches about 44 degrees. Nine spawning reefs were constructed in the Detroit River to promote “rock spawning” fish to use. Studies have shown those areas to be successful.

Detroit River Shore Access for Fishing

detroit river fishing

Detroit River walleye fishing from shore is effective, easy, and fun. In the Spring, the heavier jig the better, and purple. Finesse jigging is effective later in the year. Bouncing the jig along the river bottom is the most successful technique. Tip your jig with an emerald shiner or night crawler to initiate a bite when the fishing is slow. Anglers on shore will also use a slip bobber and leech depending on the depth of the water at the pier. Access points are plentiful with a few listed below on the US and Canadian side of the Detroit River.

Belle Isle State Park – Detroit Michigan
Bishop Park – Wyandotte Michigan
Refuge Gateway to the Detroit River – Trenton Michigan
Gil Maure Park/Riverdance Park
Windsor Riverfront – Windsor, ON
Reaume Park/Pillette Docks – Windsor, ON
Lakeview Park Marina – Windsor, ON
King’s Navy Yard Park – Amherstburg, ON

Jigging Walleye on the Detroit River

Boat Fishing Opportunities

The most popular boat ramp is in Trenton, MI for Detroit River walleye fishing. This is where most tournaments leave from. Jigging is the same technique as shore fishing, except there are key advantages to using a boat. Drifting can allow fishermen to cover ground quickly to find a productive area. Just like shore fishing the heavier the jig the better in the spring, you want to keep it on the bottom and make short hops. Spot lock has been a successful technique in the past few years as well. Once you find the bottom structure you like, spot lock makes it easy to stay on top of that area. In the past couple of years, forward-facing sonar has taken over walleye jigging. Using forward-facing sonar in the Detroit River can be challenging because of the current. The live transducer must be located separate from the trolling motor to stay on fish. While fishing Canadian waters from the United States or vice versa, make sure you read the regulations and follow them. If you want to learn more about jigging for walleye we have an in-depth article on walleye jigging.

detroit river walleye

Where to Walleye Fish

Choosing where to go walleye fishing on the Detroit River isn’t difficult. The mouth of the Detroit River is a great place to look for spawning fish in the spring. Trolling at the mouth of the river is popular, especially with spring tournaments in the area. Likewise, this can be a great area in the Fall as the fish make their way back to the river. In the river itself, look for steep drop-offs with structure. These areas will hold the most walleye. If fishing during the middle of the spawn, shallow rocky areas will hold fish. Use electronics to find bottom structure and fish. The US or Canadian side holds plenty of walleye during spawning season.

If you have specific questions we can answer them on our Facebook page located at Lake Erie Fishing Reports.