Walleye Fishing on Detroit River Michigan: Expert Tips and Techniques

Detroit River Michigan PIC

Walleye fishing on the Detroit River in Michigan is a popular and rewarding recreational activity for anglers of all skill levels. The Detroit River serves as an essential connector between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie and is home to an abundant walleye population. Known for its productive waters, the river draws thousands of anglers each year, providing a unique and exciting fishing experience.

The walleye fishing season in the Detroit River is open year-round, peaking in spring and early summer when the fish migrate to the river to spawn. Anglers visiting the Detroit River can expect not only impressive numbers of walleye but also remarkable sizes, often exceeding 27.5 inches. The high-quality fishing opportunities and scenic surroundings make Detroit River an ideal destination for walleye fishing enthusiasts.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Detroit River offers incredible walleye fishing experiences, attracting anglers year-round
  • The river is home to an abundant walleye population, often exceeding 27.5 inches in size
  • Spring and early summer are the prime times for walleye fishing on the Detroit River

Detroit River Walleye Fishing Report 2023

Current Status of Walleye Population

In 2023, the Detroit River continues to be a hotspot for walleye fishing. Renowned for its abundant walleye population, the river serves as a connecting pathway between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie. The walleye season now operates year-round, attracting anglers from across the country during the prime months of spring and early summer1.

Notable Changes and Trends Compared to Previous Years

Diminished lake habitat: The overall walleye habitat has experienced some reductions compared to previous years, particularly in bed depth and water quality. Despite these changes, the walleye population remains healthy and plentiful.

Spawning behavior: Walleye tend to spawn in the Detroit River earlier than in other bodies of water. As a result, the optimal time for anglers to target these fish is during the spring months – from late March to early May.

Recent Catches and Angler Experiences

Anglers have reported several impressive catches this season. One group of fishermen landed an incredible 33 fish in just three hours, with the smallest measuring 27.5 inches2. Additionally, trophy-sized walleyes continue to be caught regularly throughout the river.

Factors Influencing Walleye Behavior in 2023

  • Water temperature: Walleye are highly sensitive to water temperatures, with the ideal range spanning between 40°F-50°F for optimal activity and feeding. During the spring months, the Detroit River typically falls within this range3.
  • Bait selection: Successful anglers often use a variety of jigging techniques, employing both artificial baits and live minnows to entice walleye bites.
  • River currents: The Detroit River’s strong currents can impact walleye distribution and movement. Fish tend to congregate in areas with lower currents, such as the river’s numerous back channels.

By considering these factors and employing the right techniques, anglers will likely find success in their pursuit of trophy walleye on the Detroit River.


  1. Walleye Fishing on the Detroit River – State of Michigan
  2. Trophy tips for catching Detroit River walleyes in southeast Michigan…
  3. Factors every angler should consider when fishing walleye – Walleye Fishing Tips

Detroit River Fishing Tips for Walleye

Best Times and Seasons for Walleye Fishing

The prime time for walleye fishing in the Detroit River is during the spring and early summer, when walleyes are plentiful due to spawning activities1. The walleye season is open year-round, making it an attractive destination for anglers from across the country2.

Recommended Fishing Techniques and Gear

Successful techniques for shore anglers include jigging, drift fishing, and casting jigs with live minnows or soft plastic worms as bait3. In addition to these methods, trolling with swim-style jigheads or high-visibility lures can be effective3. When fishing from a boat, utilizing GPS to mark fish-holding spots can also improve your chances of success3.

Essential gear for walleye fishing in the Detroit River includes:

  • Sturdy rod and reel combo
  • Medium to heavy jigs with bait (live minnow or soft plastic worms)
  • Swim-style jigheads or high-visibility lures
  • Tackle box with various hooks and sinkers
  • Fishing line suited for walleye species
  • Polarized sunglasses for improved visibility when detecting fish schools

Understanding Walleye Habitats in the Detroit River

The Detroit River connects Lake St. Clair to the north and Lake Erie to the south4. Spanning 32 miles, it offers a variety of habitats that attract walleye, making it a virtual fishing heaven4. Key factors influencing walleye habitats within the river include water depth, structures like rocks and vegetation, and water flow. Understanding these factors will help you locate fish-holding spots and improve your chances of a successful catch.

Local Regulations and Fishing Licenses

Before embarking on your walleye fishing adventure, it’s crucial to become familiar with the local regulations, as well as obtaining the necessary fishing licenses. Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources website provides up-to-date information on fishing seasons, bag limits, and license requirements. Staying compliant with local regulations not only ensures a fun and hassle-free fishing experience, but also promotes sustainable angling practices for future generations to enjoy5.


  1. https://www.outdoornews.com/2023/03/16/trophy-tips-for-catching-detroit-river-walleyes-in-southeast-michigan/
  2. https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/getoutdoors/detroitriver
  3. https://walleyemania.com/detroit-river-walleye-fishing-tips-and-tricks/ 2 3
  4. https://www.outdoornews.com/2023/03/16/trophy-tips-for-catching-detroit-river-walleyes-in-southeast-michigan/ 2
  5. https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/getoutdoors/detroitriver

Detroit River Walleye: Safe to Eat?

Overview of Water Quality in the Detroit River

The Detroit River, historically recognized as a significant walleye habitat, has experienced improvements in water quality in recent years due to various environmental efforts. However, it still faces challenges related to industrial, urban, and agricultural pollutants that can accumulate in fish species, including walleye.

Mercury and Pollutant Levels in Walleye

Mercury and other toxins have been found in walleye and other fish species in the Detroit River. A study showed that people who consume fish from the Detroit River more than twice a month have higher mercury and toxin levels than the national average. This can pose serious health risks if consumed in large quantities.

Safe Consumption Guidelines for Walleye

To ensure the safe consumption of walleye from the Detroit River, it’s essential to follow the Eat Safe Fish Guide provided by the Michigan Department of Community Health. The guide offers key information on selecting and consuming fish from the river to reduce health risks.

Benefits of Consuming Walleye

Despite the potential risks, walleye remains a popular and nutritious option for anglers and consumers alike. Walleye is rich in protein, low in fat, and a good source of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, selenium, and phosphorus. Consuming walleye in moderation, following the guidelines provided by the Eat Safe Fish Guide, allows individuals to reap the nutritional benefits while minimizing health risks.

Nutritional Value

A typical serving of walleye provides the following nutritional content:

  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
    • Omega-3 fatty acids: 450 mg
  • Vitamin B12: 45% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
  • Selenium: 57% of the RDA
  • Phosphorus: 25% of the RDA

By adhering to consumption guidelines and practicing safe fish preparation techniques, anglers and consumers can enjoy the nutritional benefits of walleye from the Detroit River while minimizing potential health risks.

Detroit River Walleye Fishing Spots

Popular Fishing Locations Along the Detroit River

The Detroit River, which connects Lake St. Clair to the north and Lake Erie to the south, offers remarkable walleye fishing opportunities. Notable locations include:

  • Wyandotte
  • Grosse Ile
  • Trenton Channel

These spots are often bustling with walleye anglers during the prime fishing season, which typically runs from spring through early summer.

Description of Productive Areas and Their Characteristics

Walleye season is open year-round in the Lake Erie/Detroit River/Lake St. Clair/St. Clair River system, attracting anglers from across the nation. The abundant trophy walleye and white bass populations make the area a popular fishing destination. Channel edges are crucial for a successful catch in the Detroit River.

Trenton ChannelStrong currents, submerged vegetation
Wyandotte & Grosse IleDeep water, steep drop-offs, rocky bottom structures

These characteristics create an environment conducive to walleye growth and make it an excellent location for anglers.

Access Points and Facilities for Anglers

There are several access points and facilities for anglers to conveniently start their walleye fishing in the Detroit River. Some recommended locations and their facilities are:

  • Elizabeth Park: Boat launch, restrooms, picnic areas
  • Wyandotte Boat Launch: Located off Pine Street, near Biddle Avenue
  • Grosse Ile Public Access: Canoe and kayak launch

These facilities provide not only the essentials for anglers but also create a comfortable environment for them to enjoy their fishing experience.

Detroit River Walleye Fishing Limit 2023

Official Regulations and Limits for Walleye Fishing in 2023

The walleye fishing season on the Detroit River and the Lake Erie/Detroit River/Lake St. Clair/St. Clair River system is open year-round, attracting anglers from across the country in spring and early summer1. Starting from January 1, 2023, the possession season for walleye has extended to be open all year on Lake Huron waters2.

However, it is essential to follow the official 2023 fishing guide for Michigan to ensure you abide by the required size limits, possession limits, and other restrictions3. Remember, regulations can change from one year to another, so always stay up to date with the most recent rules.

Conservation Efforts and Their Impact on Walleye Population

Walleye conservation efforts aim to balance recreational fishing opportunities while ensuring the continued survival and reproduction of the species. Strict enforcement of fishing regulations is necessary to maintain a healthy walleye population in the Detroit River and the connected water systems.

The walleye population benefits from these regulations and ongoing monitoring, allowing them to thrive and grow in size4. As a result, the Detroit River has become a renowned walleye fishing destination, offering incredible opportunities for anglers to catch trophy-sized fish5.

How Anglers Can Contribute to Sustainable Fishing Practices

Anglers play a vital role in promoting sustainable fishing practices and preserving the Detroit River walleye population for future generations. Here are some ways you can contribute:

  • Adhere to the fishing regulations: Always follow the official Michigan fishing guide for information on size limits, possession limits, and other restrictions.
  • Practice catch and release: Whenever possible, release smaller or undersized fish back into the water, ensuring a higher survival rate.
  • Report any violations: If you witness any violations of fishing regulations, report them to the relevant authorities to help protect the walleye population.
  • Stay informed: Keep up to date with the latest news, research, and regulations related to walleye fishing in the Detroit River, Lake Erie, and surrounding systems.

Remember, as an angler, you play a critical role in the sustainability of the walleye fishery in the Detroit River and the surrounding water systems. It is up to you to adopt responsible fishing practices and help protect our valuable natural resources for future generations.


  1. Walleye Fishing on the Detroit River
  2. 2023 Michigan fishing guide
  3. 2023 Fishing Seasons
  4. Daily Detroit River Fishing Reports
  5. Trophy tips for catching Detroit River walleyes

Other Fishing Opportunities in the Detroit River

In addition to walleye fishing, the Detroit River offers several other opportunities for anglers who are looking to catch a variety of fish species. Some popular options include bass fishing, perch fishing, and other game fish. In this section, we’ll explore these fishing opportunities and what makes them unique.

Bass Fishing in the Detroit River

The Detroit River is home to both smallmouth and largemouth bass. Anglers can enjoy bass fishing throughout the summer months, as the river has ideal habitat for these fish. Known for their aggressive nature and strong fighting ability, bass can be a thrill to catch.

When targeting bass, anglers can use various lures such as crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and soft plastics. Focus on areas with cover, such as weed beds or submerged debris, and be prepared for an exciting battle when hooking into these energetic fish.

Perch Fishing in the Detroit River

Yellow perch are another popular target for anglers in the Detroit River. Typically found in schools, these colorful fish are known for their delicious taste and can be caught using live bait like minnows or small jigs.

Perch tend to prefer deeper water, so try using a slip bobber to help present your bait at the desired depth. The best time for perch fishing in the Detroit River is during the cooler months of spring and fall when they’re more active in the shallows.

Other Game Fish Species and Their Availability

Beyond bass and perch, the Detroit River offers opportunities to catch other game fish species such as muskellunge, northern pike, and various panfish. These fish can be found throughout the river and provide anglers with a diverse fishing experience.

Muskellunge and northern pike are usually found in areas with weed beds, fallen timber, or other cover, making them exciting targets for anglers. Panfish, such as bluegill and crappie, can be caught in a variety of habitats, including shallow weedy bays and deeper offshore locations.

In conclusion, the Detroit River is a versatile and exciting fishing destination that offers a variety of opportunities for anglers, from walleye to bass to perch and beyond. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore all that this diverse river system has to offer.

Detroit River Fishing Report: Tips and Insights

Gathering and Interpreting Fishing Reports

To have a successful walleye fishing experience on the Detroit River, it’s essential to gather and interpret current fishing reports. This will provide anglers with an idea of the best spots, appropriate gear, and fishing conditions. Make sure to look at multiple sources and consider the information they provide, but also use your own experience and knowledge to make informed decisions.

Online Resources and Local Sources for Up-to-Date Information

There are several online resources available to help you stay informed about the latest fishing conditions on the Detroit River. One such resource is FishingBooker, which provides daily fishing reports, photos, and information on top fishing destinations along the river, including Wyandotte and Brownstown Charter Township.

Another reliable online source is the State of Michigan’s walleye fishing page, where you can find information on the year-round walleye season and insights into the thriving Lake Erie/Detroit River/Lake St. Clair/St. Clair River ecosystem. Various fishing news websites such as Outdoor News also offer tips and insights from experts.

In addition to online resources, talking to local anglers and charter captains can provide invaluable, up-to-date information. They are often knowledgeable about current conditions, successful techniques, and productive spots, which can help make your Detroit River fishing experience more enjoyable and rewarding.

Expert Recommendations for Successful Fishing in the Detroit River

When fishing for walleye on the Detroit River, it’s important to have a clear plan and follow expert recommendations. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Choosing the right charter: If you’re new to the Detroit River, consider booking a guided fishing trip with a charter. A skilled captain will not only know the river well but also provide valuable insights and techniques that will improve your chances of a successful walleye catch.
  • Timing: Walleye fishing is generally best in spring and early summer, according to the State of Michigan’s walleye fishing page.
  • Location: The Detroit River spans 32 miles, connecting Lake St. Clair to the north and Lake Erie to the south. It’s important to research and select areas that are more likely to harbor walleye, such as Wyandotte and Brownstown Charter Township.
  • Tackle and Techniques: Successful walleye fishing on the Detroit River often involves using jigs tipped with soft plastic baits or live minnows. Vertical jigging is a popular technique and can produce excellent results when executed correctly.

By staying informed about fishing reports, talking to local sources, and following expert recommendations, you can be confident in your approach to walleye fishing on the Detroit River.

Hot Spots for Walleye Fishing in the Detroit River

Hidden Gems and Lesser-Known Spots

One of the best ways for anglers to explore the Detroit River’s vast 28-mile-long stretch is to seek out hidden gems and lesser-known spots. The Detroit River system, part of the larger Lake Erie-Detroit River-Lake St. Clair-St. Clair River system, offers ample opportunities for walleye fishing from both shores and boats. Anglers might want to explore the small creeks connecting to the main river in search of Largemouth Bass, especially during the summer months.

Insights from Experienced Anglers

Experienced anglers targeting monster walleyes in the Detroit River often rely on channel edges for success. Drifting downriver while jigging minnows is a common technique, as it helps cover a larger area and increases the chances of encountering walleyes. Key walleye hot spots along the Detroit River include areas where the depth changes, as well as any structure, such as submerged logs or rocky outcrops, which provide cover for the fish.

Responsible Fishing Practices to Preserve Hot Spots

In order to ensure the sustainability of these prime fishing locations, anglers must adhere to responsible fishing practices. This includes following catch-and-release techniques, adhering to daily catch limits, and using proper equipment during the walleye fishing season.

Though the Detroit River’s walleye population remains healthy and abundant, conscientious and respectful angling practices will help preserve these hot spots for future generations, allowing more people to experience the thrill of fishing for these coveted fish in this unique urban setting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the walleye limit for 2023?

The walleye limit may vary from year to year, so it is important to check current regulations and guidelines provided by the state. For the most up-to-date information, refer to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website.

Where are the best fishing spots on the Detroit River?

The Detroit River offers numerous fishing spots that can yield successful catches. For instance, areas in proximity to river mouths tend to be quite productive for walleye fishing. Other spots to consider include deeper waters around 60 feet deep and shallower areas close to the shoreline (source).

When is the prime time to fish for walleye?

The prime time for fishing walleye on the Detroit River is during spring and early summer, as this is when the fish are most active, and anglers from across the country visit the area to take advantage of this outstanding walleye season.

Can you fish for walleye from the shore?

While it is possible to fish for walleye from the shore, it may not yield the same results as fishing from a boat. Access to deeper waters and better mobility enables boat fishers to have increased success in catching walleye.

Which charters offer walleye fishing services?

There are several charters that specialize in walleye fishing, such as Detroit River Walleye Fishing Charters. They provide local guides, equipment, and expertise to help maximize your fishing experience.

How can I find popular fishing areas on the river?

The best way to find popular fishing areas on the Detroit River is to consult local anglers, fishing forums, or charter services. They can provide valuable information on current fishing hotspots and tips for a successful fishing trip.


Hi, I’m Kurt and I’m the author of walleyemania. I’ve been fishing for Walleye since I was a kid and I love sharing my tips, tricks, and stories with other anglers. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find something useful and entertaining on my site. I cover everything from the best gear, baits, and techniques to the best spots, seasons, and recipes for Walleye fishing. Join me on my journey to catch more and bigger Walleye!

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