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#452813 - 02/12/09 10:34 PM Boating on Lake St Clair, St Clair River, and Detroit River  
Joined: Nov 2008
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garry454 Offline
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garry454  Offline
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Lake St Clair, MI
Here you go First Class!! I am a craftsman, not a writer, so forgive my lack of format here.

Boating on Lake St Clair is probably a little different than most places. Here's some physical facts....

Lake St. Clair, a lake in central North America, astride the border between southeastern Michigan and southern Ontario. The nearly circular lake is 42 km (26 mi) long and has an area of 1114 sq km (430 sq mi). A heavily trafficked component of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the lake is connected with Lake Huron to the north by the Saint Clair River and with Lake Erie to the south by the Detroit River.

It sometimes called the "Little Great Lake" for good reason.

You have to pay attention to the weather, when it whips up, you can quickly find yourself in seas that are more akin to "the" sea... I have been caught off guard in my little 18' bow-rider, and ended up in 80, yes 80 mph winds, and seas in the area of 6'. Granted, it's not the norm, and it didn't last that long, but 15 minutes in that, on my little boat....... you have to pull the shorts outta your behind after that.

Like most lakes, Lake St Clair is peppered with its share of shallows, and ship wrecks. If you don't know the lake, it is best to go out with somebody who does, just to show you the things the chart doesn't.

There are plenty of hot spots on the lake you can go to by boat, depending on what type of day you are looking for -

Family(clean)fun -

Strawberry Island (N42 35'51" W82 42' 46")
Poor Mans Swimming Hole (N42 36' 39" W82 48' 22")
Seaway Island (Freighter Beach) (N42 31' 22" W82 40' 38")
Lot's of others, but these are the big ones.

Adult (think Mardi Gras EVERY weekend) -

Gull Island - Home of the infamous Jobbie Nooner -
(N42 31' 48" W82 40' 50")

Muscamoot Bay - (N42 33' 35" W82 40' 20")

There are more restaurants, that you can pull right up to with the boat, than you can think of. Some in the US, and some in Canada. Terrific food that makes the perfect meal at the end of a day on the water.

It's a big lake, but we boaters here are a tight knit group.

There are tons of places to go explore if you have a pwc or a jet boat. The places are endless.

Lake St Clair is one of the largest hatcheries of Small Mouth Bass in the US. We also have a ton of Perch, Walleye, Cats, Musky, Pike, and in the rivers, both St Clair and Detroit, you can find Sturgeon in the deep.

Speaking of the rivers, they are DEEP!! They are this way naturally this way, no dredging. It is common to find holes with the sonar that may be 80-90' deep, but mostly 35-50' or so is the norm.

Lot's of nice little towns on the St Clair River to visit if you make a run to the Blue Water Bridge near Port Huron, the mouth of Lake Huron. Port Huron host lots of activities every summer, drawing tons of boats and boaters.

The same goes for most of the little towns up and down the river, and also on the Detroit River. Although, I don't frequent the Detroit River too much.

We are an area rich in history, and it won't take you long to run into somebody who is more than happy to spill some of it on you!! LOL

We take pride in our heritage on the lake.

I'll write more later, and I hope some others can chime in with their inputs, but I'm starving!!!!!


Garry
2006 185SS 3.0L, Alpha 1 Gen II, Chrome Powder-coated 21P Hustler prop, SX Smart Tabs w/ 40lb actuators, K&N Flame Arrestor, One Hot Momma, and Two Daddy's Girls!
"Lil Somethin"

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#452815 - 02/12/09 10:53 PM Re: Boating on Lake St Clair, St Clair River, and Detroit River [Re: garry454]  
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casualboater Offline
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Highland, Michigan
Looking forward to visiting this summer. I've got reservations at Algonac State Park for June 12-17. I plan to spend several of those days on the lake.

The last couple of years I've spent a day on the lower Detroit River with friends who live downriver. I'm looking forward to doing this again this year. I'm happily discovering there is some nice boating for me that's not a 4 hour drive up north, although that is still my preference.


1989 Larson DC 190
2007 Saab 9-7x
#452816 - 02/12/09 10:58 PM Re: Boating on Lake St Clair, St Clair River, and Detroit River [Re: casualboater]  
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casualboater Offline
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casualboater  Offline
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Highland, Michigan
I just read your previous post, GFC. I've done Erie to the Ambassador bridge a couple of times, and it's maybe half an hour at a decent cruising speed. I can't speak to the trip across St. Clair, however. The vast majority of the Detroit River has no speed limitations, although there is a section of no-wake near Belle Isle. I haven't gone past Belle Isle from the south, so I'm not sure on the specifics of that one.

I was looking at posts on the Lake St. Clair BBS the other day, and someone showed a map with their GPS tracks overlaid. They had visited and swam in Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie. I don't imagine the trip was all rushing around, the three really aren't that far apart.


1989 Larson DC 190
2007 Saab 9-7x
#452818 - 02/12/09 11:22 PM Re: Boating on Lake St Clair, St Clair River, and Detroit River [Re: casualboater]  
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garry454 Offline
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garry454  Offline
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Lake St Clair, MI
Originally Posted By: casualboater


I was looking at posts on the Lake St. Clair BBS the other day, and someone showed a map with their GPS tracks overlaid. They had visited and swam in Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie. I don't imagine the trip was all rushing around, the three really aren't that far apart.


That is a full day for sure, and you are going to have to boogie from point to point. No slow cruising there.


Garry
2006 185SS 3.0L, Alpha 1 Gen II, Chrome Powder-coated 21P Hustler prop, SX Smart Tabs w/ 40lb actuators, K&N Flame Arrestor, One Hot Momma, and Two Daddy's Girls!
"Lil Somethin"

#452819 - 02/12/09 11:27 PM Re: Boating on Lake St Clair, St Clair River, and Detroit River [Re: casualboater]  
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softsides Offline
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Tiffin, OH
Garry, I'm curious about your mention of Canada and places to go there. When you go to "the other side" do you call Canadian customs when you arrive and US customs when you return? In our area (Lake Erie Islands) Pelee is about a hour ride away and used to be a nice place to go for an overnight trip. A friend of mine used to run there 2 or 3 times a summer. Ludington was also a popular place to go. Now, you've got to have a passport, or mess with Nexus and I68, what a mess. Plus, down here we've got 3 Border Patrol boats running around and these guys are VERY good at spotting cross border traffic. Do you have to jump through all the hoops or do you just go?


John
SeaRay 86 268 Sundancer
Catawba Island, Lake Erie


#452822 - 02/13/09 12:10 AM Re: Boating on Lake St Clair, St Clair River, and Detroit River [Re: softsides]  
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garry454 Offline
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garry454  Offline
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Lake St Clair, MI
Yeah, the rules are different now. I haven't gone in the last couple years because of the new rules.

I miss the good ol days......................

But no, I don't just go. I have to follow the rules, got kids on board....... Just the right thing to do.


Garry
2006 185SS 3.0L, Alpha 1 Gen II, Chrome Powder-coated 21P Hustler prop, SX Smart Tabs w/ 40lb actuators, K&N Flame Arrestor, One Hot Momma, and Two Daddy's Girls!
"Lil Somethin"

#452826 - 02/13/09 07:56 AM Re: Boating on Lake St Clair, St Clair River, and Detroit River [Re: garry454]  
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GoFirstClass Offline
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GoFirstClass  Offline
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Pasco, WA
I just google earth'd the trip and it looks to be about 80 miles from Lake Erie up to Lake Huron. Further than I would have guessed, but not all that far. That would be a liesurely run (one direction) on my boat in a day, taking time out to stop for meals, swimming, looking around, etc.

I've done a cruise from here to Lewiston, ID on the Snake River. That's 150 miles each direction and we broke it into two easy days each way. Part of the enjoyment out here is going through the locks on the rivers. They're fun, but each of the four locks between here and Lewiston taks about 1/2 hour each so it slows you down a bit.

Looking just at the rivers around DTW, how is the traffic on them? Is there a lot of freighter traffic and does it get pretty choppy? I would imagine around the Grosse Point areas with all their yacht clubs, and around Belle Island it might get a lot of traffic and pretty choppy.

I can imagine what Lake St. Clair would be like when the wind kicks up. Saginaw Bay is roughly that size and depth, and I've seen 6' waves MANY times out on the Bay. They're short duration, steep and close together. Makes for a rough ride in any size boat.


"Beachcomber" 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge


Anchor's down......Bottoms Up!
#452839 - 02/13/09 11:14 AM Re: Boating on Lake St Clair, St Clair River, and Detroit River [Re: GoFirstClass]  
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garry454 Offline
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garry454  Offline
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Lake St Clair, MI
The rivers aren't too bad. yes there is fairly steady freighter traffic, but actually, the lake is probably rougher than the rivers just due to the amount of traffic on it.

The areas around the yacht clubs aren't too bad either, those boys tend to spend more time tied to the dock, than underway.....

Almost all of the ride is free of no wake zones. If you were to take the Middle Channel during your southbound trek into the lake, there is a short no wake zone for craft 26' and over, but beyond that, it's WFO all the way!


Garry
2006 185SS 3.0L, Alpha 1 Gen II, Chrome Powder-coated 21P Hustler prop, SX Smart Tabs w/ 40lb actuators, K&N Flame Arrestor, One Hot Momma, and Two Daddy's Girls!
"Lil Somethin"

#452868 - 02/13/09 04:59 PM Re: Boating on Lake St Clair, St Clair River, and Detroit River [Re: garry454]  
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Brian S Offline
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Brian S  Offline
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Canton, Michigan
Garry,

Where do you launch out of normally?

We go to the Clinton River mouth state launch and rum all around Anchor Bay and around the Island. Spend a lot of time in Muscamoot Bay in the massive raft of boats. Like you said if you watch the weather and take your time its no problem.
We stop at Deckers Landing for lunch\Dinner when were out that way.

Casual,

Keep us posted and maybe we can all meet in the bay for a BABC raft up of sorts while you are in the area. Just South of the park is a nice State run Launch that puts you into the St. Clair river North channel. About a 30 min run to the swimming holes.

GFC,

I've gone from LK Huron (Port Hurron)to Harsens Island in 2-2.5 hours and from Harsens Island to Lk Erie (Boblo Island) in 2.5-3 hours. It could be done in one day even with a trailer boat BUT most everyone stays more local or even in Anchor Bay and up towards the town of St. Clair or Port Huron.



If you want to be in the ACTION just follow the line of boats on the weekends. You really won't need a GPS if the weather is Nice to find the party spots. I would get a chart of the upper end of the lake and the St. Clair River because you will find shallows that you need to be aware of. A big indication that you need to watch is.. the Tow Boats sit outside these areas so they can swoop in and help out the unlucky.

Brian


2004 Chaparral 204 SSI
2016 F150 S/Crew XLT eco boost

#452882 - 02/13/09 11:47 PM Re: Boating on Lake St Clair, St Clair River, and Detroit River [Re: Brian S]  
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garry454 Offline
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garry454  Offline
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Lake St Clair, MI
Hey Brian, same launch I use. I live just down the road from it actually. Everybody that uses the Harley Ensign Access (the one you use) has to go past my house on the way there.....


We hit Deckers plenty too.......Mmmmmmmmmm.

Man, winter has GOT to end!!!! I'm losing my mind over here!! LOL

Last edited by garry454; 02/13/09 11:48 PM.

Garry
2006 185SS 3.0L, Alpha 1 Gen II, Chrome Powder-coated 21P Hustler prop, SX Smart Tabs w/ 40lb actuators, K&N Flame Arrestor, One Hot Momma, and Two Daddy's Girls!
"Lil Somethin"


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