Many people think it should be a Great Lake, but Lake St. Clair is not. It is, however, the top pick for Michigan’s Best Inland Lake in the Detroit region, and has fans from all across the state.
“It’s not a Great Lake, it’s a fabulous lake,” John Burback said. “It’s know as “The Heart” of the Great Lakes. One of the best fisheries in Michigan and the best Muskie Lake in the world. It has one of the largest fresh water deltas in the world. Every drop of Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron has to pass thru Lake Saint Clair on its way to the Atlantic Ocean.”
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Since its such a big lake, and totally a conduit between two Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair has kind of earned championship status. Not only is it a huge draw for urban dwellers in the Detroit Metro region, it is also a great tourist destination for Michiganders from across the state.
“Everything from fishing to boating, and tons of lake-side bars and restaurants,” said reader John Constante.
Fishing is a very big deal on Lake St. Claire, and with good reason. Some seriously big fish are caught on this lake every year, including some championship sturgeon. In fact, recently a 240 pound sturgeon was caught in the Detroit River, which most assuredly traveled through the lake sometime during its over 100 year life span. Other fish you might catch in Lake St. Claire might include bass, walleye, pike and perch.
Jeff DeRessou said there are “endless possibilities for activities and boating destinations which includes being able to travel the Great Lakes, if desired.”
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“Many activities on the lake,” Jim Constantino. “Small sand bars, eateries, clubs, bars are available. More boating outfitters concentrates anywhere. Baytown USA.”
We visited the area during our search for Michigan’s Best Waterfront Restaurant. Here’s what we had to say about The Island Grill, which is located on Anchor Bay on Lake St. Claire:
“An unexpected stop, we visited The Island Grill based on the recommendation of Chris Hart, owner of Michigan’s Best Diner, the M-29 Diner, which is located right up the street. We are so glad we listened to her, because the restaurant is an undeniable gem, with one of the best views in the state.
When you arrive, park in the lot up front, and wait for someone to swing by in one of their extended golf carts to give you a lift to the restaurant. Once there, grab a seat (we highly recommend sitting up top), kick back, and get yourself on “island time.”
This funky, brightly colored little spot, located in the Mayea Marina on Anchor Bay, feels like an old-school island joint, with much of the decorations coming straight from the Florida Keys. They’ve been open about eight years now, and have multi-level open air seating, various bars to belly up to, a special area that is dog-friendly, and even a sandy play area for the kids to enjoy.
Sit back, and watch the parade of boats cruise on by, while you enjoy an icy cold bucket of beer, or one of their original recipe Rum Runners, which you can enjoy frozen or on the rocks. Those bad boys slip down far too easily on a hot day. You’ve been warned.
Complement your drinks with a bit of food. They have an extensive menu to choose from here. Start off with the tasty Pork Wings, which come lacquered with zippy hoisin garlic sauce with a hint of orange, or the tender, fried plantains for a vegetarian option. They offer wood-grilled pizza here, which comes out crispy, and perfect for sharing. The BLT pizza was a nice surprise, with smoky bacon, bright tomatoes, shredded lettuce and a spicy drizzle of mayo.
Fish is a speciality here, so you should probably try some.
We highly recommend the Perch Reuben, a yummy little concoction of fresh fried perch fillets, nestled on a brioche bun with crunchy coleslaw, melted Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing. The seared red snapper comes with a slightly spicy Jamaican jerk rub on it, which is a perfect compliment to the cool and crunchy arugula mango salad that it rests on.
Don’t miss getting a slice of Key Lime pie, it’s made by Ms. Hart at the diner, so of course, it’s fantastic.
This is a very busy spot on a beautiful afternoon. Please be prepared for a bit of a wait. The friendly servers and bartenders will be with you shortly, so just relax and enjoy that incredible view.”
RELATED: Michigan’s Best Diner is the M-29, located right by Lake St. Clair
“Water is clear and beautiful,” Sharon Clinton. “Boating and fishing is fantastic, local restaurants.”
DNR info at michigan.gov.
Information on access to the eight ramps at the North Marina, can be be found here.
Boat Launch Rates (per watercraft)
- Daily – $10
- Annual – $35
- Seniors (62+) – $29
Vehicle Entry Rates (per vehicle)
- Daily – $10
- Annual – $40
- Seniors (62+) – $29
From the website: Advanced purchase of Annual Passes listed above are available at the Metroparks Online Store. You may also consider advance purchase of a gift card for your guests or friends. See the online store for Giftcards in several denominations.
Lake St. Clair fisheries information can be found here.
RELATED: This Michigan’s Best Inland Lake offers a prime fishing spot in SW Michigan
More Michigan’s Best in the Detroit area:
These are the 10 best waterfront restaurants in Michigan
A cultural experience makes Detroit a top vacation spot
Michigan’s Best Sub Sandwiches: Our top ten
This Detroit brewery asks you to “pay what you can” as they pay it forward
This igloo village in Detroit has a unique business model, delicious, healthy food.
Follow our Michigan’s Best adventures on social media:
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Join in by using the hashtags #mibest, and #bestfishfry.
Amy Sherman is on Twitter @amyonthetrail, as well as Facebook and Instagram @amyonthetrail.
John Gonzalez is on Twitter @michigangonzo, as well as Facebook and Instagram @MichiganGonzo.