Detroit River Bass

I grew up on the Detroit River in LaSalle – a small town near Windsor, Ontario. This river connects Lake Erie and Lake St. Claire and is a very popular and productive fishery. The most targeted fish here is easily the Walleye, but it is also teeming with Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Silver Bass, Northern Pike, Perch and it even has healthy populations of Musky and Sturgeon.

It’s the Bass that have always occupied most of my time here. My parents live on a canal that has proven to be one of the better Largemouth Bass spots (that I know about) on this river and I’ve spent countless hours fishing for them. Historically this has been with spinning gear, but more recently with a fly rod.

Last weekend I was down at my parents place and we headed out in the boat Sunday morning for some fishing. I was casting red and white buggers on my six weight with sink tips and it turns out the bass were into the flies moreso than my dad and brother’s lures and bait (I’m not bragging dad, really!). I landed a few smallies, with one particularly large fish surprising me when it smashed my fly as it hit the water just in front of a weed bed.

A nice Detroit River Smallmouth Bass caught on the fly

A nice Detroit River Smallmouth Bass caught on the fly

I certainly appreciate the local trout rivers that I now have access to living near the GTA, but I also miss the great fishing, boating and ease of access to rivers and lakes in the Windsor area.


June turned out to be a busy month both on the water and on the fly tying bench. The rivers are now teeming with bug activity and you just never know when that epic day on the water might arrive… where everything comes together to produce those perfect conditions that bring even the most wary of trout to the surface.

This is the time of year where our fly boxes need to be the most diverse. Depending on the time of day, river and hatches, you might be casting streamers, nymphs, wet flies, emergers, tiny dries, large dries, or even huge topwater patterns. Consequently, I’ve been hitting the tying bench a lot lately, trying to cover all my bases. In what has been an increasing trend of mine, I’ve concentrated more on sub-surface patterns this season to up my odds when fish are either not rising, or when they’re rising but refusing dry flies. Below are some flies I’ve been tying and fishing on some of my local waters.

Grand River

If you fish the Grand River, you know how frustrating it can be if you rely on dry flies to match the hatch. Although I don’t spend as much time on the Grand as I do other rivers, I’ve come to realize that it’s a largely sub surface and emerger river. In response to this, I tied a bunch of the following emerger patters in various sizes, mainly for caddis and blue winged olive hatches. I’m sure that by simply swapping out different colors and materials, these could be used to imitate a much wider variety of caddis and mayflies.

Caddis or BWO emerger, loosely based off a Snowshoe Emerger pattern

Caddis or BWO emerger, loosely based off a Snowshoe Emerger pattern

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