Detroit River to kick off Michigan Division BFL schedule - Major League Fishing
Detroit River to kick off Michigan Division BFL schedule
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Detroit River to kick off Michigan Division BFL schedule

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Local sharpie Scott Dobson expects a wide-open battle at the Michigan Division opener.
June 16, 2024 • Tyler Brinks • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Michigan Division kicks off the 2024 season on the Detroit River on June 29. The first event of the year in this division is highly anticipated, as Lake St. Clair is open on both the American and Canadian sides, with the Detroit River and Lake Erie also in play. There’s plenty of water to fish, and the bass should be biting.

Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Michigan Division

Detroit River

Trenton, MI

June 29

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About the fishery

The Detroit River flows 28 miles between the large metropolitan cities of Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario, and also connects Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. While the launch site at Elizabeth Park Marina is within the river, competitors will find many options to fish in either of the lakes. They can also stay put in the Detroit River or venture to the St. Clair River.

Anglers looking to fish current in the rivers, offshore Lake Erie, or scouring St. Clair have many options. While those options differ, Michigan pro Scott Dobson – who has won six Phoenix Bass Fishing League events and one Toyota Series event – on the fishery, counts them as one.

“They’re different waters but one big system, and I believe the bass move in schools and go wherever the biggest baitfish population are at the time,” he said. “The fish are a lot more migratory than we give them credit for. The whole system has winning fish and changes every year, but there is always a big school of them somewhere.”

According to Dobson, Lake St. Clair is expected to be the most popular option.

“In a one-day shootout like this, I expect 75% of the field to go to St. Clair,” he said. “Year over year, the first tournament is usually won there, but that’s not to say someone won’t crack a big bag on Erie. The other thing is that with Canadian waters now open, those fish haven’t been harassed like the bass on the Michigan side have since ice-out. It’s like a new lake.”

BFL anglers will find more then enough water to explore on the Detroit River and nearby fisheries.

What to expect

Dobson will not be fishing this tournament, which is off-limits for competitors in the July Tackle Warehouse Invitational event. While he wishes he could compete, Dobson shared some predictions and some of the patterns that should be in play.

“There will be a lot of things in play as a lot of the bass are transitioning to deep water and actively feeding,” he said. “There may also be a mayfly hatch and some residual spawners, although it was a warmer spring and most of that should be done. This is a great time of year because so much is happening.”

As for techniques and areas, Dobson said you can pick your poison and likely catch plenty of bass. He also predicts a winning weight of 23 1/2, with a possibility of 24 pounds being the winning total.

“There will be some bass caught sight fishing shallow, not necessarily spawning bass, but targeting cruising fish with hair jigs and spybaits,” he said. “If the mayflies are hatching, topwater can be good. Small swimbaits can also play this time of year and you can’t forget the trusty drop-shot and your favorite soft plastic bait.”