Detroit River with a Detroiter

Featuring Capt. Dave Nichols

I had the chance to fish the Detroit River for several days this April with native Detroiter, Nick Capussi. Nick is the operations director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cedar Rapids and deeply involved with the Fish-O-Rama event sponsored by Walleye Wisdom. We committed to jig fishing the river without thoughts of handlining or going out to the lake. We arrived at Wyandotte City Ramp to find hundreds of fishermen and fish coming off the water in what was generally described by many anglers as a “bloodbath” due to the huge size and numbers of fish caught that morning. In a later conversation with NWT Pro Tommy Skarlis, he described that morning as “one of the “greatest days of jig fishing walleyes in my life”. Obviously Tommy has had some great days on the water so this description is and indication of the incredible bite that occurred that morning. The bite on that Monday morning had been the apex of the annual spawning bite on the Detroit. By Monday afternoon when we took to the river the bite had cooled considerably (yep, the ol’ “you should have been here this morning” thing!) but there were still fish to be caught and we fished the “Two-Rocks” and “Mud Island” areas with jigs and the famous Wyandotte Worm combo. Initially we found the brown and black worms were working best. The water was extremely clear on the American side of the river but became progressively more stained towards Canadian waters. We continued to fish the US side of the river for the next couple of days with fish being caught at “The Stacks”, “The golf course” and the stretch of river right in front of the General Motors headquarters known as the Renaissance Center. We gradually moved to a straight jig & minnow/jig & ½ crawler presentations and increased the cadence and lift of our jigging motion which increased our catch rate. We also found more fish in the slightly stained waters of the mid river area in 30-40’ of water. Most of these mid-river fish were smaller males but the steady action kept as busy and happy. Fishing on his “home-boy” waters was a treat for Nick as he regaled me with many stories about the scenes and fixtures on the river from days gone by. Our big fish of the trip was 26” with additional 24” and 25” fish taken and lots of typical Detroit River “eaters”.