Fishing / Boating Canada on Lake St. Clair for U.S Citizens UPDATE
April 3, 2022 – Background Angler content contributed by Captain Kevin Backus, Mr. Muskie Charters, St. Clair Shores, MI
Canada Lake St. Clair – Detroit water border Crossing – Starting April 1, 2022 there are new rules in place for private U.S. citizen boaters crossing into Canada who plan to make landfall.
“ArriveCAN is mandatory for all travelers planning on making landfall.”
Travelers arriving by marine mode are required to submit their mandatory information including their proof of “full” vaccination in ArriveCAN before or when entering Canada. Travel to Canada is still prohibited for foreign nationals who do not qualify as fully vaccinated.
If you enter Canadian waters for leisure and touring, including pleasure fishing or sightseeing (known as loop movements), you are not required to report as long as the boat does not land on Canadian soil, anchor, moor or come alongside another boat in Canadian waters. The Canada Border Security Agency officially responded April 6 when I asked to reconfirm with:
“You can now enter Canada for leisure and touring, including pleasure fishing, sightseeing and other discretionary purposes (known as loop movements).
However, you must:
· continuously remain on your boat while in Canadian waters
· not land in Canada
· not make contact with another boat
· not moor or anchor while in Canadian waters
If at any point, you land on Canadian soil, come in contact with another boat or drop anchor, you will be required to report to the CBSA and if you’re eligible to enter Canada, you will become subject to all entry requirements including pre-arrival testing and submitting your mandatory information into ArriveCAN. Travelers engaged in transit or loop movements are not required to report to the CBSA.
According to Mr. Muskie, the last few years have posed a serious challenge on Lake St. Clair fishermen as Canada had restrictions to not allow any outside people in their waters. This included any recreational watercraft entering or making landfall.
The Canadian fishing restrictions coincided with the COVID outbreak in 2020. They started this process with warnings and telling fisherman in the Detroit River they weren’t allowed in Canadian waters and to return to U.S. waters. It then escalated into chasing down U.S. boats on the river as well as stopping fishermen on Lake St. Clair. According to U.S. anglers, the Canadian’s went as far as bringing boaters into Canadian ports to question and ticket them or give strict written warnings. This continued through last August 2021 until Canada finally lifted the restriction on joint U.S. and Canadian waterways.
Why was this a problem for U.S. anglers one might wonder? There are many factors.
According to Mr. Muskie Charters, the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair are split between the American shore and Canada. However, this share is not as even as one would think. The Detroit River holds many spots on both sides for Walleye to come up the river and spawn. The Canadian side however has many shallow areas which are the ideal spot for the Walleye to spawn and therefore they hold or stack up in those spots, making it that much harder on the Michigan side until the water warms up and the droves of Walleye keep their migration moving upstream.
When it comes to Lake St. Clair the divide isn’t ideal. As Michigan owns all of Anchor Bay, which is great fishing in the early Spring and late Fall, during the summer months the weeds have grown up tall and are near the surface. It is also filled with boats, jet skis, etc. traveling around enjoying the water but disturbing the fish making it near impossible to troll with a fleet of gear out. The same holds true for the main portion of Lake St. Clair. The Michigan shoreline is full of boat traffic and floating weeds coming down the St. Clair River system and into the lake, where the currents push them toward our shoreline. For avid anglers, the deeper waters and and reasons listed above make the Canadian side a much better fishing ground certain times of the year. Canada also offers more open water, with far less boat traffic making fishing more enjoyable and productive!
Last August, American’s were finally able to enter and fish in Canadian waters. However, there are still restrictions for landing in Canada. In order to fish in Canadian waters all needed is a valid Ontario fishing license and state ID. If you plan on making landfall or anchoring in Canadian waters at any point you will need to in advance sign into”ArriveCAN for approval which is mandatory for all travelers planning on making landfall.”
We are certainly happy the borders are open and getting back to fishing our normal spots in the Detroit River and throughout Lake St. Clair. Last year we saw an immediate difference in the fishing. We could fish where the weather permitted allowing a much larger area with many more options for ideal fishing conditions. The number of fish we started catching was well over double of what our numbers of fish caught when the restrictions were in place. While we worked as hard as possible to make our clients have fun and productive experiences, we were so happy to return to a normal state of fishing and reaping the rewards of all the hard work that is put in every trip!
LINKS TO RESOURCES:
“Starting April 1, 2022, pre-entry tests will no longer be required for fully vaccinated travelers entering Canada by land, air or water.” Click link here for full details @ https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/covid-vaccinated-travellers-entering-canada#pre-entry-testing
Reporting Requirements for Boaters to Canada – ArriveCAN is mandatory for all travelers
Travelers arriving by marine mode are required to submit their mandatory information including their proof of vaccination in ArriveCAN before or when entering Canada. ArriveCAN is available to download as a mobile app or you can create an account and sign in online.
Thanks again Captain Kevin Backus for contributing to this article!
Lake St. Clair area offers many Ontario, Canada services such as transient marinas, fuel, and restaurants. Please search “Canada” on our site for several options to make your vacation reservations.