Elite fishing tournament, festival coming to Lake St. Clair

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published August 19, 2017

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Lake St. Clair is well-known to anglers across the country and internationally for its stellar bass fishing.

That’s why the Bassmaster Elite Series fishing tournament makes a stop in Macomb County whenever it gets the opportunity.

The Advance Auto Parts 2017 Bassmaster Elite Series will take place on Lake St. Clair Aug. 24-27, when more than 100 of the world’s top anglers will compete for a top prize of $100,000. The last day of the tournament will be aired on ESPN.

Gerry Santoro, head of the county’s Department of Planning and Economic Development, said this year is the third time in six years that the Bassmaster Elite Series has come to Lake St. Clair, because it’s one of the best fishing lakes for smallmouth and largemouth bass in North America.

“This is one of the greatest fishing events in the world,” said Santoro. “It’s bringing in the best talent, the highest level of angling to Lake St. Clair.”

In addition to the tournament, Make Macomb Your Home is partnering with the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Detroit Sports Commission, Huron-Clinton Metroparks and NASH-FM 93.1 Detroit to bring back the Bass, Brews & BBQ Festival Aug. 25-27 at Lake St. Clair Metropark.

Santoro said the festival will feature live music, tours of the Pride of Michigan, and close to 75 vendors boasting everything from barbecue to craft beer, including the introduction of the Lake St. Clair Toasted Lager.

“This tournament puts Macomb County on the map,” he said. “It will be filmed live on Sunday, and it attracts crowds from all over metro Detroit.”

Former pro Mark Modrak, of China Township, said that during the Bassmaster Elite, competitors, some of whom come from as far away as Japan and New Zealand, traditionally fish for approximately eight hours each day. They fish along with a marshal who keeps track of the day’s catch and even record the goings-on live for people to watch via the internet. Anglers are able to ride into Lake Erie and Lake Huron to fish, and any catch that is unsatisfactory can be released back into the lake.

Each day, anglers weigh in their five heaviest fish, and the top cumulative total at the end of the weekend is declared the winner.

“It’s an exciting time,” Modrak said.

According to experts, Lake St. Clair boasts millions of smallmouth and largemouth bass that grow to an average of 2 pounds, and at this time of the year it’s not uncommon to catch 40-60 bass in a four-hour period.

Weigh-ins will take place each day of the tournament at 3:15 p.m. at the main stage.

The festival is open to the public. Festival hours are 1-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.