Marine News from the Great Lakes

Harrison Township, Michigan - A True Boating Community

Published: Monday, March 5, 2018

Harrison Township is a boating and bedroom community located in Southeast Michigan along the western shores of Lake St. Clair. This is a place where residents and the community love boating so much, they’ve earned the moniker “Boattown, U.S.A.” With fifteen miles of shoreline on Lake St. Clair, the community makes the most of the wonderful opportunities presented by the lake.

Lake St. Clair is a world-class fishing destination and one of the busiest recreational waterways in the Midwest. The lake possesses more than 430 square miles of freshwater and 160 miles of shoreline. Lake St. Clair is one of the finest freshwater fisheries in North America thanks to its unique geographic proximity within the Great Lakes basin. The rapid flowing St. Clair River transports fresh, cold, nutrient-rich water into the lake, where it is channeled in a wide delta consisting of the North, South and Middle Channels, plus the main shipping channel. These nutrients spawn bait fish which, in turn, spawn bigger fish — fish big enough to catch the attention of international anglers. Lake St. Clair is a frequent rotational stop for the Bassmaster Elite Series Fishing Tournament and has been described by Kevin VanDam, Bassmaster pro, as “…the greatest smallmouth bass fishery on the planet.” If you’re looking to catch muskellunge, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, walleye, colossal channel catfish, pike, or largemouth bass, Lake St. Clair is the place to go.

There are four public access launch sites in Harrison Township. As a result, more people access the lake from Harrison Township than from any other location. To the north, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Selfridge Boat Launch provides access to the southern tip of Anchor Bay. For boaters looking to launch closer to the Clinton River, there’s the DNR Harley Ensign Memorial Boat Launch. This facility is located at the very end of South River Road and the mouth of the Clinton River. Lake St. Clair Metropark contains a public boat launch just outside of the Black Creek. For those individuals who do not hold a seasonal Huron-Clinton Metropark Park Pass, access to this launch will cost you a daily entry fee. This launch allows boaters to enjoy the amenities of Lake St. Clair Metropark and maintain easy access to Lake St. Clair. Lastly, the DNR has a third launch within Harrison Township located near the Clinton River Cutoff. This launch provides access to the center of the lake and is also located close to shore fishing piers and the Harrison Township bike path system. These public access points provide the community and visitors a diverse spectrum of options to access Lake St. Clair.

With dozens of marinas, Harrison Township can accommodate any boater’s needs. Whether you need a seasonal boat slip, a transient well, refueling, bait, or maintenance, you have many options in Harrison Township. There are several dealers of new and used watercraft, including the largest indoor watercraft showroom in the Great Lakes — Wilson Marine. To accommodate residents and visitors, Harrison Township operates a free Summer Shuttle Program from the first weekend in May through late October. Just dial 586-612-4454 during the summer season and enjoy a FREE ride anywhere in the township. Hours of operation are as follows: Fridays from 5:00PM – Midnight, Saturdays from 9:00AM – Midnight, and Sundays from 9:00AM – 5:00PM.

Lake St. Clair Metropark offers an abundance of recreational activities. Bird watching, windsurfing, boating, bicycling, and swimming are among the many opportunities at this 770-acre park. Enjoy biking, jogging, or in-line skating on the paved trail that follows the lake’s shoreline. During the summer months, take a dip in the Olympic-sized swimming pool with waterslides, the Squirt Zone Spray Ground, or the 1,000 foot-long sandy beach. In the winter, take part in ice fishing, cross-country skiing on groomed snow trails, or a game of hockey or ice-skating outdoors. For leisure, walk along the 1,600-foot boardwalk overlooking the one-mile shoreline. On the nature trails, hike through meadows, marshland, or a grove of cottonwood trees while you observe wildlife and waterfowl. Together, the wetlands and lake shoreline make this a top bird-watching site, with more than 230 commonly-seen species. Explore Lake St. Clair Metropark’s nature center and trails, play the par-3 golf course, or Shipwreck Lagoon Adventure’s miniature golf course at your next picnic. For additional information on Lake St. Clair Metropark, visit

For those boaters and visitors looking to grab a bite, Harrison Township provides a variety of eateries able to accommodate any budget and taste. Luigi’s Original Restaurant (36691 Jefferson Ave.) opened in 1953 and serves award winning pizza, specialty lamb chops, steaks, pasta, and seafood. Luigi’s also offers a full bar and patio seating. If you wish to remain on the water, you can dock and eat at the newly renovated Bumpers Landing (31970 North River Road), which serves American pub cuisine and offers a spectacular view, a full bar, and patio seating. If you are looking for a blast from past, located near the Clinton River Spillway sits Eddie’s Drive-In (36111 Jefferson Ave.). Eddie’s is a 1950s style drive in diner serving old fashioned hot dogs, hamburgers, and shakes. During the summer months, many like to anchor their boats in sandy near-shore bays or ‘swimming holes’. Sorrento’s S.S. Pizza Boat can be found in the most popular spots — call 586-295-7123 to place your order and they will deliver right to your boat while you’re anchored in the bay! These are just a few of the many excellent dining opportunities in Harrison Township.

If you’re looking for a great place to see Lake St. Clair, spend a day fishing, or enjoy a fine meal with a beautiful view, Harrison Township is the place to go. If you need a place to dock your boat for the summer or you’re looking for a great place to live, come to Harrison Township!

This article first appeared in the Spring Issue (Mar/Apr) 2018 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.


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