Known as the "Heart of the Great Lakes," Lake St. Clair is part of the Lake Erie basin and is nestled between the St. Clair River and the Detroit River systems. Native Americans gave the lake many names, and its present-day title was given by French explorer Robert de la Salle, who arrived on its shores on the feast day of Saint Clare.
At only 430 square miles in surface area with an average depth of 11 feet, Lake St. Clair is far smaller and shallower than the Great Lakes, but is incredibly productive, hosting one of the largest sport fisheries in the world. Nearly a third of the entire annual Great Lakes sport fish catch is pulled from the waters of the lake.
Lake St. Clair is one of the areas of the Great Lakes most heavily used by people, providing a wide range of ecological, recreational and commercial benefits to those who live near its shores. Millions of people on the U.S. and Canadian sides of the lake rely on the St. Clair-Detroit River System for drinking water, and the coastal wetlands of the region are critical habitat for many species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, and migratory birds.