The St. Clair River shoreline is highly modified and has little shallow water habitat, resulting in low quality fish nursery habitat. Multiple shoreline restoration projects funded by the GLRI are key to restoring critical shallow water habitat. However, post-construction monitoring of these projects is difficult because the restoration sites are physically distinct and deployment of many standard gears is not feasible at all sites. Therefore, we used different suites of gears at different sites to evaluate fish use of restoration sites. Our strategy included egg mats targeting benthic spawning fishes, light traps targeting larval fishes, and minnow traps, electrofishing, and gillnets targeting juvenile and adult fishes at restoration and control sites. Gears were set weekly (egg mats and light traps) to monthly (electrofishing and gillnets) from spring through fall. Although native fishes in spawning condition were captured, few eggs were collected on egg mats and larval fish samples were dominated by invasive Gobiidae at all sites. Multiple life stages of 52 native species including valuable sportfish and rare species, were observed at restoration and control sites, indicating the fish community is using these sites as nursery, refuge, and foraging areas. Our site-specific sampling strategy not only provided a description of the fish communities near these restoration and control sites but was also able to detect differences in species between restoration and control sites.