Ice fishing continues but caution needs to be used. Anglers are reminded that walleye, northern pike and muskie season in the Upper Peninsula inland and Great Lakes waters as well as the St. Mary’s River is now open until March 15th. The spearing season for northern pike and muskie will also be open until March 15th.
Southeast Lower Peninsula
Lake Erie – Most of the lake has open water. The only ice fishing is off the Metro Park Marina for perch and bluegills and out near the Banana Dike for perch.
Huron River – Steelhead are being caught when using spawn or wax worms.
Detroit River – The ice flows have slowed however most boat anglers are anticipating more ice coming down the river. Check out the cuts and canals near Gibraltar for good perch and bluegill action.
Lexington – Fishing was light with only a few perch taken. Anglers will need to do some sorting.
Port Austin – Cold weather shored the ice back up and there are a few ice shanties in and around the marina.
Saginaw Bay – Off Palmer Road; perch fishing slow to fair at best out near the first crack. A few walleye were caught a couple miles out in 10 feet of water. Off White’s Beach, fish 10 feet of water near the Pinconning Bar. Off Erickson Road and Linwood Road, the walleye bite was slow out near the pressure crack. Use extreme caution out there and watch for changes in wind direction. The water was really dirty around the Hot Ponds. Thomas Road continues to produce walleye about 7 to 8 miles offshore in 17 to 19 feet of water. Sebewaing was slow. Those fishing out in the Slot beyond Rose Island were taking a few walleye in the evening. At Bay Port, the ice is bad at the DNR access site. Those heading out of the Bay Shore Marina took some nice perch ranging from 8 to 12 inches. Off Mud Creek, anglers were going out about 2 miles towards Sand Point and taking some nice perch in 8 feet of water. At Caseville, perch were caught in the marina basins however anglers will need to sort out the small ones.
Tittabawassee River – No activity to report and the boat launches still iced in.
Saginaw River – Anglers casting in open water near the Independence Bridge were taking walleye on jigs and twister tails. Down near the mouth, perch anglers fishing in the marina basins did well when using minnows on Russian hooks with green beads.
Southwest Lower Peninsula
St. Joe – Anglers have been fishing off the piers. Look for brown trout just off the bottom or steelhead about halfway down. The river is open so boat anglers have been able to access the big lake when the conditions are right. Pay close attention to wind direction and watch for ice flows which can close access to the lake.
St. Joe River – Steelhead and walleye are being caught by boat and shore anglers at the Berrien Springs Dam.
Union Lake – In Branch County, is producing some bluegills, crappie, a few perch and the occasional walleye.
Marble Lake – In Branch County, is producing some panfish. For pike, fish the drop-offs in 10 to 20 feet of water.
Kalamazoo River – Steelhead are hitting on spawn or wax worms below the dam.
Holland – Has no boat or pier fishing in the channel due to ice flows.
Grand River at Grand Rapids – Anglers are targeting steelhead and walleye.
Grand River at Lansing – Anglers are heading back out but no reports have come in. Those looking for walleye should try below the dams.
Lake Ovid – Those fishing close to shore were surprised to catch a few crappie. Minnows were the ticket.
Michigan Center Lake – Near Jackson, is producing some panfish.
Muskegon Lake – The channel has open water and when the wind is out of the south or southwest it blows the pack ice out and opens up fishing opportunities. A couple steelhead have been caught off the pier when floating spawn bags.
Muskegon Lake – Those still fishing are taking a few but the action has not been fast and furious. The key is to move around until you locate a school of fish. Perch have been caught in 42 to 48 feet of water along the ledge behind Shoreline Marine. Those fishing the weed lines off the Sand Docks have caught perch, rock bass and a couple catfish. The waters between Second Street and river were wide open last week so anglers will want to avoid the area.
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Mullett Lake – Perch are hitting on jigs with minnows or wigglers in 24 feet of water.
East Twin Lake – Angler pressure was low however those going out have reported some decent perch fishing when using a small hook or small jig. Deep snow drifts are making travel on the ice a little more difficult.
West Twin Lake – Is all about the walleye. Fishing pressure remains constant and some limit catches were reported. Anglers that know the lake have been doing well for walleye while jigging with rapala minnow jigs or a Swedish Pimple tipped with a minnow. A couple fish were also taken on tip-ups. Those targeting perch were taking fish when using a jig with perch minnows.
Thunder Bay River – Walleye and perch have been caught.
Hubbard Lake – Anglers were catching some walleye.
Higgins Lake – Anglers are reminded to keep the cars and trucks off the ice and there may be some snow drifts that could make travel difficult. The smelt action on the north end of the lake has been very good. Perch are still hitting off the islands however anglers will need to sort out the small ones. Good pike action when using tip-ups or spearing in 15 feet of water. Cold temperatures will keep the trout out in deeper waters.
Houghton Lake – Strong winds hampered fishing last weekend however anglers are getting back out and catching fish. There is snow on the lake and anglers will encounter some drifting. Walleye action was slower but fish are being caught around the East Bay and off the north shore. The bluegill bite has picked up when using tear drops with wax worms.
Van Etten Lake – Ice anglers are taking perch on minnows and pike on tip-ups. Snow drifts may hamper travel on the ice.
Au Sable River – Steelhead were hitting on spawn or wax worms.
Budd Lake – Is producing a fair to good number of bluegills.
Tawas – Small perch were caught in the harbor and a few pike off Jerry’s Marina but the walleye fishing slowed.
Au Gres – The action was not red hot but a few walleye were taken just off the mouth of the river.
Au Gres River – Look for walleye in the lower section of the river.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Elk Lake – Angler pressure has decreased as many have pulled their ice shanties off the lake. A few portables are popping up here and there. Anglers are still targeting lake trout near Kewadin and off the Whitewater Park when jigging Swedish Pimples in 80 feet of water however no fish were caught. No reports on steelhead or lake herring. Whitefish were caught near Kewadin in 30 to 50 feet of water. Some are still targeting muskie but no fish were caught.
Skegemog Lake – Has seen a lot of fishing pressure over the last week. Pike were caught in flats off Baggs Road. Fish ranging from 16 to 27 inches were taken in 12 to 15 feet of water when using minnows. Perch have been caught off the access site at Baggs Road as well as the northwest portion of the lake near the narrows. Try 10 to 15 feet of water when using minnows, wax worms, mousies or wigglers. Many small fish were caught right along with fish ranging from 7 to 10 inches. Bluegills, rock bass and pumpkinseed have also been caught when jigging Swedish Pimples, rapalas, minnows, wigglers or wax worms. A few anglers are still trying to spear muskie however no fish were recorded.
Traverse City – Access to the bays will be difficult due to deep snow at the launches.
Boardman River – Anglers are catching some steelhead.
Lake Cadillac – Anglers are catching more crappie than bluegills. The bigger fish have been caught along the east side of the lake. Pike anglers are concentrating on waters 15 to 20 feet deep. Deep snow and drifts may cause travel problems.
Manistee River – Sub-legal brown trout are being caught below the coffer dam near Tippy. Steelhead numbers have been light.
Hamlin Lake – Fishing slowed for those targeting bluegills off the Wilson Hill Park and the Boy Scout Camp. Could be the cold weather as catch rates improved after the warm spell. Try 7 to 12 feet of water with wax worms. Those fishing off Lincoln Road were still taking a few crappie when using a minnow hooked in the back. The fish are running 9 to 12 inches but only a half dozen were reported in a days catch. No fishing on Lower Hamlin.
Eagle Harbor – Has been yielding some nice coho salmon.
Portage Lake – Fishing has been slow but look for the walleye bite to pick up when the weather warms up. Pike action was hit-or-miss but fish were caught when using smelt or suckers 4 to 5 feet off the bottom in waters 16 to 20 feet deep.
Keweenaw Bay – Some coho were caught off Sand Point and out from the Falls River however the bite was slow. Whitefish have been caught in 80 to 110 feet of water south of Baraga. The lake trout bite has been hit-or-miss off the usual locations such as the Whirl-I-Gig, Jentoft’s Dock, Old Mission, Carla’s and the red rocks. Anglers are fishing straight out from the pine tree at Pequaming and off Jurva Road however the ice here has deteriorated some and extreme caution needs to be used. Smelt were caught between Bucks Marina and Baraga between the hours of 8:30 and midnight. Some perch are also being picked in 20 to 60 feet of water off of the Baraga Marina.
Lake Gogebic – Anglers are catching jumbo perch but the walleye are small.
Menominee – The cold windy weather made it difficult for anglers in the bay. Those heading out behind the Americ Inn off US-41 were moving around to find schools of fish. Small perch were caught when jigging minnows or other natural baits. Those heading out a mile or so did manage to catch a few whitefish.
Menominee River – Anglers fishing in the evening on the Wisconsin side at the Hattie Street Dam are catching some walleye. Trout anglers are casting rapalas in different sizes and colors on the Michigan side. A few brown trout have been caught. Those fishing off the 6th Street slip in Marinette reported slow catch rates but those willing to put in the time have caught some small walleye.
Little Bay De Noc – Ice conditions remain good although drifting snow has created some travel problems. The launch at Kipling has been filling up fast. Fair walleye catches throughout the bay however the better reports are coming from Kipling when jigging rapalas and minnows in 24 to 28 feet of water and off Portage Point when fishing 20 to 35 feet down along the break. Good perch fishing out from Brach’s Cabins in 14 to 17 feet of water or in 36 feet of water near Kipling. Fair to good pike spearing out from the Buckeye near Kipling when using live suckers in 8 to 10 feet of water. For whitefish, some limits were taken off Sand Point in Escanaba when jigging minnows or spawn in 80 feet of water.
Munising – Ice conditions for Munising Bay and Trout Bay were holding for ice fishing however conditions here can change rapidly if it warms up or if the winds pick up. Coho action in Trout Bay was hit-or-miss. A few lucky anglers limited out when jigging cut bait. Those heading out past Trout Bay for lake trout have also taken limit catches. Anglers traveling north of Grand Island are reminded to use extreme caution out there. Murray’s Bay was giving up a few whitefish averaging 14 inches. Off Powell’s Point, whitefish and burbot were caught at night and those fishing near the City Dock were taking a few coho, whitefish, splake or herring.
Munuscong Bay – Fishing has picked up with the better catch rates in the evening. Anglers are fishing for walleye in 3 to 6 feet of water when jigging minnows. A limited number of anglers are venturing out to waters 10 to 20 feet deep and taking a fair number of fish. The perch are present however warmer weather will increase their activity and harvest rate.
Cedarville and Hessel – Musky Bay is loaded with perch. Anglers are reminded that the Lake Huron waters of Mackinac and Chippewa Counties and the St. Mary’s River have a minimum size limit of 7 inches for perch. There has been a lot of catch and release action mixed in with the legal perch taken each day. Hessel Bay is currently the place to find the big 12 to 14 inch perch in waters about 15 feet deep. Splake were also present however the season is closed so the fish must be released immediately.