Editor’s note: Ice has formed on lakes rivers and bays across the lake, but anglers are reminded to always use caution when heading out. Call ahead for an update on ice conditions. Test the ice ahead of you with a spud. Never fish alone. Wear a life jacket and carry ice picks.
Lake St. Clair
Yellow perch fishing has been good throughout Lake St. Clair including the areas off Selfridge, Fair Haven and in Anchor Bay. Most fish were caught in 6 to 10 feet of water. On the Detroit River, there was a lot of ice coming down the river. Areas where anglers were ice fishing will most likely not be safe at this time. The Coast Guard has been out and breaking up the ice.
Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003.
There was pretty good ice on lakes in northern Oakland County and anglers reported a good bite. Fair numbers of panfish have been caught on Lake Orion, Graham Lake and Lakeville Lake. The pike bite has been good on Orion and Lakeville, too. A few archers are participating in the experimental urban management hunt, but success has been light.
Lakes Village Stop/Mobile Gas Station, (248) 693-4565.
Luna Pier Area
Perch anglers are catching some fish in the Metro Park Marina and near the Banana Dike on Lake Erie. Try minnows and spikes. Brest Bay continues to give up a few walleyes, however more fish were caught in Ohio water especially off Camp Perry, which is just north of the Portage River in Port Clinton Ohio. Anglers are still waiting for the big fish to come in.
Luna Pier Harbour Club, (734) 848-8777.
Inland lakes around Kalamazoo have ice, but the thickness varies depending on how much snow there was. The ice can be 6 inches thick on some lakes but only 3 inches thick on others and covered in slush. Word has it any lake west of US-131 would be iffy at best.
D and R Sports, (269) 372-2277.
Grand Rapids Area
Steelhead fishing has been decent on the Grand River. Anglers report catching some fish up near the Sixth Street Dam. Wax worms, spawn, spinners and crankbaits have all had their moments.
Al & Bob’s Sports, (616) 245-9156.
Fishing has been very good on Gun Lake where there was between 4 to 6 inches. Anglers are advised to be very leery of fishing in the Narrows, where there was only a couple of inches of ice. Bluegills, perch and crappies, including one 15-incher, have kept anglers busy. Pike fishing also has been pretty good but the walleye bite has been slow.
Gillett’s Bait and Hardware, (269) 672-5371.
Saginaw Bay Area
Perch and walleye are hitting on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay, but anglers are advised to be leery of the pressure cracks. A few anglers have been fishing 2 to 3 miles off Pinconning Road and Erickson Road but most of the activity is from Linwood south to the Saginaw River mouth. There are two major pressure cracks out there; the first about a mile off Linwood, which is very active and the second one is about 3 miles out. Yellow perch were caught about a mile out in 6 feet of water, but the walleye were 2 to 3 miles out. A blue and silver jigging Rapala or spoons tipped with a minnow worked best.
Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 697-5341.
Open-water anglers have caught a few walleye downstream of the Moore’s Park Dam on the Grand River and near the Elm Street Bridge, which is just upstream of the Red Cedar River. On Lake Lansing, ice anglers report catching good numbers of bluegills and sunfish but are sorting through a lot of small ones. A couple of nice channel cats were taken by those using tip-ups with minnows or cut bait.
Grand River Bait & Tackle, (517) 482-4461.
Light numbers of bluegills and yellow perch have been caught on Hamlin Lake and Pere Marquette Lake. Wax worms have produced the best bite for the ‘gills and the perch are hitting waxies and minnows. Steelhead fishing has been fair in the Pere Marquette River for anglers fishing with wax worms, spawn, beads and spinners.
Captain Chuck’s Fishing, Hunting and Archery, (231) 843-4458.
Perch fishing was a bit slow in Lake Huron from Sebewaing to Bay Port where most were averaging only 4 to 5 fish. Better catches were reported off of Mud Creek. Those who did the best waited for the fish to come to them. Walleye anglers were generally fishing between North Island and the tip of Sand Point where they got a few perch along with a couple of lake trout. Anglers are cautioned to stay away from the tip of Sand Point as currents there make for sketchy ice conditions. At Caseville, perch fishing in the marinas was fair.
Walsh Gun & Tackle, (989) 856-4465.
Fishing has been very good in Lake Huron’s Lexington Harbor where anglers report a good bite on Atlantic salmon, steelhead and coho salmon. A few perch have been caught in both Lexington and Sanilac harbors, but anglers are sorting through the small ones. The St. Clair River was jammed up with ice.
Anderson’s Pro Bait, (810) 984-3232.
Perch anglers report a pretty good bite when fishing with minnows on Manistee, Skegemog and Big Gurnsey lakes. Brown trout are hitting on Bear Lake. The best action has come to those using live bait. Steelhead fishing has been quiet on the Manistee River and fishing pressure has been light.
Jack’s Sport Shop, (231) 258-8892.
Ice fishing is in full swing with some nice pike, walleye and panfish taken from both lakes. The pike are hitting on tip-ups with sucker minnows. Panfish are hitting on minnows and wax worms. For walleye, try tip-ups with large shiners or jigging with Rapalas.
Pilgrim Village Fishing Shop, (231) 775-5412.
Houghton Lake Area
A few walleye have been caught in Houghton Lake next to the weedbeds in 8 to 12 feet of water. Most anglers are using Swedish pimples and Do-Jiggers. Pike fishing has been pretty good for those using tip-ups in the weedbeds. Bluegill fishing has been good, as well.
Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 422-3231.
Higgins Lake Area
Ice anglers are out on Higgins Lake and have taken some smelt on the north end and off the west boat launch in 60 feet of water. Hali jigs tipped with a wax worm or spike have attracted attention. Some lake herring were also caught off the west launch, however anglers need to use caution as there is a large pressure crack in that area. Lake trout were hitting in 100 feet of water plus on the north end of the lake. Pike were hitting on both the north end and the south end including one fish that measured 44 inches. For perch, try the north end in 40 to 60 feet of water or around the sunken island in 20 to 40.
Higgins Lake Sport & Tackle, (989) 821-9517.
Small yellow perch are hitting spikes and wigglers on Black Lake Walleye averaging 20 inches are hitting blues fished in 11 to 15 feet of water. Those spearing for pike were seeing a lot of walleye in 4 to 11 feet. Anglers are reminded to be cautious near the rivers.
Parrott’s Outpost, (989) 733-2472.
Walleyes and perch are hitting minnows fished in Munuscong Bay. Down on Lake Huron, ice anglers are catching pike and yellow perch around the Les Cheneaux Islands. The perch are hitting spikes, wigglers and wax worms. Many were less than 7 inches but some up to 10 inches were caught in 10 to 15 feet of water. A few pike were taken in 22 feet of water. Anglers are reminded to use caution and watch for moving ice especially where currents are found.
Wilderness Treasures, (906) 647-4002.
Drummond Island Area
Perch fishing is picking up in Scotts Bay where schools are starting to appear. A few northern pike have been caught, too. There was up to 16 inches of ice, but last week’s warm weather created a lot of slush. A bit of cold weather should stiffen things back up.
Johnson’s Sport Shop, (906) 493-6300.
Lake Michigan’s Little Bay de Noc has iced over and travel north of the Narrows was good. Two large pressure cracks have opened just out from the Terrace Bay Inn causing problems for some anglers so use caution in that area. There are various pressure cracks around the Sand Point area so use caution there, too. Walleye anglers reported fair catches with a lot of undersize fish throughout the bay. The best areas were in the channel in Gladstone in 28 to 35 feet of water and off the Center Reef in 24 to 35 feet of water. Anglers jigging Rapalas with minnows at dusk reported the best action. Perch catches were light but most of the fish caught were over 10 inches with many up near 14 inches.
Bay View Bait & Tackle, (906) 786-1488.
Iron Mountain Area
Ice anglers report a decent panfish bite and a fair walleye bite on Lake Antoine. Panfish are also hitting on Cowboy Lake. Northern pike are hitting on Twin Falls (Badwater) Flowage.
Northwoods Wilderness Outfitters, (906) 774-9009.
Ice has formed on Keweenaw Bay, Huron Bay, and Portage Lake. Keweenaw Bay is providing good action for lake trout, whitefish, brown trout and splake. On Keweenaw Bay anglers report a decent bite off the mouth of the Falls River as well as off the Sand Point Lighthouse.
Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.
Overall the bite has been slow on Lake Gogebic with anglers reporting lookers, not takers and light bites. Anglers have been working the deep mud flats for perch and walleyes using wigglers and sucker minnows. Others continue to work shallow depths mainly for walleye and northern pike with low-light periods being best for the walleyes.
The DNR contributed to this report.