Michigan Outdoor News Fishing Report — Feb. 17, 2017

Lake St. Clair

Perch fishing has been pretty good on Lake St. Clair although ice conditions are questionable. Be sure to use a spud and check the ice as you go. Perch were hitting off 11 Mile Road in front of the library. There more rain and warm temperatures were in the forecast.

Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003.

Irish Hills Area

Ice fishing has stalled in Jackson County where ice conditions are poor at best. The 2017 Midwest Open Ice Fishing Tournament has been canceled. There was some fair ice on some of the smaller lakes and bays and anglers are catching good numbers of panfish. Coyote hunting has been good, Knutson’s is holding a coyote contest through March 1.

Knutson’s Sporting Goods, (800) 292-0857 or (517) 592-2786.

Lake Orion

Ice conditions have been poor in Oakland County. With more warm temperatures and rain in the immediate forecast ,ice fishing was not recommended. Coyote hunting has been slow.

Lakes Village Stop/Mobile Gas Station, (248) 693-4565.

Luna Pier Area

Walleye fishing remains very good  in the open waters in the Western Basin of Lake Erie with lots of big fish being caught. Those trolling crankbaits in 15 to 20 feet of water report good action. Light numbers of jumbo perch and bluegills were caught off the docks at the Metro Park Marina. The bait of choice was minnows or wax worms, depending on the day.

Luna Pier Harbour Club, (734) 848-8777.

SOUTHWESTERN LP

Sturgis Area

There was no safe ice on Klinger Lake last week and no one was out fishing. Hunting pressure has been very light, too.

Klinger Lake Trading Post, (269) 651-2679.

Union Area

There was no safe ice in Cass County last week and there was no snow on the ground. With warm temperatures and rain in the forecast the outlook was bleak. A few steelhead  and a couple walleyes have been caught in the St. Joseph River at Mottville. Hunting pressure has been very light.

Halls Bait and Tackle, (269) 641-2304.

Grand Rapids Area

Steelhead fishing has been good on the Grand and Rogue rivers. Decent numbers of fresh fish have moved  into the system. Ice fishing has stalled with poor ice conditions and warm weather and rain in the forecast. Coyote hunting has been good, but hunting pressure has been light.

Al & Bob’s Sports, (616) 245-9156.

Plainwell Area

Gun Lake froze back up late last week and a few anglers were catching panfish and pike. There was between 1 and 6 inches of ice and anglers are reminded to be very careful. The ice has not frozen evenly. A few anglers have caught panfish on Gull, Big and Round lakes, but again be cautious of thin ice. There was no snow on the ground. Coyote hunting and trapping have been pretty good, but pressure has been light.

Gillett’s Bait and Hardware, (269) 672-5371.

CENTRAL LP

Saginaw Bay Area

Ice conditions were not good on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. Water on the ice will make it very slippery and will make it much harder to tell where the thin ice is. Anglers need to use extreme caution. A handful of 7 to 9 inch perch were taken off White’s Beach out near the first pressure crack. No anglers were going out beyond the first crack for fear of being caught on an ice floe. Perch were taken in Sunny Cove, which is at the end of Knickerbocker Road, in 6 to 7 feet of water and off Newman Road in 4 to 5 feet of water. The perch bite off Linwood has been hit-or-miss.

Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 697-5341.

Saginaw River 

A few perch were caught through the ice inside the Yacht Club at the mouth of the Saginaw River. Most of the boat ramps along the river have frozen up again, limiting angler access. There’s no ice to fish on, so it’s boats or shore fishing only. Some were launching small boats under the I-675 bridge in Saginaw. They caught a lot of undersized walleye but were still getting a few keepers. Try pink jig-heads with minnows. The rivers will be running high, fast and muddy after all the rain.

Riverview Bait Shop, (517) 755-0989.

Baldwin Area

Steelhead fishing remains good on the Pere Marquette River. Spawn and single beads have produced good action. Ice fishing has been good. Pike fishing has been good on Idlewild Lake, but a lot of them are undersized. Big Bass lake has produced a decent amount of perch. Cecelia Lake is also producing good perch numbers and a few walleyes. There has been just a couple inches of snow on the ground. Coyote hunting has been pretty good.

Baldwin Bait & Tackle, (231) 745-3529.

Ed’s Sport Shop, (231) 745-4974

Ludington Area

There was up to 10 inches of ice on area lakes last week, but fishing has been slow. A few perch have been caught on Pere Marquette Lake and light numbers of perch and walleyes  have been caught on Hamlin Lake. There was just a dusting of snow on the ground. Hunting pressure has been light.

Captain Chuck’s Fishing, Hunting and Archery, (231) 843-4458.

THE THUMB

Caseville Area

Ice conditions have been poor on Lake Huron. Be sure to watch for soft spots in the ice. The best perch fishing was off Vanderbilt Park near Quanicassee. Anglers fishing up the east side of the bay toward Hidden Harbor (Tietz Drain) reported limit catches of 10- to 15-inch perch taken in 5 to 8 feet of water. A few panfish were taken in Sunset Bay Marina. Fishing from Sebewaing to Caseville was light and scattered and catch rates were hit-or-miss. Those getting perch were sorting through the small ones. There are four large areas of open water off Mud Creek and they seem to be getting bigger so extreme caution must be used. Some nice lake trout were caught through the ice near the breakwall at Caseville.

Walsh Gun & Tackle, (989) 856-4465.

Port Huron

There has been up to 6 inches of ice in Lake Huron’s Lexington Harbor, less around the bubblers and at the mouth of the harbor. The Atlantic salmon bite has been very good. The best action has come to those fishing with small jigs or dead-sticking a minnow. Light numbers of salmon have been caught off the boardwalk on the St. Clair River. Hunting pressure has been light.

Anderson’s Pro Bait, (810) 984-3232.

NORTHWESTERN LP

Indian River

There has been a lot of ice on area lakes. Perch, walleyes and a few burbot and brown trout have been caught on Burt Lake. The best action has been in about 20 feet of water. Good action has been reported by anglers fishing off Colonial Point, off the state park and in Maple Bay. There was about a foot of snow on the ground. Hunting pressure has been light.

Pat & Gary’s Party Store, (231) 238-6776.

Traverse City Area

Fishing has been good around Traverse City. Anglers heading out on Green Lake are catching smelt after dark in 35 to 50 feet of water. Tear-drops tipped with a wax worm or a Hali jig tipped with a spike are producing a good bite. Good numbers of perch have been caught on Fife Lake in 25 to 35 feet of water. Swedish Pimples tipped with a minnow are attracting a lot of attention. Steelhead fishing remains pretty good on the Boardman river for anglers drifting spawn bags. Fair numbers of burbot and lake trout are hitting in 100 to 150 feet of water in East Grand Traverse Bay. There was over a foot of crusty snow on the ground. Hunting pressure has been light.

WildFishing Guide Service

Wellston Area

Steelhead fishing has been good on the Manistee River. Spawn or beads and jigs tipped with a wax worms have produced and plugs are taking fish, too. There was up to 10 inches of ice on most lakes in the area. Panfish action has been good on Portage Lake and a few walleyes have been caught in the evenings. There was about 6 inches of snow on the ground. Hunting pressure has been light.

Pappy’s Bait & Tackle, (231) 848-4142.

Cadillac Area

Ice fishing has been good on Lake Cadillac with good catches of pike, panfish and occasionally a walleye. Anglers were taking snowmobiles and quads out. The canal that connects the two lakes is open water so caution needs to be used. Lake Mitchell also had good ice last week and lots of anglers were catching northern pike on tip-ups with minnows. Panfish were hitting minnows, wigglers and wax worms. Light numbers of walleyes have been caught, too.

Pilgrim Village Fishing Shop, (231) 775-5412.

NORTHEASTERN LP

Houghton Lake Area

Fishing has been pretty good on Houghton Lake but anglers need to beware of the pressure crack. The walleye bite picked up and some anglers were reporting limit catches. Pike are still hitting tip-ups baited with a minnow. No word on pike spearing. The panfish bite has been hit-or-miss. Coyote hunting has been good.

Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 422-3231.

Higgins Lake Area

Higgins Lake has decent ice but anglers need to be careful where there are springs, along the shoreline, and near the creek mouths. Lake trout are being caught on minnows fished about 5 feet off the bottom in 80 to 100 feet of water. Perch were being caught but anglers are sorting through the small ones. Hot spots were the North State Park, near the Sunken Island and the Main Island, off the Garrish Township Park and off Flag Point in 40 to 60 feet of water. Most were using jigs with minnows, wigglers or wax worms. A few smelt have been caught at night near the North State Park and Big Creek. The fish were near the bottom in about 50 feet of water. Hunting pressure has been light.

Higgins Lake Sport & Tackle, (989) 821-9517.

Hubbard Lake Area

There has been over a foot of ice on Hubbard Lake. There are a couple freeze cracks, so anglers should use caution. Walleye and perch fishing has been very good. Good action has been reported by anglers fishing in 20 to 30 feet of water. Shiners have been the bait of choice. There was just a couple inches of crusty snow on the ground. Hunting pressure has been light.

Side Door Bait and Tackle, (989) 736-6418.

Onaway Area

Ice was running up to 18 inches on Black Lake. Walleye action has been good along the east side of the lake in 12 to 20 feet of water. A few decent perch have been caught, but the bite has been spotty. There was just a couple inches of crusty snow in the woods. Coyote hunting has been decent but hunting pressure has been light.

Parrott’s Outpost, (989) 733-2472.

EASTERN UP

Pickford Area

Walleye fishing has been spotty on Munuscong Bay. The better fishing was around Grassy Island, north of Pine Island, and between Gull Island and Pine Island. Perch are scattered all over the bay with low catch numbers being reported. Splake fishing has been good, especially in Wilderness Bay. Be very careful on the ice and stay out of the deep water because the ice there was not safe. Down on Lake Huron at Cedarville and Hessel, fishing has been good. Perch fishing in Muskie Bay has declined but the pike fishing has been very good. Those targeting perch have done well in Hessel Bay and around Little Joe Island. Coyote hunting has been decent.

Wilderness Treasures, (906) 647-4002.

Drummond Island Area

There has been up to 20 inches of ice around Drummond Island and fishing has been good. Pike and perch are hitting in Scotts Bay in 5 to 8 feet of water. Minnows and wax worms are both producing good results. Rabbit hunting has been pretty good. There was about 6 inches of hard-packed snow on the ground.

Johnson’s Sport Shop, (906) 493-6300.

Curtis Area

There has been plenty of solid ice on Big and South Manistique Lakes. Perch fishing has been very good and anglers report catching a few walleyes and northern pike, too. There was a couple feet of snow on the ground. Coyote hunting has been pretty good but hunting pressure has been light.

Mick’s Bait Shop, (906) 586-6040.

CENTRAL UP

Munising Area

Munising recently received 8 to 10 inches of snow. Snow squalls and blowing snow along with a lot of slush on the ice made travel difficult on Lake Superior. Anglers were ice fishing off Brown’s Public Launch, the city docks, the Anna River, and Sand Point. There was open water between Sand Point and Grand Island so access to the ice caves is not possible. Areas that are unsafe or questionable are off the Grand Island Ferry access, Powell Point, Sand Point and towards the Green Can off Christmas. Extreme caution is advised any time you head out on the ice. Catch rates were hit-or-miss. Some did well with a few limit catches of whitefish reported. For splake, most of the fish caught were undersized.

Curly’s Hilltop Grocery, (906) 387-3056.

Escanaba Area

Lake Michigan’s Little Bay De Noc had very little change in ice conditions. A few anglers were fishing south of the Escanaba River but ice conditions are very dangerous and anglers should avoid this area. Overall, fishing was slow although perch action remained fair. Walleye catches were low with most fish undersized. Most were fishing near Kipling and the First, Second and Third Reefs. Minnows and wigglers fished in 24 to 30 feet of water produced the best results. The best perch catches were in 17 to 30 feet of water near Kipling. Pike catches slowed but fish were still being taken in the Escanaba Yacht Harbor, near Gladstone, and out from the Terrace Bay Inn and the Day’s River.

Bay View Bait & Tackle, (906) 786-1488.

BayShore Resort Bait & Tackle, (906) 428-2950.

Iron Mountain Area

Ice fishing has been decent in Dickinson County but high wind has put a damper on fishing pressure. Those who are getting out are catching good umbers of panfish on Cowboy Lake and Lake Antoine. Pike are hitting on Antoine and Little Badwater. There was about 12 inches of snow on the ground. Coyote hunting has been fair. Coyotes are starting to pair up and are tough to call in.

Northwoods Wilderness Outfitters, (906) 774-9009.

WESTERN UP

L’Anse Area

There was still some open water on Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Bay and no one was fishing there. On Huron Bay there was about 6 or 7 inches of ice and anglers there are catching walleyes, burbot, smelt and lake trout. The best action has been in 20 to 25 feet of water. Swedish Pimples and Fuzzy Grubs are producing good results. There was about 10 inches of snow on the ground. Coyote hunting has been good and rabbit hunting has been pretty good, too.

Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.

Bergland Area

Ice fishing on Lake Gogebic has been slow. The great bite we had has come and gone. Most anglers are reporting a tough bite and most of the  fish marked are only lookers. A few fish are still coming in but the bite has been very light. Both perch and walleye action has been best in 24 to 28 feet of water over the mud. Those fishing during low light periods are  fishing in 8 to 12 feet of water. Recent heavy snow has once again stopped any ATV travel so snowmobiles are best. Predator hunting pressure has been light.

Bear’s Nine Pines Resort, (906) 842-3361.

Iron River Area

Fishing pressure has been light with a recent snowfall in Iron County. On the Badwaters of the Menominee River anglers report catching bluegills. Walleyes and pike are hitting on all the bigger lakes in the area including Chicagon, Ottawa and Golden. There was about six inches of snow on the ground. Hunting pressure has been light.

Luckey’s Sport Shop, (906) 265-0151.

The DNR contributed to this report.

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