Northern Lower Peninsula Fishing Report – January 15th, 2016
East Jordan Area
Ice was forming on smaller lakes in Charlevoix and Antrim counties last week. There was about 4 inches of ice on St. Claire Lake, and anglers there reported catching good numbers of 6- and 7-inch bluegills. Steelhead fishing has been fair on the Jordan River, but pressure has been light. The river was running very high but was starting to recede last week. Houndsmen were running bobcats and coyotes with pretty good success. There was about 6 inches of snow on the ground last week.
Tom’s Bait & Tackle, (231) 536-3521.
Traverse City Area
Skim ice was forming on lakes in Grand Traverse County last week, but none were safe yet for foot traffic. To make matters worse, there was 10 inches of snow on the ground and ice, which was impairing the ice-making process. Steelhead fishing has been decent on the Boardman and Betsie rivers. Jigs tipped with wax worms and drifted under floats have produced good action. Lots of 2- to 3-pound fish have been caught. Squirrel hunting has been good. Coyote hunting has improved with the snow cover.
WildFishing Guide Service, www.wildfishing.com.
Some of the smaller lakes in Kalkaska County were frozen over, but none were yet recommended for foot traffic. Anglers were watching the weather and hoping for more low temperatures. There was about 4 inches of snow on the ground, but rabbit and coyote hunting have been slow to get started.
Jack’s Sport Shop, (231) 258-8892.
Ice was forming on lakes in Manistee County last week, but ice fishing was still a week or more away. Steelhead fishing has been pretty good on the Big Manistee River. The river was up slightly, with a little color. Bead heads, spawn, and wax worms on jigs drifted under floats have all been catching fish. There was a couple inches of snow on the ground. Rabbit hunting has been slow since there are no snowshoes in the area and cottontail numbers are down. Coyote hunting has been good.
Pappy’s Bait & Tackle, (231) 848-4142.
Lake Mitchell was covered with ice last week. There was up to 5 inches in the coves, but the main lake was not yet safe for travel. Anglers fishing in the coves were catching panfish and northern pike. The ice was soft on Lake Cadillac and not safe for foot traffic. Warm weather and rain were in the forecast for last weekend, but temperatures in the teens were forecast for the week starting Jan. 11. There was about 6 inches of snow on the ground. Small-game hunting has been good. Coyote hunting has been good, too. There are plenty of coyotes in Roscommon County.
Pilgrim Village Fishing Shop, (231) 775-5412.
There was no safe ice yet on Lake Margrethe. The lake was completely frozen over, but was not yet safe for foot traffic. Crawford County had about 6 inches of snow on the ground. Rabbit hunting has been decent, but hunting pressure has been light. Coyote hunters have taken a few song dogs, but only a few hunters are chasing them.
Skip’s Sport Shop, (989) 348-7111.
Houghton Lake Area
Ice was running up to 6 inches thick on the southwest end of Houghton Lake last week, but was thinner on the north end of the lake and in East Bay. Anglers report catching walleyes and pike close to shore at the southwest end of the lake. Tip-ups and jigs tipped with live bait are producing good results. There was about an inch of snow on the lake and 6 inches on the ground. Coyote hunting has been slow to get started, but there are a lot of coyotes in Roscommon County.
Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 422-3231.
Higgins Lake Area
There was still open water on Higgins Lake last week. A couple boat anglers were out trolling for trout. Shore ice was forming and there was cold weather in the forecast. There was about 6 inches of snow on the ground. Coyote and rabbit hunters have been doing pretty well.
Higgins Lake Sport & Tackle, (989) 821-9517.
Hubbard Lake Area
Hubbard Lake was starting to ice up last week, but anglers there were waiting for some more cold weather to really stiffen up the ice. There was 3 inches of snow on the ground, but hunting pressure has been light. There are a lot of coyotes in Alcona County. The Thunder Bay Walleye Club and Side Door Bait and Tackle Fishing Tournament will be held Feb. 21.
Side Door Bait and Tackle, (989) 736-6418.
Ice conditions are improving in Iosco County. There was up to 5 inches of ice in the bays on Cedar Lake, and a few anglers were sneaking out and catching panfish and northern pike. Van Etten and Long lakes were not yet safe for foot traffic. Steelhead fishing has been very good in the AuSable River. Body baits have been taking a few fish, but spawn has been the bait of choice. There was 4 inches of crusty snow on the ground. Coyote hunting has been pretty good. Small-game hunting pressure has been very light.
Wellman’s Sport Center, (989) 739-2869.