Michigan Outdoor News Fishing Report – Jan. 5, 2018
Lake St. Clair
Ice is finally forming on Lake St. Clair. The lake is not freezing evenly and anglers report anywhere from 2 to 6 inches. A good perch bite has been reported by anglers fishing off 11 Mile Road, Metro Beach and in the canals around Metro Beach. Bluegills and panfish have been caught in front of the Raft Bar in Anchor Bay. Anglers also report a good perch bite on the Detroit River in the canals at Belle Isle. A few nice crappies have been caught, too.
Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003.
Irish Hills Area
Lakes are freezing in Jackson County, but Christmas snow didn’t help the cause. With frigid temperatures in the forecast, anglers were hoping to get out on safe ice by the first week of January. There was about 6 inches of snow on the ground. The late archery deer season has been slow due to frigid temperatures keeping hunters indoors.
Knutson’s Sporting Goods, (800) 292-0857 or (517) 592-2786.
Ice was forming and single digit temperatures had anglers chomping at the bit to get out. There was up to 4 inches of ice in some spots on Lake Orion, but as little as 1 or 2 in other spots. Anglers are advised to use extreme caution and check the ice with a spud as you go. Some of the shallower, smaller lakes in Bald Mountain Recreation Area had 3 to 4 inches of ice and anglers reported catching decent numbers of panfish. Late-season deer hunting has been slow.
Lakes Village Stop/Mobile Gas Station, (248) 693-4565.
There was up to 4 inches of ice on some of the smaller lakes in Cass County, not as much on others. A few anglers were heading out and with sub-freezing temperatures in the forecast most anglers were looking to get started during the first week of January. Baldwin Lake and the channels on Eagle Lake have been the early hot spots. Anglers are advised to use extreme caution and check the ice as you go. There was about 4 inches of snow on the ground, but hunting pressure has been light.
Halls Bait and Tackle, (269) 641-2304.
There was between 2 and 4 inches of ice on most lakes in Branch County last week. Anglers were starting to sneak out on Messenger, Madison and Coldwater lakes and reported a decent panfish bite. Anyone thinking about heading out should check the ice as you go since the lakes have not frozen evenly. Late-season deer hunting has been slow and hunting pressure has been light.
Hoskins Bait House, (517) 369-1330.
Ice was still sketchy in Kalamazoo County last week. Some of the small channels had up to 4 inches of ice and anglers reported between 2 and 4 inches in the shallow bays on Portage Lake. The panfish action has been decent. There was about 8 inches of snow on the ground and ice. Anglers should call ahead for conditions and check the ice as you go. Hunting pressure has been light.
D and R Sports, (269) 372-2277.
Saginaw Bay Area
Ice conditions are improving daily on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay and the anglers are getting out a little farther each day. Perch and a few walleyes have been caught. Most folks are finding between 3 and 6 inches of ice but that first snow we had kept a few areas from freezing solid so you must proceed with extreme caution, as always. First ice angling is spotty for a while, but some days you might end up in the pickle barrel and take yourself home a tasty meal. A little farther up north the inland lake fishing is taking off, too. Late-season archery hunting has been slow and hunting pressure has been light. The best hunts have been around food sources.
Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 697-5341.
There was between 8 and 10 inches of ice on lakes in Isabella County last week. Anglers report catching good numbers of bluegills at Six Lakes, walleyes and pike at Coldwater Lake and bluegills, crappies and a couple of walleyes on Lake Isabella. There was about 6 inches of snow on the ground. Late-season bowhunters report pretty good action. Coyote hunting has been good, too.
Schafer’s Bait & Sporting Goods, (989) 644-3501.
Ice was running between 5 and 6 inches thick on lakes in Mason County and there was more cold weather in the forecast. The pike bite has been good on Hamlin Lake and light numbers of perch have been caught on Pere Marquette Lake. There was 12 inches of snow on the ground. The late archery season has been fair.
Captain Chuck’s Fishing, Hunting and Archery, (231) 843-4458.
Ice was running between 8 and 10 inches thick at Caseville. Ice fishing has been very good. Perch and pike are hitting in Caseville Harbor and walleye and lake trout have been caught just off the breakwall. The bite has been red hot off Mud Creek where anglers report catching good numbers of walleyes and perch and a few pike, too. There was about 4 inches of snow on the ground and coyote hunting has been very good. Late-season archery hunters also report pretty good success.
Walsh Gun & Tackle, (989) 856-4465.
There was about 6 inches of ice in Lake Huron’s Lexington Harbor last week and anglers report catching good numbers of Atlantic salmon and steelhead. Pike fishing has been good on some of the local ponds in St. Clair County where there was between 3 and 6 inches of ice. Anglers should use caution and check the ice as you go. There was about a foot of snow on the ground. Late-season bowhunting has been slow and hunting pressure has been light. Coyote hunting has been very good. There are a lot of coyotes in St. Clair County.
Anderson’s Pro Bait, (810) 984-3232.
Ice was running between 3 and 4 inches on Burt Lake. With single-digit temperatures in the forecast, the outlook was pretty good for better ice in the near future. Those anglers who were getting out reported catching good numbers of perch in the bays. There was between 16 and 20 inches of snow on the ground. Hunting pressure has been light.
Pat & Gary’s Party Store, (231) 238-6776.
Traverse City Area
Ice was running between 2 and 4 inches on some of the smaller lakes, but be prepared to walk through 18 to 20 inches of snow. Panfish are hitting on Arbutus, Spider and Long lakes. A few walleyes and small pike have been caught on Long, too. Late-season hunting pressure has been light with all the snow on the ground. Fresh steelhead have moved into the Boardman River. Those fishing wax worms under and bobber report decent success. Coyote numbers are up. Hunting should be good.
WildFishing Guide Service, www.wildfishing.com.
Ice was running between 6 and 7 inches thick on Lake Mitchell last week and up to 5 inches on Lake Cadillac. Conditions are improving, but anglers should check the thickness as the lakes do not freeze evenly. On Mitchell, anglers report catching bluegills and crappies in Big Cove and tip-up anglers are starting to hit some pike. A few pike have been taken by spearers at the south end of the lake. There was up to 12 inches of snow in the woods. Late-season bowhunting pressure has been light, but coyote hunting should be good.
Pilgrim Village Fishing Shop, (231) 775-5412.
There was up to 6 inches of ice on Lake Margrethe, but anglers should still proceed with caution. The lake did not freeze evenly and some spots only had a couple of inches of ice. A few walleyes have been caught on sucker minnows and blues. Perch fishing has been good on Otsego Lake. There was about 6 inches of snow in the woods. Late-season archers report decent success. Some bucks are losing their antlers.
Skip’s Sport Shop, (989) 348-7111.
Houghton Lake Area
Houghton Lake had about 6 inches of ice and it was building every day. Anglers report catching some nice pike and walleyes along with light numbers of panfish. There was about 4 to 5 inches of snow on the ground.
Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 422-3231.
Higgins Lake Area
Higgins Lake has frozen over. A few anglers are getting out at the west boat launch where there was up to 4 inches of ice. Anglers report catching fair numbers of rainbow trout on wigglers. One angler reported catching a 30-incher. There was 8 inches of snow on the ground. Hunting pressure has been light. A couple of guys are hunting coyotes.
Higgins Lake Sport & Tackle, (989) 821-9517.
There was between 8 and 12 inches of ice on Munuscong Bay and anglers there were out in force. Perch and walleye fishing has been very good on minnows and jigs fished all over the bay. There was about 8 inches of snow on the ground. Rabbit and coyote hunting has been slow to get started with sub-zero temperatures hanging around for the past couple of weeks.
Wilderness Treasures, (906) 647-4002.
Drummond Island Area
Ice was running between 8 and 12 inches thick on Scotts Bay. Pike fishing has been good, but the perch bite has been slow. Several pike over 30 inches have been speared. Rabbit hunting has been slow to get started with very cold temperatures hanging around. There was about 8 inches of snow on the ground.
Johnson’s Sport Shop, (906) 493-6300.
There was between 3 and 10 inches of ice on Manistique Lakes. Anglers should still use caution when heading out on the ice. Walleye, pike, bluegills and bass were hitting on Big Manistique and South Manistique. There was up to 20 inches of snow on the ground. The late archery deer season was slow. Rabbit and coyote hunting is just getting started.
Mick’s Bait Shop, (906) 586-6040.
There was about 8 inches of ice on Lake Michigan’s Little Bay de Noc north of Gladstone last week. South of Gladstone, the bay had just froze over and no one was fishing yet. Perch fishing has been good in 20 feet or less of water. A lot of fish in the 8- to 12-inch range have been caught on minnows and wigglers. Walleye fishing has been decent in 20 to 40 feet of water on the east side of the bay. The best action has been on tip-ups or jigs tipped with a minnow. There was about 5 inches of snow on the ground.
Bay View Bait & Tackle, (906) 786-1488.
Iron Mountain Area
Ice was running up to 8 inches thick on lakes in the Iron Mountain area last week, but anglers should still use caution and check the ice as you go out. Fair numbers of panfish have been caught on Cowboy Lake and Lake Antoine and northern pike were being caught on Badwater Flooding. There was about 6 inches of snow on the ground. Hunting pressure has been light because of the frigid weather that has hung around the area.
Northwoods Wilderness Outfitters, (906) 774-9009.
There was skim ice on Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Bay, but it was not yet fishable. A few anglers are getting out on Huron Bay. Perch and walleyes have been caught near the ravine and the Slate River where there was between 4 and 5 inches of ice. A few pike have been caught, too. On Chassel Bay, the ice was slushy and thin and no one has been fishing yet. Inland lakes are frozen with 6 to 8 inches of ice. Vermilac, Otter and Alberta Pond have produced good crappie and bluegill bites. There was about 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground. Rabbit hunting is just getting started.
Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.
Ice fisherman have been fishing the bays on Lake Gogebic for about three weeks. Those working 4 to 10 feet of water report catching good numbers of walleyes on sucker minnows and jigging Rapalas. Snowmobile and ATV travel is good. There is about 6 to 10 inches of snow on the ice with some slushy areas that are getting better with the below-zero temperatures. Main lake ice is running 6 to 8 inches thick.
Bear’s Nine Pines Resort, (906) 842-3361.
Iron River Area
There was between 4 and 12 inches of ice on area lakes and ice anglers reported good action. Walleyes and some decent perch have been caught on some of the bigger lakes like Chicagon and Fortune. Panfish and northern pike are hitting on the smaller lakes in the area. There was about 5 inches of snow on the ground.
Luckey’s Sport Shop, (906) 265-0151.