Lake St. Clair
Ice conditions were deteriorating quickly on Lake St. Clair and warm runoff from rains will melt shoreline ice, which will make accessing the ice difficult to impossible. The lake is experiencing heavy river flows, increased current, open spearing holes which will only increase in size, and fog. The safest decision is to stay off the ice.
Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003.
Inland lakes in Oakland County were in poor shape with shoreline ice melting and pulling away. The best bet is to stay off the ice and start preparing for the open-water season. A few rabbits have been taken at the Bald Mountain and Metamora state recreation areas, but now that the snow has melted, hunting will be a little tougher.
Lakes Village Stop/Mobile Gas Station, (248) 693-4565.
Ice was in very poor shape in Cass County following days of rain and unseasonably warm temperatures. Stay off the ice until winter returns or open water arrives. Hunting pressure also has been very light due to the dismal weather.
Halls Bait and Tackle, (269) 641-2304.
The ice was deteriorating rapidly on Gun Lake and anglers were advised to stay of the lake. Rabbit and coyote hunting pressure has been very light with all the rain that has been falling in Branch County.
Gillett’s Bait and Hardware, (269) 672-5371.
Saginaw Bay Area
It is recommended that no one venture out onto the ice on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay due to flooding, rising water levels and quickly deteriorating ice conditions. The rain, warmer temperatures and snow melt were creating dangerous conditions.
Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 697-5341.
Unseasonably warm temperatures and heavy rain blew out the shorelines of inland lakes in Isabella County and ice fishing has stalled. Coyote and rabbit hunting were both very good until all the snow melted away.
Schafer’s Bait & Sporting Goods, (989) 644-3501.
Anglers were still getting out on lakes around Ludington. Warm temperatures and lots of rain have melted a lot of the ice so anglers are advised to use extreme caution when heading out. There’s a decent perch bite on Pere Marquette Lake. Good numbers of 8- to 12-inch perch have been caught, but anglers are having to sort through the fish to find the keepers. The Pere Marquette River was running high and dirty and fishing there has stalled. Hunting pressure has been very light.
Captain Chuck’s Fishing, Hunting and Archery, (231) 843-4458.
Some anglers were getting out on Lake Huron but the ice was deteriorating. Call ahead for updated conditions. Anglers were getting out on foot at Bayshore Marina and Bayport. Perch, bluegills and crappies were hitting close to shore. Rabbit and predator hunting was pretty good before the snow melted. Since then hunting pressure has been very light. Hunting pressure
Walsh Gun & Tackle, (989) 856-4465.
The St. Clair River was full of floating ice as warm temperatures and rain were making a mess of things. The walleye bite had been very good in the open water for both shore anglers and boaters, but everything has shut down until the river clears. Atlantic salmon and steelhead action had been good Lexington harbor until all the shore ice melted away. Hunting pressure has also been very light.
Anderson’s Pro Bait, (810) 984-3232.
East Jordan Area
There was still up to 18 inches of ice on Lake Charlevoix, but anglers need creepers to get around on the slick surface. Anglers report catching perch in 90 feet of water in Lake Charlevoix. Fish up to 15 inches have been caught. Walleyes and ciscoes are hitting off Hemingway Point. The ‘eyes are suspended 60 feet down over 100 feet of water. The cisco are in 90 to 100 feet of water closer to the bottom. There was very little snow on the ground. Panfish action has been good on the Bellaire Chain of Lakes. Hunting pressure has been light.
Tom’s Bait & Tackle, (231) 536-3521.
Traverse City Area
Ice conditions were still good in Grand Traverse County. Anglers on Lake Skegemog are catching good numbers of yellow perch. They are having to sort through the catch to find the keepers. Some have been up to 12 inches long. Perch are hitting in West Grand Traverse Bay at the south end on shiners. Smelt fishing has been fair on Green Lake. The best action has been after dark. Hali jigs and wax worms have produced the best bites. There was still about a foot of snow on the ground. Coyote hunting has been pretty good.
WildFishing Guide Service, www.wildfishing.com.
Crappie fishing has been very good on lakes Mitchell and Cadillac. The fish are averaging 10 to 12 inches and a lot of fish up to 15 inches have been caught. Ice conditions remained solid.
Pilgrim Village Fishing Shop, (231) 775-5412.
Houghton Lake Area
Anglers were still fishing on Houghton Lake, but extreme caution needs to be used when traveling across the ice. All the fishing and spearing holes have opened up. Caution needs to be used near the rivers and creeks, near the pressure crack that runs across the East Bay and another one off Long Point near the entrance to the North Bay. Anglers caught crappies, bluegills, walleyes, pike and perch on minnows. If the bite slows, try switching to wax worms. Be sure to bring ice cleats. The surface is slick.
Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 422-3231.
Higgins Lake Area
Ice anglers should stay away from the creek mouths on Higgins Lake due to deteriorating ice conditions from runoff. Anglers are still heading out and those targeting perch were getting a good number but sorting through a lot of small ones. Lake trout and whitefish were hitting just off the bottom in 80 to 110 feet of water. Good pike action continues. Anglers report catching good numbers of rainbow trout in shallow waters near Big Creek and in front of the conference center. Smelt fishing has been spotty. Be sure to bring ice cleats for easier travel.
Higgins Lake Sport & Tackle, (989) 821-9517.
Black Lake still had ice but some major pressure cracks were starting to open up including one in front of Zolner Road. Fishing has been slow. A few walleyes have been caught on minnows fished at dusk. Some perch ranging 8 to 12 inches were caught along the weeds in 10 to 15 feet of water. Anglers were using spikes, wigglers and minnows, but the best bite was on minnows. The pike bite has also been good with fish up 29 inches. Most were between 20 and 22.
Parrott’s Outpost, (989) 733-2472.
Ice was still in decent shape on most lakes in Montmorency County. Bluegills and crappies have been hitting wax worms and minnows on Fletcher Pond. Pike action has been very good, too. Anglers report good smelt fishing on Lake 15. There was about 10 inches of snow on the ground on the west side of the county, less on the east. Hunting pressure has been very light.
Elk Country Outfitters NEMI, (989) 306-0720, www.ElkCountryOutfittersNEMI.com.
Fishing pressure picked up on Lake Huron around the Les Cheneaux Islands but the number of fish caught was down. Anglers still need to be cautious of areas with a strong current and or moving ice. Perch ranging 8 to 12 inches have been caught on minnows, spikes and wigglers fished in 8 to 12 feet of water. Pike fishing has been good with lots of fish between 22 and 30 inches being caught.
Wilderness Treasures, (906) 647-4002.
Drummond Island Area
Ice was still running up to 30 inches in Scotts Bay. Perch fishing has been spotty, but when the bite is on fish up to 13 inches have been caught. Pike fishing has been good for anglers stetting tip-ups and those in spearing shanties. There was still a few inches of snow in the woods. Hunting pressure has been light.
Johnson’s Sport Shop, (906) 493-6300.
Ice remains good throughout most of Lake Michigan’s Little Bay de Noc. Saunders Point is dangerous and should be avoided because of the warmwater discharge and open water in the area. Overall, fishing has been slow but anglers are marking good numbers of fish. Spotty walleye catches were reported throughout the bay, but the better action was in the southern waters when jigging Rapalas in and around 30 feet of water. Good spots were just south of the Escanaba River and in 23 to 30 feet of water in the Stonington area. Bigger fish were caught along the break and 25 to 40 feet down off Portage Point.
Bay View Bait & Tackle, (906) 786-1488.
BayShore Resort Bait & Tackle, (906) 428-2950.
Iron Mountain Area
Ice conditions remain very good in Iron County but fishing pressure remains light. Those heading out on Lake Antoine report catching decent numbers of panfish. Walleyes on Badwater Lake. There was about 10 inches of snow in the woods. Hunting pressure has been light.
Northwoods Wilderness Outfitters, (906) 774-9009.
Ice is running up to 18 inches thick on Keweenaw Bay. Anglers fishing at the mouth of the Falls River are catching splake, coho, nice sized brown trout and good numbers of burbot. The whitefish hole (90 to 100 feet of water) has been pretty popular, too. The bite has slowed a little but anglers are still catching fish. The smelt bite has been pretty good on the Baraga side of the bay.
Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.
Ice fishing has been very slow on Lake Gogebic. Anglers are catching a few walleyes on sucker minnows when jigging in 21. to 28 feet of water. Perch anglers are giving mixed reports but overall the action has been slow. Anglers are working wigglers in 20 to 26 feet of water. Ice and travel conditions remain good, but call ahead for updates if the weather warms.
Bear’s Nine Pines Resort, (906) 842-3361.
The DNR contributed to this report.