Michigan Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – Jan. 18, 2019


Irish Hills Area

There was no safe ice on inland lakes in Jackson County.

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

Lake Orion

There was no ice safe enough for fishing in Oakland County.

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

Luna Pier Area

Boat anglers trolling in Lake Erie’s Brest Bay and off Bolles Harbor caught walleyes on crankbaits in 18 to 22 feet of water. Up on the Detroit River: Anglers fishing in the marinas were getting perch and bluegills. The perch bite was slowly picking up.

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


Allegan Area

St. Joseph River continues to produce steelhead. The bite is better following rain or on warmer days. There was no safe ice on inland lakes.

Webber & Sons Marine and Tackle, (269) 673-6294.

Kalamazoo Area

Recent rain and warm temperatures wreaked havoc on the ice that had been forming on inland lakes. With colder weather in the immediate forecast anglers were hoping for better conditions soon. The Kalamazoo River was giving up some decent steelhead action during the recent warm up. Spawn, spinners, and a wax worm fished under a float, were all taking fish.

D and R Sports, (269) 372-2277.

Grand Rapids Area

Anglers fishing for steelhead on the Grand River reported a decent bite at the Sixth Street Dam. Spawn, spinners and wax worms are all getting hit.

Al & Bob’s Sports, (616) 245-9156.

Plainwell Area

There was no safe ice on Gun Lake following a few days of unseasonably warm temperatures and rain, but with colder weather in the forecast anglers are getting excited.

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


Saginaw Bay Area

There was a little ice fishing on Saginaw Bay on shore ice in two feet of water or less at White’s Beach and in the small bay at Pinconning. Success has been minimal. There were no anglers south of Pinconning. A few boats were fishing out from the Saginaw River, mainly around Spoils Island where they caught a couple of walleyes when trolling or vertical jigging with jigs tipped with minnows. Most were bringing in about three fish per trip. Action was slow for boat anglers on the Saginaw River. There were not a lot of boats out, and catches were dominated by undersized fish. 

Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 697-5341.

Baldwin Area

There was between 3 and 6 inches of ice on inland lakes in Lake County. Pike fishing has been good  on Idlewild, but anglers are having to sort through their catch to find a decent fish. Fair numbers of bluegills and crappies have been caught, too. Anglers report decent bluegill action on some of the smaller lakes in the area. Be sure to check the ice as you go, especially on spring-fed lakes. Steelhead fishing has been pretty good on the Pere Marquette River. Beads, spawn and egg-pattern flies have produced the best results.

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

Ed’s Sport Shop, (231) 745-4974, www.edsports.com.

Weidman Area

Ice was running between 5 and 7 inches on most of the smaller lakes in the area and there was cold weather in the forecast. Bluegills and northern pike have been caught on Chippewa, Isabella and Halls lakes. There was no snow on the ground, but coyote hunting has been pretty good

Schafer’s Bait & Sporting Goods, (989) 644-3501.

Newaygo Area

Ice was running between 3 and 5 inches thick on some lakes in the area, less on others. Extreme caution is advised for anyone venturing out. Anglers sneaking out in the cove on Brooks Lake report catching decent numbers of bluegills and crappies. Steelhead fishing has been slow on the Muskegon River. A few fish have been caught on spinners, spawn and wax worms, but overall the action has been slow this year. A few walleyes have been caught in the river, too. There was about 2 inches of snow on the ground. Coyote and rabbit hunting have been slow to get started.

Parsley’s Sport and Fly Shop, (231) 652-6986.


Caseville Area

Ice was in poor shape on Lake Huron, but with cold weather in the forecast, anglers were hoping to be able to get out soon. Some anglers were fishing through the ice off the docks in the harbor and catching a mixed bag of perch, pike, lake trout and walleyes. Bayshore Marina had up to 5 inches of ice and anglers there were catching good numbers of northern pike.  There was no snow on the ground, but coyote hunting has been pretty good.

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

Port Huron

Boat anglers are catching good numbers of walleyes in the St. Clair River. Those jigging with big emeralds have reported the best action. The boat ramps have been taken out so access is very limited now. A few fish have been taken off the  boardwalk by anglers fishing at night with minnows. 

Anderson’s Pro Bait, (810) 984-3232.


East Jordan Area

Rain swept through the area and put a dent on the ice on Lake Charlevoix. Colder temperatures were in the forecast and anglers were hoping to start getting out on the south arm by mid-month. Splake fishing has been very good on Thumb Lake. Tip-ups baited with blue minnows have been catching fish. The Bellaire Chain of Lakes still had about 5 inches of ice and anglers were catching crappies, perch and bluegills on Lake St. Claire. Perch were hitting on Ellsworth, too. Steelhead fishing has been good on the Jordan River. Anglers reported hooking three to seven fish per day.

Tom’s Bait & Tackle, (231) 536-3521.

Traverse City Area

When they can get out, boat anglers report a good perch bite in West Grand Traverse Bay. Wigglers and minnows fished in 60 to 100 feet of water have produced good results. Crappies and bluegills have been caught on Arbutus and Spider lakes, where there was about 5 inches of ice. Caution is advised any time you venture out on the ice. A fresh run of steelhead have hit the Boardman River and anglers are dialing in.

WildFishing Guide Service, www.wildfishing.com. 

Cadillac Area

Both lakes Cadillac and Mitchell were producing a decent walleye bite.  Those jigging Rapalas or spoons tipped with minnows reported a good bite. Some fish were also taken on tip-ups with shiners. Panfish are also being caught. Crappie have been caught on the west side of Lake Mitchell.

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


Houghton Lake Area

Catch rates were hit-or-miss on Houghton Lake. The trick was to not only find the schools of fish but also be willing to chase them by drilling more holes. The better walleye and bluegill bites were about an hour before dark. Walleye anglers used jigging Raps or spoons tipped with a blue minnow head. Bluegills were hitting glow jigs with a wax worm or spike. Pike are hitting tip-ups with golden shiners or sucker minnows. Anglers are urged to stay away from the deeper water leading from the main lake into the East Bay because of thin ice and/or open water. Other areas to avoid are near the Cut River, Muskegon River and Long Point. Be sure to watch for pressure cracks.

Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 422-3231.

Higgins Lake Area

Higgins Lake finally iced over, but there is no safe ice yet for foot traffic. With cold weather in the forecast anglers were hoping to be fishing soon. Coyote hunting has been pretty good, but pressure has been light.

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

Atlanta Area

Ice conditions varied from lake to lake in the northeast Lower Peninsula. Caution is advised on all lakes, especially on the larger, deeper lakes. Bluegill fishing has been very good on Fletcher and Grass lakes. Anglers report catching a few walleyes and perch on West Twin. The action was described as steady, but a little slow. There was about 6 inches of snow on the ground. Coyote hunting has been fair, but hunting pressure has been light. Bobcat trapping was very good. 

Elk Country Outfitters NEMI, (989) 306-0720, www.ElkCountryOutfittersNEMI.com.

Oscoda Area

Steelhead and Atlantic salmon are keeping anglers busy in the lower stretch of the Au Sable River. Wax worms and spawn fished right on the bottom have produced the best action. Ice on most of the inland lakes is running between 5 and 7 inches thick, but anglers are reminded to use caution and check the ice as you go. Those getting out on Indian and Cedar lakes report a mixed bag of bluegills and perch. Fair numbers of walleyes have been caught of blue shiners fished in Foote Dam Pond. There was no snow on the ground. Coyote hunting has been fair.

Wellman’s Sport Center, (989) 739-2869.


Pickford Area

There was up to 12 inches of ice on Munuscong Bay with 18 inches of snow on top. Walleyes and perch are hitting jigs tipped with a minnow. Perch also have been caught in Lake Huron’s Hessel Bay in about 14 feet of water. Anglers should be very cautious of changing ice conditions. Predator hunting has been very good and rabbit hunting has been good, too.

Wilderness Treasures, (906) 647-4002.

Drummond Island Area

Ice was running up to 12 inches thick on Scotts Bay, but a storm dumped about a foot of snow on the area. Anglers report catching northern pike in Scotts Bay in 5 feet of water. Spearing and tip-ups are both producing. Some anglers are heading out into 8 feet of water and finding a few yellow perch. Whitney Bay was not safe for travel, yet. Rabbit hunting has been pretty good, but the snow now has a crust on top.

Johnson’s Sport Shop, (906) 493-6300.

Curtis Area

There was 7 to 12 inches of ice on Manistique Lakes, but caution is advised. Beware of pressure cracks on all the lakes. A recent storm dumped about 10 inches of snow in the area. Walleyes, pike and perch are hitting on Big Manistique and walleyes, pike and bluegills are hitting on South Manistique. Milakokia Lake still has open water and anglers are advised to use extreme caution  there. Predator hunting is just getting started. 

Mick’s Bait Shop, (906) 586-6040.


Escanaba Area

Ice conditions are a problem and are creating limited access and very unsafe conditions in many areas on Lake Michigan’s Little Bay de Noc. A few anglers have been fishing out from the harbor in Gladstone, but this is a dangerous area where the ice thins out quickly as you head south. The northern bay from the Whitefish River south to First Reef had a little better ice but still had areas that were not safe. The pressure cracks are moving daily. Open water was reported at Saunders Point, Hunters Point, Day’s River and the mouth of the Whitefish River. Anglers are walking out to fish. Walleye and perch reports were fair at best. Perch were hitting minnows and wigglers fished in 18 to 31 feet of water. Walleye anglers reported many undersized fish. The better catches were on tip-ups or when jigging Rapalas with minnows in 23 to 35 feet of water. 

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

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

Iron Mountain Area

There was up to 12 inches of ice on some of the smaller lakes in the area. Anglers are catching lots of panfish and northern pike on Sawyer,  Antoine and Cowboy lakes. A few walleyes and some really nice northern pike have been taken at Badwater. Eight inches of wet, heavy snow fell on the area. Hunting pressure has been light.

Northwoods Wilderness Outfitters, (906) 774-9009.


L’Anse Area

Inland lakes are producing good catches of crappies and bluegills. Anglers on Alberta Pond and Rowland Lake are catching some nice brook trout. There was no ice on Keweenaw Bay, but anglers were able to walk out a little way on  Huron Bay, where they were catching walleyes, northern pike and a few steelhead. There was just a couple inches of snow on the ground.

Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.

Bergland Area

Lake Gogebic fishing has been fair to good. Walleyes continue to hit sucker minnows on tip-ups, and jigging spoons and Rapalas fished in  10 to 15 feet of water. Reports are mixed with excellent fishing one day and slow fishing the next. Others are finding fish in 24 to 28 feet of water. Perch action has picked up with some nice catches being reported. Anglers are working 22- to 28-foot depths with  wigglers, spikes, and waxies on small ice jigs, or small jigging Raps and spoons. Ice conditions are good with snowmobile and some ATV travel in most parts of the lake. Temperatures are warming so expect some slush, which may make ATV travel tough. 

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

Iron River Area

Ice was running up to 12 inches thick on lakes in the area. Panfish and walleyes are keeping anglers busy on Chicagon, Fortune and other lakes, but anglers are advised to stay away from the middle of the larger lakes where the ice is still forming. There was about a foot of snow on the ice. Predator hunting pressure has been light.

Luckey’s Sport Shop, (906) 265-0151.

The DNR contributed to this report.

Categories: Hunting News, Michigan Fishing Reports, News

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