Michigan Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – March 29
Ice conditions are deteriorating on lakes and rivers across the state and anglers are urged to use extreme caution. No ice is ever completely safe. Always use caution when heading out on the ice. Call ahead for an update on conditions. Test the ice ahead of you with a spud. Never fish alone. Wear a life jacket, and carry ice picks and a rope.
Lake St. Clair
Most of the ice on Lake St. Clair is gone and any remaining ice should not be considered safe. There is still some ice present at the Selfridge and Fairhaven boat launches. The Harley Ensign Launch and Brandenburg Park are wide open, however there are no docks in anywhere and there won’t be for a couple weeks.
Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003.
Boat anglers on the Detroit River are taking a few walleyes, but it is still early. Those fishing the canals near Gibraltar caught a good number of perch. Boat anglers need to go slow and watch for ice coming down the river.
Bottom Line Bait & Tackle, (734) 379-9762.
Trenton Lighthouse, (734) 675-7080.
Horse Island Tackle, (734) 692-9839.
Luna Pier Area
Boat anglers on Lake Erie are trolling crankbaits for walleye in Brest Bay, but no reports of catching fish have come in. Those fishing off the Metropark were taking some limit catches of yellow perch. The boat launch at the Metro Park has four docks in.
Luna Pier Harbour Club, (734) 848-8777.
There was no safe ice on Klinger Lake or any of the other lakes in the area. Anglers are waiting for open water and warmer weather.
Klinger Lake Trading Post, (269) 651-2679.
Steelhead fishing has been good on the St. Joseph and the Paw Paw rivers. The best bite has come on spawn bags and wax worms. Inland lakes were opening up, but no one was out fishing yet. Coyote hunting has been quiet.
Ellinee Bait and Tackle, (269) 468-7522
Grand Rapids Area
High water levels and swift currents made steelhead fishing a bit difficult on the Grand River. With no rain in the immediate forecast, the river should settle down and fishing should be good.
Al & Bob’s Sports, (616) 245-9156.
A few anglers have launched their boats and are fishing on the open water on Gun Lake. Perch and crappies have been hitting, along with a few bluegills. There was still some ice on some of the smaller lakes, but none was safe for foot traffic. Coyote hunting has been good.
Gillett’s Bait and Hardware, (269) 672-5371.
Saginaw Bay Area
Ice fishing on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay has deteriorated to the point that it is no longer safe to venture out. The Coast Guard is warning people to stay off the ice. Several anglers have been rescued off Linwood because the shore ice broke loose and drifted out into the bay. The perch, sucker and steelhead runs have not really started yet.
Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 697-5341.
Steelhead fishing has improved on the Pere Marquette River, which was running high and dark. Beads, wax worms, spawn and flies – egg patters and nymphs – have produced a good bite. Ice was running over a foot thick on inland lakes in the area, but the edges of the lakes are breaking up. Call ahead for updated conditions. The panfish bite has been decent. Hunting pressure has been light, but there are a lot of coyotes in the area.
Baldwin Bait & Tackle, (231) 745-3529.
Ed’s Sport Shop, (231) 745-4974, www.edsports.com.
The fish ladders are open on the Grand River, but fishing pressure has been light with high, muddy water. With dry weather in the forecast, the fishing should be better.
Grand River Bait & Tackle, (517) 482-4461.
The lower end of the Pere Marquette River was running high and dirty and fishing has been slow. Ice was still running up to a foot thick on inland lakes, but fishing has been slow and fishing pressure light. The water in Pere Marquette Lake has been muddy. When it clears up the perch bite should be good. Coyote hunting has been good, but hunting pressure has been light.
Captain Chuck’s Fishing, Hunting and Archery, (231) 843-4458.
Ice was falling apart on Lake Huron and anglers there are waiting for open water. Mud Creek is wide open from the lake up past the golf course and perch fishing should heat up any time. The snow is gone. Coyote hunting has been slow.
Walsh Gun & Tackle, (989) 856-4465.
Walleye fishing has been very good in the St. Clair River. Jigs and minnows and live bait have been catching fish. The ice is breaking up in the harbors so fishing has ended there. There was no snow on the ground and hunting pressure for coyotes and rabbits has been very light.
Anderson’s Pro Bait, (810) 984-3232.
Steelhead fishing has been decent on the Big Manistee River up to Tippy Dam. The bite should improve as spring moves in. The water was up and had some color, but wasn’t dirty. Inland lakes were holding up to 20 inches of ice, but the shore is starting to break up. Perch fishing has been good on Portage Lake. Minnows fished in 26 feet of water have produced good results. There was still 8 inches of frozen corn snow in the woods.
Pappy’s Bait & Tackle, (231) 848-4142.
There was about 20 inches of ice – 10 good and 10 white – on lakes Mitchell and Cadillac. Anglers are catching limits of bluegills and very good numbers of crappies in the coves on Lake Mitchell. Steelhead fishing has been very good on the Big Manistee River. Several nice cohos and browns have been caught, too. Jigs and waxies have produced the best results. Hunting pressure has been light.
Pilgrim Village Fishing Shop, (231) 775-5412.
Houghton Lake Area
Anglers were still ice fishing on Houghton Lake, however do not try to drive across the pressure cracks. The bluegill bite was starting to improve. Most anglers are using a tear-drop with a wax worm. Try purple, chartreuse or gold. If the bite is slow along the weedbeds, move to the outside edge of the weeds. Anglers have also caught a few bass, crappie and rock bass.
Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 422-3231.
Higgins Lake Area
The smelt bite was extremely slow on Higgins Lake and very few fish were marked. A few successful anglers were getting up to 50 fish a night. Most were fishing off the north or west launch. The perch were running small. Lake trout were found in 80 to 100 feet of water. Those fishing with tip-ups or jigging a white tube jig reported good success. Hunting pressure has been light.
Higgins Lake Sport & Tackle, (989) 821-9517.
There was still up to a foot of ice on Fletcher Pond and Grass Lake, but the ice was deteriorating rapidly. Perch, crappies and bluegills have kept anglers busy. Coyote hunting has been quiet. There was still well over a foot of corn snow in the woods.
Elk Country Outfitters NEMI, (989) 306-0720, www.ElkCountryOutfittersNEMI.com.
Ice was holding up on Munuscong Bay. There was a foot or more of slush on top of a foot of ice. A few perch have been caught and that bite should improve any day now. Splake fishing has been good in Lake Huron at Hessel. Minnows and wigglers fished in 7 to 11 feet of water have produced good results. Coyote hunting has been pretty good so far this year.
Wilderness Treasures, (906) 647-4002.
Drummond Island Area
There was still over 2 feet of ice around Drummond Island, but there is a lot of “soft ice.” Perch fishing is starting to pick up at the Middle Grounds in Scotts Bay in 16 feet of water. The action hasn’t been red hot, but it is improving. Minnows have been the bait of choice. Rabbit hunting has been good. There was a couple of feet of packed snow in the woods.
Johnson’s Sport Shop, (906) 493-6300.
Perch and bluegills are keeping anglers busy on Manistique Lakes, where there was still a foot of ice under a foot of snow and slush. Minnows and wigglers are taking the perch and ’gills are hitting wax worms. Hunting pressure has been light.
Mick’s Bait Shop, (906) 586-6040.
Fishing was slow in Marquette Harbor. The Upper Harbor near the bubbler is now open water and a few anglers launching small boats from the beach were picking up the odd coho, brown trout or chinook salmon, but most were not having much luck. The ice in the Lower Harbor was holding with cold temperatures freezing any water and slush on top so it was slippery for those walking. The only anglers out there were the few targeting burbot at night. Daytime catches were almost nonexistent.
Gander Mountain, (906) 226-8300.
Access to Lake Michigan’s Little Bay de Noc has been difficult. Saunders Point had open water so avoid that area. Perch fishing has been spotty although anglers were getting enough fish in the Kipling area to keep them interested. Most were caught on minnows or wigglers fished in 30 feet of water. A few were also found in and around 17 feet of water. Of the fish caught, some were very nice jumbo perch. Fair to good whitefish catches were reported off Sand Point on minnows or spawn fished in and around 75 feet of water. Anglers were trying to remove their ice shanties, but many were frozen in. Shanties must be off the bay by midnight on March 31.
Bay View Bait & Tackle, (906) 786-1488.
BayShore Resort Bait & Tackle, (906) 428-2950.
Iron Mountain Area
Fishing pressure has been light in Iron County with a foot of snow and slush on the ice. Anglers are struggling to get their permanent shacks off the ice by the March 31 deadline because many are iced in. For those who have ventured out, panfish action has been pretty good on Lake Antoine, Cowboy Lake and Lake Mary. There was still about 16 inches of snow in the woods, but with temperatures forecast for the 50s, it wasn’t expected to last much longer.
Northwoods Wilderness Outfitters, (906) 774-9009.
The slush and most of the snow is gone on Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Bay and there is now some honeycomb ice on the top layer. The thickness varies so anglers need to use caution especially near any holes that were previously drilled. With warmer temperatures in the forecast, be sure to check the ice with a spud every time you head out. The coho bite was very good in 10 to 14 feet of water, but the action slowed. The lake trout bite has been good in 150 to 200 feet of water and splake action has been hit-or-miss in 15 to 55 feet of water. The whitefish bite was also slow but usually starts to pick up this time of year in 55 to 80 feet of water. Smelt fishing has been slow. A few brown trout and steelhead were showing up in front of the river mouths.
Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.
Those few fishermen that are braving the conditions on Lake Gogebic are doing well on perch. Wigglers and spikes fished in 23 to 29 feet of water have produced good action. Travel conditions were not good, with about two feet of compacted snow on the ice with slush below. Recent rain and warm temperatures have increased the slush problem. Snowmobile reports are good if you stay on the packed travel routes but travel can be difficult when leaving these areas.
Bear’s Nine Pines Resort, (906) 842-3361.
Iron River Area
There was still a foot or more of ice with a foot of snow and slush on top on lakes in Iron County. Perch fishing has been good on most lakes in the area including Hagerman, Fortune and Michigammee. Coyote hunting has been quiet.
Luckey’s Sport Shop, (906) 265-0151.
The DNR contributed to this report.