Report from the Dock
Most lakes across the state have solid ice. In southern Michigan especially, anglers are urged to use extreme caution. There are still thin spots on some of the larger lakes, and open water on others. Call ahead for an update on ice conditions. Test the ice ahead of you with a spud. Never fish alone. Wear a life jacket, and carry ice picks and a rope.
There is a foot or more of ice on most inland lakes in the Upper Peninsula, and anglers are catching a variety of species. On the big waters, anglers report catching perch at Cedarville and Hessel, walleyes in Munuscong Bay and Little Bay de Noc, lakers, whitefish, and splake in Keweenaw Bay, and burbot, walleyes, and pike in Huron Bay. Inland lakes are producing good action for walleyes, pike, panfish, and perch.
In the northern Lower Peninsula, pike and panfish are active on most inland lakes. Cisco have arrived in Lake Charlevoix and anglers there report good action. Smelt and perch have been caught in the Thunder Bay River, and lakers are hitting on Higgins Lake.
In the southern Lower, ice conditions are good on inland lakes where a mixed bag of bluegills, crappies, and northern pike have been caught.
Steelhead fishing remains decent on the St. Joe, Manistee, Pere Marquette, and other rivers.
Lake St. Clair
Perch fishing has been good on Lake St. Clair. Anglers report catching fish off 11 Mile Road, 9 Mile Road, and at Metro Beach but they’re having to move around to stay on the fish. A good bite has been reported in Anchor Bay, too, but the action has been hot or cold. Bring minnows, wax worms, and beaded spoons. Panfish action has been good at Harsens Island.
Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003.
Ice was running between 6 and 8 inches thick on most inland lakes in the area. Larger lakes had thinner ice and some was quite thin in the middle and around inlets and bridges, so be sure to use extreme caution when heading out. Decent pike action has been reported by anglers on Orion and Lakeville lakes. A few panfish have been caught, too, but the bite has been hit or miss. Panfish action has been slow on inland lakes in the Bald Mountain Recreation Area. Rabbit and squirrel hunting has been good. Coyote hunters also report good action.
Lakes Village Stop/Mobile Gas Station, (248) 693-4565.
There was about 5 inches of ice a quarter-mile off shore on Lake Erie and extreme caution is advised. Anglers report catching a few decent walleyes. Perch, crappies, and bluegills also were hitting. Ice conditions varied so anglers should be cautious, especially during high winds. Decent perch and bluegill action was reported at Sterling State Park.
Domka Outdoors, (734) 244-5240.
Ice was running between 4 and 8 inches thick with about 4 or 5 inches of snow on top. Fishing has been decent. Anglers report catching northern pike on Carter, Middle, and Leech lakes. Crappies and bluegills are hitting wax worms and spikes on Thornapple Lake. A few steelies still are being caught in the St. Joe River. Rabbit hunting has been good around the creek bottom at Yankee Springs State Recreation Area. Coyote hunting has been slow to get started. A few hunters are taking coyotes at night. There are a lot of ’yotes in the area.
Al and Pete’s Sport Shop, (269) 945-4417.
There was about 6 inches of ice with a couple inches of snow on top on inland lakes in Branch County. Anglers are starting to get out on Coldwater Lake and catching some nice pike and decent bluegills. On Cary and Honey lakes anglers report catching fair numbers of bluegills and northern pike. Rabbit hunting has been very good on private land in the area.
Hoskins Bait House, (517) 369-1330.
Grand Rapids Area
Light numbers of steelhead have been caught in the Grand and Kalamazoo rivers. Wax worms, spawn, beads, spinners, and flies have all had their moments. Most of the inland lakes are frozen with up to 7 inches of ice. Anglers are catching fair numbers of panfish and pike. Coyote hunting has been good.
Al & Bob’s Sports, (616) 245-9156.
Saginaw Bay Area
Anglers are still catching good numbers and sizes of yellow perch, and spearers are taking some decent northern pike in 3 to 5 feet of water on Saginaw Bay where there is up to 8 inches of ice. Farther out in the bay ice is getting better and anglers are catching good numbers of walleyes, but there are a lot of thin spots and freeze cracks so be very cautions. There was a couple inches of snow on the ice, but it’s blowing around so bring ice cleats just in case. Anglers also report catching walleyes on the Saginaw River. Coyote hunting and rabbit hunting have both been slow.
Linwood Party and Sporting Goods, (989) 697-3825.
Franks Outdoors, (989) 697-5341
Ice fishing remains pretty good in Isabella County. Anglers are catching walleyes on Coldwater and Stevenson lakes, and Lake Isabella is giving up a few decent panfish. Pike and panfish are hitting on Crooked, too. Coyote hunting remains very good. A few rabbit hunters have reported decent success.
Schafer’s Bait & Sporting Goods, (989) 644-3501.
Pere Marquette Lake has solid ice, but there is open water in the middle due to shipping traffic. Pike fishing has been very good. Perch fishing has been hot or cold, but very good on the hot days with some nice fishing being iced. Pike and walleye are hitting on Hamlin Lake hut the bluegill and crappie bites have been light. On Pentwater Lake, anglers report a good, steady perch bite and up at Portage Lake perch and pike are keeping anglers busy.
Captain Chuck’s Fishing, Hunting and Archery, (231) 843-4458.
Decent numbers of perch have been caught in the shallows of Wildfowl Bay where there was up to 8 inches of ice. Farther out in the bay the ice is freezing and there are frigid temperatures in the forecast. Walleye anglers are starting to catch good numbers of fish. High winds are pushing the ice around so be sure to call ahead for current conditions. Coyote and rabbit hunting have been good.
Walsh Gun & Tackle, (989) 856-4465.
Anglers fishing in Port Sanilac and Lexington harbors are catching good numbers of lake trout, steelhead, coho salmon and Atlantic salmon. There was up to 9 inches of ice, but beware of the wind since it can move the ice around. Local ponds are producing decent pike action.
Anderson’s Pro Bait, (810) 984-3232.
Ice was running up to 8 inches thick on Burt and Mullett lakes and fishing has been pretty good. Walleyes, brown trout, and perch are keeping anglers busy and a few burbot have been caught, too. There was about a foot of snow on the ground. Hunting pressure has been light but a few coyotes have been killed. The toughest part of the hunt has been finding ammo.
Pat & Gary’s Party Store, (231) 238-6776.
East Jordan Area
Lake Charlevoix has up to 9 inches of ice and the cisco bite has been good. Anglers report good action at Ironton and off Hemingway Point. Swedish Pimples have been the bait of choice. Good numbers of northern pike also have been caught. Crappies and bluegills are hitting on St. Claire and Ellsworth lakes. Predator hunting has been good, but hunting pressure has been light.
Tom’s Bait & Tackle, (231) 536-3521.
Steelhead fishing has been fair on the Manistee and Pere Marquette rivers. Wax worms, spawn, beads, spinners, and flies have all had their time to shine. Predator hunting has been decent, but hunting pressure has been very light.
Riley’s, (231) 723-3354.
Fishing has been good on lakes Cadillac and Mitchell. Anglers report catching a mixed bag of panfish. There was about 10 inches of snow on the ground. Predator and rabbit hunting has been slow and hunting pressure light.
Pilgrim Village Fishing Shop, (231) 775-5412.
Houghton Lake Area
Ice was running up to 12 inches thick on Michigan’s largest inland lake. Anglers report catching lots of panfish, pike, and walleyes. The walleye bite has been best in the middle of the night. Anglers report having to move around to find the fish. Coyotes are on the move and hunting has been good. A few rabbits have been found in the area, too.
Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 422-3231.
Higgins Lake Area
There was about a foot of ice on Higgins Lake. Anglers report a good lake trout bite in the deep water. Smelt fishing has been very good at night and perch and pike are hitting during the daylight hours. Predator hunting has been slow and hunting pressure has been light.
Sportsman’s Barn, (989) 821-9511
Fishing has been slow in Montmorency County. Light numbers of bluegills are hitting in the evenings and mornings on Fletchers and West Twin lakes. A few northern pike have been caught, too. Light numbers of brown trout and splake have been caught on Avalon and Clear lakes. The bite has been fair at best. Coyote numbers are good and hunting has been decent. Bobcat hunting has been slow. There was about 6 inches of snow in the woods.
Elk Country Outfitters NEMI, (989) 306-0720, www.ElkCountryOutfittersNEMI.com.
Walleyes and perch are keeping anglers busy at the south end of Hubbard Lake in 15 to 40 to feet of water. Occasionally a big perch will hit, too. Perch fishing has been very good on Grand Lake, and anglers there report catching walleyes in the morning and at night. There was about 14 inches of ice but only 4 to 6 inches of snow. Coyote hunting has been pretty good and quite a few bobcats have been shot, too. Anglers are starting to catch a few smelt and perch above the Second Avenue bridge on the Thunder Bay River.
Clem’s Live Bait & Tackle, (989) 354-2070.
Walleye fishing has been very good on Munuscong Bay where fish up to 8 pounds have been caught. Ice was running up to 18 inches thick. Perch fishing has been very good, too. Splake are hitting in Hessel Bay and anglers report great numbers of perch, too, under 16 inches of ice. Perch and pike are hitting at Cedarville, too. Predator hunting also has been very good.
Wilderness Treasures, (906) 647-4002.
There was up to 15 inches of ice on Manistique Lakes. Fishing has been very good for northern pike and walleye with some decent fish being taken. Northerns are hitting in 6 to 10 feet of water while the ’eyes are out in 7 to 12 feet of water. Good numbers of perch and bluegills are also being caught. Predator hunting is heating up.
Mick’s Bait Shop, (906) 586-6040.
Fair numbers of walleyes are being caught on AuTrain Lake. In Munising Bay, anglers were catching whitefish on single eggs. Rainbow smelt are showing up in the bay with schools moving through. Wax worms have produced the best success for smelt. Coho, splake, and burbot action has been slow.
Northern Lights Resort, (906) 892-8225.
Walleye anglers were catching fish in Little bay de Noc around the Escanaba River, out in front of the Terrace Motel, and off Saunders Point. Anglers fishing at Saunders Point had some success, but reported catching a lot of undersized fish. Larger fish are being caught in the Escanaba and Ford rivers. Anglers targeting walleye reported many walleye being marked but most struggled to get them to bite. Anglers were using suckers on tip-ups and jigging Rapalas or shiver minnows. Perch anglers reported a slow bite out of Kipling and around the Days River.
Bay View Bait & Tackle, (906) 786-1488.
There was up to 7 inches of ice on Keweenaw Bay and anglers are catching good numbers of lakers, whitefish and a few splake. On Huron Bay, anglers are catching good numbers of burbot in the evenings. Walleyes and pike also are being caught. A few lakers and splake have been iced, too. Inland, Roland Lake and Alberta Pond are producing brook trout and perch.
Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.
Lake Gogebic ice and travel conditions remain good. Perch action has been slow with most anglers reporting marking fish but having a tough time getting them to bite. Walleye action is fair with the best action coming 22 to 26 feet of water.
Bear’s Nine Pines Resort, (906) 842-3361.
Iron River Area
Ice fishing remains good on inland lakes in Iron County. Crappies and bluegills have been caught on the Michigamme and Peavy reservoirs. Anglers are catching a few walleyes on lakes that hold the species like Chicagon. Predator hunting has been decent.
Luckey’s Sport Shop, (906) 265-0151.
The DNR contributed to this report.