Report from the Dock
Ice fishing remains good across the state and ice conditions are generally in good to great shape. On the Great Lakes and connecting waters, be especially careful as there is still a lot of open water. 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.
Perch have produced the hot bite in many areas of the state. In the Upper Peninsula, try Maxton and Scotts bays at Drummond Island, Hessel and Muskie bays on Lake Huron, Little bay de Noc on Lake Michigan, and Munuscong Bay on the St. Mary’s River. Inland, anglers have reported catching perch in Lake Gogebic and Manistique Lakes.
In the northern Lower Peninsula good perchin’ has been reported on Crystal, Skegemog, Grand, Long, Hubbard, Burt, Mullett, Hamlin, and Pere Marquette lakes.
In the southern Lower try Gravel Lake, Lake St. Clair, and Lake Erie.
Steelhead fishing has slowed a little bit, but anglers are still catching fish in the St. Joseph, Grand, Pere Marquette, Manistee, and Boardman rivers, among others.
Lake St. Clair
Perch fishing remains good on Lake St. Clair. Anglers report catching some very nice fish, up to 12 inches, but they’re having to sort through the little ones to find the keepers. Good catches have been reported by anglers fishing at Metro Beach, especially off sailboat ramp. They’re also catching fish at Gino’s Surf in 3 to 12 feet of water. Fair numbers of walleyes are being caught in the deeper water, too. Good perch action also has been reported by anglers fishing in Anchor Bay off the Clinton River – beware of the open water and use a spud as you move around – off Nine Mile Road, and in front of the Library. Panfish and some perch are being caught in the canals.
Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003.
Irish Hills Area
Panfish action has been good on local inland lakes including Wamplers, where the Midwest Open Ice Fishing Contest was held earlier this month with very good results. Coyote hunting has been pretty good. The ’yotes are on the move.
Knutson’s Sporting Goods, (800) 292-0857 or (517) 592-2786.
Anglers are catching yellow perch with varying success on Lake Erie out of the Lake Erie Metropark. Jigging spoons tipped with spikes or wax worms were producing the most success. Bluegills and sunfish also have been caught. Jigs tipped with wax worms or spikes seemed are effective.
Domka Outdoors, (734) 244-5240.
St. Joseph Area
Panfish action has been pretty good on inland lakes in the area with some decent pike being caught, too. Gravel Lake is producing some decent perch. Steelhead fishing remains decent in the St. Joseph River. Coyote hunting has been very good. Rabbit hunting has been good, too.
Silver Beach Fishing, (269) 338-3182.
Panfish bite has been hit or miss on Paw Paw Lake, but anglers report catching good numbers of fish when they are on the bite. Steelhead are still being caught in the St. Joe River with spawn, wax worms, beads, plugs, and spinners all attracting attention. Coyote hunting has been decent, but hunting pressure has been light.
Ellinee Bait and Tackle, (269) 468-7522.
Fishing has slowed a little in Barry County, but anglers who are working at it are catching fair numbers of fish. Smelt are starting to bite on Gull Lake. Spikes and wax worms fished under a light at night have produced good results. The fish are suspended over 40 to 60 feet of water. Bluegills have been caught on Middle, Leech, Thornapple, and Carter lakes. Coyote hunting has been decent. There are plenty of coyotes in the area. Rabbit hunting also has been good.
Al and Pete’s Sport Shop, (269) 945-4417.
Saginaw Bay Area
On the west side of the Saginaw Bay, walleyes have been caught at the Blackhole in Pinconning in 25 feet of water. Walleyes also have been caught at the Cigar off Linwood in 18 to 23 feet of water, and at the old Dumping Grounds in 20 feet of water. Some yellow perch have been caught at these locations, too. Anglers have reported catching yellow perch at the Spark Plug in 25 feet of water. On the Saginaw River, anglers reported slow fishing through most of Bay City and Essexville, with a lot of sub-legal walleye being caught and released in this area. At the south end of Bay City at Cass Avenue, anglers have done well catching good numbers of walleyes with some limits taken. Try the edge of the shipping channel in 20 to 25 feet of water. Jigging with blue and silver, or orange jigging Rapalas has been productive. Anglers should plan to do lots of sorting. Most walleyes were running in the 13- to 16-inch size range. Walleye fishing has been pretty slow at all points upstream around the Zillwaukee Bridge and through Saginaw.
Linwood Party and Sporting Goods, (989) 697-3825.
Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 697-5341.
Fishing has been pretty good in Isabella County. Bluegills are hitting on most inland lakes including Isabella and Six Lakes. Anglers report a decent walleye bite on Coldwater Lake, but action has been hit or miss. Coyote hunters report very good success and they’re seeing a lot of fox, too. Fox season ends March 1. There are a lot of rabbits and squirrels around, too.
Schafer’s Bait & Sporting Goods, (989) 644-3501.
Pike and perch are still being caught on Pere Marquette Lake and Hamlin Lake. Hamlin is producing a good walleye bite, too, and some decent crappies also have been caught. Predator hunting has been good, but hunting pressure has been light.
Captain Chuck’s Fishing, Hunting and Archery, (231) 843-4458.
Pike fishing has been very good in Wildfowl Bay. Several fish over 35 inches have been caught. Walleye and perch are in the Pigeon River, but they seem to have lock jaw. Anglers are watching them on their cameras but few are being caught. Lake trout are hitting west of the channel in 4 to 10 feet of water. Bluegills are hitting wax worms and spikes fished in the cuts. Rabbit and squirrel hunting has been good and coyote hunting has been very good.
Walsh Gun & Tackle, (989) 856-4465.
Good numbers of lake trout have been caught in Lexington Harbor along with a few Atlantic salmon. Fishing has been slow in the St. Clair River. Most of the local ponds are producing good panfish and pike action. Coyote hunting has been decent, but hunting pressure has been light.
Anderson’s Pro Bait, (810) 984-3232.
Perch, walleyes, and burbot have been caught in Burt Lake, but anglers are having to work for them a little bit. Perch and walleyes are hitting on Mullett Lake, too. Predator hunting has been good, but hunting pressure has been light. No word from the rabbit hunters.
Pat & Gary’s Party Store, (231) 238-6776.
East Jordan Area
Cisco fishing has been good in Lake Charlevoix. Anglers report a good bite at Ironton and off Hemingway Point. Pike action has been decent off th old gas marina in the South Arm of Lake Charlevoix. Whitefish action has been good on Torch Lake. Walleyes are being caught on Intermediate Lake at the bridge in Central Lake and off the road to the airport in Bellaire. Anglers report a good crappie bite on St. Claire and Ellsworth lakes. Coyote hunting has been fair but hunting pressure has been light.
Tom’s Bait & Tackle, (231) 536-3521.
Traverse City Area
Fair numbers of perch and burbot are hitting on Crystal Lake in 50 to 70 feet of water. Perch are hitting wigglers and minnows while the burbot are being caught on jigging Rapalas. Perch also have been caught on Skegemog Lake in 10 to 12 feet of water. A few steelhead are still being caught in the Boardman and Manistee rivers. Spawn, wax worms, spinners, and flies all have had their moments. Coyote hunting has been good.
WildFishing Guide Service, www.wildfishing.com.
Bluegills, crappies and pike are keeping anglers busy on lakes Cadillac and Mitchell. Pike fishing has been best on Lake Mitchell. A few walleyes have been caught on both lakes with the best action coming to anglers fishing in 12 to 16 feet of water. Coyote hunting has been decent, but there was only about 2 inches of snow on the ground.
Pilgrim Village Fishing Shop, (231) 775-5412.
Houghton Lake Area
Fishing has been decent on Houghton Lake. Anglers report catching a little bit of everything including bluegills, crappies, walleyes and northern pike. They’re having to move around a little to locate the fish, but when they do the action has been good. The best walleye action continues to be at night. Predator hunting has been good but hunting pressure has been light.
Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 422-3231.
Higgins Lake Area
Lake trout fishing has been good on Higgins Lake. Rainbows are hitting off the conference. Decent numbers of perch have been caught along the drop-off and anglers report catching a few nice northerns. There was up to six inches of snow in the woods. Predator hunting has been good, but hunting pressure has been light.
Sportsman’s Barn, (989) 821-9511
Walleye fishing has been decent on Black Lake. Occasionally a pike will come up through the ice and a 52-inch muskie was caught last week. There was about 4 inches of snow in the woods.
Onaway Outfitters, (989) 733-2472.
Grand and Long lakes are producing some nice perch and decent walleye catches. On Hubbard Lake, anglers report catching decent numbers of walleyes in 25 to 30 feet of water. Panfish and pike are hitting on Fletcher Floodwater. Coyote hunting has been pretty good.
Clem’s Live Bait & Tackle, (989) 354-2070.
Anglers were catching a few decent perch on Lake Huron in Hessel and Muskie bays. Up in Munuscong Bay, fishing pressure seemed to be slowing down as well and catches but a decent numbers of perch and walleyes are still being caught. Perch anglers were having a little more luck out of the Conley Point boat launch. Predator hunting has been good.
Wilderness Treasures, (906) 647-4002.
Drummond Island Area
Maxton Bay and Scotts Bay are still producing pike and perch, but not in any great numbers. Pike are hitting in 6 feet of water and perch are hitting in 16 to 20 feet. The anglers working the hardest report the best success. Coyote numbers appear to be down a little on the island. There was 14 inches of snow on the ground.
Johnson’s Sport Shop, (906) 493-6300.
Anglers report catching a mixed bag of bluegills, perch, walleyes and pike on Manistique Lakes. Live bait is producing the best results. Predator hunting has been good but hunting pressure has been a little light.
Mick’s Bait Shop, (906) 586-6040.
Anglers on Lake Superior have reported slow to fair action for whitefish. The bite has been spotty, but some nice limits of 13- to 16-inch whitefish have been caught. Anglers reported a few legal splake, but the bite has been hot or cold. Trout Bay is open and spearers had been reporting some nice-size lake herring, up to 20 inches. A few night anglers were targeting burbot but overall the bite has been slow.
Gwinn Bait and tackle (906) 346-3330.
Anglers targeting perch in deeper water on Little Bay de Noc reported fish being relatively spread out, although reports of some good-sized fish have surfaced. Anglers fishing shallower waters out of Kipling were sorting through small fish and catching only a few large enough to keep. Most perch anglers were using minnows or wigglers, with minnows the most productive bait by far. Walleye fishing has been fair to good. Anglers were catching walleye off Hunter’s Point, near First and Center reefs, near the Escanaba River mouth, off Saunders Point, and out of the Ford River. All areas report large fish being caught, as well as encounters with undersized fish.
Bay View Bait & Tackle, (906) 786-1488.
Anglers were reporting decent numbers of whitefish catches in Keweenaw Bay. Some anglers had also reported catching coho salmon, lake herring, and lake trout. Most fish were caught in the mornings and in water 80 feet deep and deeper. Anglers reported success through jigging many different lures and baits.
Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.
Lake Gogebic fishing and travel conditions remain good with cold temperatures and no excessive snowfall. Perch anglers are reporting an improvement in the bite when using wigglers in 22 to 26 feet of water. The walleye bite has been fair for anglers using both tip-ups with suckers, jigging spoons and Rapalas in the same depths.
Bear’s Nine Pines Resort, (906) 842-3361.
The DNR co0ntributed to this report.