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Saturday, February 4th, 2023

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Michigan Outdoor News Fishing Report – March 11, 2022

Report from the Dock

Reminder: Walleye, pike, and muskie seasons ended March 15 statewide, except on Great Lakes and connecting waters in the Lower Peninsula.

Ice fishing is pretty much over in southern Michigan. Erratic weather that included warm temperatures and rain has eroded the ice and made access extremely dangerous at best. Anglers are migrating north for panfish or gearing up for the open-water season.

There is still some good ice on many northern Michigan lakes, while others are feeling the heat and ice is starting to pull away from shore. Always use extreme caution on the ice. Lakes do not freeze evenly and are starting to open up in some areas. 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.

Steelhead fishing is improving a bit and good action has been reported on many rivers including the St. Joe, Rouge, Grand, Pere Marquette, Manistee, Boardman, Huron, and Au Sable.

The best ice is in the Upper Peninsula where winter is still holding on. Anglers there report catching perch in Munuscong Bay, around Drummond Island, in Lake Huron at Cedarville and Hessel, on Manistique Lakes, and on Lake Gogebic.

SOUTHEASTERN LP

Lake St. Clair

Ice fishing is winding down on Lake St. Clair. Ice was melting quickly and there was warm weather in the forecast. Some of the canals were still OK for foot traffic but weren’t expected to stay that way for long. Hunting pressure has been light. 

Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003.

Lake Orion

Ice conditions have deteriorated on Oakland County Lakes, and with rain and warm temperatures in the forecast the ice fishing season has ended. Coyote and rabbit hunting has been decent, but hunting pressure has been light

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

Trenton Area

The Detroit River is open, but ice floes are hampering fishing. It’s not recommended to head out on the river as conditions and the amount of ice coming downstream change daily. A few locals have snuck out and report catching good numbers of perch around Sugar Island, but no walleyes yet. Steelhead fishing is heating up on the Huron River with fresh fish moving upstream.

Bottom Line Bait & Tackle, (734) 379-9762.

Trenton Lighthouse, (734) 675-7080.

Horse Island Tackle, (734) 692-9839.

Monroe Area

Ice has disappeared on most of Lake Erie, and the ice fishing season has ended. Two docks are already in at Bolles Harbor and a couple boats have launched, but no word on their success. There is still some ice floating around in the lake so boaters need to use extreme caution. 

Domka Outdoors, (734) 244-5240.

SOUTHWESTERN LP

St. Joseph Area

Inland lake ice is melting and fishing has stalled. Decent numbers of steelhead are being caught in the St. Joseph River and some fresh fish have moved into the river. Hunting pressure has been very light.

Silver Beach Fishing, (269) 338-3182.

Coloma Area

Ice was melting fast on inland lakes in Van Buren County and ice fishing has ended. Good reports of steelhead action have come from anglers fishing on the St. Joe River. Spawn, wax worms, spikes, beads, plugs, and spinners all have caught fish. Coyote hunting remains pretty good but hunting pressure has been very light.

Ellinee Bait and Tackle, (269) 468-7522.

Grand Rapids Area

Water levels were very high on the Grand River. The Sixth Street Dam fish ladder is currently open, so migrating steelhead can get past the dam. The other fish ladders at upstream dams are expected to be opened sometime in the next few weeks after ice floes subside.

Al & Bob’s Sports, (616) 245-9156.

CENTRAL LP

Saginaw Bay Area

Walleye fishing remained good on Saginaw Bay, but the ice is starting to deteriorate and anglers are advised to use extreme caution. The best bite had been about 6 miles out from Thomas Road but the shore ice was melting and access has been difficult. Anglers were also going to the south end of the slot and catching yellow perch in 8 to 10 feet of water. On the west side of the bay, there was open water from the Bay City State Park all the way up to Cody Esty Road. On the Saginaw River, the launch at Saginaw Marina is open and boat anglers were fishing upstream near the confluence, but fishing was difficult with a lot of ice coming down the river. All access points downstream to the mouth had a combination of ice or ice jams and open water making access difficult to nonexistent. Conditions, however, were changing daily so anglers should use caution and watch for flowing ice. Coyote hunting remains good. A few rabbits have been taken.

Linwod Party and Sporting Goods, (989) 697-3825.

Franks Great Outdoors: (989) 697-5341

Muskegon Area

Anglers reported some good catches of yellow perch on Muskegon Lake, but with warming temperatures extreme caution is advised. Shore ice is falling apart quickly. Steelhead fishing remains good on the Muskegon River and fair numbers of brown trout have been caught in the upper river near Croton Dam. Try drift fishing with live minnows for both species. Coyote, rabbit, and squirrel hunting has been fair. Hunting pressure has been light.

Fish-on Charters and Bait, (616) 402-4307.

Ludington Area

Hamlin Lake still had good ice, but there was warm weather in the forecast and extreme caution is advised for anyone venturing out. Beware of old holes. Ice around them will melt fast and the holes will open up. Decent catches of crappie and light numbers of yellow perch have been reported. Minnows have been the hot bait for both species. Steelhead fishing has been good on the Pere Marquette River and some fresh fish have started showing up in recent days. Spawn, spikes, spinners, beads, and flies have all caught fish. Hunting pressure has been light. 

Captain Chuck’s Fishing, Hunting and Archery, (231) 843-4458.

THE THUMB

Caseville Area

Fishing activity on the east side of Saginaw Bay was limited with high winds and snow. Anglers fishing for yellow perch reported mostly small fish with a few keepers in Wildfowl Bay. There were some bad ice spots from Sebewaing up to Wildfowl Bay. Anglers should use extreme caution.

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

Port Huron

When the wind is out of the west, a few anglers have been able to sneak out on the open water in the St. Clair River. Whitefish are being caught at the mouth of the Black River on small minnows and perch rigs. A few walleyes have been caught too. Cohos are hitting off the power plant in St. Clair. There is still a lot of ice on Lake Huron and ice floes have been bad on the St. Clair. When the west wind shifts the river fills quickly with chunks of ice. Extreme caution is advised. 

Anderson’s Pro Bait, (810) 984-3232.

NORTHWESTERN LP

Indian River 

Perch and burbot have been caught on Burt Lake, but fishing pressure has been light. Travel conditions remain good although there is some slush starting to build in some areas. Always use caution. Coyote hunting has been good. The ’yotes are on the move.

Pat & Gary’s Party Store, (231) 238-6776.

Traverse City Area

Ice is starting to deteriorate on inland lakes in the Traverse City area and access is recommended for foot traffic only. Long Lake is producing a good perch bite and some nice-sized fish have been taken. The best reports have come from anglers fishing with minnows in 35 to 45 feet of water. Steelhead fishing remains good on the Boardman and Betsie rivers. Anglers report some fresh fish moving in. There was still about 5 inches of snow on the ground. Rabbit and coyote hunting remains decent.

WildFishing Guide Service, www.wildfishing.com. 

Manistee Area

Steelhead fishing remains pretty good on the Manistee River. Some fresh fish are moving upstream. Anglers are catching fish on spawn, waxies, beads, and spinners. Coyote hunting has been good but hunting pressure is light.

Riley’s, (231) 723-3354.

Cadillac Area

Anglers report catching good numbers of yellow perch on Lake Cadillac and the crappie bite has been good on Lake Mitchell. On the Manistee River, anglers are catching steelhead and brown trout, with better brown trout catches near Tippy Dam. Hunting pressure has been very light.

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

NORTHEASTERN LP

Houghton Lake Area

There was still solid ice on Houghton Lake and anglers there are catching good numbers of perch and a few crappies and bluegills. Anglers are having to sort through the perch to find the keepers, but some nice 8- to 10-inch fish have been caught. Travel conditions remain good.

Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 422-3231.

Higgins Lake Area

Anglers reported good catches of lake trout, smelt, and yellow perch on Higgins Lake. Overall, fishing pressure has been light. Lake trout have been caught in the deep water and suspended smelt are being caught, mostly at night. The perch bite has been slow but anglers are still catching a few. Predator hunting remains good. Hunting pressure has been light.

Sportsman’s Barn, (989) 821-9511

Oscoda Area

Good numbers of steelhead and light numbers of coho salmon are still hitting in the open water on the Au Sable River. Spawn, beads, wax worms, spinners, and spoons all have their moments to shine. Perch fishing has been good south of the island on Van Etten Lake in 12 to 15 feet of water. Hunting pressure has been very light.

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

EASTERN UP

Pickford Area

There wasn’t much snow on the ice on Munuscong Bay, but quads and side-by-sides were getting out and anglers are catching fish. Walleye and pike season is closed, but there are still a lot of big perch being caught, some up to 1.5 pounds. Good perch action has been reported on Lake Huron at Cedarville and Hessel, too. Minnows, wigglers, spikes, and wax worms all have caught fish. Coyote hunting remains good, but hunting pressure is starting to fade. There is still about 18 inches of snow in the woods. 

Wilderness Treasures, (906) 647-4002.

Drummond Island Area

Fishing has been hot and cold at Drummond Island. Anglers are catching good numbers of perch, but have ing to sort through the smaller ones to find the keepers. Travel conditions remain good on top of two feet of ice. Hunting pressure has been light.

Johnson’s Sport Shop, (906) 493-6300.

Curtis Area

Anglers are catching perch in Manistique Lakes. Minnows have been the hot bait. Coyote hunting remains decent, but hunting pressure has been light.

Mick’s Bait Shop, (906) 586-6040.

CENTRAL UP

Marquette Area

Burbot fishing has been pretty good and continues to improve. Anglers report catching fish close to shore in Lake Superior. ’Pout Pounders and frozen minnows in all sizes have caught fish. Coyote hunting remains good.

Jonny’s Outdoors, (906) 235-2894.

Escanaba Area

Perch fishing has been relatively slow on Lake Michigan’s Little Bay de Noc. The bite should start picking up any day with warmer weather moving in. The best action has been off Kipling and off Escanaba Harbor, but overall the action has been slow. The north end of the bay has been tough to access because of rough ice conditions. 

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

WESTERN UP

L’Anse Area

Lake trout fishing has been very good in Keweenaw Bay up to Big Reef. Inside the bay anglers report catching fish off Sand Point Lighthouse on the Baraga side, and off the pump house on the L’Anse side of the bay. Lakers have been caught in 80 to 100 feet of water. A few splake and whitefish have been caught, too. Anglers are concentrating on the water between the Whirli-Gig and Pequaming. Night anglers report catching good numbers of smelt in the Baraga Marina in 20 to 40 feet of water. Inland lakes are pretty slushy and only a few anglers are getting out. Coyote hunting remains good. Hare hunting has been good, too. 

Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.

Bergland Area

Lake Gogebic anglers have been doing well. Perch continue to come from varied depths over the mud flats when using wigglers. Target 22 to 30 feet of water in the main lake. Travel conditions require tracked wheelers or a snowmobile. Hunting pressure has been light. 

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

Iron River Area

Fishing pressure has been light in Iron County. A few anglers are still heading out and catching perch on some of the bigger lakes in the area including Chicagon, Emily, Michigamme, and Peavy. Most anglers are getting their gear ready for open water. Coyote hunting has been fair but hunting pressure has been light.

Luckey’s Sport Shop, (906) 265-0151.

The DNR contributed to this report.

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