Report from the Dock
Some of the smaller lakes in the Upper Peninsula are frozen over and anglers are sneaking out and catching panfish, walleyes, and pike.
Unfortunately, wet, heavy snow has blanketed many areas and made for sloppy conditions. That snow also will insulate the existing ice and hamper new ice from forming. Experts suggest at least four inches of solid, clear ice before venturing out on foot.
Anglers are reminded to always use extreme caution when heading out on the ice since it does not freeze evenly. Call ahead for an update on ice conditions. Carry a spud and check the ice as you go. Never fish alone. Wear a life jacket of flotation suit. Carry ice picks and have a long length of rope in your sled in case someone does fall through.
Steelhead fishing remains pretty good on Lake Michigan tributaries like the St. Joe, Manistee, Boardman, Jordan, and Bear rivers. The fish are in their winter mode and hitting more insects than spawn. Try beads, wax worms, or wigglers. In-line spinners and crankbaits also are attracting attention.
Lake St. Clair
Fishing has been slow and fishing pressure light on Lake St. Clair. If you can get out the best walleye action has been between Nine Mile Road and Eleven Mile Road along the American side of the lake. Anglers fishing with Bandits at night are catching fair numbers of walleyes from shore. Late-season deer hunting has been fair with wind and rain hampering the action. Hunters are reminded about the late urban archery deer season in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties Jan. 2-31.
Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003.
Irish Hills Area
There was no ice on inland lakes in Jackson County. A couple anglers are still getting some panfish but overall the pressure has been light. Most anglers are waiting for first ice to form. Deer hunting remains pretty good for late-season doe hunters and archers.
Knutson’s Sporting Goods, (800) 292-0857 or (517) 592-2786.
Walleye fishing remains good in the Detroit River but fishing pressure has been light. A good perch bite has been reported at Wyandotte. Perch minnows on a perch rig have caught fish. Hunters are reminded about the special urban archery deer season in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties Jan. 2-31.
Bottom Line Bait & Tackle, (734) 379-9762.
Trenton Lighthouse, (734) 675-7080.
Horse Island Tackle, (734) 692-9839.
Walleye fishing remains good on Lake Erie. The best bites of late have been along the Michigan/Ohio border. Jointed crankbaits in anti freeze or chrome colors are producing the best action. Deer hunting remains decent for archers and late-season doe hunters.
Domka Outdoors, (734) 244-5240.
St. Joseph Area
Anglers are waiting for ice to form. Steelhead fishing has been good in the St. Joseph River. Spawn is still taking a few fish but insects and crankbaits are producing better results. Whitefish action is starting to heat up off the pier on Lake Michigan. Single salmon eggs have produced the best results. Deer hunting remains good for archers and those hunting in the late antlerless season.
Silver Beach Fishing, (269) 338-3182.
Panfish are still biting on Paw Paw and Eagle lakes, but fishing pressure has been light. Most anglers are waiting for first ice to form. Late-season deer hunting remains good with a lot of deer in the area. Rabbit hunting has been good and should improve with a little snow.
Ellinee Bait and Tackle, (269) 468-7522.
There was no ice on inland lakes in the Union area and anglers there are waiting for some sustained cold weather to arrive. Deer hunting remains good for late-season bow hunters and those hunting during the late antlerless season. There is no shortage of whitetails in the area. Rabbit hunting should be good when a little snow arrives.
Halls Bait and Tackle, (269) 641-2304.
Saginaw Bay Area
Walleye fishing has been very good in Saginaw Bay and fishing pressure remains high. A good bite has been reported straight out and south from Linwood Beach Marina in 18 to 24 feet of water. Try the Dumping Grounds and around the sail boat buoys. Fair action also has been reported by anglers fishing at the Black Hole in 25 feet of water. Bandits and Flicker shad have produced the best results. The only good perch bite has been found off Great Lakes Marina in 12 to 14 feet of water. Deer hunting remains good. There are a lot of deer in the area.
Linwood Party and Sporting Goods, (989) 697-3825.
Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 697-5341.
There was no safe ice in Isabella County but there was cold weather in the forecast so anglers are hoping for first ice to form soon. Late-season antlerless and archery deer hunting has been good. Goose hunting has been very good. There was no snow on the ground.
Schafer’s Bait & Sporting Goods, (989) 644-3501.
There was no safe ice anywhere in the Thumb yet. Good numbers of lake trout, walleyes, and burbot are hitting off the breakwall in Caseville in the open water on Lake Huron. The best action has been early in the mornings. Late-season deer hunting has been good but hunting pressure has slowed.
Walsh Gun & Tackle, (989) 856-4465.
Walleye fishing has slowed a bit in the St. Clair River. Persistent anglers are still catching a few fish. Late-season deer hunting has been decent but hunting pressure has been light.
Anderson’s Pro Bait, (810) 984-3232.
East Jordan Area
Heavy rain melted the ice that was forming on some of the smaller inland lakes. Anglers are waiting for things to stiffen up a little bit. There was a dusting of snow on the ground, but it melted with the rain. Deer and grouse hunting has been fair. Steelhead fishing remains pretty good on the Jordan, Bear, and Boyne rivers.
Tom’s Bait & Tackle, (231) 536-3521.
Traverse City Area
There was no safe ice on inland lakes in northwest northern Michigan. Steelhead fishing remains decent on the Boardman and Manistee rivers. Wax worms, wigglers, flatfish and other crankbaits are all producing good results. Perch fishing has been good on East and West Grand Traverse Bays but high winds have made it difficult to get out. Deer and grouse hunting have been slow. Coyote hunting has been good.
WildFishing Guide Service, www.wildfishing.com.
Houghton Lake Area
Skim ice was forming on Houghton Lake, and a couple anglers were able to sneak out on East Bay where they caught a few bluegills, crappies, and perch. There was up to 2 inches of snow on the ground. Hunting pressure has been light for late-season deer and grouse hunting.
Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 422-3231.
The late elk season has been very good with several nice bulls being taken. Late-season deer hunting has been slow. Grouse hunting has been good. Birds are holding around the autumn olive. There was about 2 inches of wet snow on the ground. Ice is still forming on inland lakes in the area but there was nothing safe for foot traffic. Most anglers are waiting for some sustained cold weather.
Elk Country Outfitters NEMI, (989) 306-0720, www.ElkCountryOutfittersNEMI.com.
There was up to 6 inches of ice on Munuscong Bay and most of the smaller lakes in the area. Perch fishing has been very good on Munuscong in 3 feet of water. Perch also have been caught on Caribou Lake and perch, bluegills, and crappies are hitting on Brevoort Lake. There was about an inch of snow on the ground. Hunting pressure has been light.
Wilderness Treasures, (906) 647-4002.
Drummond Island Area
There was no safe ice on the bays around Drummond Island but skim ice was forming. Anglers are hoping for colder weather and light winds so the ice fishing season can get started. Hunting pressure for deer and grouse has been light.
Drummond Island Outfitters, (906) 493-6300.
Inland lakes had up to six inches of ice, but wet, heavy snow has turned the surface to slop. Late-season archery deer hunting has been slow and hunting pressure light.
Jonny’s Outdoors, (906) 235-2894.
There was no safe ice on Little Bay de Noc yet, but cold weather in the forecast had anglers hoping the skim ice would stiffen up. Hunting pressure has been light.
Bay View Bait & Tackle, (906) 786-1488.
Some of the smaller lakes like Alberta Pond, Vermilac, Laws, and Burns had 6 to 8 inches of ice and anglers were venturing out. Walleye, pike, and panfish all have been caught. There was about 5 inches of snow on the ground and on the ice so it was a bit sloppy for fishing. There was no ice on Keweenaw or Huron bays yet but there is cold weather in the forecast. Steelhead are hitting on the Carp, Falls, Silver, and Huron rivers. The late-archery deer season has been slow. Grouse hunting has been decent.
Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.
Anglers have ventured out on some of the shallow bays on Lake Gogebic and report a fair bite for walleyes and perch. Extreme caution is advised and anglers should wait until there is ample safe ice before heading out. Late-season deer and grouse hunting has been fair.
Bear’s Nine Pines Resort, (906) 842-3361.
Safe ice was forming on some of the smaller lakes in the western U.P. and fishing for walleyes and panfish has been decent. Wet, heavy snow has made for sloppy conditions and put a damper on ice making. Larger lakes are not yet safe and anglers should wait for more ice to form, then use extreme caution. Late season deer and grouse hunters report fair success.
Grieg’s Taxidermy & Tackle, (906) 884-2770.
Iron River Area
There was up to 6 inches of ice on inland lakes in Iron County but heavy, wet snow has put a damper on fishing. Walleyes and panfish have been caught on some of the smaller lakes. Larger lakes like Chicagon are not safe yet. There was up to 6 inches of wet, heavy snow on the ground and on the ice. Late grouse hunting has been decent. Deer hunting pressure has been light.
Luckey’s Sport Shop, (906) 265-0151.