Lake St. Clair
Recent cold temperatures have firmed up conditions in the canals, marinas, and near-shore areas of Lake St. Clair. For the rest of the lake, do not drive vehicles on the ice this late in the season. Use caution near the Fair Haven ramp due a truck going through the ice. Fishing success was sporadic now that the fish are in that slow midwinter pattern.
Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003.
Irish Hills Area
Anglers are catching good numbers of panfish on Devil’s, Wamplers and Sand lakes. There was 7 to 10 inches of ice. There was good access with just a couple inches of snow on the ice. Coyote hunting has been very good. Rabbit and squirrel hunting have been good, too.
Knutson’s Sporting Goods, (800) 292-0857 or (517) 592-2786.
Ice was holding up pretty well in northern Oakland County where there was between 6 and 10 inches. Anglers were catching decent numbers of panfish on Lake Orion, Stringy Lakes and Lakeville Lake. Hunting pressure has been light, but a few rabbit and squirrel hunters have been out at Bald Mountain Recreation Area.
Lakes Village Stop/Mobile Gas Station, (248) 693-4565.
Walleye fishing has been good on Lake Erie, with the best action in Ohio waters. The ice wasn’t good in Michigan waters. Hunting pressure has been light.
Domka Outdoors, (734) 244-5240.
There was up to 8 inches of ice on area lakes in Berrien and Van Buren counties. Bluegills, sunfish and crappies have been caught on Paw Paw, Lake of the Woods and Magician lakes. There was about an inch of snow on the ground. Hunting pressure has been very light.
Ellinee Bait and Tackle, (269) 468-7522
Ice was running up to 8 inches thick and fishing has been good. Bluegills and crappies have been caught on Birch, Long and Baldwin lakes. There was just an inch of snow on the ground, but it wasn’t expected to last with temperatures forecast well into the 40s. Hunting pressure has been light. A few coyotes have been shot.
Halls Bait and Tackle, (269) 641-2304.
Panfish bite has been pretty good on Gillead, Cary, Coldwater and Randall lakes where there was about 7 inches of ice. There was no snow left on the ground. Hunting pressure has been light. A few cottontails have been taken.
Hoskins Bait House, (517) 369-1330.
There was still 12 to 14 inches of ice on Gun Lake and the panfish bite has been very good. The perch bite was just starting to turn on. Bluegills and crappie were also hitting on Long, Cloverdale, Crooked and Pine lakes. Fair numbers of smelt have been caught on Gull Lake. Hunting pressure has been light. A few rabbits have been taken. There was no snow on the ground.
Gillett’s Bait and Hardware, (269) 672-5371.
Saginaw Bay Area
In Saginaw Bay, ice anglers targeting perch off the park inside Pinconning Bay caught a few fish. A few were taken off Linwood in 5 to 6 feet of water, which was as far as the ice went out. There was a bigger sheet of ice hanging on off the Bay City State Park where anglers were heading out, but the bite has been slow. There was fishable ice off Vanderbilt Park near Quanicassee. Anglers were taking mainly perch but a few walleye were also found in 7 feet of water. A couple of limit catches of perch were taken.
Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 697-5341.
There was open water in the channel at Wickes Park on the Saginaw River. A few anglers were out on the turn basin near Ojibway Island, but they did not catch much. Anglers were scattered from First Street to Zilwaukee and on down to Cass Avenue, fishing away from the main channel, but nobody did very well as the water was still a bit muddy.
Riverview Bait Shop, (517) 755-0989.
Ice was running between 16 and 30 inches on lakes in the area. Panfish have been hitting on Coldwater, Crooked, and Martini Chain of Lakes. Rabbit hunting has been very good. There was still 18 inches of snow on the ground. Coyote hunting has been very good, too.
Schafer’s Bait & Sporting Goods, (989) 644-3501.
Grand Haven Area
Ice is holding up well at Grand Haven with between 10 and 15 inches on the local bayous. Anglers are cautioned to be aware of the areas where springs are located, creating spots of thin ice. Anglers fishing on Sterns, Millhouse and Bruce’s bayous report catching bluegills and crappies. Clown and wonder bread tear drop jigs tipped with a wax worm or spike have been producing the best results. Perch fishing has been pretty good on Muskegon Lake when people can get out. There was about 6 inches of snow on the ice. Hunting pressure for coyotes and rabbits has been light, but fishing pressure has been high.
Lakeview Marine & Tackle, (616) 842-2770.
Anglers were getting panfish a half mile east of Wilson Hill Park on Hamlin Lake, however the action was hit-or-miss depending on the day. The better bite was in the evening. A number of crappie were caught in the crappie hole off Lincoln Road. The fish were suspended 10 feet off the bottom in 35 to 40 feet of water and hitting teardrop jigs with plastics, spikes or minnows. For the most part, fishing was slow. The only consistent bite was small perch. Pentwater Lake was producing some perch, too and light numbers of steelhead have been caught in the South Branch Pentwater River.
Captain Chuck’s Fishing, Hunting and Archery, (231) 843-4458.
Traverse City Area
Lake trout fishing remains good in Grand Traverse Bays. Anglers there also are catching lots of ciscoes in 100 feet of water or more. Perch fishing has been good on Long Lake in 30 to 35 feet of water and a few steelhead have been caught in the Boardman River. There was at least 2 feet of snow in the woods. Hunting pressure has been extremely light.
WildFishing Guide Service, www.wildfishing.com.
Steelhead fishing is improving a little in the Big Manistee River. Ice fishing has been pretty good on Portage Lake for perch and bluegills. The best perch action has been in about 28 feet of water. There was 20 inches of snow on the ground. Hunting pressure has been light.
Pappy’s Bait & Tackle, (231) 848-4142.
Panfish action has slowed on lakes Mitchell and Cadillac. There was still up to 22 inches of ice on the lakes with 10 inches of snow on top. In the woods, snow was up to 2 feet deep. Hunting pressure has been light, but a few coyote hunters reported good success.
Pilgrim Village Fishing Shop, (231) 775-5412.
Houghton Lake Area
Houghton Lake was holding about 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ice. Anglers there still need to use caution and watch for the large pressure crack that runs from the west DNR launch to Johnsons Point, as well as the one that formed off that and runs north to south northeast of Heights Marina. Walleye anglers were getting more fish including some taken in waters as shallow as seven feet deep. Most were jigging spoons. Hot colors were glow, pearl, nickel blue, orange and gold. The bluegills were still scattered so move around to find them.
Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 422-3231.
There was up to two feet of snow on the ground and on the ice in Montmorency County and ice fishing pressure has been very light. For those who did get out the fishing has been slow. Anglers are anxiously waiting for last ice.
Elk Country Outfitters NEMI, (989) 306-0720, www.ElkCountryOutfittersNEMI.com.
A few lake trout and walleyes have been caught in Lake Huron’s Tawas Bay. Anglers over on Van Etten Lake report a good perch and crappie bite. River anglers are catching fair numbers of steelhead and Atlantic salmon in the lower end of the Au Sable River. There was about a foot of snow in the woods. Hunting pressure has been light.
Wellman’s Sport Center, (989) 739-2869.
Ice conditions on Lake Huron at Ceradville and Hessel were holding, however anglers and snowmobilers need to be aware of the areas with a strong current around the islands. Perch fishing picked up with anglers taking fish up to 12 inches long on jigging raps, wax worms and spikes. Hunting pressure has been light.
Wilderness Treasures, (906) 647-4002.
Drummond Island Area
There was about 2 feet of snow on top of 2 feet of ice in the bays around Drummond Island. For anglers who could get out, perch fishing has been pretty good for some, slow for others. The best action has come to those fishing minnows in 8 feet of water in Scotts Bay. Rabbit hunting has been slow with upwards of 4 feet of snow in the woods. Coyote hunting has been good, but hunting pressure has been light.
Johnson’s Sport Shop, (906) 493-6300.
Snow was running between 15 and 20 inches deep on Manistique Lakes. Those taking sleds out reported catching walleye, pike, perch and bluegills on Big Manistique and South Manistique. With more than 30 inches of snow in the woods, hunting pressure has been light.
Mick’s Bait Shop, (906) 586-6040.
Travel on Munising Bay has been difficult because of deep snow and more slush closer to shore. A few coho and splake have been caught. Anglers reported possible markings of either herring or smelt suspended in the bay. Those targeting burbot continue to do well at night primarily off Sand Point, Trout Bay and in the area off Christmas.
Curly’s Hilltop Grocery, (906) 387-3056.
Snow has made access difficult on Little Bay de Noc. The best perch action was coming to anglers fishing between the First and Second reefs off Kipling. Minnows and wigglers fished in 27 to 35 feet of water produced good action. Whitefish and burbot were caught off Sand Point with minnows or spawn in 70 to 80 feet.
Bay View Bait & Tackle, (906) 786-1488.
BayShore Resort Bait & Tackle, (906) 428-2950.
Iron Mountain Area
There was between 30 and 40 inches of snow in the woods last week. Hunting and fishing pressure has been very light. In addition to all the snow there was up to 10 inches of slush on the ice. Anglers are already starting to take their ice shacks off local lakes.
Northwoods Wilderness Outfitters, (906) 774-9009.
Travel on Keweenaw Bay has been difficult for 4-wheelers and foot travel due to heavy slush and snow. The slush is too deep for short track snowmobiles. Water coming up on the ice after holes are drilled has been a common problem. Lake trout fishing was slow with limited success in 100 to 250 feet of water. Splake were caught in 15 to 40 feet of water. The coho bite has been slow. A few chinook salmon have been caught about 50 feet down to just off the bottom in 150 to 200 feet of water, though few anglers were targeting them. There was no word on whitefish. The smelt bite has been fair after dark when using a jig and wax worm with a light.
Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.
Lake Gogebic report has been fair despite the weather. Very few anglers have been out mainly due to storms that once again have dumped lots of snow in the area. Those getting out in between the fronts have fair to good reports. Perch anglers working the mud anywhere from 22 feet out to 29 feet are having fair to good success. Expect deep snow and drifting with some areas being worse than others throughout the lake. Reports indicate 6- to 10-inches of slush at the ice surface and this will get worse with the added snowfall, again some areas will be better than others. Pack a trail down with your snowmobile before parking your shack. Angler reports are that the snowmobiles are staying on top of the snow with the slush just at the ice surface in most areas.
Bear’s Nine Pines Resort, (906) 842-3361.
Iron River Area
There was up to 42 inches of snow in the woods in Iron County. Ice fishing has stalled on most of the larger lakes as access is extremely difficult. Those walking out on some of the smaller lakes in the area are catching decent numbers of panfish. Hunting pressure has been very light.
Luckey’s Sport Shop, (906) 265-0151.
The DNR contributed to this report.