Michigan Outdoor News Fishing Report – Feb. 16, 2018

Lake St. Clair

Fishing has been very good for perch and walleyes on Lake St. Clair. Early mornings and later in the afternoon have produced the best action. Be very careful when heading out. Always carry a compass or GPS and check the ice ahead of you with a spud. No. 2 Rapalas and No. 2 Swedish pimples tipped with a bead and a spike have been producing very good results.

Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003.

Lake Orion

Ice fishing has been slowed down on Lake Orion. A few panfish and northern pike have been caught but overall the action has been slow. Squirrel and rabbit hunting has been decent at the Bald Mountain Recreation Area.

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

Trenton Area

Anglers report catching fair numbers of perch in the Detroit River. The best action has come to those fishing with minnows in Airport Bay and near Belle Isle in the canoe canals. Those fishing the marinas were getting bluegills and perch.

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

Trenton Lighthouse, (734) 675-7080.

Horse Island Tackle, (734) 692-9839.

Luna Pier Area

Anglers were catching some perch in the Metro Park Marina on Lake Erie. Up on the Huron River, anglers report catching a few steelhead below the dam at Flat Rock.

Luna Pier Harbour Club, (734) 848-8777.

SOUTHWESTERN LP

Sturgis Area

Ice fishing has been pretty good on Klinger Lake. Anglers report catching good numbers of crappies, northern pike, walleyes and perch. Minnows have produced the best action. There was just a couple of inches of snow on the ground. Hunting pressure has been light.

Klinger Lake Trading Post, (269) 651-2679.

Coldwater Area

Fishing has been pretty good on Gilead Lake where there was 6 inches of ice. Bluegills, crappies are keeping anglers interested with several limit catches being recorded. Pike fishing has been good on Messenger and Little Rose lakes. Honey Lake and Madison Lake had opened up and were not safe for foot traffic, but are stiffening back up. Hunting pressure has been light.

Hoskins Bait House, (517) 369-1330.

Grand Rapids Area

Anglers are still taking fair numbers of walleyes and steelhead below the Sixth Street Dam on the Grand River. The Rogue River has frozen so anglers will have to wait until the next thaw.

Al & Bob’s Sports, (616) 245-9156.

Plainwell Area

Fishing pressure has been light but the bite has been steady on Gun Lake. Bluegill and crappie fishing have been great, in fact one angler caught a fat 101⁄2-inch bluegill last week. Pike fishing has been pretty good, too. There was about 8 inches of snow on the ice with up to 10 more in the forecast. The ice opened up on the west side of the lake so when the snow falls that area will be very dangerous. Always use extreme caution on the ice. Hunting pressure has been light. Those getting out report good coyote hunting.

Gillett’s Bait and Hardware, (269) 672-5371.

CENTRAL LP

Saginaw Bay Area

Walleyes and perch have been caught in Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay but anglers are warned to use extreme caution. Anglers are warned to stay away from the pressure cracks and do not try to cross them. There is a bad pressure crack about 1 to 1½ miles offshore that runs from White’s Beach all the way down to Newberg Road south of Pinconning. The crack was about 20 feet wide. There is another crack that crossed the bay just north of the Black Hole and anglers should avoid that area. Extreme caution needs to be used. You might not see a pressure crack until you are on top of it and by then it is too late. On the east side, there was bad ice from Rose Island Road north to Geiger Road due to currents in the area. Anglers have fallen through in this area. Bad ice was reported in Wildfowl Bay off Beadle Bay Marina.

Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 697-5341.

Saginaw River 

Fishing has been fair at best on the Saginaw River. Ice conditions were extremely variable. One angler went through the ice near Crow Island. Ice thickness was as thin as 1 or 2 inches in some spots. The Tittabawassee River was unfishable due to shore ice and floating ice coming down the river.

Riverview Bait Shop, (517) 755-0989.

Lansing Area

The Grand River had no reports from fishermen. Due to an ice jam, water levels were elevated near Portland. Anglers need to use caution in this area. On Lake Lansing, channel catfish have been caught on tip-ups with minnows in the deep holes. Good numbers of panfish have been caught along the weeds.

Grand River Bait & Tackle, (517) 482-4461.

Muskegon Area

Muskegon Lake had between 4 and 6 inches of snow and more was in the forecast. The deeper snow makes travel a bit more difficult. Yellow perch have been caught along the drop-offs on the west end or between the black buoy and the Bear Lake Channel. Perch were also caught in the northeast corner off Second Street in 30 to 40 feet of water. Walleyes were caught in 20 to 25 feet of water. Pike anglers have done very well off Heritage Landing and out from Hartshorn Marina.

Lakeview Marine & Tackle, (616) 842-2770.

THE THUMB

Caseville Area

Perch and walleye fishing has been very good on Lake Huron. Those fishing off Mud Creek report a good walleye bite 2-1⁄2 miles out and a good perch bite three-quarters-of-a-mile out. Very good numbers of northern pike have been caught about a mile or so out on the lake. Anglers fishing off the breakwall report good action for walleyes and whitefish. There was about 10 inches of snow on the ground and ice was running up to 15 inches thick in most spots. However, conditions can change so always use caution. Coyote and rabbit hunting has been very good. Fox hunting has been good, too.

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

Port Huron

Atlantic salmon and steelhead are hitting in Lake Huron in both Lexington Harbor and Port Sanilac Harbor where there was up to 12 inches of ice. There is good fishing within a short walk of the parking lot in both harbors. In Port Huron, when a west wind is blowing, anglers are catching good numbers of walleyes and steelhead in the St. Clair River at the mouth of the Black River. Noodle rods and large shiners are producing good results. Good numbers of crappies are hitting in the marinas around town. Rabbit hunting has been very good all over the Thumb. Coyote hunting has also been good, but hunting pressure has been very light.

Anderson’s Pro Bait, (810) 984-3232.

NORTHWESTERN LP

Indian River

Good numbers of perch and walleyes have been caught on Burt Lake. Anglers report catching a few brown trout and pike, too.

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

East Jordan Area

Fishing has been very good on Lake Charlevoix. Those fishing off Hemingway Point in 80 to 100 feet No. 5 and No. 6 Swedish pimples catching herring. Anglers are catching lake trout mixed in with the herring. Walleye fishing also has been very good. Recently, two anglers caught five fish between 7 and 11 pounds. Those fishing in the Ironton Narrows report good action. Perch are hitting around Holy Island, but the bite has been fair at best, so far. Panfish action has been good on the Bellaire Chain of Lakes. Crappie fishing at night has also been good. Bobcat hunting has been pretty good with 10 inches of snow on the ground.

Tom’s Bait & Tackle, (231) 536-3521.

Manistee Area

Ice fishing continues to be pretty good on Portage Lake with anglers taking perch and lake herring. The perch were found in 25 to 30 feet of water, especially on the east end. Decent numbers of walleye and pike have also been caught.

Riley’s, (231) 723-3354.

Cadillac Area

The bite has slowed a bit on lakes Cadillac and Mitchell but anglers are still getting a few walleye along with bluegills, crappie and a few perch on both lakes. Those spearing or using tip-ups continue to take pike.

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

NORTHEASTERN LP

Houghton Lake Area

Anglers venturing out on Houghton Lake need to use extreme caution and stay clear of a large pressure crack in the East Bay, which runs from the canal on the west side of the bay and shoots northeast. Anglers can fish inside East Bay but do not try to cross over into the main body of the lake as the pressure crack had opened up and could be hard to see, especially with the snow cover. There is also a pressure crack at the entrance to the North Bay so use caution. The bite has been up and down depending on the weather. Pike are still being caught. Walleye are hitting jigging spoons or Rapalas tipped with blues. The best action has been after 4 p.m. Orange and glow were still the hot colors. If the walleye and bluegills are not hitting minnows, try wigglers.

Lyman’s on the Lake, (989) 422-3231.

Higgins Lake Area

Those spearing pike on Higgins Lake have done well including one angler who got a northern that was 46 inches long. Lake trout anglers are using trout minnows in 80 to 100 feet of water or deeper. Some nice perch have been caught in 15 to 50 feet of water around the Main Island but anglers need to keep moving around to find them. Smelt have been caught in 30 to 50 feet of water off the North State Park, Big Creek, the west launch and to the south of it. A few rainbow trout are hitting wigglers in a foot of water near the conference center.

Higgins Lake Sport & Tackle, (989) 821-9517.

Atlanta Area

Smelt fishing has been pretty good on Lake 15 and few walleyes have been caught at dark and just after dark on West Twin Lake in Lewiston. Other than that, ice fishing has been rather quiet. Ice is running between 12 and 18 inches depending on the lake. There was about 8 inches of snow on the ground on top of an ice base. Predator hunting has been pretty good. Fox numbers appear to be up in the area.

Elk Country Outfitters NEMI, (989) 306-0720, www.ElkCountryOutfittersNEMI.com.

Onaway Area

Anglers fishing on Black Lake need to be cautious near the river mouths, near any pressure cracks and by old spearing holes, especially after the recent lake sturgeon season. Overall, fishing has slowed. Walleye anglers jigging minnows in 15 to 20 feet of water had limited success. Those that were caught ranged from 18 to 21 inches. A few pike up to 36 inches have been caught in 15 feet of water.

Parrott’s Outpost, (989) 733-2472.

EASTERN UP

Pickford Area

Down on Lake Huron at Cedarville and Hessel, those fishing around the Les Cheneaux Islands reported slower fishing. Anglers were seeing lots of smelt, perch and splake, but the bite has been slow. Some perch up to 8 inches long have been caught on minnows, wax worms wigglers, spikes or artificial soft baits in 10 to 15 feet of water. Splake were seen in 15 to 20 feet of water, but no word on fish being caught. Anglers need to use extreme caution near any pressure cracks, moving ice, and in areas where there is a current.

Wilderness Treasures, (906) 647-4002.

Drummond Island Area

Perch fishing is picking up a little at Drummond Island. Fair numbers of fish have been caught in Scotts Bay, but the best action is yet to come. A few pike have been caught and speared in Scotts, too. There was 24 inches of ice with about 8 inches of snow on top. Coyote and rabbit hunting pressure has been light.

Johnson’s Sport Shop, (906) 493-6300.

Curtis Area

There was up to 20 inches of ice on some areas of Manistique Lakes, but as little as 8 in other spots. Anglers traveling on the lakes are urged to use caution. Those heading out report good action and are catching a mixed bag of walleyes, perch, pike and bluegills on both Big and South Manistique lakes. There was only about two feet of snow on the ground. Whitetails seem to be in pretty good shape so far. Predator and rabbit hunting has been slow and hunting pressure light.

Mick’s Bait Shop, (906) 586-6040.

CENTRAL UP

Munising Area

Ice was holding in Lake Superior’s Munising Bay but the ice beyond Grand Island was not safe and Trout Bay was not safe as northwest winds shifted a majority of the ice. There is a large pressure crack near Rock 67 by Grand Island. Those on snowmobiles should not cross the lake as it is not safe. Several sleds have gone through the ice near Grand Island. Fishing has varied as some anglers report decent catches of whitefish up to 15 inches while others reported poor catch rates. The splake action has been fair but most fish were undersized. Swedish pimples and assorted jigs tipped with mousies, spawn, cut bait or fathead minnows have produced the best action. A few young rainbow trout and brown trout also have been caught. Fair numbers of smelt along with some young coho salmon have been caught off Sand Point. Lake trout anglers fishing the West Channel reported slow catch rates.

Curly’s Hilltop Grocery, (906) 387-3056.

Escanaba Area

Snowstorms made travel on Lake Michigan’s Little Bay de Noc a little more difficult with many getting stuck. Anglers need to be aware of a large pressure crack out from the Terrace Bay Inn, which has been moving some as the weight of the snow increases. Overall, fishing has slowed some. Walleye anglers reported fair catches in the Kipling Flats and north to the Vagabond Resort when jigging Rapalas tipped with a minnow in 27 to 35 feet of water, out from the Terrace Bay Inn in 35 feet of water, and near the Escanaba River in 25 to 30 feet of water. A few anglers were fishing out by the Ford River but no reports have come in. Perch catches were light. Anglers are catching some nice jumbo perch but fewer fish overall. The best spots were the Kipling Flats in 27 to 35 feet of water, Gladstone Beach area in 30 feet of water, and good numbers of smaller fish in the Escanaba Yacht Harbor when using minnows or wigglers. Whitefish anglers report fair catches in Escanaba off Sand Point with spawn or minnows in the deep water drop-off. Bigger fish were caught in 35 feet of water in the Gladstone area. A lot of pike continue to be caught throughout the bay but most were undersized.

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

BayShore Resort Bait & Tackle, (906) 428-2950.

Iron Mountain Area

Ice was running up to two feet thick on lakes in Dickinson and Iron counties and more is on the way with sub-zero temperatures in the forecast. Snow depths were running from a foot in town to 18 inches about 20 miles to the north. Anglers report a slow bite and sub-zero temperatures have kept many anglers at home. A decent walleye bite has been reported by anglers fishing Paint Pond and Badwater Flowage. Northern pike are still being caught on most lakes, but the panfish bite has been slow. Predator hunting has been slow. Coyote numbers are down. The relatively light snow fall has been good for the local deer herd.

Northwoods Wilderness Outfitters, (906) 774-9009.

WESTERN UP

L’Anse Area

Fishing has been very good on Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Bay. There is solid ice all the way past the pump house and out to Point Abby. On Huron Bay there is ice as far as you can see. Whitefish and burbot are keeping anglers busy on Huron Bay. Keweenaw Bay is producing a good mixed bag of smelt, herring, whitefish, lake trout, splake, burbot, coho salmon and steelhead. Anglers report good action at the Whitefish Hole between Baraga and L’Anse. Overall, the bite has been hit-or-miss, but when it’s on, the action has been great. At the head of the bay, anglers report good ice and good action near the willows. Inland lake action has been good for bluegills and perch on Alberta Pond.

Indian Country Sports, (906) 524-6518.

Bergland Area

The Lake Gogebic fishing report has improved. Walleye anglers are reporting better catches. Those fishing in 10 to 16 feet of water during periods of low light report good action on tip-ups baited with sucker minnows. Others are jigging Rapalas and spoons with pretty good success. Some walleye action has been found in 24 to 28 feet of water. The perch bite continues to be slow overall with only a few good reports. Wigglers have produced the best results. Ice travel and conditions remain good when using a snowmobile.

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

Iron River Area

Fishing has been pretty good in and around Iron County. Ice is running up to 2 feet thick on many lakes. Perch and walleye fishing has been good on Chicagon, Fortune, Peavy and Ottawa lakes. A fair number of whitefish have been caught, too. Walleyes and perch are hitting minnows and the whitefish are hitting spikes and wax worms. There was about a foot of snow in the woods. Rabbit and hare hunting has been quiet.

Luckey’s Sport Shop, (906) 265-0151.

The DNR contributed to this report.

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