As many anglers continue to await the arrival of ice so they can pursue their love of winter fishing, many other anglers are unaware of the unique fishing experiences that are available during Michigan’s winter months.
Starting December 1 the spear fishing season for Northern Pike and Muskellunge began on all waters through the ice except designated trout lakes and designated trout streams and other specific waters. No muskellunge spearing is allowed on Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, the Detroit River or the St. Clair River as well. Many anglers will try their hand at this historical method of fishing until the season concludes on March 15.
Spear fishing is often much different from general ice fishing. Anglers will cut larger holes in the ice and fish from tents or small shelters commonly called shanties. The shanty blocks the light, allowing anglers to see down into the water in order to spear the fish.
It’s important to note that other species are also allowed to be speared throughout the state – visit the Michigan Fishing Guide for a complete list of opportunities.
Anglers who spear fish generally dangle decoys or large live baits (such as suckers) in the water to attract their target fish. They utilize spears that typically have a substantial weight to them and have seven to nine tines on the end of a seven-foot handle.