Weekly Fishing Tip: Mark Your Calendar for the 2013 Winter Free Fishing Weekend

Are you looking for an opportunity to take someone out fishing this winter, perhaps someone who has never been before? Consider scheduling your outing for February 16 or 17 as part of the 2013 Winter Free Fishing Weekend!

As part of that weekend, all fishing license fees will be waived for those two days. Residents and out-of-state visitors can enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes’ waters for many different species of fish. Please note all fishing regulations will still apply during that time.

For many, the annual Winter Free Fishing Weekend is a tradition – will it become one for you as well?

Numerous activities in communities throughout Michigan will be going on as part of the 2013 Winter Free Fishing Weekend. Maybe you would want to plan one of your own in your community? For more information, or resources to help you participate, please visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing.

SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA

  • Lake Erie: Those shore fishing at the Metro Park Marina have caught bluegills however catch rates were not consistent. Most are using a teardrop with a wax worm. A few perch have also been caught.
  • Huron River: Water levels are low however anglers are still catching a few walleye, steelhead and even some crappie.
  • Detroit River: Anglers caught perch at the Cross Dike and the Hole-in-the-Wall. Walleye have been caught in the Trenton Channel by those hand-lining with rapalas or long-lining with shad raps or husky jerks. A few perch were taken in the canals however the bite is usually better by the middle of December.
  • Lake St Clair: Perch fishing picked up now that the lake has cleared up. The fish have moved into shallower water and good reports were coming from waters nine feet deep. Not much on muskie, but the die-hards will no doubt be out chasing the big ones right up until the last day of the season which is December 15.
  • St. Clair River: A few anglers fishing off the boardwalk in Port Huron had limited success.
  • Saginaw Bay: Walleye have been caught off Linwood and north towards Pinconning as well as outside Spoils Island. Most are fishing in 12 to 15 feet of water.
  • Kawkawlin River: Was producing some perch.
  • Saginaw River: Rumor has it, small walleye and some perch have been caught near the Independence Bridge.
  • Quanicassee River: Is producing some perch.

SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA

  • St. Joseph: Still has whitefish for pier anglers. Try a Swedish pimple or teardrop with a single egg or wax worm. Pier anglers caught steelhead on spawn, spinners, spoons, plugs or crawlers.
  • St. Joseph River: Steelhead were caught between Benton Harbor and Niles. Rain will help move fish up from the lower river.
  • Kalamazoo River: Had fair to good steelhead action near the Allegan Dam. Fish were hitting on spoons, spinners and spawn.
  • Grand Haven: Pier anglers continue to catch whitefish and the occasional steelhead.
  • Grand River at Grand Rapids: Had reports of fresh steelhead moving up into the river. Water levels continue to be low and clear. Boat anglers are back trolling with Hot-n-Tots or bouncing a jig with spawn. Those fishing off the wall or the Fulton Street Bridge caught the occasional walleye.
  • Grand River at Lansing: Is producing some steelhead and walleye at the Moore’s Park Dam. Walleye and smallmouth bass have been caught in Grand Ledge below Fitzgerald Park.
  • Looking Glass River: Pike are still active as they continue on their feeding frenzy.
  • Muskegon: Night anglers are catching whitefish off the piers.
  • Muskegon River: Steelhead were caught with the colder temperatures however catch rates were spotty. Many are fly fishing. A couple large pike were also caught as this is their time to feed

NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA

  • Alpena: Boat anglers are still taking whitefish in Thunder Bay. Better spots to fish are the shallows off Partridge Point or the reefs. Try a small hook with a wax worm or single egg.
  • Thunder Bay River: Continues to produce whitefish up near the 9th Street Dam. Best time to fish is dusk or dawn. The occasional steelhead was caught.
  • Oscoda: Is producing whitefish for pier anglers.
  • Au Sable River: Water levels are very low and clear. Any fish out in the open will spook easily. If you can see them, they can see you! Catch rates were slow but fish could be found in the deeper holes and under logs.
  • Tawas: Anglers fishing off the state dock are targeting whitefish and perch.

NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA

  • Betsie River: Is producing the occasional steelhead.
  • Manistee: Pier anglers are catching fish in the early morning or late evening.
  • Manistee River: Still has some steelhead being caught, but water levels are still low and clear. The fish are holding in the deeper holes and near the log jams.
  • Ludington: Pier and surf anglers are catching a few fish.
  • Pere Marquette River: Has a fair to good number of steelhead and some brown trout. Water levels continue to be low and clear so the fish are spooked easily. Most anglers are fly fishing.

UPPER PENINSULA

  • Little Bay De Noc: Angler participation was very low with the much colder temperatures. Ice is starting to form in the shallows only. Those fishing at night were still getting walleye throughout the bay however the better catches came off the Second and Third Reefs. Most are trolling stick baits in 10 to 30 feet of water. No reports on perch fishing this week.

Logo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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