Weekly Fishing Tip: Are you ready (and prepared) to go ice fishing?

Several parts of Michigan should hopefully have ice in the coming weeks, thus providing anglers with an opportunity to go fishing during the colder months. Will you be joining them? Then it’s time to get prepared to head out safely on the ice!

Equipment

You’ll need some special equipment if you head out ice fishing. Take stock of your spud/auger, skimmer, shelter and apparel to have an enjoyable experience out on the water.

Techniques

Pick your preferred ice fishing technique and the species you wish to target and brush up on your skills – whether that is hook-and-line fishing for bluegill, sunfish, perch or crappie; using tip-ups for northern pike, walleye or trout; or spearing for northern pike, muskellunge or sturgeon.

Safety

You should always stay safe when heading on the ice. These five tips can help: 1) Never fish alone; 2) Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return; 3) Always test the ice with a spud; 40 Take the appropriate emergency items, such as a lifejacket and ice picks; and 5) Take a cell phone with you in case you need to call for help. Keep it in a plastic, sealable bag to make sure it doesn’t get wet.

Want more information on ice fishing? Visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.

Fishing is in-between seasons so the weekly updates will continue to be slow until ice fishing gets started. Steelhead fishing should be good this week with the warmer temperatures. Those looking for ice will have to wait a bit longer however this is a good time to get your ice fishing gear ready to go.

SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA

  • Lake Erie: Is producing walleye in Brest Bay. Anglers are trolling body baits. Those casting off Sterling State Park have caught walleye off the rocks. Bluegills were caught in the Metro Park Marina.
  • Huron River: Is producing the occasional steelhead. Catch rates will improve once the water levels come up.
  • Detroit River: Has good muskie fishing. Perch are being caught in the marina at Grosse Ile and off the south end of the Cross Dike.
  • Lake St Clair: The die-hard boat anglers are still out chasing muskie. Catch rates have been good and should continue until the season closes on Saturday, December 15. Perch have been caught in the canals and marinas however most of these locations are private and hard to gain access without a boat.
  • Saginaw Bay: Has good walleye fishing off Linwood. Boat anglers are using Hot-n-Tots, husky jerks and reef runners.
  • Saginaw River: We have reports of walleye being caught by boat and shore anglers up near Wicks Park.
  • Tittabawassee River: Boat anglers caught walleye between Midland and Saginaw.

SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA

  • St. Joseph River: Should still have some good steelhead fishing this week. The better spots to target are Berrien Springs, Buchanan or Niles.
  • Grand River at Grand Rapids: Steelhead season continues with fish caught by boat and shore anglers. Some are using jigs with wax worms. Natural colors such as dark tan or black seem to be working better than bright colors. Anglers are casting rapalas or Hot-n-Tots. Boat anglers are bouncing spawn bags.
  • Grand River at Lansing: Walleye and pike have been caught on spoons or minnows at the Moore’s Park Dam. Bass and walleye were caught at Fitzgerald Park in Grand Ledge and near Lyons. Anglers were using minnows and crawlers.
  • Looking Glass River: Continues to produce pike.
  • Muskegon River: Steelhead are being caught but catch rates were still hit-or-miss.

NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA

  • Oscoda: Pier anglers are still taking steelhead as the fish continue to move in and out of the river system.
  • Au Sable River: Is producing the occasional steelhead.
  • Higgins Lake: Has no anglers and no ice.
  • Houghton Lake: Ice has started to form this week however there is no safe ice.
  • Au Gres River: Anglers are catching perch down near the mouth. Most are using perch rigs with minnows or small jigs.

NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA

The region has snow but no ice as all the lakes are still open.

  • Betsie River: Should have good steelhead fishing this week.
  • Manistee River: Is producing more steelhead and should continue through the week. Chrome colored fish are being caught mainly on streamers in both the Little Manistee and the Big Manistee Rivers. Anglers are reminded that the Little Manistee River closes to fishing on December 31 and will reopen on April 1.
  • Pere Marquette River: Has good steelhead fishing for those drifting eggs, nymphs or streamers. A few were hitting on spawn but most were taken by those fly fishing.
  • Pentwater: Pier anglers were catching some whitefish.

UPPER PENINSULA

  • Marquette: A few whitefish were caught off the lower harbor breakwall.

Logo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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