Ice anglers were out everywhere and catching fish until the warm spring weather returned. Anglers are ice fishing to the north but caution should still be used. Ice conditions in the southern sections of the state are not safe for the most part. Those fishing the rivers will experience higher water levels. Shore anglers need to use extreme caution as the river banks may not be stable after all the rain.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
- Lake Erie: The Metro Park Marina and the Banana Dike were good spots for perch and bluegills, if the ice holds. Be especially careful around the edges. Any remaining ice near Bolles Harbor is not safe.
- Lake St. Clair: Finally got some decent ice but the warm rain will soften the shorelines, open up the pressure cracks, and muddy up the waters. Anglers need to use extreme caution especially around the shoreline, docks, pressure cracks, and areas where there is a current. Watch for soft spots.
- Saginaw Bay: Was wet, slippery, sloppy and miserable. Conditions should improve by the weekend as much colder temperatures return. Before the drastic change in weather, perch fishing at Palmer Road was slow. Before the warm up, walleye anglers heading out a couple miles were getting fish. There was a lot of walleye activity about three miles off Erickson Road and near the Spark Plug off Linwood. Anglers need to use extreme caution as there are several pressure cracks between the shore and the fishing spots. There was a lot of perch activity at Quanicassee off Vanderbilt Park but catch rates were spotty. Those after walleye caught fish out near the Slot and beyond. From Sebewaing to Bay Port, anglers were after perch and pike just off the Mud Creek access site in Wildfowl Bay. Anglers need to watch where they are going because there were some spots with open water. Pike spearing was just getting started. Those fishing in the harbor and marina at Caseville caught some perch on live minnows. At Port Austin, some were pike spearing inside the harbor.
- Saginaw River: Record high temperatures this week will make for dangerous fishing especially with a big push of water from the rain and snowmelt coming down. Walleye fishing was good before the front moved in. Ice anglers were out in force with more than 250 shanties between Saginaw and Bay City. After sorting out the small ones, anglers were still going home with at least a couple walleye. A few bigger perch caught near the mouth.
- Tittabawassee River: Had no activity. There was too much ice to launch a boat and not enough to walk on.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
No ice fishing reports this week for the inland lakes. They may still have ice however it is not safe ice. Significant snowfall by the end of the week will not help. Anglers would be wise to wait and give the returning cold temperatures a chance to shore the ice up again.
- St. Joseph River: Anglers should find steelhead near the mouth and the dams.
- Kalamazoo River: Near Allegan is under a flood advisory. Those looking for steelhead and walleye should use caution.
- Grand River at Grand Rapids: Has high water levels. The Rogue River below Rockford is under a flood advisory.
- Grand River at Lansing: The weather has been good for those looking to catch steelhead, walleye or pike. Most are fishing near the dams. Use caution and try to find a solid surface to fish from as the banks may not be stable.
- Looking Glass River: Is under a flood advisory.
- Maple River: Is under a flood advisory in Clinton County.
- Muskegon River: Water levels are up and will most likely keep rising till the end of the week. Those looking for steelhead need to use caution. With the muddy water, try using bright colored flies or jigs.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Most of the inland lakes were good for ice fishing but still use caution. Catch rates were fair to good.
- Fletchers Pond: Those using tip-ups caught some nice pike. Crappies were taken on minnows, wax worms or spikes.
- Au Sable River: Steelhead are in the river and catch rates were good. Anglers are using spawn, wax worms, small spoons and body baits. Most are fishing the mouth or from Rea Road to the dam. Not much activity was seen in the deeper holes. Those targeting steelhead have caught a couple brown trout near the dam.
- Higgins Lake: Still has ice however anglers need to proceed with caution. There was no snow on the lake so bring cleats for easier travel. Those ice fishing caught pike, lake trout and a few perch. Those looking for smelt said the bite was slow.
- Houghton Lake: Still has good ice but anglers will want to watch for pressure cracks and use caution near the inlets or outlets. No snow on the ice so it will be slippery. Anglers have caught walleye and pike. Perch fishing was steady.
- Tawas: Was producing good numbers of decent size perch in 12 to 15 feet of water in the bay. Perch were also caught inside the State Harbor. Walleye were a little deeper in 15 to 20 feet of water and hitting at dawn or dusk. Those spearing have taken a few pike.
- Au Gres River: Anglers were catching sublegal walleye and a few perch.
- Rifle River: Is under a flood warning. Anglers may want to avoid the river until water levels have a chance to recede.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Ice is fine on the small lakes however slush will make travel a little more difficult. The big lakes such as Torch and Elk have either no ice or no safe ice.
- Portage Lake: In Manistee County had ice fishing. Catch rates were spotty for perch and walleye.
- Manistee River: Should have some good steelhead fishing until the next cold spell.
- Lake Missaukee: Ice fishing is going strong. Anglers are catching the usual bluegill and crappie along with the occasional perch.
- Lake Cadillac: Has good ice for those looking to catch panfish. Try 10 to 12 feet of water near the weed beds with minnows, wax worms or spikes. Those with tip-ups are targeting pike.
- Lake Mitchell: Also has good ice. Anglers are catching bluegill and crappie in waters up to 12 feet deep. Pike are hitting on sucker minnows.
- Pere Marquette River: Near Scottville is under a flood advisory.
- Lake Gogebic: Walleye fishing was good for those jigging rapalas or using tip-ups near the weed beds in seven to 11 feet of water.
- Imp Lake: In Gogebic County had good splake fishing.
- Chicagon Lake: In Iron County had fair catch rates. A few walleye were caught after dark by those using tip-ups with sucker minnows in 10 to 15 feet of water. A few keeper size perch were taken along the edge of the weed beds during the day. Lake trout were caught by those jigging spoons in 30 feet of water on the west side. No whitefish to report yet.
- Iron Lake: In Iron County was producing some bluegills however many were small. Most are using small jigs tipped with wax worms. The pike action was steady but many were small. Crappie fishing was slow. Those that found them only had a small window right at dark to catch them. Small minnows worked best.
- Groveland Mine Ponds: Have good ice. Island Lake, East Lake and West Lake are all producing bluegills, perch and black crappie. Anglers are using tip-ups or jigging with minnows and wax worms in eight to 12 feet of water. The fish caught were smaller at six to eight inches.
- Lake Antoine: Had good ice conditions. Bluegills and yellow perch have been caught by those jigging wax worms or minnows. A few walleye were caught on the south end in 15 feet of water. Try tip-ups with large shiner minnows. A couple large and smallmouth bass were caught however bass season is closed. Those spearing have taken northern pike on the north end.
- Little Bay De Noc: Ice conditions improved however anglers still need to use extreme caution near the Escanaba ship docks and south to the Lighthouse because the area is dangerous. Snowfall has made for easier travel on the ice. Walleye anglers had fair catches in the evening with tip-ups and minnows in 20 to 30 feet of water near the Second and Third Reefs. Off the Terrace Bay Inn, anglers were jigging rapalas in 30 to 35 feet. Perch fishing was better throughout the bay. Try minnows or wigglers in 14 to 23 feet of water near Kipling, 10 to 20 feet off Garth Point, or 30 feet between Gladstone and the “Narrows”. No whitefish reports as of yet but it will not be long as ice conditions continue to get better.
- Munuscong Bay: Is slower than usual with deep snow and scattered areas of slush. Ice formation east of Roach Point remains variable so extreme caution needs to be used. Walleye fishing has slowed for those fishing in three to five feet of water. For perch, most are jigging or still-fishing with minnows.
- Cedarville and Hessel: Cedarville has good ice. The perch fishing in Musky Bay was good however catch rates tapered off. Anglers have been harvesting nice catches of perch averaging nine inches in 10 feet of water. Perch fishing at Hessel was slow. Most were using mousies, minnows or wigglers in 10 feet of water.
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