Weekly Fishing Tip: Safety Tips for Spring Ice FishingIt’s almost officially spring and there still may be numerous opportunities in different locations throughout the state to get out on the ice. But just remember, there are a few important safety precautions to take if you plan to do so:1. Towards the end of the season, ice becomes rotten and soft. Although ice may still be more than a foot thick, it might not be strong enough to hold someone safely.2. Don’t forget to still carry the appropriate safety items, such as ice picks and a throw rope. And remember to wear a personal flotation device when heading out. 3. Continue to use the buddy system and know you’ll have someone with you to help if you fall through the ice.4. Carry a fully charged cell phone in a waterproof plastic bag. Make sure it is easily accessible on your person in case of an emergency. 5. Pay attention to the weather. If it hasn’t been consistently cold or if there has been a lot of wind you can’t guarantee there will be solid ice to head out on.For more information on ice fishing, check out the Ice Fishing – The Coolest Sport Around article available online.
Click on the links below to jump to the report section that interests you most:
Southeast Lower Peninsula
Southwest Lower Peninsula
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Southeast Lower Peninsula
Southwest Lower Peninsula
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Northwest Lower Peninsula
For those interested, the Management Units will be hosting public meetings in March and April to discuss local and statewide fishing regulations. Here is a list of dates and times: www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-
153-10364-296272--,00.htmlThe 2013 Fishing Licenses went on sale March 1. This gives anglers one month to purchase their new license before they are required on April 1. The 2013 Michigan Fishing Guides are available at all license vendors – be sure to ask for your copy!
Lake Erie: The only location for active fishing was the containment ponds at the Pointe Mouillee State Game Area. Perch were caught for those willing to walk the two miles to get to the ice.Huron River: Anglers are trying for steelhead at the Flat Rock Dam.Detroit River: Angers are still taking some nice bluegill and perch in the protected areas along the shoreline. Caution needs to be used when the warm weather moves in. Those fishing in Airport Bay caught perch and the occasional pike. Pay close attention to ice conditions.Lake St. Clair: With temperatures in the 40’s, ice conditions will deteriorate on a daily basis as more water opens up. This looks like the end of ice fishing season. The only thing caught was small perch.Port Austin: About a third of the ice is gone so anglers are bringing their shanties in.Harbor Beach: Had a couple perch anglers in the harbor but few were caught.Saginaw Bay: Perch action off Palmer Road was slow. Anglers crossing the first crack did find some walleye in 10 feet of water five to eight feet of water. A few walleye were caught in the evening. Some nice perch and a few walleye were caught off the Bay City State Park in 5 feet of water. Fish were caught off the mouth of the Saginaw River near Spoils Island in 10 feet of water. Off Quanicassee, perch were found in six to seven feet of water off Vanderbilt Park. Up near Fish Point, there is open water about two miles offshore so anglers should avoid that area. At Sebewaing, the only thing caught was small perch inside the harbor. Due to low water levels, there is almost no activity out on the bay. Those looking for crappie had to go out to Maisou Island just to find enough water under the ice to fish in. The ice was not good in Wildfowl Bay. At Caseville, most of the ice shanties have been removed from the harbor and the marina basinsSaginaw River: Anglers are reminded to use extreme caution especially with the cracks and open water. The Rust Avenue Ramp is iced in. The ice through downtown Saginaw is not safe. The ice around Zilwaukee was iffy at best. Those fishing Cass Avenue caught some walleye. Further downstream, walleye and perch were caught below the Independence Bridge however there is open water and ice conditions were not consistent. Walleye and perch were caught near the mouth. Anglers were using the Patterson Road access for the lower bay and Spoils Island.Tittabawassee River: A few were carrying their boats so they could access the river. There is deep snow in the parking lots and launch ramps at Gordonville Road and Center Street. Those heading up to the Dow Dam from Gordonville and downstream to the confluence with the Shiawassee off Center Street caught some nice fish and some took limit catches.Shiawassee River: Is producing small bluegills and some crappie in the backwaters.
Ice fishing on most lakes is producing some bluegills but the bite is slow. Crappie and yellow perch fishing continues to improve. Ice conditions were fair on most of the inland lakes.St. Joseph River: Steelhead and walleye action is picking up. They are catching steelhead downstream from the Berrien Springs Dam.Kalamazoo River: Walleye were caught between M-89 and the Allegan Dam. Steelhead are becoming more active.Grand River at Grand Rapids: Has steelhead and walleye up near the dam.Grand River at Lansing: Anglers are catching pike and walleye at the North Lansing Dam and the Moore’s Park Dam. Minnows and crawlers worked best.Muskrat Lake: In Clinton County was good for crappie.Duck Lake: In Eaton County was producing pike, walleye and some big bluegills.Jackson County: Had low angler activity but those heading out were catching panfish.Muskegon Lake: Perch fishing continues. Though many are small, anglers are still taking the occasional fish measuring 10 inches. Be careful along the shoreline as the ice starts to deteriorate.Muskegon River: Was producing a good number of steelhead and a couple walleye that were keepers.White Lake: Is producing bluegill and sunfish.
Anglers may have a hard time finding access sites that have been plowed after the near record snowfall in February.Burt Lake: Catch rates were spotty with light numbers of perch and walleye taken.Mullett Lake: Is producing perch for those using minnows and wigglers. Pike continue to hit on tip-ups with sucker minnows.Alpena: Few anglers were fishing the harbor or the Thunder Bay River even though the ice was good.Oscoda: Ice was holding on the inland lakes but fishing was slow.Au Sable River: Steelhead are still moving up and down the river. Anglers are out in force even with the cold temperatures. The fish are traveling from the mouth to the dam. Those fishing upstream are using spawn and wax worms. Between the bridge on 23 and the mouth, anglers are using spawn, spinners, spoons and body baits.East Twin Lake: Near Lewiston had good ice but the perch bite was slow.Lake Margrethe: Anglers are seeing some muskie.Higgins Lake: Ice anglers are taking a fair to good number of lake trout when using tip-ups with minnows in 100 feet of water. Perch fishing stalled but should pick back up by the weekend. Try off the Sunken Island and off the South State Park. Rainbow trout were hitting on wigglers in the shallows off the Conference Center. As for smelt, catch rates were good for a day or two, and then they would no longer bite. Smelt fishing is truly based on being in the right place at the right time.Houghton Lake: Has good ice but catch rates slowed. Those fishing at dusk have managed to catch a couple walleye however the fish were small. Most are jigging but some are using tip-ups. Bluegills are just starting.Lake St. Helen: Catch rates were decent for bluegill and crappie in five to eight feet of water. A few pike and walleye were caught but the bite was slow.Tawas: Those fishing near Jerry’s Marina in Tawas Bay have caught a few perch in 15 to 20 feet of water. A couple pike were speared and a few walleye were also caught. Perch anglers report seeing a lot of smelt down the holes, more than they have seen in years. A big field of ice off Tawas Point broke free and drifted out so anglers are pretty much staying well inside the Point.Tawas River: Was frozen over so no early steelhead fishing just yet. Whitney Drain was frozen over.Au Gres River: Some were fishing the lower river but catch rates were spotty.Pine River: Is producing some small perch in the lower river.
Winter is still in full swing with lots of snow, ice and ice fishing activity.Lake Charlevoix: Has been producing walleye.Green Lake: Is producing a few more smelt. Try off the northeast side near the Music Camp. Night anglers sometimes do better in 30 to 50 feet of water.Manistee River: Steelhead fishing is slowly picking up as fish become more active with the warmer temperatures and spring melt.Arcadia Lake: Had good panfish action.Lake Missaukee: Still has good ice fishing for walleye, crappie, pike and bluegills.Lake Cadillac: Is producing good numbers of crappie and pike off the boat launch on the northwest side. Those fishing at night have done well for crappie and the occasional walleye.Lake Mitchell: Is producing bluegill and crappie along the west side of the lake. Those with tip-ups continue to take pike.Hamlin Lake: Catch rates for panfish are picking up once again.Pere Marquette Lake: Pike fishing was hit-or-miss and perch fishing was fair.Pere Marquette River: Has plenty of steelhead and the spring run should be underway soon.
Inland lake fishing was light but should pick up with the warmer weather. Snow and slush on the ice are still an issue.Copper Harbor: Conditions were dangerous as the ice is breaking up.Keweenaw Bay: Travel can be difficult as float ice is piled high in some areas. Lake trout were caught in 180 to 260 feet of water off Whirl-I-Gig Road, 200 to 260 feet off Pequaming and 150 to 240 feet near Big Reef. Coho and Lake Herring were slow off Sand Point and the L’Anse Marina. Whitefish action was slow but a few fish were caught east of the Baraga Marina in 80 to 100 feet of water.Huron Bay: Lake trout action was slow. Smelt fishing on the Baraga side of the bay has continued to get better.Marquette: Much of the area from the Chocolay River to the Upper Harbor is covered with floating pack ice. A few were fishing from the “Bubblers” but activity is limited due to the moving pack ice. A road near the “Bubblers” was plowed out so anglers have access. Both the Upper and the Lower Harbors were iced in past the lighthouse.Chicagon Lake: Ice conditions are good but travel conditions are not. Those with motorized vehicles are getting stuck in the deep snow and slush. Perch were active and some bigger fish were caught by those jigging small spoons. A couple walleye were caught in 20 feet of water.Iron Lake: Travel on the ice here is also difficult due to the snow and slush. A few crappie ranging eight to 11 inches were caught by those jigging minnows. Catch rates for bluegill were spotty.Groveland Mine Ponds: Still have ice with deep snow and slush.Lake Antoine: Still has ice but the snow is deep. There are plowed roads to reach most areas of the lake. Some are getting stuck. Perch were caught on wax worms. Most of the fish were eight to 10 inches. Those targeting other species caught a couple smallmouth bass however bass season is closed. Pike action was slow.Little Bay De Noc: Travel remains difficult in some areas because of drifting snow, slush and pressure cracks. Most anglers are now in the northern end of the bay and looking for walleye. Catch rates were fair to good with the better action at night on the Center Reef and the Third Reef with tip-ups and sucker minnows in 12 to 23 feet. Good numbers of fish were marked in the north end but catch rates were fair at best. For perch, many have caught good numbers of smaller fish. Those fishing deeper in 19 to 23 feet caught a few jumbo perch near Kipling. Near Gladstone, whitefish were caught on dead minnows in 30 to 35 feet of water. Fish were also caught near Escanaba and Sand Point in 75 to 85 feet.Au Train: Few anglers were out because of the pack ice. Those jigging for coho caught nothing. The mouth of the Rock River and the Au Train River were iced in.Munising: Walking on the ice may be a challenge because of deep slush in some areas. The whitefish bite was slow. Splake were still scattered. Perch were still being caught near Sand Point. Those spearing reported low visibility in the water. Trout Bay did have fishable ice but catch rates coho were slow. Anglers did manage to catch a few smelt and herring.Munuscong Bay: Perch and walleye fishing were slow.Cedarville and Hessel: Good numbers of perch and pike were reported in Musky Bay, Hessel Bay and Government Bay. Try 10 feet of water with wigglers, wax worms and minnows.