Anglers are actively ice fishing the inland lakes as well as the Great Lakes.
Little Bay De Noc: Travel has been limited because of snow. The deep snow makes moving shanties very difficult and some have been unable to reach them because of drifting snow. There was a large pressure crack and no vehicles are traveling over it. Anglers are venturing as far south as the No See-um Creek area. The best walleye catches were reported near Portage Point when jigging rapalas or using tip-ups with minnows 40 to 50 feet down along the break. A few walleye were caught near Gladstone in 30 to 40 feet. As for whitefish, fair to good reports came from Sand Point when jigging minnows or spawn in 75 to 85 feet or off Gladstone when fishing off the bottom. Perch anglers have struggled as catch rates were down. A few jumbo perch were caught near Saunders Point but only small fish were caught near Butler Island.
Menominee: Ice anglers were targeting whitefish. Catch rates were fair to good in 30 to 40 feet of water when jigging minnows or wax worms. Access was found from Henes Park in Menominee or Red Arrow Park in Marinette.
Menominee River: Anglers are still marking walleye through the ice on the Wisconsin side near the Hattie Street Dam. A few fish are still being caught but catch rates have slowed. Some are still targeting pike near the Mystery Ship launch when jigging artificial bait or using tip-ups with minnows. Catch rates were slow. Those seeking panfish are jigging wax worms at the Mennikaunee Launch or behind K-Mart however no fish were caught as the water was low and cloudy.
Munuscong: Those fishing east of Roach Point in waters 25 to 27 feet reported fair catch rates. Only a handful of perch were caught in four feet of water.
Cedarville and Hessel: There is a lot of snow on the ice and the plowed trail was blown shut. Perch fishing in Musky Bay and Cedarville Bay was poor with very few fish caught. Anglers were using wigglers or minnows in 10 to 13 feet. Hessel Bay was a little better with a few bigger fish taken. Try minnows in 10 to 14 feet. Hessel Bay did not have as much snow but travel on the ice was still difficult.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Panfish activity is sporadic on the smaller inland lakes. Deep snow is making access a little more difficult for anglers.
AuSable River: The few anglers making their way onto the river had good success because of the good number of steelhead in the river. Most are fishing the dam, Rea Road Launch, the Gas Line and the Whirlpool. Other areas of the river may be holding fish, but may not be accessible. Foote Dam and Whirlpool are open to 4-wheel drives. Wax worms, small spinners or spawn were best.
Higgins Lake: Lake trout are being caught on greys. Perch anglers were starting to catch a few bigger ones in eight to 12 feet of water on the east side of the lake off Maple Hurst Road and Flag Point. Perch were caught south of the Sunken Island by those using minnows, wigglers and wax worms. Rainbow trout can be found in the shallows off Big Creek and the Conference Center. Most are using wigglers.
Houghton Lake: Anglers are catching a fair number of walleye. Most are fishing along the weeds in eight to 10 feet. Catch rates for panfish were sporadic.
Tawas: Most fishing activity is now outside the harbor rather than inside. Perch fishing was fair to good in 15 feet of water off Jerry’s Marina. Anglers are seeing a lot of perch down the holes but they do not want to bite. Further out near the ice that has broken up and re-froze, walleye were caught in 20 feet and a few pike were speared including one 20 pounder.
AuGres: Most of the fishing activity is off the end of Booth Road in 15 feet of water where they’re picking up some walleyes and perch. Catch rates were fair. Off Palmer Road, walleye anglers were going out four to four and half miles and fishing in 16 to 18 feet. Perch anglers closer to shore are seeing fish but few were caught.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Torch Lake: Has ice. Anglers are catching whitefish and herring on the north end near Eastport.
Green Lake: Continues to produce smelt for those hook and line fishing at night near the Betsie River or the Music Camp. Deep snow and slush make travel difficult.
Crystal Lake: In Benzie County has excellent smelt fishing at night in 45 to 50 feet of water. Use Hali jigs with wax worms. Look for perch along the weeds in 25 to 35 feet of water. Try tear drops tipped with a minnow or wiggler.
Lake Cadillac: Is producing some panfish and pike. Lots of snow and slush in some areas is making travel on the ice difficult.
Lake Mitchell: Is producing the occasional pike and crappie.
Lake Missaukee: Is producing a few perch and crappie. The better fishing is usually along the weed beds on the west side of the lake with a minnow or spike.
Manistee River: Steelhead are in the river however not many anglers are pursuing them.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Erie: Many are fishing out of Bolles Harbor however they are not catching very many fish. Perch were caught in the Metro Park Marina however be ready to sort out the small ones. Walleye have been caught in Brest Bay by those using small spoons tipped with a minnow.
Detroit River: Airport Bay was good for perch during the cold spell but then catch rates slowed.
Lake St. Clair: Has lots of ice however due to currents and pressure cracks, there is still some areas with open water and a couple machines have gone through the ice over the last week. Again, anglers are reminded to use extreme caution. Perch fishing seems to have slowed and the average size was down.
Harbor Beach: A few perch were caught inside the city harbor.
Saginaw Bay: Walleye were caught in 16 to 20 feet off Linwood and the Bay City State Park. On the east side of the bay, walleye anglers are fishing from Sunset Bay and off Thomas Road are heading out eight to 11 miles. Perch anglers fishing in five to six feet off Vanderbilt Park near Quanicassee have caught some nice fish during the first half hour of daylight but then the bite quits after the sun come up. Only a few pike and small perch were taken at Sebewaing. Some are accessing the bay at Rose Island and Geiger Road and fishing out in the Slot for walleye. Fishing at Caseville, Port Austin and Grindstone City was slow.
Saginaw River: Pressure was generally light from Wickes Park and Rust Avenue north through downtown Saginaw. Anglers picked up the occasional keeper when using green jig-heads baited with a minnow in nine to 15 feet. Walleye were caught near the Zilwaukee Bridge and downstream of the Veteran’s Bridge on the east side. A few perch were also caught. Fishing around the Independence Bridge was generally slow but a few anglers did well when using silver and blue jigging rapalas. Further down at Smith Park, the Cement Plant and the mouth, catch rates were slow and spotty.
Lake Chemung: In Livingston County is producing a small number of panfish.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Pretty much all the inland lakes have ice. Bluegills have been hit-or-miss because of the numerous weather fronts. The best bite was in the morning or evening.
St. Joseph River: Has shelf ice and the ramps are extremely icy. There are steelhead in the river if anglers can get to them.
Branch County: Marble Lake was producing some good size bluegill and crappie. Pike and perch were also caught. Bluegill and perch were caught on Matteson Lake. Those fishing Randall Lake caught good numbers of small panfish and pike including two fish over 30 inches.
Duck Lake: In Calhoun County was producing some pike for those spearing.
Kalamazoo River: Also has steelhead but like most of the rivers in southwest Michigan, shelf ice and icy ramps are preventing access.
Gull Lake: Is producing some smelt, perch and the occasional lake trout.
Gun Lake: Is producing walleye, perch and bluegills. For walleye, try east of Murphy’s Point or Robbins Bay.
Grand River at Lansing: Anglers are still finding some leftover steelhead below the dams. At the North Lansing Dam and the Portland Dam, fish were caught when floating a golden shiner.
Lake Lansing: Is producing the occasional big crappie. Some are using wax worms instead of minnows.
Round Lake: Was producing a few pike for those spearing.
Muskrat Lake: Catch rates were fair for bluegill but the crappie were slow.
Muskegon River: Has good steelhead fishing with most fish being caught in the deeper holes.