Marquette: Ice anglers fishing the Upper Harbor have reported incidental catches of diving ducks when using tip-ups with minnows under the ice. Anglers are advised to fish as far away from open water where waterfowl have congregated. This will help to minimize the chance that foraging birds will get caught on a hook or tangled in fishing line. If a bird is caught, the best course of action is to reel it in, remove the hook/line and then release the bird. Retrieving the bird through the ice is preferable to simply cutting the line. If a bird is badly injured, anglers are encouraged to contact a local wildlife rehabilitator for assistance. Licensed rehabilitators are listed online at michigandnr.com/dlr/.
Keweenaw Bay: Is producing some smelt for those fishing at night with a teardrop and wax worm between Baraga and Bucks Marina. The bite was slow for coho and lake herring. Catch rates for lake trout were hit-or-miss. Anglers are fishing out from the Whirl-l-Gig and Pequaming or on Newton’s, Farmers and the Big Reef. They are using jigs with smelt or cut bait.
Munising: Trout Bay was producing some limit catches of coho, lake trout and a few herring. A few small whitefish and splake were caught off Munising.
Menominee: Few anglers were on the bay however some were targeting panfish near the pilings by the lighthouse.
Menominee River: Anglers are being warned that an ice breaker is scheduled to come in soon. It will come in from the bay and move upstream to the Marinette Marine to help a ship with its departure. The local paper has advised anglers to stay clear of the bay and the river in that area. A couple bluegills were caught near the Menikaunee launch and behind K-Mart. Pike and walleye were targeted near the Mystery Ship launch. Those fishing the open water on the Michigan side caught a couple steelhead when drifting flies, spawn and yarn or casting small spoons and rapalas. Walleye fishing through the ice on the Wisconsin side was slow but a few were caught in the late evening when jigging a piece of minnow or wax worm.
Little Bay De Noc: Still has good ice however travel conditions were not good. Those taking motorized vehicles out were getting stuck in deep drifts. Some have removed their ice shanties because of the conditions. Catch rates were fair for whitefish in 75 to 85 feet of water off Sand Point. Perch fishing was fair off Kipling. They are using wigglers in 10 to 23 feet but many were small so they were released. Most of the walleye caught near the Second Reef or Gladstone were sub-legal. Ice shanties near the Escanaba Power Plant have been removed because of ice breakers opening the shipping lanes.
Indian Lake: In Schoolcraft County was producing some perch and walleye.
Munuscong: Catch rates were fair along the shipping channel in waters 20 to 27 feet deep. Anglers can see fish but the bite was slow.
Cedarville and Hessel: Have lots of ice. Anglers say the best travel method is by snowmobile. Perch fishing in Cedarville, Musky Bay and Hessel Bay was fair for those using wigglers in water 10 feet or deeper.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Fishing activity has increased with the warmer temperatures. Inland lakes are beginning to produce better catches of perch and some walleye. Many smaller lakes are reported as snowed in with no access.
Cedar Lake: About five miles north of Oscoda is providing a fair to good number of perch, bluegill, crappie and walleye.
Van Etten Lake: Is also producing panfish, walleye and pike. The better fishing is usually along the west end of the lake and off the YMCA Camp.
AuSable River: Rea Road and Whirlpool were open enough to launch however you will need four-wheel drive. Steelhead are in the holes but ice on the banks will make it difficult to get to them. The gas line was productive for those using small spoons, wax worms, spikes or spawn. Be sure to watch for snowmobile traffic on the trails. Many are out riding because conditions are excellent.
Higgins Lake: Some are taking smelt at night. Those jigging off the bottom or using tip-ups have caught lake trout. Look for the perch bite to pick up with the warmer weather. Rainbow trout were hitting on spawn near the Conference Center.
Houghton Lake: Catch rates for bluegill should pick up with the warmer weather. Walleye anglers were doing well.
Tawas: Perch were caught inside the harbor and off Jerry s Marina. A few walleye were caught in 20 feet out near the tip of Tawas Point. Those spearing managed to take a couple pike.
AuGres: Perch action was spotty in six to eight feet off Palmer Road. Those targeting walleye were going out five miles or more.
AuGres River: Walleye anglers were catching mostly sub-legal fish.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Grand Traverse Bay: The West Bay was producing good catches of lake trout. Whitefish were caught in both bays.
Lake Leelanau: Those using tip-ups have caught some nice pike.
Lake Cadillac: Crappie anglers are fishing off Kenwood Park. Those targeting walleye have actually caught some nice crappie on tip-ups. For pike and perch, try the southeast side of the lake.
Lake Mitchell: Is finally producing some bluegills. The better fishing was at the mouth of Big Cove.
Manistee River: Steelhead can be found in the pockets and pools. Most anglers are now using minnow patterns. Below High Bridge the river is iced up and not fishable.
Pere Marquette River: Is producing steelhead and some brown trout. Look for the fast water and try to get away from the shelf ice.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Erie: Perch have been caught off the Metro Park Marina however anglers will need to sort out the small ones. Bluegills were hitting off Sterling State Park.
Detroit River: Pike anglers were concentrating around Grosse Isle. For perch, check out the canals around Gibraltar when using minnows, wax worms or spikes.
Lake St. Clair: Catch rates were not good as the fish were scarce or very small. Thick ice and deep snow are not helping. Anglers are hopeful that warmer weather this week will reduce the snow cover and have the fish feeding again.
Lexington: Had ice anglers targeting steelhead and brown trout. Catch rates were hit-or-miss. A couple pike were caught.
Port Sanilac: Also had anglers out targeting steelhead and brown trout.
Harbor Beach: Had a couple anglers spearing pike in the marina.
Saginaw Bay: Walleye were hit-or-miss but still being caught five to six miles off Pinconning Park, 15 feet of water off Linwood and 17 feet off Parish Road. Perch anglers were getting a few in seven feet off the end of Newman Road and Townline Road, near Pinconning. Perch were also caught in five feet off Vanderbilt Park and Hidden Harbor off King Road. Walleye anglers accessing the bay at Thomas Road were going across the Slot, across the Bar, and on out to either Buoy No. 12 or Buoy No. 1. The distance to either buoy is miles offshore. At Sebewaing, anglers fishing inside the marina caught bluegill, crappie and perch. Ice anglers at Sebewaing are reminded that on Thursday February 20, dynamite will be used to break up some of the river ice. It would be