Gone fishin’

UPPER PENINSULA

Munising: Ice fishing continues, but anglers might find themselves breaking through the top crust of ice and slush. An area around Sand Point is beginning to show a few small pressure cracks and there are water pockets near the beach. A few coho were caught between Sand Point and the Anna River, but catch rates were slow. Anglers were jigging spoons 20 to 30 feet down. Those targeting splake not only caught more fish but also caught bigger fish. Try minnows off Sand Point or just off the Anna River. For whitefish, try bouncing eggs off the bottom.

Keweenaw Bay: A few lake trout were caught off Pequaming and Whirl-l-Gig Road in waters 240 to 310 feet deep. Some caught smelt between Baraga and Bucks Marina. Try teardrops with wax worms at night. A mix of splake, whitefish, herring, salmon, steelhead and brown trout were caught near the Fall’s River. Early morning was best when using Swedish pimples or a small jig with spawn or wax worms.

Fall’s River: Is producing a small number of rainbow trout.

Little Bay De Noc: Warmer weather is melting the snow from last week’s storm. The bay remains completely iced over and is 40 inches plus in some areas. Jumbo perch were still being caught near Kipling. Try minnows or wigglers in 18 to 45 feet. The Escanaba River is open to the first dam.

Big Bay De Noc: Appears to have bad travel conditions. The snow is melting pretty fast so this week could see better access for anglers. Some were heading out and fishing Kate’s Bay. Fairport had no activity. The area is mostly frozen however there is some open water.

Cedarville and Hessel: Some pretty nice perch are coming from Musky Bay, the east end of Hessel Bay, Cedarville Bay and Little Joe Island. The action is just starting however those with persistence have caught some very nice perch.

-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources

NORTHEAST LOWER

PENINSULA

Harrisville: The harbor was still iced in but with the warm weather and high winds it should open up soon.

AuSable River: Steelhead are making their way up into the river. There have been some fish caught but most seem to have been in the river a while. Anglers are using spawn, wax worms, small spoons and body baits. Warmer weather has anglers out in good numbers but catch rates were down as the river was high and the floe was fast. Ice floes were still coming down and the water was cloudy. The launches are clearing out. Rea Road and Whirl Pool had plenty of parking.

Higgins Lake: Is still ice covered, however no one is fishing.

Houghton Lake: Still has ice but those heading out need to use caution as the pressure cracks are starting to open up and ice along the shoreline is starting to go. A few diehards are still going out for bluegill, crappie and perch.

Tawas: Shore fishing has started off the mouth of the Tawas River where a few steelhead have been caught.

AuGres: Surf anglers clamoring about on the icebergs have caught a couple steelhead and the odd brown trout off the mouth of Whitney Drain.

Rifle River: The sucker runs are just barely getting started. There is still a fair amount of floating ice still coming down the river.

NORTHWEST LOWER

PENINSULA

Platte Bay: Is open with a south wind but closed with ice floe during a north or west wind. The surf at the mouth of the river remains open.

Platte River: Anglers are finding dark fall run fish near the Post Office.

Frankfort: Lake Michigan including the bay is iced in so there is no access for fishing. There is open water in the channel near the Coast Guard Station.

Betsie River: Anglers are fishing at the Homestead Dam. A few fish were caught on spawn in the early morning.

Onekama: Had no open water and no fishing activity.

Portage Lake: Still has plenty of ice for fishing, even though there is some open water near the shoreline. A few perch were caught on minnows and wigglers in the shallows or a bit deeper along the weed beds.

Lake Cadillac: Ice fishing is still possible as of right now but warm temperatures this week could render the ice unsafe by the weekend.

Manistee: Pier anglers caught a few brown trout on spawn. Boats were not able to access the big lake because of excessive ice in the harbor.

Manistee River: Continues to offer good steelhead fishing below Tippy Dam. Anglers are bottom bouncing or floating eggs or fly fishing.

Ludington: Anglers were unable to fish due to excessive amounts of ice in the harbor and on the piers.

Pere Marquette River: Is producing some nice steelhead.

Pentwater: Still has ice built up around the piers and there was an ice jam at the mouth of the channel. Ice floes have filled the channel quite frequently. Anglers caught a fair number of steelhead and brown trout.

SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA

Detroit River: Still has ice floe coming down. Depending on wind direction, there can be open water or heavy floe ice. Anglers were walleye fishing on the days with a west wind because it will blow most of the drifting ice over to the Ontario side. Some walleye were caught in the Trenton Channel.

Lake St. Clair: Some of the boat ramps are ice free but the skid piers are not in. Anglers will have to launch and retrieve their boats without a dock.

St. Clair River: Has floe ice. Depending on the wind, there can be open water or heavy floe ice. Shore anglers have picked up a few brown trout, steelhead, and salmon near the Blue Water Bridge.

Lexington: The ice has broken up around the edges making ice fishing treacherous.The mouth of the harbor is now open.

Harbor Beach: Had an open channel by the north cut in the breakwall. Pier anglers casting hardware and plugs did catch a couple lake trout, steelhead, walleye or brown trout.

Saginaw Bay: Ice along the edge is gone to the point that anglers will need waders to get out. Keep in mind, if the wind shifts, you might not be able to get back. It would be best to put away the ice fishing gear and stay off the ice! A few guys with air-boats are still fishing but most are getting ready for spring.

Shore anglers are starting to fish for perch at the Quanicassee River, the Garner Road Drain, and off Kirk Road. Most caught small fish as the perch really have not come in yet. The Thomas Cut is just opening up. At Sebewaing, the river was fishable but nothing was caught. It appears the fish runs will peak about two weeks later than usual this year because of the harsh winter. We could see an unusually good walleye opener on the rivers because fewer fish will have left by the time the season opens on April 26.

SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA

St. Joseph River: Based on the current water temperature and the weather forecast, this should be a big week for steelhead movement. Floes are still well above average for this time of year. Anglers have caught coho and steelhead.

Kalamazoo River: Has good steelhead fishing at the Allegan Dam.

Grand Haven: Still has ice on the piers so use caution. There has been lake ice out to the lighthouse on the north and south side pier, so fishing has been difficult. Catch rates were slow but a couple brown trout were caught. Pier anglers are using spawn and boats trolling the channel were using planer boards.

Grand River in Grand Rapids: Water levels and floe were up. Boat anglers were using 80 to 100 pound anchors to keep stationary. It might even be a good idea to have a back-up anchor. Boat anglers are bottom bouncing yarns, flies and beads with a 4 to 6 foot leader. Some are floating a quarter size spawn bag. Hot colors were pink, chartreuse or white. Shore anglers fishing the east side near the dam are using pink and chartreuse yarn or wobble glows.

Grand River in Lansing: All the ladders are open. Water levels are too high to safely remove the boards however the fish can jump them. Some reported seeing steelhead in Grand Ledge.

Muskegon: Both the north and the south pier have ice on them, so use caution. The stub pier on the channel is ice free. Anglers are fishing from the south pier, the stub pier or from shore. They have caught steelhead and brown trout when using spawn.

Muskegon Lake: Still had ice so no boats were launching.

Muskegon River: Has good steelhead fishing below Newaygo.

Whitehall: Pier anglers caught coho, brown trout and steelhead when using spawn but the bite was slow. Ice floes coming off the lake still block the channel at times.