Safety issues are still a concern for ice anglers and those heading out need to use extreme caution, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said in its weekly fishing report.
Little Bay De Noc: Ice conditions were favorable north of the Narrows, but in Escanaba from the light house south is open water. There has been ship traffic through the bay recently, and with the high winds the ice has blown out leaving this area with open water, so anglers are advised to stay north of the Escanaba River. Overall fishing has slowed, with the better walleye bite off the Center Reef at night when using glow jigs or tip-ups with minnows in 18 to 24 feet of water and out from the Terrace Bay Inn in 25 to 30 feet of water at dusk. Several large northern pike were also caught. Perch anglers have been moving around to find fish but catch rates were spotty. A few fish were taken off the east side of Butler Island in 10 to 14 feet of water.
Indian Lake: Ice conditions are still poor near the mouth of the Indian River, just north of the West Shore beach (Silver Creek), and both north and south of the boat launch in Lange's Bay. Ice anglers are advised to stay in the area where all the anglers are and not venture to other areas. There is still a large pressure crack running north and south down the middle of the lake. Perch are running 6 to 10 inches but most are on the smaller end of the measuring stick. Try jigging or tip-ups with minnows. Walleye catches were slow but a few fish were caught on Swedish Pimples with a minnow or perch rigs. Most of the shanties are set up in the northeast section of the lake near the golf course or farther north.
Munuscong Bay: Perch and pike are scattered throughout the bay. Try 3 to 8 feet of water with minnows.
Drummond Island: Is producing good numbers of perch off Grape Island, James Island and Rutland Island.
Cedarville and Hessel: Conditions have improved here, however anglers should stay away from the points. Hessel Bay had some good perch and pike fishing for those using minnows and wigglers. Perch were averaging 9 inches in Musky Bay. Try 8 to 12 feet of water with wigglers and wax worms.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Mullett Lake: Is producing some yellow perch and though many were small, a few bigger fish were also showing up. The south and east side were more productive than the north end. There was also a report of the occasional rainbow trout caught. Those spearing have not had much luck.
Grand Lake: Had good ice fishing with anglers catching some nice perch along with a few walleye.
Thunder Bay River: Small perch are being caught however few anglers were out.
Hubbard Lake: Is producing a few walleye.
Higgins Lake: Anglers still need to use extreme caution near the boat launch on the west side of the lake. Since vehicles went through the ice, it is no longer consistent and needs more time to refreeze. Smelt have been caught in the evenings in 30 to 40 feet of water off the North State Park and Elm Avenue. Lake trout and whitefish are just off the bottom in 100 feet of water in the North Bay. For lake trout try tip-ups with sand kickers or jigging. For whitefish, anglers are jigging or tight line fishing. For yellow perch, try 20 to 60 feet of water off Sam-O-Set Park, south of Detroit Point, the beach south of Flag Point, or near B & B Marina.
Houghton Lake: Still has good walleye action along the north shore and in the East Bay in 8 to 11 feet of water along the drop. Pike action is also good on the south end when using tip-ups. Panfish are hard to find and the bite is slow.
Tawas: Perch fishing is spotty in Tawas Bay but a few nice fish were taken in 20 feet of water when using Swedish Pimples and wigglers. Catch rates for walleye were slow. Pike spearing was also slow as anglers report the fish are not moving much.
Au Gres: Most fishing activity is on the Au Gres River, where anglers after perch are also catching a large number of sublegal walleyes. Those with cameras reported seeing the bigger perch however they swim up, examine the bait then ignore it.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Charlevoix: Is producing some walleye.
Lake Leelanau: Is producing some walleye but panfish were slow to bite.
Lake Missaukee: Had fair to good panfish action.
Manistee River: With the cold weather, steelhead fishing has been quiet.
Lake Cadillac: Ice fishing was fair with panfish and pike being caught.
Lake Mitchell: Is also giving up some panfish and pike. Try the coves for panfish and pike were hitting on tip-ups with sucker minnows. Some nice perch were also caught just off the bottom.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Erie: Bluegills were caught in the Metro Park Marina. Try small teardrops with spikes or wax worms. Perch are there but the bite is slow. Those heading out to the Banana Dike have caught perch however this trip is 3 miles out. Anglers have moved out to 19 feet of water in Brest Bay for walleye however no reports yet.
Huron River: Has shelf ice which is not safe for boat anglers.
Detroit River: Perch have been caught around Gibraltar, Horse Island and Airport Bay. Some panfish were caught in the marina at Wyandotte.
Lake St. Clair: Has lots of ice fishing for perch however the action was spotty. Some are catching keepers, others are catching small fish only, and some are not catching much of anything.
Lexington: Reported slow fishing.
Saginaw Bay: Lots of fishing activity but success was spotty. Ice conditions are variable out on the bay, so anglers are advised to be cautious. There are a lot of active pressure cracks, especially on the west side of the inner bay. Snow could make it harder to see areas of poor ice, so anglers need to be extra careful out there. Gizzard shad continue their winter die-off. In general, perch fishing is spotty with lots of sorting to do. It is still worth giving it a try as anglers manage good catches here and there. Try moving around frequently until you find an active school of bigger fish. Lots of anglers off Pine River and Palmer Roads but catch rates were spotty. Keeper perch were 6 to 9 inches. No walleye to report. Some are taking the occasional perch in 3 to 5 feet of water off White's Beach, and some walleye about 3 miles out. Anglers are just starting to venture out off Erickson Road, but use extreme caution due to the active pressure crack. Perch and walleye were caught off the mouth of the Saginaw River however many of the fish were small. Near Quanicassee, a few perch were taken in shallow waters off Vanderbilt Park, but the walleye anglers were heading out about 5 miles where the action was hit-or-miss. Those fishing off Tietz Drain and Thomas Road were going out 5 to 11 miles however extreme caution needs to be used. Perch fishing was spotty from the Sebewaing VFW north to Mud Creek. Perch and bluegills were caught in the Sebewaing Marina. Walleye fishing in the Slot was just getting underway. Slow fishing at Port Austin and the Pigeon River.
Saginaw River: Lots of sorting out the small ones for both perch and walleye from the mouth upstream to the Independence Bridge in Bay City. Catch rates were dominated by sublegal walleye 11 to 14 inches which are present in large numbers. The same is true upstream from Bay City to Saginaw. These small walleye indicate the strength of the natural reproduction now taking place in Saginaw Bay.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Fishing for bluegills has slowed in this area of the state however morning and evening were still the best time to fish. Ice conditions continue to be variable. Some areas have received a lot of snow which insulates the ice and stops the freezing process. Extreme caution needs to be used.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Steelhead action was very slow. Anglers will want to go with light line and a jig with wax worms or a small spawn bag. Some walleye are still being caught.
Grand River at Lansing: Look for a few walleye over at Moore's park. Pike were caught below the North Lansing Dam.
Lake Lansing: Is still good for pike fishing. Most are using tip-ups with sucker minnows or golden shiners. Bluegill and crappie were caught on wax worms, spikes and minnows. Largemouth bass have also been caught but that season is closed.
Park Lake: Had fair to good bluegill fishing. Try neon wax worms. Some nice crappies were caught on minnows and wigglers. Try about halfway down in deeper water.
Lake Ovid: Anglers are ice fishing however few reports have come in. For bluegill and crappie, try near the islands or the beach.
Sessions Lake: Is still producing bluegills, crappie and the occasional walleye. Better crappie and walleye fishing at dusk and dawn.
Crystal Lake: In Montcalm County is usually good for winter bluegill, perch and crappie. For perch, try minnows, wigglers or butter worms.
Reeds Lake: Anglers will want to avoid the area on the northwest end of the lake near the channel. The ice was not safe. Small perch were hitting on minnows, spikes and wax worms, but the fish were small. Good crappie action after dark about halfway down in 40 feet of water with minnows or wax worms.