Michigan's annual Winter Free Fishing Weekend will be held this Saturday and Sunday.
No fishing license is required but all regulations still apply, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment said in its weekly fishing report.
Warm temperatures may hamper ice conditions by the weekend, especially in the southern section of the Lower Peninsula.
Use extreme caution when heading out on any ice this weekend.
Munising - Most anglers are focusing on whitefish. Catch rates were slow and most of the fish caught were small. The occasional splake was caught on minnows. Lake trout were in deep water in the west channel around Grand Island.
Keweenaw Bay - Anglers need to watch for pressure cracks as the ice in these areas is often pushed up or down and can leave a sizable pocket of water. There is open water out from Carla's Restaurant. Do not venture to close to the edge of this area because the ice can break loose at anytime and start drifting.
Lake trout action was good off Jentoft's Dock, Whirl-l-Gig Road, and Old Mission. Anglers did better jigging in 240 to 260 feet of water with most fish in the 15 to 19 inch range. Bigger fish were caught in 70 to 220 feet of water. Try jigs with cut bait out deep and Swedish Pimples in shallow water.
Whitefish action was spotty but some nice fish were found in 40 to 105 feet of water east of the Baraga Marina, out from the Falls River and about a mile north of Indian Country Sports. The lake herring and coho bite was spotty. Most are fishing off Sand Point, Tribal Police Road, and Old Mission. Try 8 to 15 feet down in 30 to 70 feet of water with small jigs and wax worms. No perch but anglers were catching smelt north and south of the Baraga Marina.
Little Bay De Noc - Anglers were still fishing along the northern end from Garth Point to Portage Point. Good numbers of fish have been marked throughout the bay. The better walleye fishing was off the Second Reef when jigging rapalas or using tip-ups in 28 feet of water. Good action off the mouth of the Escanaba River in 25 to 35 feet of water. A few small perch were taken in shallow waters around Butler Island, but the best action was around the Second and Center Reefs when jigging minnow or wigglers in waters 22 to 30 feet deep. Whitefish were caught off Sand Point when jigging spawn or minnows in 80 to 90 feet of water. Northern pike catches were up slightly near Kipling. Try tip-ups with sucker minnows in 10 to 20 feet of water.
Indian Lake - Warmer weather has caused the ice to shift along the pressure crack. Some areas also have water on top of the ice. Danielson's Landing is still the best bet for entering the lake on the northeast side since there was deep snow and slushy spots near Arrow Head. The better perch fishing was on the west side of the lake where a few 9-inch fish were taken on a Swedish Pimple and minnow. A few walleye and pike were caught in the center on both sides of the pressure crack along the north end.
Munuscong Bay - Is producing a few walleye, but with no consistency. Fish were caught in waters 3 to 30 feet deep. Perch fishing was slow and many were small. Mid-March is when anglers anticipate the best perch fishing. The ice was holding, however there are some very deep snow drifts.
Cedarville and Hessel - Fishing out of Hessel was very slow with only an occasional legal size perch taken. Musky Bay was better with several nice catches in 10 to 12 feet of water east of Ducks Bay when using wigglers or wax worms.
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Mullett Lake - Is producing some nice perch for those using minnows in 40 to 50 feet of water. A few small pike along with the occasional cisco were caught in 80 to 120 feet of water. No reports on walleye.
Tawas - Perch fishing is slow with mostly small fish taken. Walleye and pike fishing have been hampered by slushy conditions. Those spearing did manage to take a few pike.
Au Gres - Walleye anglers are going north of the breakwall but catch rates were spotty. Some are only going out to waters 6 to 10 feet deep while others were heading way out to 36 feet of water.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Inland lakes have major slush issues right now. You can't really drive out on any of the lakes in this area and walking is difficult as well. There are some areas you can reach but other spots are covered in knee deep slush. Steelhead fishing should pick up in all the rivers by weeks end. It is still early for the main run but fresh fish should start to trickle in, and the winter fish should become more active.
Crystal Lake - Continues to produce smelt for those using jigs with spikes or minnows.
Green Lake - Smelt fishing was good off the south access site which is just off Betsie River Road. Best baits were jigs with spikes, wax worms or minnows.
Manistee River - Steelhead fishing should pick up with the thaw. Still early for the main run however there should be some fresh fish moving in and the winter fish will become more active.
Lake Cadillac - Anglers are starting to catch a nice mix of bluegill and crappie. Try the east side of the lake where fishing pressure has been low.
Lake Mitchell - Some were catching crappie right up near the hole but the fish are spooked easily. Pike fishing has been good for those using tip-ups. Limit catches were reported.
Pere Marquette River - Look for steelhead fishing to improve.
Southeast Lower Peninsula
Lake Erie - Ice was holding off the Metro Park but caution needs to be used.
Huron River - Steelhead fishing should pick up with the warmer temperatures.
Detroit River - Boat anglers are fishing open water in the canals. Be sure to pay close attention to flow ice coming down the river, especially by the end of the week and into the weekend.
Lake St. Clair - Perch anglers reported spotty fishing. Snow melt should make travel on the ice easier. Run off could muddy up the lake by the weekend, so anglers will want to get out there and fish before that happens.
Lexington - Did produce some decent catches of perch in the harbor. Anglers could see fish in the clear waters however the bite was slow. Try spikes or minnows. A couple rainbow and brown trout were caught on minnows.
Saginaw Bay - Anglers need to be careful this week as strong southwest winds may cause pressure cracks to widen and move. Walleye anglers are going out as far as 8 miles but success was hit-or-miss. Walleye were caught south of the Black Hole. Anglers are going out off Erickson Road and Linwood Road and fishing 20 feet of water. The Slot off Thomas Road is also producing some walleye. Perch fishing is slow over the entire bay but those willing to move around often were catching some fish off Vanderbilt Park and the Sebewaing Marina. Lake trout were caught off the mouth of the Pigeon River.
Saginaw River - Anglers need to be cautious this week, as the thaw will cause deterioration of river ice. Sublegal walleye were caught from the mouth up to Saginaw.
Southwest Lower Peninsula
St. Joseph River - Look for increased steelhead activity by the end of the week.
Kalamazoo River - Should also be a good spot for steelhead and walleye. Boat anglers will need to watch for flow ice.
Grand River at Grand Rapids - Steelhead action picked up and should continue through the weekend.
Muskegon River - Has steelhead if anglers can find a spot to launch. Look for fresh fish coming into the river.