Ice can be found in the Upper Peninsula, but the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said anglers will still need to use caution as first ice can be dangerous.
Ice is building in the northern sections of the Lower Peninsula, the DNR said Wednesday in its weekly fishing report. It said lakes in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula may have skim ice, but no safe ice so those anxious to go ice fishing will need to wait a bit longer.
Little Bay De Noc: Anglers are fishing north of Gladstone only as there is little to no ice south of Gladstone. Walleye action was best just before dark along the north end of the bay, although a few fish were still caught during midday. Jigging with stick baits produced the best results.
Big Manistique Lake: Has ice but anglers need to use caution because recent snow has created slush. Walleye fishing was fair with fish caught by those jigging minnows or by those using tip-ups with minnows. South Manistique Lake was also producing a few walleye and perch just off Curtis.
Very few lakes around the Gaylord area have safe ice. Those eager to get out will want to stay with the small or shallow lakes only. Hubbard Lake will be most likely be open or have dangerously thin ice.
Alpena: The launch ramps are locked in ice, so the only Great Lakes fishing opportunity is in Alpena's harbor where small perch have been caught.
Thunder Bay River: Has ice however the thickness is variable and not safe. The only fishing now is the tail-waters of the Ninth Street Dam, but catch rates were slow.
Au Sable River: Winter temperatures this week may slow the bite; however, a warm-up by Friday should produce some fish.
Higgins Lake: Has open water.
Houghton Lake: Has ice; however, anglers need to use caution as thickness is variable. There is open water in Muddy Bay, off Heights Marina and in the middle. Anglers are fishing in the East Bay and along the north end. Walleye and crappie are hitting in the early morning and evening and pike have been caught during the day. Watch for snow drifts on the lake and remember that snow cover will slow the freezing process.
Lake Cadillac: Ice fishing has begun but anglers still need to use caution especially on first ice. Be sure to check the ice ahead of you as you venture out. Anglers have caught crappie and a few walleye. Pike were hitting good on tip-ups with golden shiners or sucker minnows.
Lake Mitchell: Also has ice but caution needs to be used. A couple limit catches of bluegill were taken on the west side of the lake. A few crappie were caught on minnows and pike are hitting on tip-ups.
Manistee River: Steelhead fishing was good over the holiday break, but probably has slowed now with the deep freeze.
Pere Marquette River: Still has plenty of steelhead along the river. Water conditions have improved and fishing should remain good.
Colder temperatures may slow the bite so anglers will want to concentrate on the deeper holes until warmer temperatures return by the end of the week.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Ice is starting to form on the smaller lakes and ponds, but probably not safe yet. It takes a good week or two of constant cold weather to produce safe ice, and looking at the 10-day forecast, it does not look like we will have safe ice anytime soon.
Lake Erie: The Metro Park Marina was producing some perch until skim ice appeared. A warm-up by the end of the week should improve catch rates.
Huron River: Had good steelhead fishing between Rockwood and Flat Rock. Try floating small jigs with wax worms.
Detroit River: Shore anglers continue to catch perch off Ballenger Park and in the canals around Gibraltar.
Lake St. Clair: Has no fishable ice. All the ramps are closed or the docks are pulled, so there has been no boat fishing.
Saginaw Bay: Has some blow ice starting to accumulate in the bay however there is no safe ice to report. There is little to no snow in the area which is good for making ice however warm weather by the end of the week is not going to help the situation. There are rumors of a few perch being caught in open water off the end of the piers.
Saginaw River: Has open water however run off after the rain has the water muddy. Fishing will not improve until the water clears up.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
There is no safe ice in this area of the state. Heavy snow will be a problem for some lakes that have thin ice only.
St. Joseph River: Continues to provide good steelhead fishing.
Kalamazoo River: Continues to provide good steelhead fishing.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Water levels were still a bit high. Boat anglers should stay away from the coffer dams. Good numbers of steelhead can be found in the river. Anglers are using jigs with wax worms, body baits, orange spinners as well as chartreuse or pink choker bags. Walleye have been caught by those using bucktail jigs or body baits. Boat anglers are vertical jigging when drifting down river.
Grand River at Lansing: Is producing steelhead at the Webber Dam and in Prairie Creek near Ionia. Spawn and spinners work best. The occasional pike was caught on orange or chartreuse spinners.
Muskegon Lake: Is producing a good number of walleye for those vertical jigging. The key is to find a school of perch and you will find the walleye.
Muskegon River: Continues to produce good numbers of steelhead. Water levels are good but look for fish in the deeper holes with the cold weather.