LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Ice conditions throughout the southern half of the Lower Peninsula are not safe and no one should venture out past water that is waist deep, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Those looking to go ice fishing will have to travel north to find safe ice, the DNR said Wednesday in its weekly fishing report. The DNR says the warm weather has been ideal for great steelhead fishing.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Erie: Walleye anglers are fishing Brest Bay with reef runners and deep diving husky jerks. Shore anglers at the Metro Park Marina caught perch and bluegills.
Huron River: Steelhead are being caught on small hair jigs with wax worms.
Detroit River: Boat anglers caught perch in the marinas and yacht clubs along the south end of Grosse Ile. Bluegill and perch were caught off south Gibraltar Road.
Clinton River: The Spillway is open and lots of anglers could be found along the banks. Boat have launched at the Clinton River Cutoff Access Site to fish the marinas and the Spillway.
Lexington: Was slow with only a couple rainbow and a handful of perch caught.
Port Sanilac: Locals were ice fishing on a very small patch of ice over shallow water in the harbor. A couple brown trout were caught on minnows and wax worms.
Harbor Beach: The Edison Plant is back on line and the discharge channel is open for shore fishing. A few nice brown trout were caught. Perch fishing through the ice is done as the ice is not safe.
Port Austin: Had fishing activity in the harbor. A few pike were speared and small perch were caught.
Saginaw Bay: Had good perch fishing off Palmer Road. The fish were caught in shallow water 2 to 3 feet deep as ice conditions were poor. Keepers were running 7 to 12 inches but a lot of sorting was necessary. A few walleye were caught however the bigger ones seem to show up after dark. Good perch fishing through bad ice in 2 to 3 feet of water off White’s Beach, Pinconning, and Newman Road. Lots of reports of people and machines going through the ice, so stay in shallow waters only and use caution. The Linwood Marina is preparing to dredge for the upcoming spring boating season, so they are not letting anglers in to fish. Some were still trying to get out near Quanicassee, but many were getting wet. Hot Ponds were slow, the power plants are not generating warm water.
Saginaw River: Walleye were caught near the confluence of the Shiawassee and the Tittabawassee River. The better fishing was from Lee Street in Saginaw downstream to Cass Avenue. Keepers were running 15 to 18 inches. Boat anglers were casting or vertical jigging with jigs and minnows. In Bay City, some nice perch were caught in front of the Bay Aggregate Cut. Walleye anglers were sorting through a good number of small fish. Ice at the mouth made launching at the Patterson Road ramp difficult, but the launches near the Independence Bridge were useable.
Tittabawassee River: Boat and shore fishing improved upstream of the launch at Gordonville Road. Walleye were hitting on small jigs with minnows fished on light line. Imerman Park and Center Road had no reports.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
St. Joseph River: Is producing some walleye at the Berrien Springs Dam.
Kalamazoo River: Has good steelhead fishing between the Allegan Dam and New Richmond. Look for walleye at the Allegan Dam.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Continues to produce steelhead up near the dam for boat and shore anglers. Walleye were caught near Fulton Street and Wealthy Street
Grand River at Lansing: Has open water but fishing is at a stand-still for the most part. No steelhead to report in this area so anglers are traveling to Grand Rapids.
Muskegon River: Had fair to good walleye fishing near the Rogers Dam.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Mullett Burt Lakes: Are producing decent catches of perch. Pike action has started to pick up.
Grand Lake: Still has ice fishing but watch for pressure cracks and thin ice.
Long Lake: Still has ice for anglers targeting perch.
Thunder Bay River: Most of the river is open water. Where there is ice, it is not safe so fishing is confined to wading below the dam.
Fletcher Floodwaters: Had ice fishing as well however use caution.
Lake Margrethe: Is producing walleye and panfish.
Higgins Lake: Still had good ice but watch the areas that have springs close to shore. Smelt fishing was good in 25 to 35 feet of water off the west launch and the North State Park. Try wax worms or spikes in the evening. Perch can still be found near the Sunken Island and Treasure Island. Some nice pike were caught along the drop-offs. Lake trout and whitefish were caught 1 to 5 feet off the bottom in 80 to 120 feet of water. For rainbows, fish near the Conference Center or Big Creek.
Houghton Lake: Ice anglers were still taking a fair to good number of walleye, pike and panfish.
Tawas Bay: Anglers were still ice fishing back by Jerry’s Marina but catch rates were spotty with only a few perch, a couple legal walleye or a couple pike speared in 10 to 20 feet of water. Those inside the State Harbor reported seeing a few lake trout and a lot of suckers through the holes.
Au Gres: There is no ice in the bay.
Au Gres River: Had minimal ice in the marina basins along the river. The only fish caught were sub-legal walleye and a few perch.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Charlevoix: Walleye fishing remains the top activity. More and more anglers are getting the occasional brown trout when using tip-ups. Panfish action was slow so with the best time to fish in the early morning or evening.
Birch Lake: Is producing some walleye.
Little Glen Lake: Was producing decent catches of yellow perch.
Lake Cadillac: Ice fishing is going strong with decent catches of walleye, pike and panfish.
Lake Mitchell: Has good ice and continues to produce pike, walleye and panfish.
Lake Missaukee: Ice fishing is fair to good for walleye, pike and panfish.
Manistee River: Continues to produce good steelhead fishing below Tippy Dam. Bright chrome fish and those getting ready to spawn were caught on egg flies.
Pere Marquette River: Has good steelhead fishing in the lower river.
Keweenaw Bay: Catch rates for salmon were hit-or-miss off Sand Point. Those casting or jigging from boats had little success for coho and lake trout. Rainbow trout were caught near the bridge that’s just down from the hot water discharge on the Falls River.
Little Bay De Noc: Ice conditions remain about the same with very little or no snow. Vehicles are not crossing the pressure cracks. Most are fishing from the Terrace Bay Inn north to Garth Point. A few were out fishing to the south of this area however the ice is not safe. Catch rates for walleye and perch were down a bit even though anglers were marking good numbers of fish. Walleye were caught between the Narrows and the Black Bottom when using tip-ups with sucker minnows in 25 to 38 feet of water. Fish were caught on tip-ups or when jigging rapalas tipped with a minnow in 22 to 30 feet of water near the Second and Center Reefs or near Kipling. Most of the perch were small. Water clarity was very good so anglers could see bigger fish, but they would not bite. Try jigging minnows or wigglers in 5 to 23 feet of water. The better catches were in deeper water. Gladstone Beach is producing a few perch. Whitefish were caught out from the Terrace Bay Inn in 33 to 45 feet of water. Some are fishing by the Escanaba Lighthouse but the ice was questionable.
Munising: Ice conditions are not consistent so fishing has been limited. Most anglers were fishing the east shoreline between the City Pier and the hospital. Catch rates for whitefish and splake were slow and most of the fish were small. Try a single egg or wax worm on the bottom in 30 to 70 feet of water. A couple coho were also caught.
Big Manistique Lake: Is still producing some walleye along the east side. Try tip-ups with minnows in 7 to 10 feet of water. South Manistique Lake is producing a lot of northern pike as well as some walleye and yellow perch. Minnows worked best.
Munuscong: Anglers were having no luck with walleye. Perch fishing is slow which requires anglers to move around and be extremely patient.
Cedarville and Hessel: Have a lot of nice perch to offer. It takes some time and some moving around but fish were caught in Musky Bay, Hessel Bay and off Little Joe Island when using minnows, wigglers, and wax worms.