Those fishing in the southern reaches of the state need to use caution especially with the fluctuation in temperatures. Some of the more protected lakes had ice but the warm-up and rain did not help ice conditions. Ice jams may cause fluctuations in river levels, so caution needs to be used. Anglers are reminded to wear a life jacket, test the ice before you go, don’t go out alone, and be sure to tell someone where you will be and when you plan to return.
Lake Erie: Only had a few bluegills and some perch caught at Metro Park. Anglers are dock fishing only, as there is no ice.
Detroit River: Small perch were caught off Ballenger Park.
Lake St. Clair: Had very little fishable ice and with the rain and warm temperatures this week, conditions are not expected to change.
Lexington: Steelhead were caught on just about anything dropped down the hole including wax worms, spawn bags or a bare hook. The fish averaged 4 to 6 pounds.
Port Sanilac: A couple anglers casting spoons in open water caught some steelhead, a brown trout and a big lake trout.
Harbor Beach: Anglers caught perch from the Offshore Marina and the City Marina. The Detroit Edison plant is still off-line and the discharge channel is frozen over so no fishing opportunity there.
Saginaw Bay: A lot of perch activity was reported off Palmer Road in 2 to 3 feet of water. Had ice off Jerry’s Marina where anglers caught walleye and perch or speared northern pike. Some of the walleye were sub-legal and some of the perch were small as well, but a few nice fish were also caught. There was perch fishing in 2 to 3 feet of water at the Pinconning Park and off Newman Road. Catch rates were better before the sun came up and the bigger fish seem to move back offshore. Anglers inside the Linwood Marina were doing a lot of sorting but getting some keepers. There were unconfirmed reports of a few walleye being taken from 6 feet of water off Vanderbilt Park near Quanicassee. Up at Sebewaing, ice anglers were out behind the sugar beet plant, at Geiger Road and in the City Marina. At Caseville, lots of small perch were caught in the river and the marina. No lake trout fishing along the breakwall as the ice out there is not safe. At Port Austin, perch fishing was slow in the harbor because of the baitfish, but a couple spearing shacks were out.
Kawkawlin River: Bridge anglers caught perch in the lower river.
Saginaw River: There is too much ice for shore and boat fishing, but not enough for ice fishing. A few were trying to fish off the parks and near the pilings however this is not recommended due to safety issues. Remember, river ice is seldom safe due to the fact you have moving water under you. Extreme caution needs to be used.
Tittabawassee River: Fishing has been difficult due to floating ice. A couple boats fishing up by the Dow Dam caught a few walleye when casting jigs and twister tails. Most of the lower river was ice covered but the ice was not safe.
Ice conditions in this region of the state are variable due to the changing weather.
St. Joseph River: Has elevated water levels in places. Steelhead are still in the river so look for the bite to improve with warmer weather.
Kalamazoo River: Has open water but steelhead fishing.
Portage River: Had reports of high water near Vicksburg.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Still has a good number of steelhead along the river and up near the dam. Fair to good walleye catches were also reported.
Grand River at Lansing: Walleye and pike anglers are targeting the waters at Moore’s Park. Near Ionia, water levels were up but steelhead were caught in Prairie Creek.
Lake Lansing: Is producing pike for those using tip-ups with minnows. For bluegill and crappie, try wax worms, spikes or small minnows.
Lake Ovid: Had slow fishing with only a few small bluegills to report.
Muskegon River: Steelhead activity has slowed. Some perch along with a couple walleye were caught in the Hardy Dam Pond.
Grand Lake: Might be safe for foot travel but not vehicles. Rain and warm temperatures took out much of the snow and some of the ice. There was some open water so anglers need to use caution and stay away from those areas. Those fishing reported fair to good catches of walleye and perch.
Long Lake: Also had areas with open water. Those heading out to fish should avoid those areas even if ice has started to form again, as it will not be safe ice.
Au Sable River: Catch rates for steelhead have picked back up.
Lake Margrethe: Is producing some walleye. For perch, try jigging small minnows.
Lake St. Helen: Was producing some panfish. Try jigging wax worms, mousies or wigglers. For walleye, try Swedish Pimples with small minnows.
Higgins Lake: Lost a little ice after the rain however the lake is still frozen and should refreeze by the weekend. Perch and pike were still being caught on the south end off Lincoln Avenue. Some have also started spearing for pike. Before the rain, smelt were caught off the west side launch in 40 feet of water.
Houghton Lake: Has ice however anglers need to use extreme caution along the west shore and Muddy Bay. These two areas have been the problem spots this year, with open water and unsafe ice. Walleye have been caught in the East Bay while pike were everywhere and hitting on tip-ups with sucker minnows. Some nice perch were caught along the south shore.
Tawas: Small perch, a brown trout, steelhead and a couple pike were taken inside the State Harbor.
Au Gres River: Anglers were still catching small perch and sub-legal walleyes.
Lakes with safe ice were producing fair to good catches of walleye and perch in Antrim, Charlevoix and Emmet Counties. Ice conditions were improving however some inland lakes still had open water or areas that were questionable. Caution needs to be used. Those using tip-ups for northern pike reported good catch rates.
Lake Charlevoix: The South Arm was producing fair catches of walleye in the early evening while the smaller lakes appeared to have good fishing all day long.
Lake Leelanau: Was producing a few walleye.
Cedar Lake: In Leelanau County was producing pike and smelt.
Lake Cadillac: Had standing water but colder temperatures should freeze it back up. Travel should be easier with less snow on the lake. Catch rates were up and down for panfish and pike.
Lake Mitchell: Also had some standing water. Catch rates were slow to fair with pike hitting on tip-ups with sucker minnows and panfish hitting on small jigs with minnows or wax worms.
Lake Missaukee: Is producing panfish but the pike fishing seems to slow each time we get a cold snap.
Manistee River: Steelhead fishing has been good especially for those fly fishing. The fish are in their winter patterns.
Pere Marquette River: Also had good steelhead fishing especially with the warmer temperatures.
Lake Gogebic: Fishing has picked up for walleye and yellow perch.
Keweenaw Bay: Has no ice as of this report.
Teal Lake: Near Neguanee, is producing some perch.
Manistique Lakes: Had slow action with only a few walleye and northern pike caught. Tip-ups with minnows caught the most fish. There was some snow cover on the ice. Be sure to check the ice ahead of you and use caution.
Munuscong: Anglers are fishing perch in 3 feet of water towards Grassy Island. Catch rates were slow but a few nice fish were caught when jigging or using tip-ups with minnows. Those targeting walleye were in the bay or out in waters 25 feet deep.
Cedarville and Hessel: The action in Musky Bay has slowed however some perch were still caught on wigglers in 10 to 12 feet of water. Little Joe Island is also producing some perch. Ice shanties were out in Hessel Bay, which provides good northern pike spearing opportunities this time of year.