Baitman reports we have good ice and it is Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend

Michigan’s annual “Winter Free Fishing Weekend” will be held this Saturday February 13th and Sunday February 14th. No fishing license is required however all regulations still apply. This is a great time to introduce someone new to the world of ice fishing. Special events will be held statewide. For a list of registered events, click here: http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10364_52261_50497-372353–,00.html

 

 

 

Weekly Fishing Report

A lot of big pike, crappie and perch catches are great crappie better late. Blue gills biting good over grass. Some walleye but not many. Real good last ten days hope cold wave does not slow things down to much

Couple nice pike and a good size perch

Malcolm's Tackle Box's photo.
Malcolm's Tackle Box's photo.

FISHING CONDITIONS ON LAKES CADILLAC AND MITCHELL
FROM PILGRIM VILLAGE FISHING SHOP

The North American Snow Festival’s Ice Fishing Contest is now History.  Hundreds participated on a beautiful 30 degree day.  Thank You Fox Motors of Cadillac for sponsoring the event.  Those who caught the largest Northern Pike, Walleye, Bluegill, Crappie or Perch were awarded a Shappell FX200 2 man flip tent.  Hundreds of prizes were then awarded to the remaining registered anglers weather they caught a fish or not.

Although there are several thousand acres among the two lakes, the West side of Lake Mitchell is still the most consistent area for mixed catches of fish.  There are several areas of living green weed patches in and around the Big and Small Coves.  Find them in 12′-15′ depths and its almost a sure thing.

Often anglers from Southern Michigan are concerned about the ice conditions, at least until they see quads and snowmobiles criss crossing the lakes.  You must be cautious of slush.  Expect 6″-8″ of clear ice with 5″-6″ of white ice on top of that, with 2″-5″ of slush on top of that.  There’s also an inch of crusty snow on top of that.  Cold temperatures are returning which should tighten the lakes up.

The fish are getting confused, warm, cold, snow and rain.  One day limits of panfish are easy, ususally of Crappie.  Fish the same holes the next day and catch only a few.  The bite runs hot and cold.  Over half the winters over and it’s not as easy as when we started.  The fish are there!  Often those using electronics mark plenty of fish but can’t get them to bite.  The days are getting longer.  Fish fisrt light and late afternoons into dark for the most aggressive bite.  Cut more holes then you need and hole hop.  Even when the fish are lathargic there’s always a few that want to play.  When fishing Lakes Cadiilac and Mitchell always set a tip-up.  Pike seem to be anywhere and everywhere.  This species is always looking for an easy meal.  Tip-ups baited with Walleye minnows may catch Walleye but also often catch those 12″ slab Crappies.

The Perch and Crappie are biting on Lake Mitchell.  Nolan VanOrder shows off an 11″ Crappie and 9″ Perch part of his catch.

Fishing with his dad, Trent Mitchell landed a 35 5/8″ Lake Cadillac Pike.  Nice fish, Bad picture.

Zack Gill is the Perch King.  He’s holding a 14″ and 14 1/2″, both over a pound caught on Portage Lake.

Smelt fishermen your prayers have been answered. Anglers are reporting worth while catches of Smelt on Green Lake.

Higgins Lake  –  Want some variety?  The opportunity to catch Perch, Lake Trout, Whitefish, Smelt and Trophy Pike is there.

 

 

 

Thanks Nick Bork for taking this awesome photo today! I had an awesome day with you guys! 6 to 8 inches on the north-end of Higgins Lake

Hooked up on Higgins Lake's photo.

 

 

 

 

Free fishing this weekend!  ‪#‎munuscongbay‬

Michigan Department of Natural Resources's photo.

Today was another great day to be out on Houghton Lake ice fishing!! We had the pleasure of meeting Mark Martin and gladly delivered lunch out to everyone attending his class this afternoon!

Angelo's Party Store on Old US 27's photo.
Angelo's Party Store on Old US 27's photo.

It was a really nice day on the ice. The weather was warm, sun was out late morning and the fish were more active. Check out this nice pike…

Ben Baker's photo.

Buc’s Fishing Report

Saginaw Bay: Ice fishing is very limited and is strictly a nearshore activity as there are just a few locations where shore ice was hanging on. Ice quality is BAD, with thickness varying widely within just a few feet. It is NOT advisable to try and take a snowmobile or ATV out on any remaining ice. The ice is not good off the Pine River access site. Some ice was still hanging on at Palmer Road, but perch fishing was slow and the water was murky. A few small perch were caught off White’s Beach and Pinconning. At Linwood, the marina opened their boat channel and a number of small boats were trolling about five miles out. They caught walleye on crank baits however be sure to watch for ice floes. If anyone launches from Linwood Beach, they should be sure to leave their cell-phone number with the marina, as ice floes can move in and block the channel making it impossible to get back in. The launch at the mouth of the Saginaw River was not useable because of too much ice. Boats were launching from the Hampton Township ramp at the end of Jones Road and fishing about five miles out. The Quanicassee River is wide open, running high and fast. A few crappie and small perch were caught inside Sunset Bay Marina. Any ice from Sebewaing to Sand Point was not safe. The Sebewaing River and the marina are wide open. The water is running high, fast and muddy.

Saginaw River: Most launch sites were useable but take a bag of sand or salt for traction on the ramp. The water is running high, fast and muddy. The Patterson Road ramp at the mouth of the river was not useable because of too much ice.

Little Bay De Noc: Ice conditions remain good in the northern section from Gladstone Bay to Garth Point. Pressure cracks tightened up over the last week making travel better in several areas. Saunders Point is considered DANGEROUS because of open water. Ice in the southern bay improved as far south as Portage Point. A pressure crack at Aronson Island is running several hundred yards south. Anglers are using extreme caution when navigating this area. The best walleye catches were reported south of Aronson Island in 25 to 45 feet when using jig raps with minnows or tip-ups with sucker minnows. Good numbers of large fish were reported. Whitefish were also caught in this area. Fair to good walleye catches in 15 to 20 feet south of the Escanaba River, 25 to 34 feet in Gladstone Bay, 23 to 30 feet near Kipling, and 14 to 24 feet near the Day’s River. The better perch fishing was in 17 to 35 feet from the Second Reef north to the Center Reef when using mousies, wigglers or minnows. Good numbers of smaller perch were taken in the Escanaba Yacht Harbor. Pike were still active and some large fish were taken in 15 to 20 feet just south of the Escanaba River. Try tip-ups with sucker minnows. Those spearing did well in 5 to 10 feet near Butler Island but the water was stained.

With the snow storms the first of the week many of the lakes have slush again Ice fishing season is finally here!

 

Lake Missaukee has 10 to 12 inches of ice and the ice is safe. Call Miller’s Corner @ 231-839-0440 for latest info

Houghton Lake has 8 to 12 inches of ice and pike and walleye, pike and panfish have been biting and it is Tip Up Town Weekend. Call Angelo’s Party Store 898-202-4422 he has all his shanties out this weekend, , Four Season Party Store 989-422-5230 and Wright’s 989-202-4531 H&H Fireworks (989) 366-0126, Lyman’s on the Lake 989-422-3231.

Guys are catching walleye but go small, use a blue head and keep the jig still and leave it on the bottom.

Around Traverse City Green, Duck and Long are  froze but ice is weird so be careful.smelt are biting on green at both access site now. Spider Lake, Arbutus, Ellis Lake, Lake Dubonnet(mud Lake) also have 6 to 10 inches

Fife Lake is froze and they are having there ice fishing contest this weekend call Kathy’s Lakeside Party Store 231-879-4346 for latest info

Hamlin Lake has ice and they are fishing off of Wilson Hills with 5 to 7 inches with a great panfish bite  Call Hamlin Grocery @ 231-843-2058 or Captain Chucks@ 231-843-4458

Portage Lake is froze and, a great walleye bite and perch bite one guy caught a 31 inch walleye  took a photo and released it back to portage lake. Perch are still on the bite with many jumbo’s being caught call Osborn’s @ 231-889-3775 or Dewey @ Don’s Sport Shop 231-735-5028  Manistee Lake just froze and there hoping by the weekend things should get started

Otsego Lake has 7 to 10 inches ice Call Northern Sports @ 989-448-2014 Brian Derminer’s Party Store 989-705-7051 Tony @ Otsego Corner Store 989-7321-8664 for latest info

Higgins Lake is froze they are fishing the south-end with 8 to 10 inches of ice with a great perch, pike and trout bite

The north-end  ice is great. They  have been fishing on 6″ to 8″ (north end) guys are going out and doing great on perch and lake trout. Call Sports Barn @ 989-821-9511 or Higgins Lake Hardware Call Brian @ 989-821-6677 both sports barn and Higgins Lake Hardware got fishbone lures in today along with the hook,line and threaders. Also Evergreen Park is handling bait call them @ 989-821-5425

Lake St. Helen has 8 to 12 inches and pike, walleye, and panfish have been biting. Call Dave @ Malcomb’s Tackle Box 989-389-2100

Lake Margarethe is froze with 6 to 10 inches and quite a few guys going out and a great pike bite along with some good numbers of walleye. Call Skip’s Sport Shop @ 989-348-7111

Crystal Lake is froze over with open spots but nobody was going out yet Call Stapleton’s Corner for latest info 790 Michigan Ave, Benzonia, MI 49616 Phone:(231) 882-4342

Lewiston Report that west Twin has 10  to 12 inches. Call Midlakes Party @ (989) 786-3227 for latest info

Fletcher Floodwater has ice 10 to 12 inches. The flood feast is this weekCall A1 Party Store for the latest info @ (989) 742-4112

Black Bass Bay has 12 inches on Grand Lake. Call Adrian’s Sport for the latest ice update @ (989) 734-2303

Long Lake and Grand Lake have ice call Buck’s Bait and Tackle @ (989) 595-2121 for latest ice info

Black Lake is froze and Sturgeon Season opens this weekend on Black Lake call Parrot’s Outpost in Onaway for latest info

Address: 20628 State St, Onaway, MI 49765

Leroy reports some lakes are froze Call Craig Eyes Have it @ (231) 768-5653 for latest info

Pentwater Lake, is froze and not safe yet call Pentwater angler info 231-869-5357

White Lake is froze but has open water  and a great bluegill and pike bite Call Johnson’s Outdoors for the latest fishing info @ 231-893-6688

Lake Skegemog had a great perch bite yesterday with guys getting nice messes of perch, they received 10 inches of snow last night so it might have slush now. ., Manistee lake is 6-8inches and has a fair bite but the snow storm has put slush up on the ice call Jack’s Sport@ 231-258-8892

Hesperia Sport reports that the smaller lakes have ice lots of guys heading to Fremont lake and guys are going out and getting limits of panfish on the smaller Lakes call 231-854-3965

Harrison Has ice and a few guys are getting out call Ken’s Landing@ (989) 539-3700 and  Mike’s Quick Stop@  (989) 539-1435 Sharps Market (989) 539-9862

Baldwin area some of the guys are getting out but the ice is 5-7inches

Wixom, Sanford, Sugar Springs, wiggins, Pratt Lake and Secord have ice but be careful and the bite has been good for pike and panfish. call Sanford Sport @ 989-687-5161  Chappel Dam Grocery (989) 426-7503   Big R’s Party  (989) 435-2517

Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Burt Lake: Has ice anglers but use caution until colder temperatures have a chance to shore the ice back up. Some were fishing Maple Bay. With the warm weather this week walking out was the safest bet at this time.

Mullett Lake: Some were out fishing on the south end in Scott Bay but again use caution. Ice thickness was variable and can change quickly from one spot to the next. Walking was the only mode of safe travel at this time.

Higgins Lake: Lake trout fishing has been hot! Fish have been caught in 80 to 110 feet when using greys or jigging Swedish pimples, sand kickers and raps. Perch were caught up by the church camp, B&B Sports, Kelley Beach near Flag Point, and Lincoln Avenue on the south end near the State Park. Anglers may also want to try around the Main Island. Fish were caught in 30 to 60 feet. A few pike are still being caught on tip-ups including one 47 inch fish. No word on whitefish yet.

Houghton Lake: Ice conditions were slick making travel just a little more challenging. Some of the better fishing has been right at first light and last light though walleye were caught along the deeper flats at mid-day. For walleye, anglers were using a slow presentation with a jig and minnow head. Put it right on the bottom and let it sit there then bring it up really slow. Some nice crappies were taken on perch minnows. Bluegills were caught near the Middle Grounds and the south shore weed beds. Perch were caught in the East Bay and the pike were still active.

Lake St. Helen: Was producing some nice pike including one measuring 38 inches. Bluegills and some perch measuring 12 to 13 inches have been caught. Crappie fishing was good in the evening. Walleye catches slowed and many were sub-legal. Ice was in good shape with hard snow cover.

Tawas: There’s still some ice up in the “armpit” of Tawas Bay near Jerry’s Marina and also inside the state harbor…but it’s not good quality ice at all. Anglers near Jerry’s caught a few lake trout and brown trout but very few walleye. Smaller perch were also caught. The water was reported as murky after the recent rains. Just a few small perch were caught inside the state harbor.

Tawas River: Was open water. Shore anglers caught a couple steelhead when using spawn.

Au Gres: Did not have much fishing activity due to poor ice or no ice at all.

Au Gres River: Surf anglers fishing at the mouth of Whitney Drain caught several steelhead. Most were floating spawn sacks.


Northwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Torch Lake: Has open water.

Traverse City: Both bays had open water.

Crystal Lake: In Benzie County has open water.

Betsie River: Has steelhead fishing.

Green Lake: Was starting to produce some smelt.

Lake Cadillac: Ice anglers are still targeting pike, walleye and panfish. Anglers are marking fish but getting them to bite has not been easy. Pike numbers were still good for those using tip-ups.

Lake Mitchell: Continues to offer up ice fishing as well. Look for the bite to slow with the onset of much colder temperatures by the weekend.

Lake Missaukee: Still had ice fishing. Anglers were taking panfish and pike.

Manistee River: Has steelhead fishing. With colder temperatures in the forecast, check out the deeper holes.

Pere Marquette River: Has steelhead.


Upper Peninsula Fishing Report

Lake Gogebic: Had deep slush on the north end in Bergland Bay. Try to stay on the hard pack the snowmobiles made for easier travel but drill your holes away from the hard pack. Travel on the west shore was good however wheeled vehicles should not be on the ice. Walleye fishing slowed and the perch bite has not picked up yet. The walleye bite was sporadic with a few fish taken in 15 to 20 feet. Catch rates for perch were limited. Try wigglers in 20 to 28 feet. The east shore boat launch was slushy. It was not as deep as Bergland Bay but the slush did extend from the boat launch to the south end of the lake.

Keweenaw Bay: Anglers fishing off the pier in L’Anse have picked up a couple of rainbow trout on spinners and Cleo’s. Those fishing off Sand Point reported some good catches of coho and a couple splake when casting Cleo’s or Swedish pimples. A couple rainbow trout were caught on spawn and spinners in the Falls Rivers.

Menominee River: The hot spot continues to be the 6th Street Slip with walleye being the target species. Anglers are jigging minnows and plastics in 30 feet. Electronics have been very helpful. Some trout were caught in open water by the dam above Hattie Street. Small Cleo’s and raps worked well.

Little Bay De Noc: Ice conditions remain good in the northern section from Gladstone Bay to Garth Point. Pressure cracks tightened up over the last week making travel better in several areas. Saunders Point is considered DANGEROUS because of open water. Ice in the southern bay improved as far south as Portage Point. A pressure crack at Aronson Island is running several hundred yards south. Anglers are using extreme caution when navigating this area. The best walleye catches were reported south of Aronson Island in 25 to 45 feet when using jig raps with minnows or tip-ups with sucker minnows. Good numbers of large fish were reported. Whitefish were also caught in this area. Fair to good walleye catches in 15 to 20 feet south of the Escanaba River, 25 to 34 feet in Gladstone Bay, 23 to 30 feet near Kipling, and 14 to 24 feet near the Day’s River. The better perch fishing was in 17 to 35 feet from the Second Reef north to the Center Reef when using mousies, wigglers or minnows. Good numbers of smaller perch were taken in the Escanaba Yacht Harbor. Pike were still active and some large fish were taken in 15 to 20 feet just south of the Escanaba River. Try tip-ups with sucker minnows. Those spearing did well in 5 to 10 feet near Butler Island but the water was stained.

Munising: Still has ice in the bay however areas to avoid because of poor ice and/or the movement of ice are Powell Point, the City Docks, and Sand Point. Strong winds coupled with strong currents have caused the ice to deteriorate especially at Sand Point which was pretty much open water except for broken ice near shore. The fishing tug has moved up shore and has cut a different path towards the channel so this area would not be safe. Those on snowmobiles should NOT cross Munising Bay. The better ice was off the Pictured Rocks dock and the Anna River access. Catch rates were mixed with a few splake and whitefish taken on a single egg. Those fishing off the Anna River had poor success.

Munuscong Bay: Was very slow for walleye and perch with the exception of Grassy Island which is where most of the fish were coming from. The ice east of Roach Point was still questionable.

Cedarville and Hessel: Muskie Bay has been producing a few nice catches of perch. Pike spearing is fair to good with plenty of undersized fish. Government Bay is also a very good spot for pike. Hessel Bay has produced some perch.

Southeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Lake Erie: Had no ice. There is one dock in at the Metro Park and a few boats were out trolling husky jerks for walleye.

Detroit River: The water was high and fast and in some areas it was muddy. A few boats were out fishing but anglers will need to pay close attention to wind direction and watch for ice floes coming down.

Oakland County: Shoreline ice was thin but should tighten back up. Anglers on Union and Cass Lakes were targeting panfish when using small plastics and wax worms. Those doing the best were hole hopping to stay on the fish. A few nice size pike were caught or speared in 4 to 10 feet.

Lake St. Clair: Had no ice fishing at all and while colder weather is coming, it will take at least a week of very cold weather before ice fishing returns.

Saginaw Bay: Ice fishing is very limited and is strictly a nearshore activity as there are just a few locations where shore ice was hanging on. Ice quality is BAD, with thickness varying widely within just a few feet. It is NOT advisable to try and take a snowmobile or ATV out on any remaining ice. The ice is not good off the Pine River access site. Some ice was still hanging on at Palmer Road, but perch fishing was slow and the water was murky. A few small perch were caught off White’s Beach and Pinconning. At Linwood, the marina opened their boat channel and a number of small boats were trolling about five miles out. They caught walleye on crank baits however be sure to watch for ice floes. If anyone launches from Linwood Beach, they should be sure to leave their cell-phone number with the marina, as ice floes can move in and block the channel making it impossible to get back in. The launch at the mouth of the Saginaw River was not useable because of too much ice. Boats were launching from the Hampton Township ramp at the end of Jones Road and fishing about five miles out. The Quanicassee River is wide open, running high and fast. A few crappie and small perch were caught inside Sunset Bay Marina. Any ice from Sebewaing to Sand Point was not safe. The Sebewaing River and the marina are wide open. The water is running high, fast and muddy.

Saginaw River: Most launch sites were useable but take a bag of sand or salt for traction on the ramp. The water is running high, fast and muddy. The Patterson Road ramp at the mouth of the river was not useable because of too much ice.

Tittabawassee River: Shore anglers were taking a few walleyes just upstream of the Gordonville Road launch and down at Mapleton. Catch rates were spotty as the river was high, fast and muddy. Best baits were an orange ¼ ounce jig head with a white twister tail to increase visibility. Anglers could launch at Gordonville Road and fish upstream to the Dow Dam or downstream to Freeland.


Southwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Shoreline ice on the inland lakes deteriorated during the rain and warm spell but should tighten up again with the colder temperatures. Extreme caution should always be used on the ice especially in the counties along the Lake Michigan shoreline which are getting significant snowfall this week.

St. Joseph River: Anglers were still catching some steelhead downstream of the Berrien Springs Dam. Try spawn or wax worms. The occasional walleye was also taken further upstream.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Anglers are catching steelhead near the 6th Street Dam and near the mouth of the Rogue River. Most are using spawn and wax worms.

Grand River at Lansing: A few pike were caught on sucker minnows above the North Lansing Dam. A couple walleye were taken on minnows below the North Lansing Dam and in the Red Cedar River.

Muskegon River: Water levels were still a bit high and fast. A fair number of steelhead were still being caught all the way up to Croton Dam.