Baitman Michigan Free Fishing Weekend Fishing Report

Little mess of smelt and herring on Higgins Lake last night.

No automatic alt text available.

West Grand Traverse Bay froze over and they are catching nice perch in front of the boardman river and bowers harbor, also lake trout and ciscoes.

PM Lake in Ludington has a great perch bite with jumbos being caught on wigglers and hali jigs. Pentwater Lake has numbers of perch but no size.


This is the weekend to get out and try ice fishing as Michigan’s annual “Winter Free Fishing Weekend” will be held this Saturday February 17th and Sunday February 18th. No fishing license will be required however all regulations will still apply. Special events will be held statewide and will be subject to weather conditions. Click Here for a Schedule of Events


Millers Corner

24” Lake Missaukee today!

Image may contain: outdoor and nature

Another walleye out of Missaukee caught on Miller’s Minnows She’s a beauty!

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, sky, outdoor, water and nature

Lyman’s On The Lake

Logan found a limit of gills and crappie in HL a few days ago. He normally uses orange tung jigs with spikes, but that morning they wanted a glow jig with waxies. Logan was in about 7 feet in the weedbed.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling


Lots of ice on Missaukee as they are driving trucks out. The walleye have started to bite .Opening at 7am. Fish on! Call Miller’s Corner @ 231-839-0440 for latest info

White Lake has slowdown on the big perch but bluegill and pike have started biting.
Call Armstrong’s on White Lake (231) 894-6753 or Johnson’s Outdoors for the latest fishing info @ 231-893-6688


Around Traverse City the big story is they are fishing on west grand traverse bay and catching jumbo perch 4 to 6 inches of ice, also lake trout and ciscoes. Boardman river has been really good for steelhead.. Guys out on Long Lake catching walleye, pike and perch. Some nice perch out of long lake on wiggler in 28-30 of water. Have not had many reports on green lake smelt this week. Spider Lake, Arbutus, Ellis Lake, Lake Dubonnet(mud Lake) also have great iceinches Call roys for latest info @ 231-946-5633

Lake Skegemog has ice from 10 to15  inches guys were heading catching perch the last few day lots of sorting the lake is in great shape, fish shallow water as the bigger ones seem to be in shallow water. Manistee lake is 10 to 12 inches with fishing fair.. Bear and Guernsey Lake have a great  trout bite.  call Jack’s Sport@ 231-258-8892

Fife Lake is froze and pike have been biting on the smaller lakes  call Kathy’s Lakeside Party Store 231-879-3341 for latest info

Ice report for the week. Upper Hamlin Lake has anywhere from 12 to 15 inches inches on it. Here Marquette lake has good ice and a great perch bite with big perch being caught.  inches in most spots. Just use caution out by the shipping lane. Pentwater lake also has 10 -12  inches and has cooled off the last couple days and smaller perch also. Call  Captain Chucks@ 231-843-4458 or Lower Hamlin Grocery @ (231) 425-4420

They are fishing little glen and some are fishing big Glen and  they are catching the big perch,. Lake Leelanau has turned and slowed the last few days but should get better on the walleye, north Lake Leelanau has a fair laker and whitefish bite.  Call   Empire Outdoors@ (231) 326-5433 or Roadside minnows 231-944-5229

Portage Lake has been fair on perch and ciscoes, walleye and pike fishing has been slow this week.Call Osborn’s @ 231-889-3775 or Dewey @ Don’s Sport Shop 231-735-5028  Manistee Lake is froze and catching pike, and perch.

Otsego Lake has 15 to 18 inches and good perch and walleye some are fishing Chub lake also has great bite this week on trout, perch and pike. 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 good ice over the entire lake, with some areas coming in at 12 inches….no snow on top of ice…..lots of little perch, but they are catching smelt this year and ciscoes, some during the day .Lake trout are ok and a few pike being caught.. Call Sports Barn @ 989-821-9511 or Higgins Lake Hardware Call Brian @ 989-821-6677   Evergreen Park  @ 989-821-5425.

Lake St. Helen has 10 to 15  inches and pike, walleye, and panfish have been biting. Call Mike @ Saint Helen Bait Shop 989-808-1814

Lake Margarethe is froze with 10  to 12 inches and  lots of guys have been fishing with good pike and walleye. perch fishing has picked up. Call Skip’s Sport Shop @ 989-348-7111

Crystal Lake is froze lots of little perch. Call Stapleton’s Corner for latest info 790 Michigan Ave, Benzonia, MI 49616 Phone:(231) 882-4342

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

Fletcher Floodwater has ice 12 to 16 inches Call A1 Party Store for the latest info @ (989) 742-4112

Grand Lake has good ice. Call Adrian’s Sport for the latest ice update @ (989) 734-2303

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

Black Lake is froze and lots of guys fishing the lake this year. pike walleye and perch are being caught Call Parrots Outpost@ (989) 733-2472 Address: 20628 State St, Onaway, MI 49765

Burt Lake: Ice anglers were taking a decent number of perch from Maple Bay which is on the west side of the lake. Try live minnows.

Mullett Lake: Anglers were taking a few perch in front of Aloha State Park and in Scotts Bay.

Hesperia Sport reports that the smaller lakes have ice lots of guys heading out with good gill and pike bite. 8 to 10inches of ice on most lakes. call 231-854-3965

Harrison Has ice and good perch bite on Budd Lake 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 7 -9 inches

Wixom, Sanford, Sugar Springs, wiggins, Pratt Lake and Secord have great ice  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

Saginaw Bay: For those heading out, ice conditions have not improved much and new snowfall has covered areas of thin ice and soft spots making them harder to see and judge. Anglers need to be extremely cautious. A good rule of thumb is; if nobody is fishing in a particular area, there may be a good reason for it and maybe you shouldn’t go there either! Many walleye anglers were going miles offshore but some have taken limit catches 1 to 1 1/2 miles out from Pinconning south to Linwood in 10 feet. The biggest share of activity was off Linwood in 17 to 20 feet. Catch rates were hit-or-miss with some getting limits while others did not do as well. Perch anglers were getting fish in 6 ½ to 7 feet off the end of Linwood Road. Quite a few anglers fishing 7 to 8 miles off the Bay City State Park were getting walleye. Anglers did well around Spoils Island off the mouth if the Saginaw River. The fish were suspended at 18 feet in 30 feet over the shipping channel and were hitting on smaller jigs and lures. On the south end of the bay, walleye anglers were going 7 miles out from Finn Road to fish in 20 feet however anyone that goes out from Finn Road needs to watch out for thin ice created by the Hot Pond discharge. Perch fishing finally picked up off Vanderbilt Park near Quanicassee in 8 feet but so many people descended on that area that apparently the fish left. Fishing should be better during the week when there’s less pressure. Sunset Bay Marina had a lot of activity with walleye anglers fishing along the Bar which is about a mile west of the deepest part of the Slot. Ice conditions off Thomas Road are not good and anglers should avoid the area. Perch fishing was slow from Sebewaing to Bay Port. Not many anglers were out and the deep snow made the ice hard to judge. There was open water off the Sebewaing VFW and off Rose Island. > In Wildfowl Bay, some did really well on perch but most caught very few. The key seemed to be spending enough time on the ice and either sitting tight and letting the fish come to you or moving around a lot and finding some active fish. At Caseville, ice anglers hugging the south side of the pier caught a few lake trout and walleye. They also reported seeing whitefish but were not catching many. Port Austin had little activity with only a couple ice shanties out.

Saginaw River: Fishing along the lower river was pretty good with lots of anglers around the U.S.S Edson and at the river mouth getting good numbers of walleye, but the snowstorms stopped everything as anglers reported marking lots of fish but they would not bite. Good depths were 17 and 23 feet downstream of the Independence Bridge near the Edson, and in the channel in 28 feet at the mouth. Anglers are cautioned to be extra careful where they are walking; as an angler went through in a large fishing hole that was cut and abandoned without being marked near the Edson. There’s been so much activity at some locations, the ice looks like Swiss cheese. At the upstream end of the river, there wasn’t much activity off Wickes Park but the turn basin by Ojibway Island had a few anglers and many were scattered all the way from First Street to Bay City, but success was spotty and small fish dominated the catch. Watch for bad ice conditions around both sides of the Zilwaukee Bridge and around Crow Island.

Muskegon Lake: Perch anglers are getting fish near the black buoy and to the west of it in 30 to 45 feet. Fish were also caught out from the sand docks in 42 to 44 feet. While many were heading out further, those fishing about 50 yards offshore were taking a good number of fish. They are sorting out the small ones but those putting in the time have taken some limit catches of good size fish. Pike anglers were still taking a fair to good number of fish off Heritage Landing.

Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Black Lake: Fishing slowed but some walleye were caught on minnows in 18 feet in the morning or at dusk. Many of the walleye were around 21 inches but some were undersize. Some 10 to 12 inch perch were caught on wigglers, spikes and minnows in 10 feet. A few 24 to 36 inch pike were speared or caught on tip-ups with large minnows. There were no reports of any musky caught.

Burt Lake: The better fishing for walleye and perch was in the morning or evening.

Mullett Lake: Fishing activity slowed but anglers were still getting some perch and a few walleye. A couple large pike were speared.

Higgins Lake: Ice fishing continues but anglers should still use caution near the inlets. The lake had 5 to 7 inches of snow on top. Pike spearing continues with some nice fish taken in 15 to 20 feet. The lake trout bite slowed. Perch anglers are getting some but were also doing a lot of sorting to get some keepers. Most of the action has been around the Main Island, Sunken Island and on the south end. Smelt anglers were still getting fish mainly at night in 40 to 60 feet.

Houghton Lake: Anglers are still advised to stay clear of the large pressure crack in the East Bay which runs from the canal on the west side of the East Bay and shoots northeast. Anglers can fish inside the East Bay but do not try to cross over into the main body of the lake. There is also a pressure crack at the entrance to the North Bay so use caution. Walleye anglers are seeing fish but the bite was slow. Orange and glow jigs tipped with a wax worm seemed to work best.

Tawas: Ice fishing was kind of spotty off Jerry’s Marina and out near Tawas Point. A few perch were caught near the reef. Walleye and pike fishing were slow but a decent number of pike were speared.

Au Gres: Walleye and pike were caught on the northeast side of the breakwall. Off Booth Road near the tip of Pointe Au Gres, some walleye and lake trout were taken in 8 to 9 feet. Down in Wigwam Bay, anglers going out off the end of Hale Road caught walleye and perch to the south or southwest towards the mouth of the Pine River in 8 to 10 feet. The perch were running 7 to 10 inches with a few up to 12 inches. Be sure to watch for the active pressure crack out there!

Northwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report

Thumb Lake: In Charlevoix County was producing some perch. Anglers were catching splake but many were small.

Portage Lake: Lake herring fishing remains strong over the deeper water. Perch fishing was hit-or-miss. Most anglers were concentrated along the shallow sandbar off North Point and to the west.

Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Ice anglers are getting a few walleye. Panfish including crappie and perch have been caught on both lakes including the coves on Mitchell.

Manistee Lake: In Manistee County had a lot of anglers fishing out from Penny Park. Rumor has it they caught some nice pike on tip-ups or when spearing. Perch and crappie were also caught.

Big Manistee River: Steelhead fishing should pick up with the warmer weather especially up around Tippy Dam. The river was frozen in the lower end.

Pere Marquette River: Should also have some good steelhead action.

Upper Peninsula Fishing Report

Keweenaw Bay: Smelt fishing was good at the head of the bay as well as out from the Baraga Marina after dark. The lake herring action was fair in 40 to 60 feet. Lake trout fishing was good out from the Whirl-I-Gig.

Little Bay De Noc: Catch rates slowed considerably and as a result angler participation was low. Walleye anglers reported very few catches even though they were marking fish. Anglers were as far south as the Ford River but no reports came in. Most of the walleye fishing was near the Escanaba River and south to Portage Point when jigging rapalas in 25 to 40 feet. Mixed catches of walleye and perch were reported off the Second and Third Reefs when using rapalas tipped with minnows or wigglers in 30 feet. Overall perch catches were down but some nice jumbo fish were caught. Many small perch were reported around Butler Island. Walleye were caught at the mouth of the Day’s River but most were undersize. A few large northern pike were caught in the same area when using tip-ups with sucker minnows in 18 feet.

Munising: The ice was holding within the Bay. It is not recommended that anyone try to cross the channel especially from Sand Point due to unsafe ice and strong currents in the area. Ice anglers did fair to good for coho and whitefish and fair to good smelt action was reported off Sand Point. Coho were averaging 14 to 16 inches and whitefish up to 18 inches. Coho anglers were using jigging spoons such as Swedish Pimples and the smelt anglers were using Hali jigs. The splake action was slow and the majority of fish caught were undersize. Those burbot fishing at night have done well with fish up to 28 inches caught on cut bait or smelt.

Grand Marais: The harbor had fishable ice and anglers did well for Menominee. There is ice just beyond the bay but it was not safe at this time.

Cedarville and Hessel: Fishing was slow around the Les Cheneaux Islands once again. A few perch were taken on minnows, wigglers, wax worms and mousies in 15 feet. Many were around 9 inches with a few up to 12. Anglers are seeing smelt and splake but no fish were harvested.