Fishing slowed once again with the return of cold temperatures and snow. Walleye, pike and muskellunge season on the Upper Peninsula Great Lakes, inland waters, St. Marys River and all the Lower Peninsula inland waters will close at midnight on March 15th. Walleye and pike season is open all year on the Lower Peninsula Greats Lakes, Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River and the Detroit River.
Today is the last day of Pike and Walleye on the inland lakes. We have ice still in Northern Michigan but safe ice seems to be north of M-72. Otsego Lake has 12 to 18 inches of ice and the perch bite has been good. Skegemog has good ice and perch are biting , and they seem to be a bigger school. Burt lake they are still doing good on perch and there were trucks still driving out tuesday. The UPPER has safe ice and they are still driving trucks out. Long Lake by Traverse City has good ice very few going out and the last few days the bite has been tough.
Steelhead fishing has been tough with the cold weather, but reports there are fish up the rivers and they are getting fresh fish.
Jen Hunsberger caught this nice pike out of Higgins Lake, 40″ 18#!!!!
Lyman’s Weekly Big Pike Contest Winners. Folks are still able to get out on the ice on foot. Drake Hannah (16) from Ludington won the 16 and under division with his 30 1/2″, 7lb northern he caught on a tip-up. Mark Look from HL won the 17 and over division with a 28″ 4 1/2lb pike he also caught on a tip-up. NIce job, guys….we have your prizes at the shop.
Northeast Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
Black Lake: Still had a few anglers but fishing pressure has slowed. Many of the access sites will no longer be accessible and anglers need to stay away from any open river mouths. Harvest numbers were low with only a few small perch taken on spikes and minnows. Those spearing reported undersize pike.
Sturgeon River: Some steelhead were starting to run.
Ocqueoc River: Had steelhead fishing.
Au Sable River: Was producing some steelhead.
Higgins Lake: The best access site continues to be off the North State Park but caution needs to be used. Perch were hitting on minnows and wax worms in 20 to 40 feet but anglers are still doing a lot of sorting. Smelt were also in 20 to 40 feet and were hitting on wax worms or spikes. Rainbow trout can be found in shallow waters about a foot deep near Big Creek and the Conference Center. Most were caught on wigglers.
Houghton Lake: Has open water in the North Bay, the East Bay and at various other points around the lake. Few anglers have been out. A couple were targeting bluegills and crappie in shallow waters along the south shore weed beds. Those anglers are walking out and fishing in shallow waters only. Walleye anglers were fishing in open water near the rivers.
Tawas: Boats launching into Tawas Bay and trolling south of the bay off the “Crib” which is about a mile straight out from Alabaster were getting lake trout in 10 to 20 feet.
Tawas River: Fishing was generally slow with just a couple walleye, pike and steelhead picked up.
Au Gres: A few boats were trolling not too far offshore between Point Lookout and Point Au Gres but angler success varied.
Au Gres River: Shore fishing on the lower river was slow. Fishing pressure at the Singing Bridge was light as anglers were not having much luck.
Pine River: Anglers were trying to shore fish on the lower river near Standish but catch rates for perch were poor as the fish are not in the river yet.
Rifle River: Steelhead were caught in the lower river.
Saginaw River: The walleye hotspot was in the lower river from the mouth upstream through Bay City and as far as James Clements Airport with limit catches (8 fish per angler) common. Most were taken when vertical jigging from boats, either anchored or drifting, with heavy jig heads and stinger hooks baited with minnows. Moving upstream between Bay City and through Saginaw to the confluence, fishing slowed quite a bit which indicates the run is just now entering the lower river from Saginaw Bay. Anglers were getting walleye throughout this reach but they had to work harder for them. Anglers are reminded that the inland walleye season, which includes the Saginaw River will close at midnight on Thursday March 15th and will re-open on Saturday, April 28th.
Tittabawassee River: Both boat and shore anglers caught some walleye along the entire length of the river. Heavy jigs baited with minnows or plastic twister-tails fished right along the bottom were the ticket. The inland walleye season which includes the Tittabawassee River will close at midnight on Thursday March 15th and will re-open on Saturday, April 28th.
Northwest Lower Peninsula Fishing Report
The return of winter has slowed things down. River steelhead fishing is decent in the lower stretches. Water levels were low and clear which makes fishing a little more difficult. Ice on the inland lakes is unpredictable. Caution needs to be used.
Bear River: In Emmet County had reports of some steelhead starting to run.
Traverse City: In the northern part of the West Bay, both Suttons Bay and Omena Bay are open water and the perch anglers were out.
Betsie River: Steelhead are being caught.
Lake Leelanau: The north end of the North Lake was producing a few whitefish but no smelt. The south end of the South Lake has unsafe ice
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: While the cold nights were making ice, it is not recommended that anglers go out ice fishing.
Manistee: Coho salmon and brown trout fishing is picking up for those trolling along the beach. There is one dock in at the First Street launch. Pier anglers caught a couple steelhead and brown trout.
Big Manistee River: Steelhead fishing is decent in the lower river.
Ludington: A few hardy anglers trolling or pier fishing caught steelhead and brown trout. Those trolling were in 10 to 20 feet along the beach.
Pere Marquette River: Steelhead fishing picked up from the Twin Bridges at US-31 to Lake County but cold temperatures have once again slowed the bite.
Pentwater River: Has steelhead for those braving the cold weather.
Michigamme River: A few anglers caught good size pike near the Way Dam.
Sawyer Lake: In Dickinson County had good pike fishing for those using tip-ups or rods with fathead minnows.
Menominee River: Anglers are starting to catch brown trout near the Hattie Street Dam.
Little Bay De Noc: The ice has held up for the most part although areas with moving water or surrounding rocky areas had begun to thaw. Anglers will need to use caution. Some walleye were caught at the head of the Bay when jigging rapalas or using tip-ups in 10 to 27 feet. Perch fishing was fair with most targeting the Kipling flats and north to Garth Point. The few fish taken were caught on wigglers or minnows in 16 to 30 feet. Whitefish moved north into the Bay and were caught between the Second and Third Reefs by several perch anglers.
Marquette: Limits or near limit catches of coho were taken on the bubblers. A mix of brown trout, splake, herring, and a couple kings were also taken but the ice moved back in and locked up access to the bubblers once again. Rivers in the Marquette area had very little fishing pressure.
Au Train: Anglers need to use extreme caution on the ice as the thickness is variable. Some coho, lake herring and Menominee were caught at the mouth of the Au Train River. Anglers are catching them both through the ice and while drifting spawn bags in the river.
Munising: Overall catch rates were lower for coho and smelt. Some managed a few good catches while others reported none. Best time for coho was in the morning with assorted jigging rapalas or Swedish pimples. Few were targeting whitefish as the bite was poor. The occasional splake was caught when jigging for coho. Those spearing reported slightly better action for lake herring when schools of fish were moving through.
Grand Marais: Still had ice within the harbor but low fishing pressure. Anglers were fishing for Menominee in shallower water. A few coho and steelhead were caught in the upper part of the marina.
Cedarville and Hessel: Perch fishing picked up around the Les Cheneaux Islands for those using minnows, wigglers, spikes and mousies. Most of the fish caught were around 8 inches but some did manage to find a few fish up to 14 inches. Smaller pike 22 to 25 inches were caught on minnows. Anglers saw some splake but only a few were caught. Anglers and recreational riders need to be extremely cautious near the island points and high current areas that have opened up or have poor ice.