Rivers around the state have open water fishing for the most part. Colder temperatures over the next few weeks should help with ice formation especially in the southern reaches of the Lower Peninsula.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Thumb Lake: Fishing slowed, but anglers were still catching perch along the beach access when jigging minnows or wax worms on the bottom in 8 to 12 feet. Many of the perch were 5-6 inches. Bigger fish measuring 7-9 inches were caught on the bottom in 30 to 60 feet. Anglers have seen a few splake off the beach access site but could not get them to bite.
The few harvested were taken off the boat launch when jigging minnows. Those fishing off the camp and around the island were targeting splake however some caught perch. Anglers are reminded to use caution as ice conditions were not uniform especially in some of the areas that have deep water. Heavy slush made travel a little more difficult.
Lake Charlevoix: The South Arm was ice covered and fishable. Be sure to use caution near the Jordan River mouth and any streams that flow into the lake. The main basin was ice covered near Boyne City, but conditions are unknown. From Boyne City north to Hemingway Point the ice cover was patchy. North towards Charlevoix there was open water.
Traverse City: Had no ice fishing. Both the East and the West Bay were open water.
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Ice fishing was decent on both lakes with some nice perch and crappie being caught.
Manistee River: The steelhead action picked up with the mild weather and those using beads did well.
Pere Marquette River: Steelhead were caught by those fly fishing. Hot colors were pink, purple and blue.
Pentwater River: Had some reports of steelhead being caught.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Black Lake: Snowmobiles and ATVs were driving all over but still staying away from the river mouths. Anglers have caught a few walleye and perch. Pike were hitting on tip-ups with minnows in 20 feet or so.
Burt Lake: The bite picked up for walleye and perch. Those using tip-ups with minnows caught a couple nice pike in 20 feet or more.
Mullett Lake: Had ice however there were still several areas that were not safe. Most anglers are staying close to shore. A few perch were caught in Pigeon Bay and off Parrott Point.
Higgins Lake: Ice anglers are finally heading out though caution needs to be used in some areas such as Detroit Point and Big Creek. Some nice perch were found in 25 feet and lake trout in 80 feet. Anglers were also finding smelt in the evening. Fish were taken off the west launch and both the North and South State Parks in 40 feet as well as off East and West Street in 60 feet.
Houghton Lake: Anglers need to use caution near the pressure cracks, the Cut River and the Muskegon River. Always watch for new pressure cracks that can develop at any time. It was not safe to take vehicles off the west side launch. Ice fishing is going strong however the bite did slow. Those looking for bluegill and crappie may want to try the weed beds in deeper water. The bite seemed to be a short window in the morning and then again in the late afternoon. The occasional walleye was caught in 8 to 15 feet. Most were drilling multiple holes and moving frequently. Pike anglers using perch rigs to lure them in caught a few perch.
Lake St. Helen: Though the bite slowed, anglers were still getting bluegills, crappie and walleye. A couple pike were taken on tip-ups.
Tawas: Had reports of walleye, lake trout and burbot caught in 20 to 25 feet when jigging spoons tipped with minnows out near the artificial reef and in front of Jerry’s Marina in 10 feet during the evening.
Au Gres: Had reports of several pike taken at Northport Marina and Eagle Bay Marina when using tip-ups with minnows. A few large perch were taken in 6 to 8 feet off Palmer Road with jigs and spoons tipped with minnows.