Ice fishing has taken off in the northern sections of the state. Those getting out on inland lakes to the north are getting bluegills and pike. The southern half of the Lower Peninsula had no safe ice yet.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
While some lakes had enough ice for anglers to start getting out, apparently the ice is not safe on all the lakes in the area.
Manistee Lake: In Kalkaska County had a few anglers out fishing.
Lake Missaukee: Had ice anglers targeting panfish and pike.
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Ice fishing is going full bore on both lakes. Anglers have caught panfish, pike and a couple walleye.
Manistee River: Not many anglers were out but those braving the cold were rewarded with the occasional steelhead.
Hamlin Lake: Had a few anglers however extreme caution needs to be used as ice thickness is very inconsistent.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Montmorency County: McCormick Lake had open water over half of the lake and just a couple inches of ice at the boat launch. Those using tip ups and slammer rods with minnows in shallow water caught a couple small brown trout and rainbow trout. East Twin Lake was producing small perch.
Fletchers Pond: Has ice near the public access site however avoid the pressure cracks and use extreme caution as ice thickness is variable. Anglers were targeting pike with tip ups, and panfish with small jigs tipped with wax worms or spikes though the panfish bite was slow. Largemouth bass were caught and released on tip ups.
Higgins Lake: The south end had thin ice only, no safe ice yet. The north end had open water. No anglers have been out.
Houghton Lake: Ice fishing is going strong however anglers should stay clear of any inlets and outlets, the western part of the East Bay and avoid crossing any pressure cracks. Anglers are getting lots of small perch along with a few keepers.
Bluegills were caught when fishing multiple holes to find schools of fish around the weed beds. Most are using tear drops with mousies, wax worms and spikes. The best walleye bite was in the early morning. Pike were more active early morning and at night.
Lake St. Helen: Anglers are ice fishing though caution needs to be used near any inlets or outlets where snowmobiles have gone through. Those fishing have caught a few walleye, crappie, and pike.
Tawas: A few boats going out of the Tawas River were trolling and jigging for walleye in 20 to 30 feet. Those trolling body baits were getting a few fish down towards Alabaster. Ice conditions off Access Road near Jerry’s Marina are very sketchy at best and extreme caution needs to be used. A few walleye anglers using jigs tipped with minnows in 7 to 10 feet caught a couple keepers, but most were too small.
Au Gres: Those fishing Northport Marina reported good pike fishing when using tip-ups. Pike were also caught inside Eagle Bay Marina. A few perch anglers were reported off Palmer Road, but no reports of any fish caught.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Inland lakes in the area have snow on top of thin ice and will need more time before anglers can get out. Boats are fishing the bigger rivers for steelhead, but launches are starting to ice up making it more difficult.
St. Joseph: A couple pier anglers were out targeting steelhead. When they can get out, boat anglers were fishing close to shore.
Grand River near Grand Rapids: Anglers are still getting some steelhead on spawn or when floating a jig tipped with a wax worm.
Rogue River: Is also producing some steelhead in the lower river. Most are using a jig with a wax worm.
Muskegon River: Continues to produce some steelhead and pike.
White River: Those fishing down near the mouth caught a couple steelhead.
Dickinson County: Inland lakes in the area have ice and had some slush after a warm sunny day. Anglers are targeting pike and panfish.
Manistique River: Had a fair number of steelhead.