Anglers are ice fishing in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula and in the Upper Peninsula. Caution still needs to be used especially during the warm spells.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Erie: Had some skim ice along the shoreline. Boat anglers trolling crank baits were still getting a few walleye in Brest Bay.
Detroit River: Anglers were getting a few more perch but were still sorting out the small ones. Fish were caught around Grosse Ile as well as in the canals and marinas. The occasional crappie was also caught. Bluegills were hitting on spikes and wax worms. Boat anglers were getting a few walleye in the lower Trenton Channel.
Lake St. Clair: Has skim ice only in the canals and marinas. There is no fishable ice. The boat launches are open however there has been very little fishing activity.
Saginaw Bay: Boat anglers fishing for walleye reported slow to fair catch rates however a few that put in a whole day did manage to get up to 5 fish. Boats were launching from Patterson Road. A few perch anglers were out fishing in shallow waters only between Quanicassee and Fish Point. Any ice anglers should use caution and stay in shallow waters only.
Saginaw River: Boat anglers reported slow to fair walleye fishing at best. There have been no tag returns from caught walleye which indicates slow catch rates, or the fish caught were sub-legal.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Ice conditions were still not safe in Southwest Michigan. Most lakes had open water for the most part. The only fishing activity has been steelhead anglers targeting the rivers. St. Joseph River: The steelhead bite improved with the warmer weather. Those fishing during the cold spells were targeting the deeper holes.
Kalamazoo River: Steelhead fishing improved during the warm up however the return of cold air will once again slow the bite. Most were still targeting fish up near the Allegan Dam.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Continues to produce steelhead especially during the warm up. Anglers were drifting and floating spawn, beads and flies.
Muskegon River: Continues to produce some steelhead both in the shallows and the deeper holes. The water had a slight stain after the snow melt so flashy patterns seem to work best.
Muskegon Lake: Anglers caught a few walleye when casting rapalas.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Higgins Lake: The only ice was some skim ice on the northeast side. The rest of the lake is open water where anglers could still find some rainbow trout off the North State Park. This would be a good time to replace old line, sharpen hooks, and oil those reels so they are ready to go.
Houghton Lake: Anglers are advised to stay off the ice near Flint Road. There is open water in the middle of East Bay however both the north and the south end of the bay had ice anglers. Anglers were walking out from the south launch, the west launch and off the campground on the north end of the lake. Pike are hitting tip-ups with golden shiners. The best walleye bite was an hour before sunset. Anglers are using spoons tipped with minnows. Hot colors were orange, chartreuse and nickel blue. Panfish were hitting jigs tipped with wax worms or spikes. Hot colors were pink, purple and wonder-bread.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Anglers are fishing smaller lakes for the most part. Caution should still be used with above-average temperatures this week. Rivers in the area continue to produce steelhead along with the occasional coho salmon.
Antrim County: The small lakes were producing some good panfish action. Most fish were caught right on the bottom in 10 to 12 feet.
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Anglers are ice fishing on both however travel on the ice was by foot only, no machines were out there so the ice can’t be all that good yet.
Manistee River: Anglers continue to catch some good size steelhead right along with a few coho. Spawn, beads and flies were the ticket.
Little Manistee River: Anglers are reminded that the Little Manistee will close to fishing on January 1 and will not reopen until April 1.
Pere Marquette River: Those fly casting picked up a few more fish this week.
The recent warm weather has made ice conditions unsafe in the west end of the Upper Peninsula. Just because you can see anglers out on the ice does not necessarily mean it is safe. The long-range forecast is predicting freezing daytime temperatures and single digits at night which should provide angling opportunities over the holidays. On the east end, anglers on the inland lakes near Newberry are finding panfish. The lakes south of Munising are providing walleye, pike and panfish. There is snow pack in the northern sections.
Manistique Lakes: Ice anglers have found walleye, northern pike, and panfish.
Two Hearted River: Has been quiet with no reports. Anglers should be able to find a couple steelhead in the lower river.
Due to the upcoming holidays, this will be the last fishing report for 2018. The report will not be updated again until the week of January 7, 2019.