Anglers are reminded that a 2019 Michigan Fishing License is required by April 1. While the calendar says spring is here, the weather is taking its time with the transition. Ice fishing continues to the north, but caution needs to be used. Open water fishing can be found to the south.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Ocqueoc River: Anglers caught a couple steelhead.
Thunder Bay River: Had steelhead and Atlantic salmon.
Otsego Lake: Still had ice fishing and anglers were getting bluegills and rock bass on wax worms in 10 feet. Those targeting perch had little to no success.
Fletchers Floodwaters: Was producing perch, bluegill, and pumpkinseed.
Au Sable River: Steelhead and Atlantic salmon fishing has picked up in the lower river for those wading or boat fishing.
Higgins Lake: Ice fishing continues. Some of the shoreline ice was starting to deteriorate especially near the natural springs. The best place to get on the lake was at the North State Park. Smelt were caught in 30 to 40 feet from the west launch to the North State Park. Lake trout were still found in 80 to 100 feet. Rainbow trout were caught between the North State Park and Big Creek in shallow waters 3 feet or less. You will need waders in some areas. Perch were found in 40 to 60 feet.
Houghton Lake: Ice fishing continues and could last for a couple more weeks. Those heading out will want to check the access points as not all may not be accessible due to crumbling shoreline ice or ice piles. The bluegill bite picked up and while fish were caught during the day, the better action seemed to be at night with a tear-drop and wax worm about a foot off the bottom in 10 to 12 feet. Chartreuse or purple were the hot colors. Perch were caught but the fish were very small.
Tawas: Has open water in the marina. Those fishing off the mouth of the river caught a few walleye, steelhead and suckers. Watch for debris from the river.
Au Gres River: Those surf-casting near the Singing Bridge caught steelhead including the occasional limit catches. Those drifting spawn in the lower river had little to no luck.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Charlevoix: Ice anglers were still catching lake herring.
Thumb Lake: Splake fishing was hit-or-miss; however, small perch were caught.
Torch Lake: Ice anglers targeting burbot on the north end have done very well; however, getting onto the ice was becoming more difficult because of poor ice conditions from water running off the boat launch.
Traverse City: It sounds like the shore ice is not in the best shape on either the East or the West Bay. A few anglers caught whitefish and burbot. A couple steelhead were caught in the Boardman River.
Betsie River: Steelhead fishing was hit-or-miss as one day anglers had multiple catches and very few on the next.
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Ice fishing continues to hang on. Though the bite was slow, some panfish were caught on Lake Mitchell.
Manistee River: Is producing fresh steelhead in the lower river.
Hamlin Lake: The ice along the shore has deteriorated significantly thus limiting access. All the access points have open water. Ice fishing could be done.
Pere Marquette River: Is producing steelhead.
Pentwater River: Continues to produce steelhead. No big number yet however some of the fish that have been caught were good size.
Menominee River: Those fishing off Hattie Street and up near the dam caught a few brown trout on rapalas. There was a lot of ice floating and starting to jam up below Hattie Street.
Little Bay De Noc: Ice conditions are holding although some areas of slush are present in the middle of the bay. Travel was mainly by ORV and snowmobile. Most are getting on the ice from the boat launch at Kipling and targeting yellow perch around the Second and Third Reefs when jigging minnows or wax worms. Catch rates were fair.
Keweenaw Bay: Ice conditions are day-to-day as melting and freezing is producing honeycomb ice. Extreme caution needs to be used. The lake trout action was poor to fair when jigging cut bait just off the bottom in 100 to 225 feet. Coho were spotty and the whitefish bite was slow. The smelt action was good two hours before and after dark with lights in 40 to 65 feet. The active fish were sporadic as anglers would catch a bunch in a short amount of time then wait for the next batch to show up. No steelhead to report in area rivers.
Marquette: Fishing had started to pick up. Coho along with the occasional Chinook and brown trout were caught in the Upper Harbor near the “Bubbler.” A few lake herring were also caught. The city plowed a small path to the beach, so anglers are now able to launch boats in front of the Dead River. Most were jigging but a few tried trolling with limited success. The Lower Harbor still had ice on it but with each warm day that is changing rapidly. No anglers had been out on the Lower Harbor ice so no word on those conditions. Almost all the rivers in the area were ice free as you reach the mouth however the water is high and dark due to runoff. Those fishing the Chocolay River picked up some nice brown trout.
Au Train: Ice in the lower harbor was deteriorating. The conditions are starting to change rapidly so it may be a good idea to stay off the ice. The mouth of the Au Train River has open water.
Munising: Ice conditions were holding as night temperatures have been in the teens.
Those fishing Bay Furnace, Trout Bay, Sand Point and near the Anna River access reported slow catch rates with only a few splake or coho caught. Some started in the early morning and never marked a fish but then a school of coho came through about noon and they managed to catch a couple. Most are using jigging spoons.
A few were starting to use spawn off the dock at the mouth of the Anna River where there is typically open water later in the afternoon. No smelt to report.
Manistique Lake: Bluegills and crappie were caught in the South Lake.
Cedarville and Hessel: Anglers caught perch when jigging wax worms or minnows in 12 to 17 feet in Musky Bay and Hessel Bay. The fish averaged 6-9 inches. Word has it splake were caught in Hessel Bay when jigging minnows in 16 feet. Anglers still need to use caution in the channels and around the islands where there is a strong current.