BIG RAPIDS – Rapid ice development on rivers and streams may result in ice jams and limit access, the DNR said in its weekly report.
Heavy snowfall on the inland lakes will make the ice softer and deep slush will make travel on the ice challenging, the DNR said. Fewer anglers have been out.
In Mecosta County, “the fish are biting,” said Tom Vernon, of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley. “Davis Bridge, they’re getting perch. They’re getting limits of rock bass. They’re deep water jigging for them.”
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Both lakes had very light fishing pressure with the extremely cold weather, the DNR said. The next warmup should help get more anglers out and improve the bite.
The Manistee River is running low, clear, and very cold, the DNR said. Those putting in the time have found the occasional fresh steelhead in the deeper holes. A couple walleye along with some crappie and bluegills were caught on Tippy Dam Pond.
“There’s some fishing going on,” Larry Scharich at Shipwatch Marina, Manistee, said. “But the ice fishing is slow right now. They’re fishing Manistee and Portage Lake. There’s plenty of ice now.”
At Hamlin Lake, ice anglers were targeting bluegills in the bayous. Crappie were found along the drop-offs.
Captain Chuck’s at Manistee reported crappie fishing as favorable and Hamlin Lake had 7 to 11 inches of ice. Pere Marquette Lake has six inches of ice and is offering perch fishing, while inland Lakes have 7 to 11 inches of ice. Fish are being caught on tipups using golden shiners.
“Fishing on the PM has slowed down quite a bit,” Caleb Keegstra at Captain Chuck’s said. “Hamlin Lake fishing has been pretty slow.”
Techniques to target trout through the ice
Courtesy from the Michigan DNR
Many anglers look forward to the opportunity to target trout – and not just on April 25 for the statewide opener. Trout fishing through the ice can be quite fun if you use the proper techniques. Consider the following:
Certain species of trout, particularly brown trout, really gravitate to tip-ups as they linger in shallower water. Consider your depth if you do this type of fishing.
Lake trout and brown trout can be attracted easily by jigging with a spoon. For lake trout, use a piece of smelt or sucker as your bait. For brown trout use the head of a minnow.
Don’t want to sit on the ice looking for trout? Then gear up for the open-water season! Find information about Michigan’s trout species.
Continue to use caution. Toward the end of the season ice becomes soft. Although it may still be more than a foot thick, it might not be strong enough to hold someone safely. Never go out alone, take a cell phone, check the ice ahead of you with a spud and pay attention to the weather. For more safety tips visit Michigan.gov/IceSafety.
If you’re headed out fishing, please do your part to keep yourself and others safe by following COVID-19 public health and safety guidelines. Go fishing only if you’re feeling well. Practice proper social distancing (at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live in your household) and keep a face covering handy for when social distancing cannot be maintained. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer.
All anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license.