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Ice is forming, but Michigan officials urge caution

January 15, 2012 at 09:50 PM

The Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Safety issues are still a concern for those heading out ice fishing, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The department says people should use extreme caution near inlets, outlets, and pressure cracks.

People should be sure to stay back away from open water, the DNR said Wednesday in its weekly fishing report. Most of the lakes to the north have ice, but over the southern half of the Lower Peninsula, lakes still have little to no ice.


Lake Erie: Bluegills are hitting on wax worms and perch on shiner minnows in the Metro Park Marina.

Huron River: Still has good steelhead action off Huroc Park and Labo Park.

Detroit River: Had good perch action from Gibraltar to Ballenger Park. Boats were launching at the Metro Park Marina. Use shiner minnows with perch rigs while fishing the cuts and canals.

Lexington: Had no fishable ice, so anglers are sitting on the docks and punching holes in the ice. Catch rates were slow.

Port Sanilac: Had no fishable ice. Pier anglers caught a couple nice steelhead and a brown trout when casting cleo’s. One small boat went out looking for perch in 20 to 50 feet of water where the weed beds grow in the summer. They marked a good number of bigger fish however they would not bite.

Harbor Beach: The harbor is mostly open. A few were casting for brown trout in the Edison warm water channel however only a couple of fish have been caught since Christmas. There are currently a lot of large gizzard shad in the channel. Those casting off the end of the breakwall had little success.

Saginaw Bay: At Palmer Road, there was a lot of activity for perch in 2 to 3 feet of water. The few anglers out there at mid-week did very well, but as more anglers moved in, the fish seemed to disappear. There is some perch fishing off the docks and small boats in the Linwood Marina. At Quanicassee, anglers are perch fishing in Lindy’s Marina. At Sebewaing, anglers are fishing in the marina basin. Up near Bay Port, anglers are fishing in Sunset Bay Marina and Bayshore Marina. This involves sitting on the dock and punching a hole in ice that is too thin to stand on. Not much going on at Caseville or Port Austin as most anglers are waiting for thicker ice.

Kawkawlin River: Shore anglers fishing from the bridge on State Park Drive caught a few nice perch.

Saginaw River: Had a fair amount of boat fishing off the Rust Avenue launch in Saginaw. A decent number of walleye were caught by those vertical jigging. Anglers will also want to check out the holes downstream which also produce walleye. In Bay City, boat anglers launching off Patterson Road have caught perch in the Bay Aggregate cut, up near the Wirt Stone Dock, and in the shipping channel at the mouth of the river. This is primarily a morning fishery but those fishing in the evening were also getting walleye below the Independence Bridge.

Tittabawassee River: Small boat and shore anglers are catching walleye near the launch ramp at Gordonville Road. Try jigs tipped with minnows or twister tails. Boat anglers near the ramp at Center Road marked a lot of fish but they would not bite.

Quanicassee River: Perch anglers are fishing from the bridges.


No safe ice yet but most lakes do have an inch or two on them, so ice anglers will not have to wait too much longer if it turns cold and stays that way.

Dowagiac River: Should still have some steelhead for the taking.

St. Joseph River: Continues to provide good steelhead fishing.

Paw Paw River: Should still provide good catches of steelhead.

Kalamazoo River: Anglers are still catching steelhead. Try spawn, flies, wax worms, spinner baits or body baits.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Still has boat and shore anglers targeting steelhead and walleye. Try jigs with wax worms, body baits, or spinners.

Grand River at Lansing: Walleye were caught over at Moore’s Park and northern pike caught at both the North Lansing Dam and Moore’s Park. Anglers are using golden shiners for both species.

Muskegon River: Continues to produce good numbers of winter steelhead. Some of the fish have been there for a while and are turning darker, but there are still plenty of chrome fish to catch.


Thunder Bay River: Had no fishing activity.

Au Sable River: The warm weather has extended good fishing conditions below Foote Dam and downstream to Oscoda. There are good numbers of steelhead in the river and some of the boat ramps were ice free. Anglers are reminded of an ongoing study of stocking methods in the river and marked fish are starting to show up. These first returns are only 15 to 18 inches long. Anglers catching legal size steelhead that have a missing adipose fin are urged to keep the fish and take the head to one of the “Head Drop-off Sites” listed on our website. Be sure to include your name, address, date and location where fish was caught.

Houghton Lake: Still has open water in some areas such as Muddy Bay along the west shore and near the inlets and outlets, so use caution when venturing out on the lake. Walleye and crappie were caught in the East Bay and along the north end of the lake. Some bluegills were caught off the south shore boat ramp.

Tawas: Has ice fishing activity inside the state harbor, but nowhere else. Anglers reported some nice fish near the bottom but they would not bite.

Tawas River: Had open water so a few anglers were drifting spawn bags for steelhead.

Au Gres River: Is producing some 8 and 9 inch perch. Anglers are fishing off the state dock and in the marina. When there is ice, break a hole open and fish with a single hook and minnow. The Whitney Drain was open at the Singing Bridge, but no anglers were fishing.


Lake Cadillac: Has ice fishing. Catch rates were good for pike and fair for panfish.

Lake Mitchell: Has ice fishing. Pike were hitting on tip-ups and panfish were hitting on minnows and wax worms.

Lake Missaukee: Should also have ice fishing. Anglers will target panfish along the northwest side of the lake. Pike spearing is usually good along the east side.

Manistee River: Is still producing some nice steelhead for those fly fishing. Fish have been caught in slower water but that will change once the colder temperatures get here.

Pere Marquette River: Continues to provide anglers with good catches of steelhead. Most anglers are fly fishing. Orange and chartreuse are always good colors to try.


Lake Gogebic: Those ice fishing in the early morning or late afternoon have caught walleye and yellow perch although catch rates have not been consistent.

Portage Lake: Has ice. Anglers fishing off the town of Chassell have caught the occasional walleye along with yellow perch, northern pike and black crappie.

Keweenaw Bay: Had no safe ice because of the mild weather.

Little Bay De Noc: Ice conditions are very different from previous years so anglers are only fishing from the “Narrows” north to Garth Point. There are still many dangerous areas throughout the Bay so most anglers are traveling by foot only. Pressure cracks are also causing some problems so anglers need to use extreme caution when crossing them. Fair to good walleye catches reported throughout the north end with Hunters Point and the Kipling Flats the best. Try early morning or dusk when jigging rapalas with or without minnows in 18 to 30 feet of water. Perch fishing was fair to good around Butler Island with minnows or spikes in 10 to 24 feet of water. Perch were also caught on minnows near the Day’s River and in the Escanaba Yacht Harbor when jigging minnows, spikes and wigglers in 6 to 10 feet of water. The harbor is surrounded by open water. Those fishing out from the first yellow gate in 20 feet of water were taking good numbers of pike.

Big Manistique Lake: Has ice fishing however catch rates for walleye were just fair. Some have started driving vehicles out on the ice however anglers are reminded that taking a vehicle out on the ice is never a good idea.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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