Crystal Lake has seen quite a bit of ice fishing pressure the past few weeks since it has frozen over. With lots of good solid ice, measuring an average of 9”, anglers are able to fish anywhere they want. Perch fishing has been fantastic most days, with the occasional slow day here and there. Perch rigs have been producing well when fished in waters anywhere from 24-35 feet. Whitefish and lake trout are starting to be caught, but they haven’t moved up shallow yet. Anglers having the most success are fishing anywhere from 100 to 150 feet of water. Smelt action is heating up in earnest, and reports are that several anglers have had 150+ smelt evenings/nights when fishing for these tasty fish.
Long Lake has lots of ice, but the bite has slowed considerably of late. Walleye anglers are still managing to scratch out a few here and there, but the hot walleye bite from a few weeks ago is over.
Lake Leelanau, however, has had steady walleye action lately in the Southern Lake. Anglers fishing at dusk both jigging and fishing tip ups have seen action. North Lake Leelanau has been very poor so far.
Big Glen Lake has been producing some spotty perch action—the perch that have been caught have been of good size, even if the numbers haven’t been high. Little Glen has had better numbers of perch the past week or so. Small jigs tipped with wax worms or wigglers when they can be purchased are producing as are the standard perch rig with minnows.
Portage Lake has had some great perch action for some anglers, and terrible perch action for others. From the sounds of things, those anglers that are willing to move a lot and chase the schools are the anglers that are finding the success. The anglers that take a more stationary approach are finding the bite next to impossible. The standard perch rig or small jigs tipped with spikes or wigglers are the best bet.
Further to the south, Muskegon Lake has been mostly a dud despite reports to the contrary. Anglers have struggled to not only find perch, but also to get them to bite. Seasoned ice anglers that are well familiar with Muskegon Lake’s perch fishing are even finding the bite difficult.
Other Area Lakes and Rivers:
Crappie, pike, walleye, and good-sized perch are being caught on inland lakes. Steelhead fishing pressure is low, making this a great time to beat the crowd.
Hamlin Lake: Bluegill, crappie, and perch are being caught.
Lake Cadillac: While the bluegill, crappie bite has been slow, pike fishing has been good for both tip-up and spear anglers. Some walleye and good-sized perch.
Lake Charlevoix: A large pressure crack is forming around the drop-off at 95 feet.
Lake Missaukee: Perch, bluegill, and crappie are all being successfully targeted.
Lake Mitchell: Anglers have been targeting perch, pike, bluegill, and crappie. Perch anglers are getting the best results by moving to find schools of active fish.
Manistee River: Steelhead fishing on the Manistee is providing a great way to get away from the crowds on the lakes.
Pere Marquette River: While the steelhead bite has been good, cooling temperatures will likely slow the bite.