Benzie and Grand Traverse County
The ice fishing report in Northern Michigan is looking very positive. Most of the inland lakes in the area have consistently safe ice for anglers to venture out on. Our guides have been busy scouting and guiding anglers on a daily basis. Being that we have not seen the “arctic blast”, that we experienced the past two years, our guides have been focusing on smaller bodies of water. Walleye, Pike, Perch and Bluegill have been our main target species. It has been very nice to get out on good safe ice the past couple of weeks and we are very optimistic for February and March. Below is a list of lakes and their current ice conditions.
Long Lake in Benzie County has formed 5-6 inches of solid ice. The Pike have been active on a fairly regular basis. You definitely have to pick the right day and barometric pressure. High-pressure days with sunlight have been good. The perch have been small and not very active.
Bass and Otter Lake have also formed 4-5 inches of good blue ice. The snowfall from the past few weeks has made it difficult to walk or tow a jet sled on both lakes. The pan-fish bite has been decent at first and last light. Pike in Bass Lake have been fairly slow but most anglers have had decent tip-up action on the shallow side of the breaks.
Big Platte is 100% frozen. SFM had guides scouting the ice today. It is not recommended to fish as of right now. The shoreline has not formed good ice. 50-60 yards from the shoreline the ice is 3-4 inches. There is currently 2-3 inches of snow on the surface of the ice. Once the shoreline thickens the lake should be ready to fish.
Upper Herring Lake has formed a good base of ice. Most areas have 4-5 inches of good ice. The Walleye fishing has been productive based on the time of day and weather patterns. Successful tactics have consisted of jigging and setting tip-ups. The best depth has been between 16-19 feet of water. The Perch have been small but active.
Ellis Lake, Lake Dubonnet, Spyder, and Arbutus Lake have 4-5 inches of ice. Each of these lakes has a fair amount of snow accumulation, which is creating slushy walking conditions. There have also been several reports of spotty ice conditions because of the snowy conditions. Caution should be taken when venturing out on Spyder and Arbutus. Blue Gill action has been fair on Spyder Lake and the Pike fishing is steady on Lake Dubonnet with most of the Pike being small, 12-20 inches.
Long Lake in Grand Traverse County has frozen 100%. Unfortunately the ice thickness is very inconsistent and unsafe. Crescent shores boat Launch has 3-5 inches of ice with 6-7 inches of snow. This has created a very slushy ice surface and has added a lot of weight to the ice. The ice off of Long Lake Peninsula is very unsafe and inconsistent. SFM highly recommends that all anglers avoid fishing on Long Lake.
Skegemog Lake is offering some great Perch fishing and safe ice conditions. The perch have been very active in 15-17 feet of water. Wigglers and minnows have been working very well. Average size has been 6-8 inches with the occasional fish reaching the 10-11inch mark.
We at Sport Fish Michigan look forward to many safe and successful days during this 2016 season. With that in mind, we encourage all anglers to take this report as reference and not as a guarantee. Ice conditions change with the weather patterns. It is always good to use your best judgment and always check the ice with a good spud and a friend! Tight lines and look forward to fishing with you!