It is hard to believe we are already nearing the end of February. With the consistently changing temperatures and snow accumulations this past month we have had a challenging job of trying to keep up with the changing lake conditions in the greater Traverse City Area. Most of the lakes in this report will be facing the inevitable challenge of slush and water weight over the course of the next few weeks. We ask that all anglers use this report as a simple reference and not a guarantee as to what the ice conditions truly are. The best report any angler can get on ice conditions is to truly check it themselves as frequently as possible in order ensure accuracy and safety. We wish everyone a safe and successful end to February!
Long Lake in Benzie
Long Lake currently has 9-11” of good ice. Anglers are catching northern pike and smaller perch with the occasional blue gill mixed in. The lake is currently holding 4-6” of slush and snow mix on its surface making it very challenging for anglers to walk and travel on at this time.
Upper Herring Lake
Upper Herring is reported to have fishable ice off the state access, roughly 8-9” of ice. The slush is starting to take is toll on this specific body of water making travel a bit of challenge. Anglers have reported catches of walleye on the northern shoreline drop off areas in depth ranges from 15-20ft.
The east end of the lake has continued to remain in the 8-10” range of thickness. The western end of the lake is reported to remain around an average of 6-7”. The walleye fishing has been slower in most areas of the lake. Smaller perch and the occasional northern pike are being captured on the eastern end of the lake.
Green Lake in Interlochen is fishable but we recommend extreme caution. With Ice thickness varying from 7-10” in many locations. Anglers have been using machines on the entire lake as of last week. The snow accumulations and slush have been getting increasingly worse with the warming temperatures. The smelt fishing off Betsie River Road and the DNR state launch near the music camp has been best between 7 and 8 pm in 40-55ft of water.
Long Lake in Interlochen
Long Lake had fishable ice off the Crescent Shores Rd DNR Launch Site. The ice in this area was reported to be 8-9”. Anglers have been fishing 9” of ice in Settlers Cove in the south corner. The northern end of the lake is currently holding 8-9” of ice. Anglers have been utilizing snow machines, four-wheelers and side-by-sides throughout the lake as of last week. The snow accumulations and warmer temperatures have created some challenging slush conditions. With the ice quality on this specific body of water mostly being comprised of white ice. We warn that with the warmer temperatures this ice strength will weaken very quickly. Please use extreme caution in the weeks to come when fishing Long Lake.
North and South Lake Leelanau
The south lake currently has an average of 8-9” of ice throughout. The slush conditions on the south lake are starting to create challenging travel conditions for most anglers traveling on foot and ATV. The north lake is currently holding an average of 8-9” of ice and anglers are reporting a good walking surface with limited snow and slush.
Big Glen Lake
Big Glen is currently holding 5-6” of good ice. Anglers are reporting good catches of lake trout and perch on most of the lake. The snow and slush conditions are reported to be fair for both foot and ATV travel.
Skegmog has formed 8-9” of ice allowing anglers to access the perch grounds located off of the DNR Launch Site only. These anglers have been finding good size and quantity. It is still recommended that anglers use extreme caution when fishing any areas other than the southern shoreline. The lake surface remains in great shape as it has been very wind swept through the most recent snowfall. Slush conditions are reasonable to work with at this time.
Bear Lake in Manistee County
Bear Lake has formed 11-12” of ice. Anglers have been fishing off of all public acres sites and can catching panfish and perch with some regularity.
Portage Lake in Manistee County
Portage Lake has formed safe fishable ice off the main public downtown access site. Anglers have found 7-10” of ice with even better ice East of the lunch ramp. Anglers venturing any further west than the Onekama Village Park Access are encouraged you do so with caution. Anglers are running machines on most of the lake. Anglers are not running any machines west of Portage Point. It’s is recommended that everyone fish east of the point.
Lake Mitchell has formed 12-14” of ice. Anglers have been utilizing Little and Big Coves as well as the DNR Launch Ramp to access the lake. The ice near the creek outlet is not stable and should be avoided with warming temperatures this coming week. Slush is building in most areas.
Lake Cadillac has anywhere from 11-13” of ice. Most areas with access points are still in good shape even with this weekend’s warmer temperatures. As the forecast continues to bring warmer daytime temps, we predict heavy slush on this body of water both on the shoreline and on the lake itself.