Benzie and Grand Traverse County
Finally! Northern Michigan is getting some consistently cold temperatures. With the major storm front we are also accumulating quite a bit of snow. With the recent snowfall, the ice that has formed has been half blue ice and half frozen slush. Sport Fish Michigan has been continuously scouting ice conditions in hopes to hit the hard water ASAP. As of today, January 12, 2016, the ice report is as follows.
Long Lake in Benzie County has formed 4-5 inches of solid ice. The snow has not had a chance to settle on the surface due to high NW winds coming off of Lake Michigan. This had made for good walking and fishing conditions. Northern Pike are starting to travel the shallow breaks and flats.
Bass and Otter Lake have also formed 2-3 inches of good blue ice in the past two days. Total, they both have roughly 4 inches as of this afternoon. However, 1 inch of the ice formation is frozen slush. Recent snowfall has covered both lakes with 3-5 in of snow making walking and towing portables a little more of a challenge.
Big Platte Lake has recently formed ice on roughly 90% of its surface. It is very close to being completely frozen. It is still very unsafe and should not be fished until it has a bit more time to gain in ice thickness.
Lower Herring Lake has formed no ice as of yet. Being so close to Lake Michigan, and with the recent high winds, the lake has been extremely rough. With this week’s cold front we are hoping to at least get 100% coverage perhaps by as early as this weekend. It may be fishable with safe ice as early as next week.
Upper Herring Lake, however, does have ice coverage. In fact, one ice angler was spotted near the launch earlier this afternoon.
Arcadia Lake is also frozen, just south of Frankfort in the town of Arcadia. This can be a nice option for northern pike, lake-run yellow perch, bluegills as well as walleyes. It is uncertain just how much ice is on Arcadia, so caution should be taken as with all early-ice opportunities.
Ellis Lake, Lake Dubonnet, Spyder, and Arbutus Lake have 3-4 inches of ice. Each of these lakes has 3-5 inches of snow accumulation and should be navigated with caution. Bluegill action has been fair on Spyder Lake and the Pike fishing is steady on Lake Dubonnet.
Long Lake in Grand Traverse County has formed quite of bit of ice in the past three days. Long Lake has areas with open water and the ice that has formed is very thin and inconsistent.
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!