With the recent thaw we experienced last week, and the blast of cold temperatures we are getting currently, the ice conditions are as good as they have been all year. We are excited to see limited snow coverage on most lakes, and overall thicknesses doing very well. With this in mind, anglers should use this report as a reference guide and chose to use their own judgment when venturing out on the ice.
We strive to research as many lakes in our area as possible in order to give our area customers and anglers an accurate and honest ice report. With the constant change in weather it can be difficult to be exactly spot on with the area lakes ice conditions. We will try to update the report twice a week to give anglers an idea of current conditions. Good luck and safe ice fishing!
Crystal Lake in Benzie County is 100% frozen. The east end from Beulah to Railroad Point has 8-10 inches of ice that has melted and refrozen after last weeks’ thaw; we are very impressed with the quality of ice on this portion of the lake. The southern half of the lake on the western portion from Onkeonwe Bay to the CSA has 6-10 inches of ice depending on the area and depth. Most of the fishing activity on the lake is taking place from the south shoreline to the middle-halfway point to the north. The ice on the north shore is 5 inches and anglers should use caution. The lake has little to no snow coverage and is very slippery, be careful!
Long Lake in Benzie County has recovered nicely from the thaw our area experienced two weeks ago. It currently has 14 inches of hard ice, no snow coverage, and has a very slick surface with pockets of standing water due to recent rains. Pike and perch fishing has been good in 7-11ft.
Upper and Lower Herring Lake both have fishable ice. Upper Herring Lake has roughly 8-9 inches of ice. Lower Herring is running about the same in ice thickness. Both have very little snow due to high winds and the recent thaw. Walleye, pike, and perch are being caught on Upper Herring. Most walleyes are coming in 17-20ft on tip-ups. Lower Herring has been producing some walleye in 18-25ft at last light. Evening bite for walleye has been better than the morning activity.
Big Platte Lake has good, fishable ice. Limited snow coverage has also helped this lake build good solid ice after our recent thaw. Anglers are reporting 8-9 inches of ice depending on where you are on the lake. The ice surface has little snow and is very slippery. Some walleyes are being reported being caught on the west end of the lake in 20-35ft of water. Perch fishing on the SE side of lake has yielded a lot of action and smaller fish.
Green Lake has been fishing well for northern pike and some anglers, on the right evening, have been reporting good catches of smelt. Marking smelt has not been an issue but some have had nights with little to no action. The current ice thickness is 8-10 inches. Some anglers have found decent schools of larger perch in 40-50ft of water. Wigglers and minnows have produced good results.
Long Lake Grand Traverse County has 9-11 inches of solid ice. This lake has been fishing well for walleye and perch. The limited snow accumulations in the past week have really made the lake easy to travel on, especially with the recent thaw and refreeze last week. The recent thaw has saved this lake’s condition and created a good hard surface with little to no snow.
Portage Lake has a consistent 10 inches of ice. The thaw has created a great fishing and traveling surface. The wind from Lake Michigan has kept the lake clean of snow accumulation. The jumbo perch are being found, on the right day, on the western portion of the lake in 25-38 ft of water. Walleye and pike are also being caught on some days. Pike fishing in the shallower east end of the lake has been steady for most. Perch fishing on the east end of the lake has yielded good action for 7 to 9-inch fish.
Mitchell Lake currently has 9-10 inches of ice with 1-2 inches of snow. Most of the slush has thawed and froze back to one solid layer. Crappie and blue gill fishing has been good for most anglers in Big and Small cove. Early morning and last light action has been best. Pike fishing in 5-10ft on weed-covered flats has been good as well.
Lake Cadillac currently has 8-10 inches of good, solid ice with 1-2 inches of snow. The crappie fishing off of Kenwood Park in 13-14ft has been producing good numbers of fish. Anglers actively hole hopping and using electronics seem to be doing the bulk of the damage. Pike fishing in 10-15ft of water has been the best depth for most.
Lake Skegemog currently has 9-10 inches of ice. All anglers should always avoid the areas of the lake that have current, and rivers entering or leaving the lake. Anglers fishing 18-20ft of water are having no problems catching good numbers of perch. The size of fish caught has fluctuated on a day-to-day basis. Some anglers are finding good fish when they find areas with a softer bottom content.
South Lake Leelanau has 9-10 inches of ice, with an average thickness of 8 inches. Anglers have been reporting good perch and walleye fishing in 18-30ft. Some anglers have reported good quality perch on the northern portion of the lake in the narrows. Finding isolated weed beds and softer bottom content has yielded better action for some anglers.
North Lake Leelanau Anglers are reporting 7-9 inches of ice, depending on location. There are reports of good smelt action on the north end of the lake, with other anglers catching lake trout in 80-90 ft of water. Anglers fishing drops-offs and flats in 20-30ft of water have been catching walleye, quality has surpassed quantity on this specific lake.