SFM Ice Fishing Report 02.28.16

March is upon us, and so is some excellent pre-spawn ice fishing. We at Sport Fish Michigan have had a very good winter of safe, productive fishing with a lot of really great people. We are hoping that the warm weather will hold off, giving us the opportunity to continue to enjoy what is left of the 2016 ice season. This weekend’s two-day thaw has added 1-3 inches of water to the ice of most lakes listed in the report. This definitely makes conditions and safety very unpredictable. We at Sport Fish Michigan ask that all anglers use caution and good judgment when venturing out to fish!

Crystal Lake in Benzie County has lost a lot of ice on its west end. The ice that was being fished two weeks ago is now unsafe. The only safe fishing to be had is on the east end of the lake near Beulah. Anglers on the east end have been having good perch action in 25-35 feet of water. Steelhead are being caught on wigglers in shallow water near and around some of the small creeks’ mouths.

Long Lake in Benzie County has been producing great catches of Pike. Most of the fish are being caught on Golden Minnows in 8-11 feet of water on tip-ups. The Perch that are being caught are very nice, but few and far between.

Upper Herring Lake has continued to be slow for all species. Perch and Walleye are being caught on occasion, but not in any large amounts. Most anglers are having action on Blue Minnows using tip-ups. Active depths have been 18-20 feet. Small trebles and fluorocarbon leaders have been key. The Perch that are being caught are running big.

Green Lake in Grand Traverse County is still fishing very well. The Smelt bite has been very consistent, and most anglers are getting good numbers off of both access points. Perch and Pike have been active on the southeast end of the lake.

Long Lake in Grand Traverse County has had a bit of slow streak this past week. There has been heavy pressure from anglers in most regions of the lake. The Walleye that are being caught have been small and mostly undersized. Anglers have had some luck finding big, mature, jumbo Perch in 18-30 feet of water at mid-morning times. These fish have been coming on Blue Minnows with tip-ups.

Skegemog Lake is fishing very well. There have been a lot of anglers with great catches in the past few days. The bigger perch have been found in the 14-17 foot mud flats adjacent to weeds. Wigglers and Spikes tipped on tungsten jigs has been the best tactic. Most people spearing Pike and Musky have been reporting slow action on the north end of the lake.

Portage Lake in Manistee County has offered some excellent Perch action this past week. Most of the bigger fish are being caught on the western side of the lake. Finding humps and slight depth changes ranging from 18-25 feet have held most fish. All traditional tactics for perch have been catching fish. Minnows, spikes, jigs, and tip-ups have been most common.

Lake Mitchell has endured heavy amounts of water settling on the ice’s surface in the past two days. The wind and warming weather has melted the recent snowfall which has made fishing conditions very wet and uncomfortable. The ice thickness is still very good. The Crappie bite has been good in 10-11 feet of water around isolated depressions. Black Tungsten tipped with Spikes has been best.

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 – we’re looking forward to fishing with you!

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