SFM Ice Fishing Report 02.15.2020

The conditions in the middle of February will be very similar to earlier in the month. Here at Sport Fish Michigan we continue to see larger inland lakes sustaining the ice they have due to the colder nights we have been having. This next week will be bringing some warmer temperatures during the day. The recent snow accumulations on some of the lakes in the area are ranging 2-6” of fresh snow. We do not see this causing any issues but as always, we encourage caution when on the ice. We can only give reports on day to day conditions, and we ask that anglers only use this report as a reference. While the large majority of these lakes listed below are showing safe and very fishable measures of ice, we encourage everyone to utilize this information as they head out onto the hard water. When looking to utilizing vehicles such as side-by-sides, quads, and or snowmobiles be sure to check ice conditions before venturing out on your next adventure.

Long Lake in Benzie
With its shallow depths and protected shoreline, Long Lake has managed to form 8-9” of good ice. Anglers are catching northern pike and smaller perch with the occasional blue gill mixed in.

Upper Herring Lake
Upper Herring is reported to have fishable ice off of the state access, roughly 6-7”. The remainder of the lake has coverage, but we advise all anglers proceed with caution due to the still forming inconsistent ice in other portions of the lake.

Platte Lake
Lake conditions have 5-6” of ice and good fishing being reported for perch and pike. We recommend not attempting to use machines for transportation.

Green Lake
Green Lake in Interlochen is fishable, but we recommend extreme caution. With Ice thickness varying from 2-4” in many locations. Some anglers have been fishing off of the academy. We do not encourage activities on Green Lake.

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 6-7” Anglers have been fishing 6-8” of ice in Settlers Cove in the south corner. The northern end of the lake is currently holding 7” of ice. Anglers are encouraged to only travel on foot and recommended to not use any type of ATV to travel to and from fishing destinations. Walleye fishing has been good for most anglers in mid depth ranges.

Skegmog
Skegmog has formed 6-7” 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.

Bear Lake in Manistee County
Bear Lake has formed 6-7” of ice. Anglers have been fishing off of all public access sites and can catching panfish and perch with some regularity.

Portage Lake in Manistee County
Portage Lake has formed safe fishable ice off of the main public downtown access site. Anglers have found 3-4” 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. We encourage only foot traffic and no machines on the ice yet.

Lake Mitchell
Lake Mitchell has formed 8-10” 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.

Lake Cadillac
Lake Cadillac has 7-8” of ice. The shoreline ice is more stable than past weeks’, but it is recommended to use caution when initially entering onto the ice.

SFM Ice Fishing Report 02.04.2020

Ice Fishing Report – Early February
As we approach the second weekend of February, we at Sport Fish Michigan continue to see larger inland lakes gain ice. The consistently cooler weather has been very helpful in sustaining and creating more fishable ice, which allows our guides and all other eager ice anglers to take advantage of a great early February bite. The snow accumulations which had been creating slushy conditions have melted and helped to form a solid and safe layer of ice. We can only give reports on the day to day conditions, and we ask that anglers only use this report as a reference. While the large majority of these lakes listed below are showing safe and very fishable measures of ice, we encourage everyone to use caution as they head out onto the hard water. When looking to utilize vehicles such as side by side, quads, and or snowmobiles, be sure to check ice conditions before venturing out on your next adventure.

Long Lake in Benzie
With its shallow depths and protected shoreline, Long Lake has managed to form 7-8” of good ice. Anglers are catching northern pike and smaller perch with the occasional bluegill mixed in.

Upper Herring Lake
Upper Herring is reported to have fishable ice off of the state access, roughly 5-6”. The remainder of the lake has coverage but we advise all anglers to proceed with caution due to the still-forming inconsistent ice in other portions of the lake.

Platte Lake
Lake conditions have 4-5” of ice and good fishing being reported for perch and pike. We recommend not attempting to use machines for transportation.

Green Lake
Green Lake in Interlochen is fishable, but we recommend extreme caution. With ice thickness varying from 2-4” in many locations. Some anglers have been fishing off of the academy. We do not encourage activities on Green Lake.

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 6-7”. Anglers have been fishing 6-8” of ice in Settlers Cove in the south corner. The northern end of the lake is currently holding 6” of ice. Anglers are encouraged to only travel on foot and recommended to not use any type of ATV to travel to and from fishing destinations. Walleye fishing has been good for most anglers in mid-depth ranges.

Skegmog
Skegmog has formed 6-7” 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.

Bear Lake in Manistee County
Bear Lake has formed 6-7” of ice. Anglers have been fishing off of all public access sites and catching panfish and perch with some regularity.

Portage Lake in Manistee County
Portage Lake has formed safe fishable ice off of the main public downtown access site. Anglers have found 3-4” 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 to do so with caution. We encourage only foot traffic and no machines on the ice yet.

Lake Mitchell
Lake Mitchell has formed 8-10” 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.

Lake Cadillac
Lake Cadillac has 7-8” of ice. The shoreline ice is more stable than past weeks but it is recommended to use caution when initially entering on to the ice.

SFM Ice Fishing Report 01.13.2020

We at Sport Fish Michigan are very excited to see some fishable ice in Northern Michigan. The fluctuation in the weather has been very frustrating for our guides as well as all eager ice anglers in the area. Looking at the long term forecast, it appears that we will be experiencing some consistently cooler temperatures that will help build good ice on most bodies of water. We can only give reports on the day to day conditions, and we ask that anglers only use this report as a reference. As ice conditions change daily, we encourage all anglers use their best judgment when venturing out on the ice.

Long Lake in Benzie County
With its shallow depths and protected shoreline, Long Lake has managed to form a consistent 5-6” of good ice. Anglers are catching northern pike and smaller perch with the occasional bluegill.

Lower and Upper Herring Lakes
Both of these Benzie County lakes were currently wide open as of 1/10/20. Anglers are encouraged to use extreme caution on both lakes over the next week or two.

Platte Lake
Platte Lake in Benzie County recently skimmed over. With the recent winds and snowfall, Platte has areas of skim ice and open water. It is currently unsafe and not safe for ice fishing.

Green Lake
Green Lake in Interlochen is currently open water and not safe for ice fishing.

Long Lake in Interlochen
As of 1/9/20, Long Lake had fishable ice off the Crescent Shores Rd DNR Launch Site. The ice in this area was reported to be 3-4”. Anglers have been fishing 4-5” of ice in Settlers Cove in the south corner. The northern end of the lake is currently holding 4” of ice. Anglers are encouraged to only travel on foot and recommended not to use any type of ATV to travel to and from fishing destinations. Walleye fishing has been good for most anglers.

Skegmog
Skegmog has formed 4-5” of ice allowing anglers to access the perch grounds located off of the DNR Launch Site only. It is recommended anglers use extreme caution when fishing any areas other than the southern shoreline.

Bear Lake in Manistee County
Bear Lake has formed 4-6” of ice. Anglers have been fishing off of all public acres sites.

Lake Mitchell
Lake Mitchell has formed 7-9” 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 should be avoided entirely.

Lake Cadillac
As of 1/9/20, Lake Cadillac had 6-7” of ice. The shoreline ice as of last week was inconsistent, and it is recommended to use caution when initially entering on to the ice.

SFM Ice Fishing Report 02.16.17

Benzie, Grand Traverse, Antrim, Leelanau, and Manistee Counties

Most of the species we are targeting in Northern Michigan have been cooperating very well. The recent full moon had a slight impact on the walleye and perch bite, but we were still able to capitalize on some small feeding windows. We are seeing a warm up in the forecast for next week, which has us concerned about what the end of the month will bring for ice conditions. The majority of the lakes listed below remain at the same thickness stated in the previous ice report. Snow coverage has been very limited, and at this current time, the ice is in great shape. With the warming trend forecasted we feel the ice could deteriorate quickly. We ask that all anglers remain cautious for the rest of the season: warm weather and sun, accompanied by rain, make for very unsafe ice conditions.

Crystal Lake in Benzie County has formed 8 inches of ice coverage on the very east end of the lake. White fish can be found in 43-50 feet of water but in very small schools. Anglers have had nice catches of perch in 25 feet of water fishing off the Beulah access. The remainder of the lake is all open water. The only fishable water is right off of the town of Beulah. Because Crystal Lake is 70% unsafe ice, anglers should be very cautious fishing the east end because conditions can change with high winds.

Long Lake in Benzie County has formed 11-12 inches of ice. Pike fishing has recently improved on Long Lake. Golden Minnows on tip-ups have taken most fish. Perch and pike have been found in 6-9 feet of water. Perch minnows and small tungsten jigs have taken fair catches of perch.

Green Lake in Grand Traverse County has formed 8-9 inches of ice. Smelt fishing has definitely picked up in the past week. The best times to target active fish have been from 6-9pm. 45-55 feet of water has produced the most smelt action after dark. Anglers targeting pike have had success in 10-15 feet in weed-covered flats and along steep breaks.

Long Lake in Grand Traverse County has formed 9-10 inches of ice depending on what region of the lake you are on. Long Lake can be very inconsistent in ice thickness. Anglers should use extreme caution fishing Long Lake. Anglers have had success finding active walleye both jigging and fishing tip-ups along steep breaks and adjacent to weed beds in 30-35 feet of water. The hottest depth for both big perch and walleye seems to be 25-35 feet depending on the time of day. Large perch have been found in 30-40 feet of water, as well. Anglers have not found large numbers of perch. However, the perch being caught have been very nice in size.

South Lake Leelanau has 10-11 inches of ice on the south portion of the lake only. Anglers have found perch, pike, and walleye off all major boat ramp sites. Walleye fishing has been best in 18-25 feet, mostly on tip-ups and larger blue minnows presentations. Perch have been found in 15-25 feet depending on the bottom make-up. The shallower weed clumps have produced nice quality, however the deeper, softer, weed covered depths are producing numbers of fish. The northern portion of the lake has 5-6 inches of ice. Anglers have had some luck finding walleye on the drop-offs and perch have been found in 25-35 feet of water.

Skegemog Lake in Antrim County has 12 inches of ice coverage off of the south shore access site to the mid-central portion of the lake. Anglers using blues, tungsten jigs and wax worms accompanied by an underwater camera have had great success. 11-16 feet of water seems to produce active fish on a consistent basis. The larger perch have been coming on orange and green tungsten jigs tipped with spikes and wax worms.

Portage Lake in Manistee County has formed 10-11 inches of ice coverage. Anglers have been fishing mostly off of the north access sites for perch, pike, and walleye. Most perch have been found feeding on top of weed-covered areas in 16-25 feet. Anglers pursuing large perch in smaller schools have been targeting the 35-40 feet of water. This is also a great depth to jig and set tip-ups for walleye. Some walleye of a larger size have been found in the central portion of the lake in 28-32 feet of water at first and last light.

Bear Lake in Manistee County has formed 12 inches of ice. The walleye action has been in a bit of lull this past week. Anglers have been targeting walleye and pike off of southwest and north access sites. The more aggressive fish have been feeding along weed-covered drop-offs and contour changes in depths ranging from 12-18 feet. Pike and walleye seem to be on the move together, feeding in the same general areas.

Lake Mitchell and Lake Cadillac in Wexford County have both formed 12-13 inches of ice. Lake Cadillac has recently produced some very nice catches of crappie during daylight hours. Anglers finessing active fish with very small, dark-colored tungsten have had the most luck. Walleye have been found in 19-21 feet on Lake Mitchell. Pike have been active throughout the day; larger pike have been coming on tip-ups using 4-5 inch sucker minnows as bait. Weed-covered flats ranging from 9-12 feet have been best for pike action.

We at Sport Fish Michigan look forward to many safe and successful days during this 2017 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!

SFM Ice Fishing Report 2.7.17

Benzie, Grand Traverse, Antrim, Leelanau, and Manistee Counties

As we approach mid-February, we at Sport Fish Michigan could not be more pleased with ice conditions and fish activity. Due to Northern Michigan experiencing such a variation in temperatures this winter, the fish seem to be avoiding the mid-February lull. February on any lake can be a very difficult time to find active fish. Snow coverage, limited daylight, and fishing pressure usually contribute to a slower bite. However, most species have been active and remain in a very positive mood! We are really looking forward to excellent fishing this month. Ice conditions seem to be maintaining, and snow coverage on most lakes is very limited. As we all know, a day of warm weather and rain can alter a lake’s condition: we ask that all anglers use caution and good judgment when hitting the ice this month.

Crystal Lake in Benzie County has formed 7-8 inches of ice coverage on the very east end of the lake. White fish can be found in 43-50 feet of water, but in very small schools. Anglers have had nice catches of perch in 25 feet of water fishing off the Beulah access. The remainder of the lake is all open water. The only fishable water is right off of the town of Beulah. Because Crystal Lake is 70% open water, anglers should be very cautious fishing the east end because conditions will can change with high winds.

Long Lake in Benzie County has formed 11-12 inches of ice. Pike fishing has recently improved on Long Lake. Golden Minnows on tip-ups have taken most fish. Perch and pike have been found in 6-9 feet of water. Perch minnows and small tungsten jigs have taken fair catches of perch.

Green Lake in Grand Traverse County has formed 8-9 inches of ice. Smelt fishing has definitely picked up in the past week. The best times to target active fish have been from 6-9pm. 45-55 feet of water has produced the most smelt action after dark. Anglers targeting pike have had success in 10-15 feet in weed-covered flats and along steep breaks.

Long Lake in Grand Traverse County has formed 9-10 inches of ice depending on what region of the lake you are on. Long Lake can be very inconsistent in ice thickness. Anglers should use extreme caution fishing Long Lake. Anglers have had success finding active walleye both jigging and fishing tip-ups along steep breaks and adjacent to weed beds in 30-35 feet. The hottest depth for both big perch and walleye seems to be 25-35 feet, depending on the time of day. Large perch have been found in 30-40 feet of water, as well. Anglers have not found large numbers of perch. However, the perch being caught have been very nice in size.

South Lake Leelanau has 7-8 inches of ice on the south portion of the lake only. The north end of the lake is not producing safe ice at this time due to inconsistent weather and winds. Anglers have found perch, pike, and walleye off all major boat ramp sites. Walleye fishing has been best in 18-25 feet, mostly on tip-ups and larger blue minnow presentations. Perch have been found in 15-25 feet depending on the bottom makeup. The shallower weed clumps have produced nice quality, however the deeper, softer weed-covered depths are producing greater numbers of fish.

Skegemog Lake in Antrim County has 10-11 inches of ice coverage off the south shore access site to the mid-central portion of the lake. Anglers using blues, tungsten jigs, and wax worms accompanied by an underwater camera have had great success. 11-16 feet of water seems to produce active fish on a consistent basis. The larger perch have been coming on orange and green tungsten jigs tipped with spikes and wax worms.

Portage Lake in Manistee County has formed 10-11 inches of ice coverage. Anglers have been fishing mostly off the north access sites for perch, pike, and walleye. Most perch have been found feeding on top of weed-covered areas in 16-25 feet. Anglers pursuing large perch in smaller schools have been targeting the 35-40 feet of water. This is also a great depth to jig and set tip-ups for walleye. Some walleye of a larger size have been found in the central portion of the lake in 28-32 feet of water at first and last light.

Bear Lake in Manistee County has formed 10-11 inches of ice. The walleye action has been in a bit of lull this past week. Anglers have been targeting walleye and pike off the southwest and north access sites. The more aggressive fish have been feeding along weed-covered drop-offs and contour changes in depths ranging from 12-18 feet. Pike and walleye seem to be on the move together, feeding in the same general areas.

Lake Mitchell and Lake Cadillac in Wexford County have both formed 10-12 inches of ice. Lake Cadillac has recently produced some very nice catches of crappie during daylight hours. Anglers finessing active fish with very small, dark-colored tungsten have had the most luck. Walleye have been found in 19-21 feet on Lake Mitchell. Pike have been active throughout the day. Larger pike have been coming on tip-ups using 4-5 inch sucker minnows as bait. Weed-covered flats ranging from 9-12 feet have been best for pike action.

We at Sport Fish Michigan look forward to many safe and successful days during this 2017 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!

SFM Ice Fishing Report 01.17.17

Benzie, Grand Traverse, Wexford County, Antrim, Leelanau, and Manistee Counties

As we enter mid-January in northern Michigan we are faced with an aggressive warming trend that is threatening ice conditions. To a lot of people in the region this is great news, but for ice fisherman it is depressing! Looking at the 10-12 day forecast, it looks like most lakes will face very slushy and wet conditions, which will indeed lead to potentially unsafe ice conditions. As we all know, the weather forecast can change from day to day, so lets keep our fingers crossed for colder temperatures. We ask that all anglers read the current ice report and understand that it is regarding “current” conditions, as we expect things to deteriorate over the next week. Things will be changing every day, and so what may have been safe a day or two ago may not be on following days. Please be safe and use your best judgment when venturing out on the ice.

Crystal Lake in Benzie County has formed 4-5 inches of ice coverage on the very east end of the lake. Anglers have had nice catches of perch in 25 feet of water fishing off the Beulah access. The remainder of the lake is virtually open water. The only fishable water is right off of the town of Beulah. We feel that this will change with the forecast and create unsafe conditions in the very near future.

Long Lake in Benzie County has formed 10-11 inches of ice. The pike have been found in 7-10 feet of water on top of, and adjacent to, weed beds and flats. Perch and pike have been found in 10-13 feet of water. Tip-ups with golden minnows set 1-3 feet of bottom have been most productive for pike. Perch minnows and small tungsten jigs have taken fair catches of perch.

Bass and Otter Lakes in Benzie County both have formed 9-10 inches of ice. Pike fishing in Bass Lake is still producing a lot of action on undersized fish in the 18-22 inch range. Blue gill and crappie have been found in 15-18 feet of water at first and last light in both lakes. Perch fishing in Otter Lake has been slow, some fish have been found in 20-23 feet of water.

Green Lake in Grand Traverse County has formed 8-9 inches of ice. Smelt fishing has been slow on both ends of the lake. Marking fish has been fairly easy however finding active schools has been difficult for most. 60 feet of water has produced the most smelt action after dark. Anglers targeting pike have had success in 10-15 feet in weed-covered flats and along steep breaks. Perch have been found in 35-45 feet of water.

Long Lake in Grand Traverse County has formed 7-9 inches of ice depending on what region of the lake you are on. Long Lake can be very inconsistent in ice thickness. Anglers should use extreme caution fishing Long Lake. Anglers have had success finding active walleye both jigging and fishing tip-ups along steep breaks and adjacent to weed beds in 30-35ft. The hottest depth for both big perch and walleye seems to be 25-35 feet, depending on the time of day. Large perch have been found in 30-40 feet of water as well. Anglers have not found large numbers of perch. However the perch being caught have been very nice in size.

South Lake Leelanau has 8-9 inches of ice on the south portion of the lake only. The north end of the lake is not producing safe ice at this time due to inconsistent weather and winds. Anglers have found perch, pike, and walleye off all major boat ramp sites. Walleye fishing has been best in 18-25 feet mostly on tip-ups and larger blue minnow presentations. Perch have been found in 15-25 feet depending on the bottom makeup. The shallower weed clumps have produced nice quality, however the deeper, softer weed-covered depths are producing numbers of fish.

Skegemog Lake in Antrim County has 9-11 inches of ice coverage off the south shore Baggs Road access site. Anglers using blues, tungsten jigs, and wax worms accompanied by an underwater camera have had great success. 11-16 feet of water seems to produce active fish on a consistent basis. The larger perch have been coming on orange and green tungsten jigs tipped with spikes and wax worms. Anglers targeting pike and musky have been reporting slower action. A word of caution to anglers venturing close to the Skegemog and Elk Lake channel—a snowmobile went through just 2 days ago, and while the person was safely rescued, it goes to show that ice near any current can be weaker—such as was the case here. The further to the west anglers venture, be prepared for thinner and thinner ice.

Portage Lake in Manistee County is has formed 8-10 inches of ice coverage. Anglers have been fishing mostly off of the north access sights for perch, pike and walleye. Most perch have been found feeding on top of weed-covered areas in 16-25 feet. Anglers pursuing large perch in smaller schools have been targeting the 35-40 feet of water. This is also a great depth to jig and set tip-ups for walleye.

Bear Lake in Manistee County has formed 9-11 inches of ice. Anglers have been targeting walleye and pike off of southwest and north access sites. The more aggressive fish have been feeding along weed-covered drop-offs and contour changes in depths ranging from 12-18 feet. Pike and walleye seem to be on the move together feeding in the same general areas.

Lake Mitchell and Lake Cadillac in Wexford County have both formed 10-12 inches of ice. Blue gill and crappie have been slow in action and small in size during the middle of the day. However, crappie and bluegill have been on the move in both lakes during early morning and late evening. Transitioning from 8-10 foot weed flats to 16-20 foot holes and drop-offs throughout the day. Walleye have been found in 19-21 feet on Lake Mitchell. Pike have been active throughout the day; larger pike have been coming on tip-ups using 4-5 inch sucker minnows as bait. Weed covered flats ranging from 9-12 feet have been best for pike action.

We at Sport Fish Michigan look forward to many safe and successful days during this 2017 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!

SFM Ice Fishing Report 01.08.17

Benzie, Grand Traverse, Wexford County, Antrim, and Manistee Counties

After a week of inconsistent temperatures, we wished for colder weather, and our wish came true! This past week in northern Michigan was by far the coldest we have experienced this year. Cold temperatures and heavy winds have added multiple inches of ice to all bodies of water. After accumulating a large amount of snowfall in the past week, walking conditions on most lakes have gradually become more difficult. Some lakes listed below have 3-6 inches of snow with 1-2 inches of slush, we would like to prepare all anglers for these conditions. Despite lots of good ice on most of our lakes, caution should still be taken when venturing out with a 4-wheeler, snowmobile or larger vehicle. There are still the occasional reports of people finding weaker ice, especially towards the southern part of the state. In fact, an airplane went through the ice just a couple of days ago in Lowell out on Murray Lake. But our guess is that very few ice anglers are taking their airplanes out to go fish, so this is likely just an isolated incident!

Crystal Lake in Benzie County has formed 1-2 inches of ice coverage on the very east end of the lake. We are keeping our fingers crossed that this lake will continue to build ice in hopes to take advantage of some excellent perch, lake trout, and white fish opportunities. There is currently NO safe fishable ice on Crystal Lake. Heavy winds have what little ice there is shifting with the waves.

Long Lake in Benzie County has formed 8-10 inches of ice. The pike have been found in 7-10ft of water on top of, and adjacent to, weed beds and flats. Perch and pike have been found in 10-13 feet of water. Tip-ups with golden minnows set 1-3 feet off bottom have been most productive for pike. Perch minnows and small tungsten jigs have taken fair catches of perch.

Bass and Otter Lakes in Benzie County both have formed 6-8 inches of ice. Pike fishing in Bass Lake has been producing a lot of action on undersized fish in the 18-22inch range. Blue gill and crappie have been found in 15-18ft of water at first and last light in both lakes. Perch fishing in Otter Lake has been slow, some fish have been found in 20-23 feet of water.

Green Lake in Grand Traverse County has formed 5-6 inches of ice. Smelt have been found fishing off of the south state park access in 30-40 feet of water. Anglers targeting pike have had success in 10-15 feet in weed-covered flats and along steep breaks. Perch have been found in 35-45 feet of water.

Long Lake in Grand Traverse County has formed 5-6 inches of ice depending on what region of the lake you are on. Long Lake can be very inconsistent in ice thickness. Anglers should use extreme caution fishing Long Lake. Anglers have had success finding active walleye both jigging and fishing tip-ups along steep breaks and adjacent to weed beds. The hottest depth for walleye seems to be 20-30 feet depending on the time of day. Large perch have been found in 30-40 feet of water. Anglers have not found large numbers of perch. However, the perch being caught have been very nice in size.

Skegemog Lake in Antrim County has 8-9 inches of ice coverage off of the south shore access site. Anglers using blues, tungsten jigs and wax worms accompanied by an underwater camera have had great success. 11-16 feet of water seems to produce active fish on a consistent basis. The larger perch have been coming on orange and green tungsten jigs tipped with spikes and wax worms.

Portage Lake in Manistee County has formed 4-6 inches of ice coverage. Anglers have been fishing mostly off the north access sites for perch, pike, and walleye. Most perch have been found feeding on top of weed-covered areas in 16-25 feet. Anglers pursuing large perch in smaller schools have been targeting the 35-40 feet of water. This is also a great depth to jig and set tip-ups for walleye.

Bear Lake in Manistee County has formed 8-9 inches of ice. Anglers have been targeting walleye and pike off of southwest and north access sites. The more aggressive fish have been feeding along weed covered drop-offs and contour changes in depths ranging from 12-18 feet. Pike and walleye seem to be on the move together feeding in the same general areas.

Lake Mitchell and Lake Cadillac in Wexford County have both formed 9-10 inches of ice. Crappie and bluegill have been on the move in both lakes, transitioning from 8-10 foot weed flats to 16-20 foot holes and drop-offs throughout the day. Walleye have been found in 19-21 feet on Lake Mitchell. Pike have been active throughout the day; larger pike have been coming on tip-ups using 4-5 inch sucker minnows as bait. Weed covered flats ranging from 9-12 feet have been best for pike action.

We at Sport Fish Michigan look forward to many safe and successful days during this 2017 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!

SFM Ice Fishing Report 01.03.17

Benzie, Grand Traverse, Wexford County, Antrim, and Manistee Counties

Happy New Year! We at Sport Fish Michigan are very excited for the 2017 ice season. We were concerned about this past week’s warming trend and the impact it would have on most of the area’s inland lakes. But the lakes actually formed better conditions due to the thaw. Snow cover gradually disappeared and refroze making for really nice walking conditions and thicker ice. With high winds and limited amounts of snowfall, most of the lakes listed in this report have virtually no snow coverage at this time.

Long Lake in Benzie County has formed 5-7 inches of ice. With high winds this past week the ice in some areas is thicker than others. The pike have been found in 7-10ft of water on top of, and adjacent to, weed beds and flats. Spearing has been slow, however, tip-up action has been fair with presenting golden minnows and smaller suckers 1-2ft off bottom.

Bass and Otter Lake in Benzie County both have formed 3-4 inches of ice. The safest most consistent ice conditions can be found closer to the access sites on each lake. Pike fishing in Bass Lake has been producing a lot of action on undersized fish in the 18-22inch range. Blue gill and crappie have been found in 15-18ft of water at first and last light in both lakes.

Green Lake in Grand Traverse County has formed 3-4 inches of ice. Anglers have been fishing off the south launch where ice conditions seem to be the best. Anglers should use extreme caution when venturing out on Green at this point in time. We are hoping for cooler weather in the next week or so to continue to build ice on this body of water. First ice for smelt, perch, and large pike can be productive on this particular body of water.

Long Lake in Grand Traverse County has formed 3-4 inches of ice depending on what region of the lake you are on. Long Lake can be very inconsistent in ice thickness. Anglers should use extreme caution fishing Long until after this upcoming cold front adds a few inches of good ice. Anglers have had success finding active walleye both jigging and fishing tip-ups along steep breaks and adjacent to weed beds. The hottest depth seems to be 16-22ft depending on the time of day.

Skegemog Lake in Antrim County has 4-5 inches of ice coverage off of the south shore access site. This is another lake we are very happy to see freeze so early in the season. Skegemog is an excellent lake to target first ice perch feeding in the shallow weed flats. Anglers using blues, tungsten jigs and wax worms will have great success. 11-16ft of water seems to produce active fish on a consistent basis.

Portage Lake in Manistee County is has formed 3-3.5 inches of ice coverage. Anglers have been fishing mostly off of the north access sights for perch, pike and walleye. Most perch have been found feeding on top of weed covered areas in 16-25ft. Anglers pursuing large perch in smaller schools have been targeting the 35-40ft of water. This is also a great depth to jig and set tip-ups for walleye.

Bear Lake in Manistee County has formed 3.5-4.5 inches of ice. Anglers have been targeting walleye and pike off of south west and north access sites. The more aggressive fish have been feeding along weed covered drop offs and contour changes in depths ranging from 12-18ft. Pike and walleye seem to be on the move together feeding in the same general areas.

Lake Mitchell and Lake Cadillac in Wexford County have both formed 7-8 inches of ice. Crappie and bluegill have been on the move in both lakes, transitioning from 8-10ft weed flats to 12-18ft holes and drop offs throughout the day.

We at Sport Fish Michigan look forward to many safe and successful days during this 2017 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!