SFM Ice Fishing Report 02.04.15

Crystal Lake has seen quite a bit of ice fishing pressure the past few weeks since it has frozen over. With lots of good solid ice, measuring an average of 9”, anglers are able to fish anywhere they want. Perch fishing has been fantastic most days, with the occasional slow day here and there. Perch rigs have been producing well when fished in waters anywhere from 24-35 feet. Whitefish and lake trout are starting to be caught, but they haven’t moved up shallow yet. Anglers having the most success are fishing anywhere from 100 to 150 feet of water. Smelt action is heating up in earnest, and reports are that several anglers have had 150+ smelt evenings/nights when fishing for these tasty fish.

Long Lake has lots of ice, but the bite has slowed considerably of late. Walleye anglers are still managing to scratch out a few here and there, but the hot walleye bite from a few weeks ago is over.

Lake Leelanau, however, has had steady walleye action lately in the Southern Lake. Anglers fishing at dusk both jigging and fishing tip ups have seen action. North Lake Leelanau has been very poor so far.

Big Glen Lake has been producing some spotty perch action—the perch that have been caught have been of good size, even if the numbers haven’t been high. Little Glen has had better numbers of perch the past week or so. Small jigs tipped with wax worms or wigglers when they can be purchased are producing as are the standard perch rig with minnows.

Portage Lake has had some great perch action for some anglers, and terrible perch action for others. From the sounds of things, those anglers that are willing to move a lot and chase the schools are the anglers that are finding the success. The anglers that take a more stationary approach are finding the bite next to impossible. The standard perch rig or small jigs tipped with spikes or wigglers are the best bet.

Further to the south, Muskegon Lake has been mostly a dud despite reports to the contrary. Anglers have struggled to not only find perch, but also to get them to bite. Seasoned ice anglers that are well familiar with Muskegon Lake’s perch fishing are even finding the bite difficult.

Other Area Lakes and Rivers:
Crappie, pike, walleye, and good-sized perch are being caught on inland lakes. Steelhead fishing pressure is low, making this a great time to beat the crowd.

Hamlin Lake: Bluegill, crappie, and perch are being caught.

Lake Cadillac: While the bluegill, crappie bite has been slow, pike fishing has been good for both tip-up and spear anglers. Some walleye and good-sized perch.

Lake Charlevoix: A large pressure crack is forming around the drop-off at 95 feet.

Lake Missaukee: Perch, bluegill, and crappie are all being successfully targeted.

Lake Mitchell: Anglers have been targeting perch, pike, bluegill, and crappie. Perch anglers are getting the best results by moving to find schools of active fish.

Manistee River: Steelhead fishing on the Manistee is providing a great way to get away from the crowds on the lakes.

Pere Marquette River: While the steelhead bite has been good, cooling temperatures will likely slow the bite.

Michigan Ice Fishing Report 03.25.14

Ice fishing continues to be an intriguing prospect in northern Michigan, despite the late date on the calendar. Here is our latest Michigan Ice Fishing Report:

For those still seeking the thrill of late season ice, opportunities are still strong. Grand Traverse Bays are still boasting thick ice in the 15-16 inch range, but with the cold temps at night the past few days, more ice is not only possible, but probable. This means that anglers seeking to fish for lake trout or whitefish will still have their opportunities to land these excellent tasting fish. Depending on the fish’s moods, they can be found anywhere from 85 feet all the way down to 150 feet for the whitefish. The standard jigging baits work well for the lakers like Krocodile spoons, Sandkickers or Jonah Jigs. The same lineup for lakers will also take their share of whitefish, although they tend to prefer slightly smaller spoons. Swedish Pimples are another dynamite option for these fish, and bites are unmistakeable when they are on the bite.

Inland lake anglers are still taking plenty of perch and smelt. Walleyes on the Great Lakes remain open, so they are still able to be targeted. Only inland lakes and rivers are closed for walleye fishing.

The yellow perch have been above average in size on select inland lakes, and they have been willing participants for many who have located the schools of these tasty favorites. Smelt have been biting just at sunset and dusk, into the first hour of darkness. While smelt themselves aren’t a huge species of fish, they are loads of fun through the ice, and are just as good on a plate!

ice fishing michigan

Ice Fishing –
Captain Ben Wolfe of Sport Fish Michigan

March 19, 2014

Grand Traverse Bays are still solidly covered in ice, much of it as thick as 17 or 18 inches in many places. For mid March, this is highly unusual, as we were still making ice just a couple of nights ago! The many ice anglers that have ventured out onto the Bays have been mostly pleased with the results, with many lake trout, whitefish and burbot being caught. Burbot are on the very tail end of their spawn, and many anglers have taken advantage of this excellent table fare’s willingness to bite. Anglers have also sought yellow perch with nice size perch being reported on East Bay. The bite in recent days has fluctuated greatly, with the full moon likely playing a large role in many angler’s success or frustrations. As the moon phase wanes, expect fishing for lake trout and whitefish to pick up a bit.

Inland lakes continue to be fishable, and weekend traffic has been steady. Although numbers of ice anglers on inland lakes might be down overall, but perhaps this is due to such good ice conditions on the Bays in Traverse City. The snow is gone off of the ice, leaving solid smooth sheets that resemble a skating rink. While the ice is still thick, care should be taken when driving snowmobiles on the ice, as the lack of snow can wreak havoc on a snowmobile’s hyfax and track without lubrication, as one unlucky group of anglers found out recently. Fishing has been spotty of late, with the smelt bite getting harder and harder. Many smelt that were caught were during non-traditional times, it seems. Panfish are still readily taken, when an angler can land on a nice school. Late season pike fishing is starting to heat up, and the walleyes are still plentiful, though not always willing to bite until just before sunset.

Anglers seeking to fish northern Michigan waters from a boat may have to wait a while. Soft water anglers can’t wait to get back in their boats, but with so much ice covering Lake Michigan, the Grand Traverse Bays and area inland lakes, it could be a while before that happens! Spring fishing will be pushed back a bit, but expect the fish to be hungry and willing.