Thursday, January 28, 2016

Michigan Weekly Fishing Report: January 28, 2016

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Weekly Fishing Report

January 28, 2016
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fishing mapSouthwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportSoutheast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportNortheast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportNorthwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportUpper Peninsula Weekly Fishing ReportUpper Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report
Now that ice fishing is pretty much statewide, angler safety is important.  Always wear a flotation device, use the buddy system, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return, take a cell phone and always check the ice thickness with a spud.  Use extreme caution near pressure cracks, inlets and outlets.  

Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake St. Clair:  Has more ice on the lake but there is still a lot of open water offshore so anglers need to be aware of wind conditions and the possibility of ice shifting and pressure cracks opening up.  Anglers are out fishing the usual places off Fairhaven, Brandenburg, Cotton Road, South River Road, the Metro Park and the Spillway Access Site.  Ice thickness is variable at these locations so anglers need to use extreme caution.    

Port Austin and Grindstone City:  Each had a few ice shanties in the harbor that were close to shore.  

Saginaw Bay:  Ice conditions did improve around the Bay but it is still “iffy” out there in spots.  There arefish to catch without crossing the pressure cracks which is much safer.  Palmer Road near Standish was very busy with a lot of anglers on the ice.  They caught eight to 10 inch perch in two to three feet of water.  Walleye were caught in the evening in eight to 10 feet.  White’s Beach had a few anglers targeting perch but the fish were small.   Perch were caught at Pinconning and down off Newman Road.  Walleye were found three-quarters of a mile off Erickson Road but anglers need to be aware of all the pressure cracks out there and use caution.  There are active pressure cracks off Linwood as well.  The occasional walleye was caught in eight feet off the Bay City State Recreation Area and from the shipping channel near Spoils Island.  A few perch were caught near the range light off the river mouth.  Perch fishing was spotty from Sebewaing to Bay Port.  Some managed limit catches while others had none.  Keep moving until you find an active school of fish.  Walleye anglers were in the Slot and around North Island.  Caseville was slow.      

Saginaw River:  Still had patches of open water here and there and anglers are cautioned to stay well away from those areas.  Anglers need to beware of thin and treacherous ice along the river especially with temperatures well above freezing by the weekend.  Anglers were marking lots of fish however they did not want to bite.  That was the rule from Saginaw to the mouth.  Walleye were caught but not in large numbers.  Most were jigging rapalas tipped with minnow heads.  Hot colors were blue and silver, black and gold, purple or perch colors.  Fishing activity started near Wickes Park and Ojibway Island.  A number of anglers were at the Frist Street turning basin at the north end of Saginaw and strung out north and south of the Zilwaukee Bridge.  Be very careful of the ice near any of the bridges.  The ice was not good near the Boys & Girls Club in the south end of Bay City.  Anglers were fishing downstream of the Independence Bridge near the U.S.S. Edson but catch rates were spotty.  

Southwest Lower Peninsula

Anglers are ice fishing on the inland lakes however snow and slush may make travel on the ice a little more difficult.  Be sure to use caution and watch for soft ice.  Anglers are catching panfish, pike and walleye.    

Kalamazoo River:  Steelhead anglers are taking fish below the Allegan Dam.  Try spawn, plugs or a jig and wax worm.     

Grand River at Grand Rapids:  Anglers are still out there and catching steelhead including a fair to good number of chrome colored fish.   

Lake Lansing:  Had fair to good bluegill action but anglers are sorting out a lot of small ones.  Crappie were also caught.  

Morrison Lake:  Is producing fairly well.  Anglers are taking bluegills, perch and some decent size crappie.    

Muskegon River:  Continues to produce a good number of steelhead especially in the lower sections.  Those floating spawn have done well but those fly fishing have also taken fish.  

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Fletchers Pond:  Pike anglers using tip-ups are taking a good number of fish.  Those seeking panfish have done well with minnows, wax worms and spikes.  

Higgins Lake:  Anglers were starting to walk out on the south end where they were catching lake trout in 50 to 60 feet.  Rainbow trout were caught in shallow waters three feet deep near the west shore boat ramp.  Anglers need to use caution and check the ice ahead of them.  

Houghton Lake:  Fishing has started to pick up with walleye caught along the drop-offs in deeper water.  Look for the weed beds.  Fish were caught at sunrise, mid-day and at sunset.  Pike anglers are doing well as the fish are everywhere.  Bluegills and crappie were caught off the DNR launch on the south end.  There was a report of a quad that broke through the ice about 500 yards or more from the Middle Grounds.  Anglers should use caution in this area. 

Tawas:  Most ice fishing activity was still up in the “armpit” off Jerry’s Marina.  Perch were caught in 15 to 20 feet and walleye in 20 to 22 feet but success was spotty.  A brown trout, a few lake trout and whitefish were caught on a spoon with a minnow. Those fishing inside the state harbor caught a few pike and perch.     

Au Gres River:  Anglers were taking a few walleye.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

Deep snow and slush continue to make travel more difficult on the inland lakes.  Anglers should still use caution and be sure to check the ice when heading out.  Rivers in this area of the state continue to produce a good number of steelhead.   

Traverse City:  Any ice on the bays was questionable.      

Lake Cadillac:  Catch rates were a little slower but should pick up.  Anglers are taking panfish.  Try a teardrop with a small minnow, wax worm or spike.  Pike anglers are spearing or using tip-ups with large minnows.  

Lake Mitchell:  Ice anglers fishing the coves were catching panfish over the weed beds in 10 to 12 feet.  The Big Cove was producing more crappie while the smaller cove was good for bluegills.  The occasional perch was also caught.  Those using tip-ups are targeting pike and walleye.  Those spear fishing have also taken a couple nice pike.  

Manistee River:  Continues to provide some good steelhead fishing.  Fish have been caught throughout the river.  Anglers are getting bright colored fish as well as plenty of fresh ones.  Those fishing below Tippy Dam have done well with spawn or jigs and wax worms.   

Upper Peninsula

Lake Gogebic:  Had deep slush on the ice which is not ideal for vehicles especially those with wheels.  Please do not drive any truck into the Bergland boat launch.  The snow pack is soft and too many have gotten stuck.  Perch fishing was slow with only a few caught in 22 to 25 feet.  Walleye fishing was fair during the day but much better after dark in eight to 12 feet in Bergland Bay.  During the day, fish were caught in 15 to 18 feet.  Try tip-ups with shiners and suckers or jigging rapalas and assorted spoons tipped with a small minnow.

Menominee:   A WARNING TO ANGLERS:  The U.S. Coast Guard will conduct ice breaking operations in northern Green Bay between Marinette-Menominee and Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin on January 29-31, 2016.  On Friday, January 29, a tug and its barge will be escorted from Sturgeon Bay to Marinette.  The vessels will travel north and east of Green Island, approaching the Menominee Entrance in the Michigan waters of Green Bay.  On Sunday, January 31, the tug and barge will be escorted back to Sturgeon Bay following the same path through northern Green Bay, remaining north and east of Green Island.  All ice fishermen should remove their ice shacks and equipment from these areas; especially from the Menominee Entrance Channel and areas near Marinette Marine Corporation.  Snowmobile, ATV operators, and other recreational users of the ice should avoid the shipping channels, plan their activities carefully, and use extreme caution in this area.  

Menominee River:  Had one gate partially open at the Hattie Street Dam and the ice blew out near the dam.  The 6th Street Slip was producing some nice walleye.  

Little Bay De Noc:  Ice conditions improved some from Gladstone north to the head of the Bay but again the ice thickness this year varies greatly in any given area.  Anglers need to use caution when traveling on the Bay.  Anglers have gone out as far south as the Stonington area but this is not recommended and considered VERY DANGEROUS ice.  The Bay had very little snow cover.  Several large pressure cracks have made travel a bit more difficult so please use extreme caution when traveling all areas.  Walleye catches remain fair to good although tapering off a bit.  The Gladstone Beach area and out from the State Police Post were best reporting good catches using tip-ups with minnows or jigging rapalas in 20 to 34 feet.  Catches were also reported off the Second and Third Reefs when using the same in 17 to 30 feet.  Perch anglers reported better catches especially between the Second and Third Reefs with minnows in 13 to 19 feet.  Northern pike catches were reported throughout the Bay and anglers spearing northern pike have reported a very good season so far.  Whitefish were caught off Gladstone with dead minnows in 27 to 35 feet.  


Munuscong Bay:  Has ice fishing however the ice east of Roach Point towards the deeper water and the Dumping Grounds is NOT safe so avoid this area.  Walleye fishing was good off Grassy Island and north of Pine Island.  Perch fishing slowed which is usual for this time of year.  

Cedarville and Hessel:  Both Hessel Bay and Muskie Bay have picked up for perch.  Muskie Bay has been very good for pike.  Ice thickness is variable so be extremely careful.    

Fishing Tip: Four tips for targeting northern pike in winter

Now may be the time to learn some tips and tricks for heading out onto this winter’s ice – how about four tips for fishing for northern pike?
1. Consider using a fluorocarbon leader that will be practically invisible to any pike, as opposed to a steel leader. 
2. Keep your bait lively, both by using a well-aerated bait container and very sharp hooks to minimize injury.
3. Consider using something flashy with your bait, such as a small spinner blade, to entice pike in murky water.
4. Don’t be afraid to keep some slush around your hole in the ice to prevent pike from being spooked by your opening.

The Weekly Fishing Report is intended to give anglers an idea of what is going on around the state. Updates come from DNR Fisheries seasonal and field staff, and DNR Conservation Officers. With more than 11,000 inland lakes, the Great Lakes and thousands of miles of rivers and streams, not all locations can be listed. However, it is safe to say if a species is being caught in some waters in the area, they are likely being caught in all waters in that section of the state that have that species.

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