FISHING REPORT: Recent rain wreaks havoc with lake ice, river quality


MANISTEE — The DNR reports that ice fishing is going strong to the north but those fishing in the southern areas of the state will need to use extreme caution especially with the ever-changing temperatures and rain. It’s expected that rivers will be elevated and stained after the last rain.

The DNR reports that Crystal Lake in Benzie County still had open water.

“They’re getting a few perch and a couple of lake trout at Crystal and some steelhead out of the Betsie,” Dane Bovee, of the Backcast Fly Shop in Benzonia, said.

At Portage Lake, ice anglers reported a slow bite, the DNR said, pointing out they can see fish down the holes, but they could not get them to bite. Those using tip-ups were still catching pike.

Ice fishing is going strong at Lake Cadillac, the DNR said, with good catches of pike, panfish and the occasional walleye.  Anglers were taking snowmobiles and quads out, but the canal that connects the two lakes is open water so caution needs to be used.

“Osborns (at Bear Lake) is having their big fishing contest this weekend,” Dewey Buchner of Don’s Sporting Goods in Manistee said. “There will be a lot of people in Portage. Pike are starting to bite at Manistee Lake. They’re getting nice bluegills and perch. Hamlin is having good bluegill and pike bites. They’re getting some walleye at night.”

“I’ve got a contest going on,” Dan Osborn of Osborn’s Sport Shop said. “The fishing is very good. They’re getting out at Crystal and their lips are sealed. I’ll know more on Saturday.”

Lake Mitchell also has good ice and lots of anglers taking pike on tip-ups with minnows. Panfish were hitting on minnows, wigglers and wax worms and some are getting walleye.

Lake Missaukee had good ice as well with anglers taking a fair to good number of pike, panfish and a few walleye.

“We still have good numbers of steelhead,” Chelsea Pete of DLoop Outfitters in Wellston said. “Look for trout fishing to pick up.”

In Lake County, Big Star Lake was producing panfish for those using minnow, wigglers and wax worms, the DNR said, while pike are hitting on tip-ups with big minnows.

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