Steelhead are biting in rivers, perch to be had in inland lakes

By JOHN RAFFEL

Pioneer Sports Network

MANISTEE — Fishermen are reminded that walleye, pike and muskellunge season on all the Lower Peninsula inland waters will close at midnight on Wednesday. Walleye and pike season is open all year on the Lower Peninsula Great Lakes.

The DNR reports in the northwest Lower Peninsula a few anglers were still ice fishing but it is not recommended. Shoreline ice is deteriorating and much of the lake ice is honeycombed. Anglers would be wise to switch to river fishing or wait for open water, the DNR advises.

“They’re still steelhead fishing in the Big Manistee,” Rob Eckerson of Pappy’s Bait Shop in Wellston said. “The water flow is on the high side. Clarity is in pretty good shape. On the lakes, there’s a few people starting to boat fish like at Manistee Lake, Portage Lake for perch.”

There are steelhead anglers on the Manistee River all the way up to Tippy Dam, the DNR said. The bite was good during the warm spell but will decrease as cold temperatures move back in.

“It’s going very well,” Chelsea Pete of DLoop Outfitters in Wellston said. “We expect a large number of fish to break through Tippy Dam. Lots of fish should be running through there.”

Anglers are reminded by the DNR that the Manistee River from a point 300 feet upstream of the DNR weir to Spencer’s Bridge and a point from 300 feet below the DNR weir to Manistee Lake is closed to fishing until April 1.

“It’s cold out there,” Bud Fitzgerald of Tangled Tackle Co., said. “There’s not a lot going on because of the temperature. They were catching brown trout and steelhead off the pier, using spawn. There’s still plenty of trout in the river.”

At the Betsie River, steelhead anglers are out and taking some fish. The DNR advises anglers to try spawn, flies and wax worms.

“It’s not real spectacular,” fishing expert Dave Rommell of Frankfort said. “It needs to get cold and colder or warm up.”

Lake Cadillac still had ice but the quality varies greatly. The ice is honeycombed which is not quality ice. The DNR advises anglers that first ice and last ice are the most dangerous. Some are still going out but extreme caution needs to be used.

Ditto for Lake Mitchell. It has the same ice conditions as Cadillac. And fishermen will need to use extreme caution.  If there’s any uncertainty, anglers should fish in shallow waters only.

Steelhead fishing was on at the Pere Marquette River especially with the rain and warmer temperatures.  Anglers were taking fish on spawn and wax worms, the DNR said.

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