FISHING REPORT: Ice fishing is on, DNR warns anglers to use caution

MANISTEE — The DNR reports ice fishing is on for most of the state but there are different ice conditions in various locations.

Fishermen, the DNR said, need to be careful especially in areas where there is a lot of deep snow. Anglers should check the ice ahead and around them while venturing on the ice. Deep snow and slush can hide risky pressure crack and depressions.

The DNR adds many lakes northwest of Grayling have sloppy conditions because there wasn’t a lot of original ice and there’s a heavy amount of snow which insulates the ice and slows the freezing process. There’s also a lot of slush around the snow. The DNR said this is especially a problem around the Traverse City area.

“There’s lots of snow,” Dewey Buchner, of Don’s Sporting Goods, Manistee, said. “Next week is supposed to break on Sunday. Sunday and Monday are supposed to be in the 30s. It will be really good fishing Most of the lakes have good ice. They do have perch at Stronach and some perch at Portage. They’re getting a few big pike out of  Portage and Manistee. At Hamlin, it sounds like it’s a little slow on bluegills.”

“They’re still catching perch at Portage Lake every day,” Dan Osborn of Dan’s Sport Shop in Bear Lake, said. “With all the snow, there’s not too many safe lakes around except Portage Lake.”

“The rivers are still pretty well locked up so nobody is doing much there,” Dane Bovee, of the Benzie Backcast Shop, in Benzonia, said. “A lot of the lakes are getting safe. They are starting to hit some perch on like the Beulah side of Crystal. They’re getting some walleye on the other lakes. They’re getting some walleye on some of the other smaller lakes if you can get out.”

The cold weather has shut down steelhead fishing at the Big Manistee River and the Pere Marquette River, the DNR said.

“With the sub-zero weather, we haven’t had anybody out,” Matt Bartels, of Dloop Outfitters in Wellston, said. “It’s the status quo. Things should heat up when we get that warm-up next week. There’s not a lot going on with the cold.”

Fishermen are active at Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell but snow is thwarting the consistency of ice thickness. Anglers are getting pike and walleye on tip-ups in both places, and are getting bluegills and crappies in the coves on Lake Mitchell.

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