FISHING REPORT: Ice fishing still strong on inland lakes, Osborn’s contest this weekend

MANISTEE — The DNR reminds fishermen of all the snow which has fallen and more to come this weekend, and that they need to use extreme caution. Deep snow covers pre-existing holes, pressure cracks and other areas that can be dangerous.

“Snowmobiling has picked up in the area,” Chelsea Pete of DLoop Outfitters in Wellston said, while adding fishing remains slow. The river is freezing up near the bottom. The lower river is freezing up.”

In northwest Michigan, Portage Lake has been strong with fishermen taking perch and lake herring. The perch were found in 25 to 30 feet especially in the east end. Walleye and perch have also been caught.

“It’s been crazy, where do I start?” Bud Fitzgerald of Tangled Tackle Co. of Manistee said. “They’re still getting good pike off Manistee Lake, both at the south end and at Penney Park. A few perch are being caught at Portage, but not a lot. There’s still some steelhead counts on the big river.”

Walleye have been caught in both lakes at Lake Leelanau. Perch fishing was better in the south lake where anglers are fishing in 20 to 30 feet. The north lake was producing some lake trout in 80 to 100 feet. Some smelt were taken along the north end.

Green Lake is producing some perch in about 45 feet of water for anglers. Those trying to get pike are doing well with a fair number of fish from off the state park.

Anglers were getting walleye and perch at Long Lake in Grand Traverse County.

Ice fishing remains strong at lakes Cadillac and Mitchell. The bite slowed somewhat but anglers are getting a few walleye along with bluegills, crappies and a few perch. Anglers who are spearing or using tip-ups, are still getting pike.

It’s also the weekend for Osborn’s Big Ice Fishing Contest through Sunday, covering Manistee and Benzie area lakes.

“They’re getting some perch and ciscos at Portage Lake,” Larry Scharich of Shipwatch Marina, in Manistee said.

Fishing in Benzie County, local expert Dave Rommell of Frankfort said, “is pretty damm good right now. Smelt fishing has been incredible. People are doing that at Crystal Lake in about 70 feet of water. It’s pretty much as many as you want. Fishing has been all right. There’s a lot of small fish but we’re seeing a lot of nice ones. The big topic right now is the snow.”

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