FISHING REPORT: Warm weather just in time for Free Fishing Weekend

MANISTEE — It’s free fishing weekend across Michigan. All fishing license fees will be waived for two days. Residents and out-of-state visitors can fish on all waters for all species of fish. All other fishing regulations still apply.

Among the free fishing events taking place on Saturday and Sunday is at Havens Interlochen Party Store in Benzie County. The contest goes from 6 a.m. Saturday until 4 p.m. Sunday and includes Benzonia, Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties.

In northwest Michigan, at Portage Lake, the DNR reports Lake Herring fishing remains strong over the deeper water. Perch fishing was hit-or-miss. Most fishermen were focusing along the shallow sandbar off North Point and to the west.

“We’re just starting to see newer fish coming in with the little warmup,” Nick Homan of DLoop Outfitters in Wellston, said. “We’re starting to see some steelhead around. It’s getting better and better every day with the nicer weather.” The DNR adds at Manistee Lake in Manistee County, there were a lot of anglers fishing out from Penny Park. Rumor has it they caught some nice pike on tip-ups or when spearing. Perch and crappie were also located.

“There’s still some good ice fishing and they’re starting to pick up perch on Manistee Lake,” Bud Fitzgerald of Tangle Tackle Co., said. “There’s still numbers of steelhead in the river.’

Steelhead fishing at the Manistee River should pick up with the warmer weather especially up around Tippy Dam, the DNR said. The river was frozen in the lower end.

“We’ve had quite a few perch and pike here in Manistee Lake,” Kristen Loeffler of Don’s Sporting Goods in Manistee said. “People have been going to the Manistee River for steelhead. They’re going to perch at Crystal Lake. I’ve heard at Crystal they’re catching some lake trout.”

Pere Marquette River should also have some good steelhead action, the DNR added.

In Benzie County, “some guys are getting their limit while others aren’t getting anything,” Desyre Shelton of the Benzie Backcast Shop in Benzonia said.

At Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell, ice anglers are getting a few walleye. Panfish, including crappie and perch, have been caught on both lakes including the coves on Mitchell.

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