FISHING REPORT: Fishing conditions improve with warmer temperatures

The DNR reports ice fishing continues around the state and more sportsmen are heading out now that temperatures have warmed back up.

The deep freeze slowed steelhead fishing, now the rivers are running high after the rain and snow melt, so fishing will be more difficult, the DNR said.

Some rivers have ice floes coming down which is causing ice jams.

In Mecosta County, “I haven’t heard anything to be honest with you,” John Spicer, of Triggertime Outfitters, in Big Rapids said. “It’s been pretty quiet. It sounds like no one’s been catching much. There’s people going to (Saginaw) Bay and catching walleyes. That’s about it.”

“Fishing’s been good,” Greg Clark, of Schafer’s Bait and Sporting Goods in Weidman, said. “At the Martiny Chain, they’ve been getting a lot of bluegills. Chippewa Lake is getting walleye and a lot of bluegills. There’s probably 16 to 18 inches of ice in most places.”

In northwest Michigan, the DNR reports with the return of colder weather, lakes in the region will be in good shape. The snow is pretty much gone, the DNR said, so travel on the ice will be easier. It’s suggested to use ice cleats where necessary. Ice fishing opportunities look positive, the DNR added.

Ice fishing continues at lakes Cadillac and Mitchell with anglers taking bluegills, crappie, a few perch and the occasional walleye or pike.

“Prior to the weather we’ve got now, it was actually pretty good,” said Mike Dragon, of Dloop Outfitters in Wellston. “They opened the spillgate on the Manistee. It bumped the temperature up and fishing was good. Then we get some rain and ice. It’s looking better.”

The DNR said fishing at Hamlin Lake slowed significantly. Those targeting panfish were struggling to find them and most only caught small perch. Anglers found a couple of legal-sized fish either spearing or with tip-ups. Walleye anglers were having little to no luck.

“They’ve been getting some nice pike at Manistee Lake off the north end to Penney Park,” Bud Fitzgerald, of Tangle Tackle. Co., of Manistee, said. “There’s perch in both Portage and Manistee lakes in the deeper areas, usually 35 to 40 feet down.”

“It’s been busy,” Kristen Loeffler of Don’s Sporting Goods in Barryton. “There’s a lot of good sized pike on the Manistee Lake here, usually 40 inches. There’s been a lot of perch. Some guys are hanging out for crappies. They’re doing well right now.”

The DNR reminds all anglers 17 years of age and older they are required to have a fishing license.

Fishing Tip: Fishing for walleye & whitefish on Saginaw Bay

Many anglers flock to Saginaw Bay in the winter to target walleye and experience an added perk – the possibility of catching lake whitefish.

To target walleye, many anglers jig with spoons of various colors. You may want to tip your spoon with a minnow to further entice them.

To target lake whitefish, many anglers use spawn or a wax worm on a spoon to encourage bites.

Visit Michigan.gov/Fishing for even more information on fishing for walleye and lake whitefish.

— Source: Michigan DNR

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