Ice fishermen continue to enjoy steady progress

ON THE ICE: Ice anglers test their skills on Chippewa Lake earlier this week. (Pioneer photo/Justin McKee)

ON THE ICE: Ice anglers test their skills on Chippewa Lake earlier this week. (Pioneer photo/Justin McKee)

MANISTEE — The DNR reports this week there is some ice fishing in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula and in the Upper Peninsula.

But the DNR advises those heading out in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula should stay off the deeper lakes and adds anglers have caught pike, walleye, perch, crappie and bluegills.

The DNR said at the Manistee River, steelhead numbers are still good, and fishermen continue to see a fair to good number of chrome fish.

Some who were wading caught fish near Suicide Bend.

“The guides haven’t been out much this week due to the weather,” John Gouker, of Schmidt’s Outfitters in Wellston, said. “With the cold weather, it’s been pretty slow. With this weather perk up, the fishing should start picking up a little bit. There’s definitely steelhead in the system.”

There are still good numbers of steelhead in the rivers, the DNR said, while acknowledging cold weather has been keeping many anglers at home.

“Were just waiting for ice,” Dewey Buchner, of Don’s Sporting Goods, said. “The lake is frozen, but will be perfect Sunday or Monday. (Manistee Lake) will be good for pike and perch. Down at the end of Ninth Street for pike, walleye and perch. Penny Park is good for pike, crappies and panfish. Just be safe and check the ice.”

At Lake Cadillac, the DNR said ice conditions were still shaky, but the best ice was along the west shore where anglers were taking a few pike and some crappies.

The same applies to Lake Mitchell and Lake Missaukee, but the DNR reported anglers are catching pike and some panfish at Lake Mitchell.

“Portage is froze halfway,” Buchner said. “They’re getting some bluegills and stuff there. On Hamlin they’re catching bluegills and crappies on the coves.”

At Onekama,”there’s the canal that’s been frozen and they’re getting some bluegills there,” George Peplinski said. “(Portage) lake is froze over right now and I don’t see anyone there. It got in the 40s (Friday). Everything is iced over and too rough.”

Anglers also are catching steelhead at the Pere Marquette River.

At Frankfort, “we’re just now finally getting some fishable ice,” Dave Rommel of Big Bob’s Outfitters said. “Some of the smaller inland lakes are safe to fish. They’re not ideal yet. Most of the small lakes have four inches on them. People are getting out and getting a few walleyes and panfish. It’s just now getting going.”

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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