Area ice fishing success remains spotty

Anglers are hoping ice conditions will stay consistent. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS — The DNR reports ice fishing could be found on some waters in the northern lower as well as the Upper Peninsula, but the large deep lakes in the northern lower did not have safe ice.

Anglers in northwest Michigan will find ice fishing on some of the inland lakes, the DNR said, adding those shore fishing or using drift boats in the rivers continue to catch steelhead and the odd coho.

“The ice is pretty bad around here,” Greg Clark, of Schafers Bait & Sporting Goods in Weidman, said. “The recent rain we got was pretty bad. The shores are pretty bad with all the rain we’ve got. Coldwater Lake has no ice. But Chippewa, Martiny Chain and Six Lakes do.”

“It’s been slow lately,” Tanner Havens, of Franks’ Sporting Goods in Morley, said. “In the last couple of days, we finally got the ice back.”

Pier anglers managed to catch a couple steelhead in Manistee, the DNR said.

“They’re doing a lot of fishing, that’s all I know,” Dan Osborn, of Osborn’s Sport Shop in Bear Lake said. “You’ve got Bear Lake and Portage Lake and Chief Lake. They’re getting panfish, walleyes and perch.”

But Osborn cautioned anglers to be cautious about ice thickness on any lake.

The Manistee River was producing a few more steelhead during the mild weather.

“Portage has some decent ice and they’re catching perch in shallower water, six to eight feet,” Bud Fitzgerald of Tangle Tackle Co., in Manistee said. “Manistee Lake should have ice on it by the end of next week. A lot of smaller lakes like Chief, Canfield and lakes around the Brethren area are fishable.”

Hamlin Lake was not completely froze but there was open water on the northern sections of both the upper and lower lake, the DNR said.

“Right now, Manistee Lake is starting to freeze over,” Kristen Loeffler of Don’s Sporting Goods, in Manistee, said. “A lot of people are heading up to Portage right now, and also to Canfield and Chief Lake. It’s been busy all day.”

Lake Missaukee had a fair to good bite for panfish, the DNR said, adding those using minnows or spikes caught bluegill, sunfish and rock bass. The odd pike was taken on tip-ups.

“There’s very little going on,” fishing expert Dave Rommell, of Frankfort, said. “I did sneak out in my boat about a week ago in Grand Traverse Bay and did well on the perch in 60 feet of water. We’re in that inbetween period. I’m trying to get out to Betsie Bay but I don’t know how much ice is out there. It just froze over a few days or so.”

Both lakes Cadillac and Mitchell offer walleye for those jigging rapalas or spoons tipped with minnows. Panfish are also being found and crappie were found on the west side of Lake Mitchell.

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