Anglers continue to wait for safe ice

Ice fishing season could be starting within a few weeks. (Herald Review file photo)

Ice fishing season could be starting within a few weeks. (Herald Review file photo)

BIG RAPIDS -- The DNR reports hunting season led to fewer fishermen on the water and colder temperatures had smaller lakes beginning to freeze. The ice hasn't been safe in most locations.

Fishermen reported limited success on the river systems.

In Mecosta County, a spokesman at Triggertime Outfitters, in Big Rapids, added the wait continues for ice.

In Osceola County, "we're just starting," Brad Cox of Bucks' Country Bait in LeRoy said. "There's no safe ice around, but it should be after next week, I hope."

Cox said on Dec. 7, he has customer appreciation day, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. He'll have door prizes and free lunch for the visitors. There will also be sales.

"I'm fully stocked and ready for ice fishing," he said.

In northwest Michigan, Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell had some ice, but no safe ice at this time.

In Manistee, "the beaches have been very slow," Bud Fitzgerald of Tangled Tackle Co. in Manistee said. "The river has good numbers of fish in it with (anglers using) jigs, greens and yellows and wax worms. There seems to be a lot of fish but no one is fishing it."

Steelhead continued to be caught at the Manistee River although the fish were somewhat scattered. "There is some steelhead fishing in the river," Larry Scharich of Shipwatch Marina in Manistee said. "But that's about it for right now."

Those fishing near Suicide Bend caught the occasional coho, the DNR added.

"They're getting a few steelhead," Steve Forest of Backcast Fly Shop in Benzonia said. "It is slow but they are getting a few."

At Pentwater, fishermen were trolling for steelhead and vertical jigging for perch at the mouth of the channel. Some perch were found in front of the Municipal Marina.

Steelhead were moving through and were caught at Pentwater Lake, the DNR said, while at Pentwater River, the water was high and dark.

Fishing Tip: It's coming: The 2020 Winter Free Fishing WeekendCourtesy of the Michigan DNR

The 2020 Winter Free Fishing Weekend - Feb. 16 - provides a perfect time to get more individuals and families out trying the sport of ice fishing.

As part of this weekend, all fishing license fees are waived for the two days with residents and out-of-state visitors allowed to enjoy fishing on all waters for all species during their respective open seasons. Please note all regulations still apply during that time.

To encourage involvement in the 2020 Winter Free Fishing Weekend, organized activities are often offered in communities across the state. These activities are coordinated by constituent groups, schools, parks (local/state), businesses and others. Will you be joining them and planning an event?

We've compiled numerous resources to help you plan and execute an event in your community.

Simply visit and look through the Free Fishing Weekend Event Planning e-Toolkit.