Anglers hoping fishing stays solid

REED CITY — While colder air will help the freezing process, recent snow cover will slow it down especially in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula, the DNR reports.  In the northern lower peninsula, the ice held on for the most part on the inland lakes. Anglers in the Upper Peninsula continue to ice fish.

In the Northwestern Lower Peninsula, ice in this area survived the warm up, the DNR said, and was already firming back up with the cold temperatures. Deep snow may hamper travel in certain areas, the DNR said, while adding that steelhead fishing was decent but the number of anglers will drop off again until the next thaw.    

“We’ve had steady water temperatures,” Chelsea Pete, of DLoop Outfitters in Wellston, said. “Theres good float fishing.”

Ice fishing continues at Portage Lake and anglers were getting some nice perch between the two camps.  Pike anglers using tip-ups were taking fish.   

“Ice is good on Portage,” Bud Fitzgerald, of Tangle Tackle Co. in Manistee, said. “Manistee Lake is about 80 percent frozen. The river is good. They’ve gotten a lot of steelhead. A lot of guys are using jigs and wax worms. There’s a lot of shallows, lot of little browns by the dam.”

The ice was holding at Lake Cadillac, the DNR said, and the slush has frozen back up. The panfish bite slowed but crappie were caught.  Anglers could see fish but were struggling to get them to bite. Walleye were still hitting and those spearing have taken pike, the DNR said.

The ice was holding at Lake Mitchell and the slush has frozen, the DNR said, adding panfish were slow but anglers were spearing pike and getting the occasional walleye.    

“They’re getting a few perch and walleye at Portage,” Dewey Buchner, of Don’s Sporting Goods in Manistee, said. “They have to work through a lot. On Manistee Lake, they’re getting pike and bluegill, but you have to be careful with the ice conditions.”

Anglers are getting pike, walleye and panfish at Lake Missaukee.

“About half the lakes has frozen,” Dave Rommell, of Frankfort, said. “One group got eight pike at Long Lake. Betsie Bay is getting close to being safe again. There is some fishing going on.

The following fishing tip is courtesy of the DNR:

“It might seem difficult to imagine late winter ice fishing at this point, but before you know it, last stage ice will be here and with it new crappie fishing opportunities. 

“Right before ice disappears, crappie tend to launch into a feeding frenzy; stemming from more light penetrating the surface and causing the food chain to pick up, increased oxygen levels, and more daylight available. Planning a trip with these conditions in mind can prove to be very successful. 

“Also remember that crappie are often one of the first fish to spawn after the ice, so you may find schools of them congregated near weed edges or near structure at the first signs of spring. 

“Keep these two periods of time in mind throughout the coming weeks and/or months. And if you want even more information on fishing for crappie in Michigan.”