Fish are still biting for ice anglers

Ice fishing pressure is starting to increase areawide.

Ice fishing pressure is starting to increase areawide.

Pioneer photo/John Raffel

BIG RAPIDS – The ice is thick enough and it’s prime-time currently for ice fishermen.

In Mecosta County, “fishing continues to be good,” Tom Vernon at Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley said. “There’s some steelhead showing back up in the river. Walleye fishing has been really good at both Croton and Hardy pond. We recently had one of our regular customers come in and he brought in a 44 ¼-inch northern pike that weighed a little over 22 pounds.”

“Ice fishing has been on an off at the Haymarsh,” local DNR spokesman Pete Kailing said.

Across northwestern Michigan, the DNR reports that at Charlevoix, anglers were catching cisco in 50 to 100 feet of water. Fishing earlier in the day provided the best action.

The DNR says at Portage Lake, pike fishing was decent with several small fish caught and an occasional keeper.

Manistee Lake had decent perch fishing occur off the 9th street boat launch. Pike fishing was also good, the DNR said.

Fishing Tip: Finding panfish through the ice

Courtesy of Michigan DNR

Have you been attempting to target panfish during your ice fishing trips this winter, but aren’t having much luck? Consider the following things:

Are the panfish sticking to shallow or deep depths? Are they hanging out in the weeds or on the rocks? Are they suspended or are they hugging the bottom?

Panfish are likely to be in deeper water to find more oxygen. Keep that in mind when you look for them.

Also keep your presentation efforts in mind. A popular effort includes putting a jig on the bottom and using a twitch-pause-twitch routine with it.