Ice fishermen waiting for warmer weather

REED CITY — It’s been relatively quiet on the fishing front with anglers waiting for warmer weather.

Fishing reports have been hard to come by, the DNR reports, as snow, blowing snow and bitterly cold temperatures are making it tough on fishermen.

The DNR reminds those with ice shanties placed upon waters in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula that all shanties must be removed from the ice by midnight Sunday.

“Fishing for steelhead has been poor due to temperatures and shelf ice,” said Doug Loomis, of Ed’s Sport Shop in Baldwin. “Ice fishing has been going well at no real hot spot being given. Idlewild Lake is as good as any place to start. There’s crappies and bluegills and plenty of action from northerns.”

Loomis added Big Bass Lake is good for perch. “Walleyes have been spotted in Big Star and Big Bass lakes,” he added.

Anglers have access to the ice, but sub-zero temperatures have been frustrating for fishermen who are hoping for a warmer weekend, Loomis added.

“There are steelhead in the river, but the problem is the river is pretty well iced over so there’s not a whole heckuva lot going on right now,” said Joe Neumann, of Pere Marquette River Lodge in Baldwin.

“It’s pretty typical this year. The question is when it will melt and be free-flowing again. Hopefully in a couple more weeks it will open up and be business as usual and we can get boats down the river.”

The DNR reports the Pere Marquette River is producing some nice steelhead and brown trout. The DNR adds the fish tend to bite during the warmest part of the day as the day gets longer. It’s suggested that anglers try small jigs with flies or spawn.

“It’s been awfully cold,” said Brandon Jurries, of Trigger Time Outfitters. “There’s a tournament at Chippewa Lake this weekend, We just got our fresh minnows in. It’s so cold, so I haven’t heard of anything.”

Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell have had decent pike fishing along with some panfish, the DNR reports, adding that at the Manistee River, the water is cold and clear. Those fishermen using spawn, jigs and flies are still catching fish as the river continues to hold a good number of steelhead.

“It’s still been pretty slow,” said Vic Havens, of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley. “There’s a few guys that have been out fishing. They’ve been doing OK, but nothing to write home about. Most of the guys have started out trying to get perch and walleye, mostly on the upper part of the (Muskegon) river. What few guys are going out are still trying to fish the river.

“Usually the end of February, it gets pretty good. But that just hasn’t turned on this year.”