Ice fishing activity continues, but use caution on ice

Anglers are hoping for another strong week. (Herald Review file photo)

Anglers are hoping for another strong week. (Herald Review file photo)

BIG RAPIDS -- With warmer weather this week, the DNR notes it will be important to pay close attention to deteriorating ice conditions.

Anglers are reminded that ice shanties must be removed once the ice can no longer support them safely; the DNR said, adding it is anglers' responsibility to remove their shanty before it falls through the ice.

Jeff Greene, of Rodney said he went out on Thursday.

Ice is still good, he indicated.

"I still haven't caught a lot of fish," Greene said. "I was at Hillview for a couple of hours and caught seven. Others had like a dozen. We were catching some fish. A lot of little ones are mixed in. But guys were catching fish Thursday morning on Hillview Lake.

In northwest Michigan, at Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell anglers continue to catch pike, walleye and panfish, the DNR said, adding the occasional bass has been caught and immediately released.

"There's actually a little bit of ice left," Bud Fitzgerald of Tangle Tackle Co. said. "Portage has ice. There are some decent steelhead moving up the river. The run is definitely on. They're catching perch by boat on Manistee Lake in 30 to 40 feet of water."

Dewey Buchner of Don's Sporting Goods in Manistee said fishing had been going well prior to mid-week weather, which he indicated is taking its toll on the ice.

"It's got to be getting bad," he said. "We do have steelhead fishing."

At the Manistee River, the DNR received reports of some chrome steelhead taken at Tippy Dam. But it appears no big numbers yet but a few fish were starting to move.

"It's going good, we're still ice fishing on most of the lakes," Rob Eckerson of Pappy's Bait Shop in Wellston said. "We're maintaining the ice for the moment. The big Manistee is coming along for steelhead. We're slowly breaking out of our winter."

The Pere Marquette River has had steelhead fishing only, but the DNR figures it will get better as anglers move closer to spring.

Water temperatures were still a bit cold, the DNR said, running in the mid to upper 30s.

Those fly fishing, the DNR said, are hooking some fish.

Billie Milligan of Paris Archery said anglers are still going out.

"They're going pretty good on crappies just before evening," she said. "Other than that, I haven't heard too much. I've had a couple of guys tell me there's nine to 10 inches of ice still. The river is open."

Sun and warmer temperatures at the Pentwater River should help improve the steelhead bite by the weekend.

Fishing Tip: Understanding fish posture to help with ice fishing success

Courtesy of the DNR

Fish often maintain one of two postures - one where they are ready to strike (fins up and backs arched) or one where they are focused on traveling (fins tucked in).

Understanding these postures can aid in your fishing success, particularly through the ice.

The first step when using fish posture to impact your ice fishing techniques is to have appropriate equipment, such as sonar.

This tool allows you to visualize the posture and react effectively.

Secondly, pay attention to time periods of aggressive posture.

Most likely you will see it exhibited around sunrise and sunset - plan your trips accordingly.