MANISTEE — Cold weather has invaded the area and ice fishing season has perhaps arrived for good.

The DNR reports that open water fishing for pike and panfish is a good bet this time of year, and while areas in northern Michigan may be making skim ice at night, there’s no safe ice to report.

That report came late last week prior to the weekend storm. The recent cold weather may start producing some ice, but anglers are advised to wait until safe surfaces emerge.

Jeff Greene, of Rodney, an avid ice fisherman, has been waiting for ice.

“The east bay at Chippewa Lake is always the first place in the county to freeze,” Greene said. “I go by the two lakes on 16 Mile Road every day and Tuesday was the first day they were iced over. But if anyone is on the ice, it’s pretty darn thin yet.”

Greene was anticipating anglers by the weekend would be walking on the ice with expected freezing weather.

An employee at the East Bay General Store in Chippewa Lake said on Tuesday no one was on the ice. But she anticipated there would be someone on it by Wednesday. Northern pike and walleye would be among the targets, she added.

“I haven’t heard from anyone doing any perch fishing,” an employee at Trigger Time Outfitters in Big Rapids said. “I know they’re catching some steelhead in Baldwin.”

“Actually, it’s been pretty slow,” Vic Havens of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley said. ‘We’re kind of in between. You’ve still got snow on certain bodies of water.”

The DNR adds northwest Michigan is getting little activity.  Steelhead fishing picked up with the last rain but colder temperatures will not only slow fishing but make it much harder to do anything, the DNR said.

      At Manistee Lake, the coho salmon action was slow but steady, the DNR reported, adding a few more steelhead have been picked up as well. Trolling the deeper waters has turned out more steelhead, but shallower waters are good spots for coho. The lake remains completely open with no ice to report.