Ice fishing continues in full force

Anglers still have lots of success

It's still good ice for area anglers.

It's still good ice for area anglers.

File photo

BIG RAPIDS – The weather has made ice fishing a little trickier but anglers continue to find success.

In Osceola County, “lots of people are going out,” Brad Cox of Bucks Country Bait Store in LeRoy said, adding that panfish remain the top draw. “It sounds like they’re having hit and miss days. Last weekend was super windy so a lot of people decided to stay indoors. There’s plenty of ice. It will last well into March.”

Vic Havens at Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley agreed.

“It’s definitely slowed down some,” he said. “Guys are catching some northerns some bluegills and stuff like that. This week has been pretty slow.”

At Manistee, “they’re starting to get some perch,” Dewey Buchner of Don’s Sporting Goods said. “The pike fishing has been phenomenal. The walleyes have been a little slow. But that should heat up here in the last three weeks with what we have going on.”

“The warmups last week really didn’t affect the ice,” Ryan Hamilton from Tangle Tackle Co. in Manistee said. “You should still use your spud going out there. The ice is still good. They’re getting the perch in lake Michigan.”

“It’s starting to pick up,” a spokesman at Captain Chuck’s in Ludington said. “Crappies are at Upper Hamlin. There’s walleyes on Lower Hamlin. Recently we’ve heard the Pere Marquette is picking up with steelhead.”

The DNR reported at Houghton Lake, some decent northern pike and walleye were caught in the middle grounds in 12 to 14 feet of water. Live minnows under tip-ups and jigging spoons and Rapalas performed best.

At Saginaw Bay, the DNR reported fishing for perch from Sebewaing to Bayport was slow with only a few fish caught. Wildfowl Bay had reports of lots of small perch with a few larger ones, the DNR reported. In lower Saginaw Bay, walleye were caught at Pinconning Park, 8.5 miles N/E of Pinconning, in 23 feet of water. Walleye were also caught at Linwood, four miles out, in 18 feet of water and at Bay City State Park, four miles out, in 18 feet of water. Yellow perch were caught at the end of Linwood Road in six feet of water.

Fishing Tip: Four tips for fishing for northern pike in winter
Now may be the time to learn some tips and tricks for targeting northern pike through the ice:1.    Consider using a fluorocarbon leader, which will be practically invisible to any pike, as opposed to a steel leader.


2.    Keep your bait lively by using both a well-aerated bait container and very sharp hooks to minimize injury.


3.    Consider using something flashy with your bait, such as a small spinner blade, to entice pike in murky water.
4.    Don’t be afraid to keep some slush around your hole in the ice to prevent pike from being spooked by your opening.