Ice fishing season still a ways from starting

Some steelhead fishing taking place

MANISTEE – Some anglers are gearing up for ice fishing season while others are trying to take advantage of various available opportunities.

Tanner Havens, of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley, said there was some light activity at East Bay of Chippewa Lake and also at the Haymarsh, but whatever thin ice may have been existing isn’t’ expected to last right now with expected warming trends.

“I know guys are itching to go,” he said. “We’re still waiting on some good ice.”

Havens said anglers are also getting steelhead activity below the Croton Dam.

“We’ve got some good steelhead in the river,” Bud Fitzgerald of Tangled Tackle Co. in Manistee.  “Its cold and we’ve got snow. We really don’t have any safe ice yet. It’s barely frozen over. Some places are frozen over. But I don’t know if they will be next week.”

A spokesperson at Backcast Flyshop in Benzonia said she hasn’t heard of much activity taking place.

“I know there’s a few guys over the weekend going for steelhead,” she said.

The DNR reports at Saginaw Bay, anglers were having success catching walleye in about 15 feet of water along the northern shore of the bay. Yellow perch were caught in 17 to 21 feet of water from Linwood Road.

Remember to move around to find active fish, the DNR said. Stick baits performed the best for walleye trolling – give Madeye 120 a shot. Anglers were also having success while jigging for walleye, the DNR said.

Fishing Tip: Targeting walleye throughout the day

Courtesy of the Michigan DNR

When anglers target walleye through the ice, they often experience different levels of activity as the day progresses. In early morning, around sunrise, the fish will be active, and you may want to use larger lures and more aggressive jigging. As time wears on, those fish will scale their intensity back – during that time you’ll want to select smaller lures.

When all activity seems to have dropped off, you’ll want to consider sitting tight and waiting for the fish to come to you. Then, as sunset nears, often their activity will pick up and you’ll want to revert to your early morning strategies.