Ice has come, but will it stay long enough to start fishing?
BIG RAPIDS -- Ice fishing has finally arrived, to some extent.
Anglers are ice fishing in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula and in the Upper Peninsula, the DNR said, while adding caution still needs to be used.
Ice anglers are reminded to be respectful of the natural resources and take out whatever you take in. Please do not leave trash out on the ice.
In northwest Michigan, fishermen are starting to get out on the ice on some inland lakes, the DNR added.
Ice conditions are not great, and extreme caution needs to be used. The DNR said anglers should avoid the large, deep lakes for awhile yet. Ice fishing has just started at Little Glen Lake, the DNR said, but no reports have come in.
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell has had some fishable ice finally; however, most anglers were not too far out. Anglers, the DNR said, need to be sure to use caution and check the ice ahead of you.
Ice is forming on all the inland lakes in Osceola and Mecosta County, but conditions were not safe for ice fishing, according to the DNR.
"We've got some safe ice on a handful of our lakes around here," Thomas Jessup, of Buck Country Store in LeRoy said. "Rose is getting safe. Cadillac, Mitchell and Missaukee are all frozen. We have a warmup this weekend but then it's supposed to get cold again.
"We've had some people at the Haymarsh and Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell," Scott Hart, at Frank's Sporting Goods in Morley said. "Looks like they're averaging four to five inches. Everyone is going after walleye and pike right now. They're trying to get that first ice action right now."
Steelhead were caught upstream from Long Bridge Road in Oceana County at the Pentwater River, the DNR said,
"We've got skim ice across Manistee Lake," Bud Fitzgerald of Tangled Tackle CO., of Manistee said. "Bear Lake and Portage has ice, so does Chief Lake, fishable ice. We're starting to sell a lot of pike bait. We haven't gotten any report on catches yet."
"We're all waiting for ice," Dewey Buckner of Don's Sporting Goods in Manistee said. 'There's some people on the tiny private lakes. But it's supposed to be warm this weekend. Steelhead are doing well in the river."
"People are trying to venture out on lakes that have a few inches of good ice," Steve Forester of the Backcast Fly Shop in Benzonia said. "One guy told me he had some nice perch. Another guy got crappies and walleye. There's some variety going on."
Fishing Tip: Ice fishing in the middle of the day
Courtesy of the Michigan DNR
We often emphasize the best times to go ice fishing are early morning and around dusk - but what about those folks who can't go during those times and would prefer to fish in the middle of the day? Don't worry, there are options for you too.
A few species are ideal midday targets, including northern pike, yellow perch, bluegill, and rainbow and brown trout.
For northern pike you can set up tip-ups and enjoy a leisurely day on the ice. For yellow perch you can drill a high number of holes and move around frequently. For bluegill you can use a fish locator to follow around a school. And for rainbow and brown trout you can sight-fish for them in shallower water.
Need even more tips for going ice fishing? Visit Michigan.gov/HowToFish.