Plenty of ice remains available

Anglers are hoping for good fishing this weekend.
Anglers are hoping for good fishing this weekend.

BIG RAPIDS  — The DNR reminds fishermen of all the snow which has fallen and could melt later this week, which means extreme caution should be used when venturing on the ice.

“It sounds like they’ve been doing pretty good on the river, on the perch and walleye, along with Lake Mecosta where they’ve been good with crappies” Tanner Havens of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley, said. “The bluegills (at Morley Pond) have been decent. When the weather warms up this week, there should be a lot more guys going out and fishing. It will be more enjoyable for them.”

“Lots of guys are fishing, but fishing is a little slow,” Greg Clark of Schafer’s Bait & Sporting Goods in Weidman, said. “There’s 20 inches of ice.”

In northwest Michigan, “snowmobiling has picked up in the area,” Chelsea Pete of DLoop Outfitters in Wellston said, while adding fishing remains slow. “The river is freezing up near the bottom. The lower river is freezing up.”

Portage Lake has been strong with fishermen taking perch and lake herring. The perch were found in 25 to 30 feet especially in the east end. Walleye and perch have also been caught.

“It’s been crazy, where do I start?” Bud Fitzgerald of Tangled Tackle Co. of Manistee said. “They’re still getting good pike off Manistee Lake, both at the south end and at Penney Park. A few perch are being caught at Portage, but not a lot. There’s still some steelhead counts on the big river.”

Walleye have been caught in both lakes at Lake Leelanau. Perch fishing was better in the south lake where anglers are fishing in 20 to 30 feet. The north lake was producing some lake trout in 80 to 100 feet. Some smelt were taken along the north end.

Green Lake is producing some perch in about 45 feet of water for anglers. Those trying to get pike are doing well with a fair number of fish from off the state park.

Anglers were getting walleye and perch at Long Lake in Grand Traverse County.

Ice fishing remains strong at lakes Cadillac and Mitchell. The bite slowed somewhat but anglers are getting a few walleye along with bluegills, crappies and a few perch. Anglers who are spearing or using tip-ups, are still getting pike.

“They’re getting some perch and ciscos at Portage Lake,” Larry Scharich of Shipwatch Marina, in Manistee said.

Fishing in Benzie County, local expert Dave Rommell of Frankfort said, “is pretty good right now. Smelt fishing has been incredible. People are doing that at Crystal Lake in about 70 feet of water. It’s pretty much as many as you want. Fishing has been all right. There’s a lot of small fish but we’re seeing a lot of nice ones. The big topic right now is the snow.”

The DNR’s website says the following on Saginaw Bay:

“Those that want to go out are doing so at their own risk. Anglers are warned to stay away from the pressure cracks and do not try to cross them. There is a bad pressure crack about 1 to 1 ½ miles offshore that runs from White’s Beach all the way down to Newberg Road south of Pinconning.

“The crack was about 20 feet wide. There is another crack that crossed the bay just north of the Black Hole and anglers should avoid that area. Extreme caution needs to be used. You might not see a pressure crack until you are on top of it and by then it is too late. On the east side, there was bad ice from Rose Island Road north to Geiger Road due to currents in the area. Anglers have fallen through in this area. Bad ice was reported in Wildfowl Bay off Beadle Bay Marina. The ice blew out at the Caseville Pier. Fishing was spotty just about everywhere and perch fishing near shore normally starts to wind down this time of year.”

The DNR says at the Saginaw River, ice conditions were extremely variable and one angler went through the ice down near Crow Island. Ice thickness was as thin as 1 or 2 inches in some spots, the DNR said, and fishing was spotty at best.

In other areas, the ice is solid.

“Fishing hasn’t been going too bad,” Travis Bohy of Jay’s Sporting Goods in Clare said. “A couple of guys are catching pan fish in some of the lakes and are doing good. We have some guys with trucks on the ice and are holding up quite well. The ice on the bay is deteriorating. Inland lakes are doing good. Guys at Houghton Lake are doing good for panfish.”

“They’re catching a few panfish out there on Sanford Lake,” Jennifer Palmer. of Sanford Sport Shop said. “There’s been a few walleye at the dam. Other than that, it’s been kind of slow.”