Steelhead fishing showing enormous potential

Ice fishermen still having success

Ice fishing remains strong in the area.

Ice fishing remains strong in the area.

File photo

BIG RAPIDS -- The DNR reports in  northwest Michigan most of the rivers were starting to see some fresh steelhead move in. The Big Manistee, Muskegon and Pere Marquette rivers all had good reports.

In Mecosta County, “it sounds like they’re still catching some fish by Davis Bridge, just north of 8 Mile,” Tanner Havens of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley said. “Hopefully we’ll get this warm rain this weekend. That should help things.”

Greg Clark at Shaffer Sporting Goods in Weidman, reports “there’s guys fishing and there’s lots of ice. They’re at Chippewa Lake, Coldwater, Crappie Lake. It’s mostly for bluegills.”

“Right now, they’re starting to get some perch off of Portage Lake,” Bud Fitzgerald of Tangle Tackle Co., said.  “There’s still fishable ice at Manistee Lake off of Ninth Street and Penny Park.”

Hamlin Lake is producing some walleyes, according to Captain Chuck’s in Ludington. Upper Hamlin is producing some crappies. They’re getting some steelhead in the Pere Marquette River.

Crystal Lake, Benzie County had decent catches of yellow perch around the major points, the DNR said. Some smelt were starting to show up, the DNR added.

Green Lake had good catches of smelt and lake trout on the north end of the lake, the DNR said. At South Lake Leelanau, anglers were catching decent numbers of walleye, mostly smaller fish.

North Lake Leelanau had lake trout caught at the north end and walleye were caught along the west side the DNR said.

Portage Lake had some keeper perch and pike caught in 8 to 10 feet of water, mainly in the east side of the lake. Houghton Lake’s anglers were reporting good catches of black crappie, the DNR said.

Hamlin Lake had anglers were reporting good catches of black crappie. Higgins Lake had were good reports of smelt, perch (good numbers but some sorting for keepers) and lake trout. At Lake Cadillac, anglers were having decent catches of yellow perch. 
Fishing Tip: Stay safe when ice fishing in early spring

Courtesy of the Michigan DNR

Toward the end of the season, ice becomes rotten and soft. Although ice may still be more than a foot thick, it might not be strong enough to hold someone safely.

Don’t forget to keep carrying the appropriate safety items, such as ice picks and a throw rope. And remember to wear a personal flotation device when heading out.

Continue to use the buddy system and have someone with you to help if you fall through the ice.

Carry a fully charged cell phone in a waterproof plastic bag. Make sure it is easily accessible in case of an emergency.

Pay attention to the weather. If it hasn’t been consistently cold or if there has been a lot of wind, you can’t guarantee there will be solid ice to head out on.

Anglers are reminded to report marked and tagged fish they may encounter while fishing. Fisheries managers are continuously monitoring fish populations using clipped and marked fish. Reports can be made by filling out our Eyes in the Field form.

All anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license.