Michigan Fishing Report Week of January 30th, 2020

Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: Is still open. A few launches were iced over, so boat anglers could not get out.

Lake St. ClairHad very little ice, and what remained was not safe. The perch bite was slow. Panfish were caught in the canals and marinas.

St. Clair RiverFishing was slow. The 12th Street launch at Port Huron was iced in.

Saginaw BayHad some ice on both the west and the east side; however, it was mainly shore ice so those fishing were in shallow waters only as you cannot get out very far. A few yellow perch were caught at Vanderbilt Park. The warmer temperatures and rain were taking a toll on the ice. Some of the cuts between Sebewaing and Caseville were starting to open up as was the Sebewaing River. The ice at the end of the pier in Caseville blew out. Those heading out need to use extreme caution. Fishing was slow between Sebewaing and Caseville, with very few perch caught. Those looking for pike found a few but overall the action was slow.

Saginaw RiverHad a few anglers catching perch at the Bay Harbor Yacht Club. They are doing lots of sorting and fishing all day to take home 20 or so fish ranging from 7-9 inches. Minnows worked best.

Tittabawassee RiverBoat and shore anglers were starting to target walleye near the Caldwell Boat Launch; however, catch rates were slow.

Flint River: Walleye angler activity increased.

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Southwest Lower Peninsula

Same old story for this area of the state. For the most part, there is no safe ice, especially in the southern sections. Updates have been very hard to come by due to lack of angler participation.

Van Buren County: Fishing was very slow. Ice conditions continue to be unsafe.

Berrien County: River conditions have made fishing difficult. A few coho were caught on the Galien River in New Buffalo and off the piers at St. Joseph. Ice conditions on the inland waters were poor.

Kalamazoo River: Anglers were starting to catch walleye at the Allegan Dam.

Grand River near Grand Rapids: Walleye were caught even with the high water. Most are using jigs and minnows up near the 6th Street Dam. The occasional steelhead can still be found here and in the Rogue River when using jigs and wax worms or spawn.

Muskegon Lake: With barge and freighter traffic going in and out, the main lake is now open water. Some bluegills were caught up near the state park. Anglers may still find some ice in the marinas.

Muskegon River: Was producing some steelhead below Croton Dam. South of M-20 to Hardy Dam, small walleye and a few perch were caught.

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Northeast Lower Peninsula

Burt Lake: Had a good deal of fishing activity for walleye and perch. Catch rates were moderate.

Mullett Lake: Had a few anglers beginning to fish; however, caution needs to be used as there were several areas that were not safe. Catch rates were unknown.

Presque Isle County: Grand and Long Lake were producing walleye and perch.

Thunder Bay River: Had some shelf ice but no safe ice.

Montmorency County: McCormick Lake had lots of activity, but low numbers of trout being caught. West Twin had few anglers, but East Twin had plenty of activity, with most catching perch and a few bass.

Higgins Lake: Is iced over; however, there was still not much in the way of safe ice.  The ice had a layer of slush on top as well. Anglers would be wise to wait longer.

Houghton Lake: Anglers should still use caution near the inlets, outlets and pressure cracks, which change daily. The ice was bad near Flint Road. Those fishing up on the north end were getting perch, crappie and pike with minnows or wigglers on a treble hook in 8 to 12 feet. The walleye bite was on and off for those using jigging raps with a minnow head or when dead sticking in 14 feet or less. Bluegills and perch were found in the weed beds.

Lake St. Helen: Is producing crappie, bluegills and a few walleye.

Tawas: There was very limited ice fishing just outside of Jerry’s Marina. A couple anglers were targeting pike, but no fish were caught.

Tawas Lake: Did not have safe ice, and no one was fishing.

Au Gres: Several ice anglers were seen at Northport Marina, which is just north of the boating access site. They were doing good on pike when using tip-ups. At Eagle Bay Marina, small perch, bluegill and crappie were caught when jigging minnows and wax worms. A few pike were taken on tip-ups. A few walleye were taken off Whites Beach.

Au Gres River: Had several surf anglers targeting steelhead down near the Singing Bridge. Most were using spawn bags, but no fish were caught as the water was too muddy.

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Northwest Lower Peninsula

Emmet County: Fishing was slow on Crooked and Pickerel Lakes. Anglers were sorting through the small ones to get a few keepers.

Thumb Lake: The ice was slowly getting better. There was a lot of slush and water on top that had since hardened up, creating a layer of crust. Anglers were catching a good number of perch when jigging a teardrop with minnows, wigglers, spikes and wax worms in 8 to 15 feet. Many were fishing off the beach access, but some were fishing off the boat launch and around the island. Smaller fish were caught, but most were able to harvest fish that were 7-9 inches. No word on splake, though anglers were fishing in 3 to 10 feet and jigging blues or perch minnows along the beach access or around the island.

Lake Charlevoix: The main basin of the lake remains wide open with no ice. The South Arm was frozen over and had some anglers out fishing; however, ice thickness was unknown.

Traverse City: Had very little to report. A couple steelhead were caught in the Boardman River.   

Crystal Lake: In Benzie County did not have much in the way of safe ice.

Betsie River: Steelhead were caught on spawn and jigs.

Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Crappie and a few perch were caught on Lake Cadillac.  Lake Mitchell was producing panfish near the coves. Walleye were found along the drop-offs.

Manistee River: With the mild weather, steelhead fishing continues, with anglers reporting some decent catches.

Osceola County: A few panfish were caught on both Center Lake and Sunrise Lake.  Ice conditions were questionable due to heavy slush on most lakes in the area.

Mecosta County: Bluegills, crappie and small perch were caught on Lake Mecosta. Small bluegills and a few decent-size pike were taken on Jensen Lake. Those on Pretty Lake caught bluegill, crappie and even a few pike on tip-ups. Bluegill and perch were taken on Chippewa Lake. Ice on the Martiny Chain of lakes was spotty and not safe.

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Upper Peninsula

Lake Gogebic: Anglers caught a few big perch and some walleye.

Cowboy Lake: In Dickinson County has ice along with deep slush and water on top, which made travel difficult as four-wheelers were getting stuck. There was no word on catch rates.      

Little Bay De Noc: Ice conditions worsened with additional snowfall and warm temperatures. Heavy slush made travel difficult even by foot. The better ice was found in the northern areas. Anglers were taking vehicles out, but this is NOT recommended.  Anglers should avoid certain dangerous areas such as the “Narrows” between Gladstone and the Stonington Peninsula, near the mouth of any river and near any drainage ditch. Walleye catches were mostly undersize fish along with the occasional keeper. The better fishing was near Gladstone in 30 to 35 feet and near the Second and Third Reefs in 20 to 32 feet when jigging raps or using tip-ups. Perch catches remain good, although some anglers are struggling. The better catches were in the Kipling area in 20 to 30 feet with minnows or wigglers.

Manistique Lake: Perch, pike and walleye were caught mainly on sucker minnows.

St. Marys River: Ice conditions on Mosquito Bay, which is west of Sault Ste. Marie, were not ideal, but a few local anglers venturing out caught whitefish. Extreme caution needs to be used as ice thickness was not uniform.

Cedarville and Hessel: Only one angler was seen in the Cedarville East Channel off Hill Island; therefore, ice conditions and fish harvest were unknown. There was no fishing reported in Government Bay. In Musky Bay, a couple anglers were perch fishing near the channel and off the point.  Anglers reported some weak spots in the Middle Channel. Anglers need to use extreme caution and be aware of strong currents in the channels and around the Les Cheneaux Islands. In Hessel Bay, perch fishing was steady when jigging minnows, wax worms or spikes in 12 feet. No word on splake, but anglers have been jigging minnows in 5 to 10 feet. While Hessel Bay had ice, anglers reported 6-8 inches of slush along the shoreline.

Millecoquin Lake: Was producing pike and walleye.

Brevoort Lake: Catch rates were slow, but anglers were getting a few perch.

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Fishing Tip: Targeting walleye? Wait until the sun goes down!

While many anglers pack up their gear and head off the ice after dusk settles in, some anglers will stick it out – especially if they’ve got a lighted shelter. This can be an ideal time to target walleye and to see some angling success.

Many anglers adopt a simple presentation when targeting walleye in the dark – they jig a spoon to catch the fishes’ attention and then offer them a setline with a minnow nearby. Focus on baits that glow to appeal to the walleye’s senses, and keep the minnows small to accommodate their slower appetites.

READ MORE at michigan.gov