By The Associated Press
Ice fishing is just getting started, especially in the northern sections of the state, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
Anglers were fishing in shallow waters only. Heavy snow has blanketed pretty much all of the state and the snow will slow the freezing process. These conditions could hamper ice fishing well into the first of the year, the department said Wednesday in its weekly fishing report.
The ice is not safe yet on most lakes. One angler already fell through the ice on Lake Antoine in Dickinson County.
Little Bay De Noc: Anglers have started to head out ice fishing as there is very little snow cover on the bay. Most of the activity is north of Gladstone near Kipling however a few were also south of the Day's River. Until the ice has more time to harden, most anglers are traveling on foot.
Indian Lake: Ice anglers were taking some perch, but caution needs to be used.
Lake Gogebic: Anglers were catching walleye in Bergland Bay.
St. Marys River: A few perch were taken in Fowlers Bay.
NORTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Sturgeon River: Was producing some steelhead.
Alpena: Anglers were starting to fish inland lakes in the area however catch rates were slow. The weight of the snow on the ice will produce slush. For now, fish shallow waters only.
Grayling: Lakes in the area are frozen over but not safe yet.
Higgins Lake: Had shoreline ice only. The rest of the lake is open water and will stay that way until the winds subside.
Houghton Lake: Is getting ice, but also has snow cover. We have reports of ice anglers fishing in the East Bay and along the north shore.
Tawas: Skim ice was reported on most of the inland lakes in the area. Some brave anglers were catching a few panfish on Tawas Lake and some of the smaller lakes in the region. Anglers need to use extreme caution.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Ice is just beginning to form in the region with some early reports of pike and bluegills being caught. Caution needs to be used especially on the first ice of the season. Strong winds will keep the large lakes open so anglers will want to fish the small, shallow lakes for now.
Manistee River: Those not affected by arctic weather will still find some steelhead for the taking.
Lake Missaukee: Had reports of anglers seeking panfish in shallow waters when using small jigs with wax worms.
Lake Cadillac: Ice fishing has started however anglers are reminded to use extreme caution. Most are pike fishing in shallow waters only as the ice is not solid in all areas of the lake. Shoreline ice is also breaking up easily. The lake had over a foot of snow cover which will make for slushy conditions.
Lake Mitchell: Ice anglers here are also starting to fish for pike, just be sure to stay in shallow waters only.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Small local lakes in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties were starting to get a thin layer of ice on them however no safe ice to report at this time.
Lake Erie: Metro Park Marina is producing some panfish.
Huron River: Still has some steelhead for those willing to brave the cold.
Lake St. Clair: Ice has formed on the cuts and canals in shallow waters only. Not much activity to report yet. It has been too cold and windy.
Lexington: A couple anglers in the harbor caught a few perch and small rainbow trout. They are using the usual ice fishing methods and baits.
Saginaw Bay: A few anglers were creeping out on the cuts, canals and marina basins last week as shallow water fishing seems to be the only safe ice fishing at the moment. Some perch were caught out of a cut near Pinconning. Heavy snow is not helping with the formation of ice but instead pushing the ice down and creating slush. Anglers are encouraged to use extreme caution and stay in shallow waters. Best way to stay dry is to go someplace like a marina basin and fish off the docks. Anglers will use half a cement block tied to a rope to punch a hole in the ice; then sit on the dock and fish through the hole.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
St. Joseph River: Steelhead fishing continues to be fair. Boat anglers continue to do better than shore anglers. Spawn was the favored bait however a few fish were also caught on crank baits. River conditions continue to improve as heavy snow improved depth and flow considerably. Boat launches were still open from Berrien Springs to the lake.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: A good number of steelhead can still be found up near the Sixth Street Dam when floating spawn or near the post office when using a white jig. A few walleye were taken on body baits. Those trolling plugs have caught steelhead and walleye. Water levels are still a bit low so fish the deeper holes. There is ice above the dam.
Lansing: Ice can be found on the smaller lakes but still no safe ice to report in this area of the state. Those anxious to get out should fish in shallow waters only while exercising extreme caution. Snow cover will not only cause slush problems, but will also insulate the ice and slow the freezing process. River fishing is at a standstill. Boat anglers continue to do better than shore.