Safety is a must if you're going ice fishing, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday in its weekly fishing report.
According to the DNR, this pertains to ice safety as well as medical conditions, because snow and slush on the inland lakes will cause difficult travel conditions.
Munuscong: Anglers are perch fishing in 3 feet of water. Catch rates were slow but the fish averaged 9 and 10 inches with the occasional 13-inch fish taken as well.
Cedarville and Hessel: Musky Bay is producing some excellent perch fishing. Anglers are using wigglers and minnows in 10 to 14 feet of water. Many of the fish measured 12 to 14 inches. Hessel had poor ice conditions.
Grand Lake: Might be safe for foot travel but not for any type of vehicle.
Thunder Bay River: Ice conditions at the mouth are just not suitable for ice fishing.
Fletcher Floodwaters: Has ice but no report on fishing conditions.
Au Sable River: Fishing was good until the cold weather. Anglers launching boats are bringing shovels and salt to be sure they can use the ramps. Steelhead fishing has been very good.
Higgins Lake: A few were perch fishing on the south end of the lake near Lincoln Avenue however for the most part the ice is just starting to form and is not safe.
Houghton Lake: Still has open water near the hole out in front of the Heights and straight up the west side of the lake all the way up to the North Bay. Travel conditions are difficult with slush and the additional 6 to 8 inches of snow that fell this week. Some are fishing the East Bay for walleye and crappie.
Tawas: Small yellow perch have been caught inside the State Harbor. If you sort long enough, you might get enough keepers for a meal. There is some ice over near Jerry's Marina which is the most sheltered from the wind. We have reports of a few anglers heading out to 15 feet of water and trying for perch or walleye however going out that deep on early ice is not a good idea.
Au Gres River: Is producing lots of small perch and sub-legal walleyes.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Cadillac: Ice fishing is going strong in the Cadillac area. Pike and walleye are being caught along with some crappie. Additional snowfall this week could make travel across the ice more difficult.
Lake Mitchell: Has good ice fishing. Pike are hitting on tip-ups with sucker minnows while panfish are hitting on minnows or wax worms.
Lake Missaukee: Has good panfish action.
Manistee River: Is still producing some nice steelhead for those fly fishing. Much colder temperatures will slow the bite however there are still plenty of fish in the river.
Pere Marquette River: Is still producing a good number of winter steelhead.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Erie: Has skim ice only, no safe ice to report. A few anglers are shore and dock fishing around the marinas for perch.
Huron River: Those floating small jigs with wax worms are catching steelhead.
Detroit River: Boat and shore anglers are catching a few perch in the cuts and canals around Gibraltar. Most are using perch rigs with shiner minnows.
Lake St. Clair: Had no safe ice yet and with warmer weather in the forecast, anglers will be waiting even longer.
Lexington: Has some ice but it is not safe ice. Fishing is at a standstill.
Port Sanilac: Has ice in the harbor but no safe ice.
Harbor Beach: Had no activity in the harbor. Apparently the Edison Plant is not discharging water so no one is fishing the Edison Channel.
Saginaw Bay: Is in between fishing seasons as there is too much ice to fish from shore or launch a boat, but not thick enough to safely go ice fishing. Heavy snow this week will also prevent the freezing process. Anglers were perch fishing off Palmer Road. Most of the fish were small however a few keepers were caught. Fish in two feet of water and wear a pair of waders in case you go through the ice. Ice anglers fishing off White's Beach caught some decent perch but catch rates tapered off. Someone tried ice fishing off Pinconning however they broke through the ice. Those fishing at the Linwood Marina are standing on the docks and punching holes through the ice. Quanicassee had poor ice conditions. Anglers broke through the ice at Geiger Road. Ice and dock fishing opportunities were reported in the marinas from Sunset Bay to Bay Port. All the rivers and cuts from Quanicassee to Port Austin had open water. Floating ice and shore ice is making shore fishing more difficult.
Saginaw River: There was some boat activity for perch in Bay City until the cold snap. The boat ramp on Patterson Road was iced in and not usable. Those still eager to fish from their boats would be wise to bring a spud and some rock salt if they intend to launch.
Tittabawassee River: Had little fishing effort upstream of Saginaw as shore ice and floating ice have hindered all fishing opportunities.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
There continues to be no safe ice in this area of the state. Some lakes may have a thin sheet of ice but certainly nothing is safe at this time. It is going to take cold temperatures over an extended period of time before ice fishing starts.
Dowagiac River: Should have good steelhead fishing.
St. Joseph River: Continues to provide good steelhead fishing.
Kalamazoo River: Anglers are still catching steelhead. Try spawn, flies, wax worms, spinner baits or body baits.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Steelhead were hitting on jigs and wax worms. Some are back bouncing spawn down past Jenison while others are casting. Try red head or blue and chrome plugs or Hot-n-Tots in gold and black or gold and orange. Walleye fishing should be good by the weekend. Try whitetail jigs or 3 inch paddle tails on the west side of the Fulton Street Bridge as well as off the East Wall.
Grand River at Lansing: Not much is happening at the present time. Some are still going out and trying for steelhead. Those fishing over at Moore's Park are still taking the occasional perch, crappie or pike.