Once again Mother Nature has turned our winter season into what feels more like spring. With that said, warm temperatures again this week will not do the ice any good, and pressure cracks are causing problems this year, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday.
Anglers should use extreme caution, the DNR said in its weekly fishing report.
Little Bay De Noc: Ice conditions improved, but there are still areas throughout the bay that are dangerous. A couple vehicles fell through the ice on the northern end of Butler Island. This area is always dangerous and should be avoided at all times.
Anglers are ice fishing in the northern bay and off Gladstone, but any ice south of Gladstone should be considered dangerous. Pressure cracks have been a real problem this year as they seem to be moving around on a daily basis. Use extreme caution when crossing them!
Walleye reports were good and the Gladstone area produced the best for those jigging rapalas 6 to 8 feet off the bottom in 25 to 30 feet of water. Some caught fish from the Center Reef when jigging rapalas or using tip-ups with sucker minnows in 18 to 28 feet of water. Several large walleye and good numbers of pike were reported in this area. The best walleye catches are early morning or between dusk and an hour after dark.
For those looking for whitefish, the ice was just starting to form off Sand Point, so the ice is not safe yet. Catch rates for perch were still fair to good around Kipling. Try jigging minnows, wigglers or spikes in 5 to 17 feet of water.
Grand Lake: Has ice for fishing though anglers may want to consider foot traffic only.
Long Lake: Has ice but anglers will need to use caution near the areas that had open water. This lake is usually good for bluegill, rock bass, walleye, and pike.
Thunder Bay River: There was ice on the turning basin. Anglers are catching small perch there and at the boat harbor.
Hubbard Lake: Has ice but anglers will need to use caution as there are thin spots.
Au Sable River: Has very good steelhead fishing.
Lake St. Helen: Is still producing fish for ice anglers using wax worms, mousies or wigglers. Walleye were better in the early morning or late evening.
Higgins Lake: Is producing perch and pike off Sam-O-Set Park but there is pack ice in the area. Smelt were taken off the launch on the west side in 30 feet of water. On the south end, anglers caught pike, perch and lake trout off the State Park and Lincoln Avenue. Lake trout were caught on tip-ups. For pike, anglers did well on tip-ups and while spearing. Rainbow trout were caught near the Conference Center and Big Creek by those using wigglers. Early morning and late evening were best.
Houghton Lake: Still has some open water along the west shore. Travel conditions were listed as slippery so you might want to wear some cleats. Walleye were caught along the north shore, the East Bay and near the Cut River in the early morning or late evening. Pike were hitting on tip-ups with sucker minnows. Look for crappie along the north shore. Perch were hitting on blue shiners along the south shore.
Tawas Bay: Ice fishing activity is confined to Jerry's Marina and inside the state harbor. In the marina, they are spearing a few pike and sorting through perch and sub-legal walleye. Most are fishing in 15 feet of water. Anglers should not be venturing out near the edge of the ice. No walleye is worth risking your life for. Inside the State Harbor, perch were caught however you will need to sort out the small ones. Some nice fish were seen but no one caught any.
Au Gres River: Most of the fishing activity has been concentrated in the lower river, although a few anglers were venturing out onto the bay just south of the breakwalls. The river is producing sub-legal walleyes and lots of small perch.
NORTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Small lakes in the area have ice however some of the large lakes are not safe.
Lake Charlevoix: The main basin does not have safe ice.
Torch Lake: Does not have safe ice.
Elk Lake: Does not have safe ice.
Lake Cadillac: Ice fishing is going strong with sporadic catches of crappie, perch, and walleye. Pike are hitting on tip-ups with sucker minnows.
Lake Mitchell: Has ice fishing as well. Try the Big Cove for pike and crappie.
Lake Missaukee: Is another good lake for ice fishing however the panfish action was just fair.
Manistee River: Has very good steelhead fishing. Anglers have caught some nice fish including some fresh fish that have moved up into the river.
Pere Marquette River: Still has steelhead for the taking. Try flies, spawn or wax worms under a bobber.
Hamlin Lake: Has ice but anglers need to use caution and avoid the deep waters. For bluegill and crappie, try the shallow waters of Indian Pete's, the Middle or the South Bayou.
SOUTHEAST LOWER PENINSULA
Lake Erie: Has open water fishing. The occasional jumbo perch and some bluegills were caught off the docks at the Metro Park Marina. The bait of choice was minnows or wax worms, depending on the day.
Huron River: Has open water and was producing some bigger steelhead.
Detroit River: Has open water with minimal ice coming downriver. Few anglers were out except for those fishing the canals around Gibraltar.
Maceday Lake: In Oakland County was giving up good numbers of lake trout in 5 to 10 feet of water however ice conditions will be unpredictable with the warm weather.
Lexington: Watch the edges where the ice is thin. Catch rates were not as good as last week but those putting in some time were catching steelhead, the odd brown trout and some perch when using wax worms, spikes, minnows or a bare hook.
Port Sanilac: Ice conditions are poor and not fishable.
Harbor Beach: Ice fishing activity is confined to about half of the City Marina and Offshore Marina where anglers are sorting through perch. Detroit Edison apparently went online and blew the ice out of the discharge channel.
Saginaw Bay: Ice conditions remain marginal to poor throughout the bay and the ports on the outside of the Thumb. Windy conditions blew out some of the ice in various locations so anglers will have to be flexible in picking a place to fish. Warm weather this week will not help, so be careful out there! Wear waders and possibly a floatation jacket or float coat if you go out. Most are fishing in 2 to 5 feet of water with soft colored beads on jack hooks. Perch ranging 8 to 14 inches were caught off Newman, Townline 16 and Cody-Estey Road but some of the ice blew out so be careful. Perch anglers inside the Linwood Marina were also sorting out a few keepers. Some were fishing off the Bay City State Park, but success rates were unknown. Near Quanicassee, perch success was hit-or-miss at Vanderbilt Park. Lots of small perch and the odd pike were caught in the marina basin at Sebewaing. Ice conditions between Sebewaing and Bay Port were not consistent. Some quads have gone through the ice in this area. The ice in Wildfowl Bay is in poor condition. An air-boat went out to the Slot off Geiger Road for walleye but they broke the ice most of the way out there. They did report seeing lots of dead and dying gizzard shad, so the chance that a walleye will hit your spoon is pretty slim. Poor ice conditions have stopped anglers from fishing along the breakwall at Caseville. Ice shanties were out at Port Austin for those spearing pike.
Saginaw River: The Shiver on the River Walleye Tournament kicked off last weekend, and it looks like boat fishing will be the way to go. Ice has been pushed out of the Rust Avenue ramp and a dock has been put in. The Zilwaukee ramp has been cleared and boats should have access from the ramp on Cass Avenue which is on the south end of Bay City. In all cases, anglers should bring along a spud and a bag of salt to deal with unforeseen ice conditions. The ramps were still iced in at the Veterans Ramp in Bay City and Essexville. At the mouth, the Patterson ramp had too much ice to launch a boat.
Tittabawassee River: Some boats have been launching at Gordonville Road and going up to fish below the Dow Dam, but success rates were poor because there are not a lot of walleye up that far. Floating ice can be an issue. Not much activity elsewhere because of ice at the launch ramps.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
St. Joseph River: Has fair to good steelhead fishing. Try spawn or jigs with wax worms below the dams.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Has boat and shore anglers catching steelhead and walleye. For steelhead, try chartreuse spawn bags, wobble glows with a 5 foot leader, or white jigs with 3 or 4 wax worms. Those back bouncing are using spawn with a 2 foot leader between the dam and the lake. Those trolling caught steelhead and walleye on Hot-n-Tots. Good colors were black and gold, orange and gold or blue with red lips. Walleye were caught off the Fulton Street Bridge when using white twister tails or bucktail jigs.
Grand River at Lansing: Most of the action continues to be for steelhead at the Webber Dam and Prairie Creek near Ionia. No word on walleye fishing.
Lake Lansing: Had ice however conditions will deteriorate rapidly with the warm weather. Stay safe and fish in shallow waters only for right now.
Lake Ovid: Had ice however conditions will most likely not hold after the current warm spell.