Scroll down and click on additional links below for the most recent fishing reports from DNR & other sites. Additional reports are being developed by SC staff and contributors that will also be posted here.
WEEKLY FISHING REPORT 1/15/20
Ice is becoming more stable, especially in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula. The southern regions still had open water. Steelhead rivers are still quite high, and very few were out fishing.
All anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license.
Southeast Lower Peninsula
Lake Erie: When the winds allowed, boat anglers were still getting walleye, especially in Brest Bay when trolling bandits 50 to 80 feet back. Water levels were high on the River Raisin.
Huron River: Had higher water levels but was still producing the occasional steelhead.
Detroit River: The bluegill bite was starting to slow as the perch bite starts to pick up. A few nice fish have been caught, but anglers were sorting through a lot of small ones. Shore anglers could be found in the cuts, canals and marinas with minnows, wax worms and spikes.
Saginaw Bay: Was finally starting to ice over near shore, though the ice was not safe. Reports were slim, but a couple ice anglers at Eagle Bay Marina managed to catch a few pike on tip-ups, and a few yellow perch were caught off Finn Road. When they could get out, pier anglers at Caseville caught a few lake trout and burbot on both live and dead minnows.
Saginaw River: Had high, fast and muddy water, which pretty much shut down fishing. Prior to the storm, anglers caught a few perch off the docks at Bay Harbor Yacht Club on the lower river but nothing significant. A couple walleye were caught in the Cass River when casting a jig and twister tail upstream of Rust Avenue; however, the water was too high to fish this area.
Tittabawassee River: Also had high, muddy water, which caused fishing to come to a halt.
Southwest Lower Peninsula
Pretty much all the rivers were running high and muddy in this region. There may be some skim ice, but no safe ice, so anglers will have to wait a few more weeks. Open-water anglers were out, but catch rates were slow.
Grand Haven: Those fishing off Smith Bridge near Spring Lake were getting a few perch on minnows.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Continues to have higher water levels, which has hampered fishing efforts.
Rogue River: The occasional steelhead could still be found in the lower river.
Muskegon Lake: Had no ice. A few boat anglers were out; however, water clarity was still low and catch rates were slow.
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Burt Lake: Ice anglers are getting the occasional steelhead or brown trout on the south end. Most are targeting walleye and perch. For walleye, try along the drop-off near the points. Some are getting the occasional burbot.
Grand Lake: Anglers caught walleye and perch.
Montmorency County: McCormick Lake had open water on the south end. Catch rates were slow, with only brown trout caught. Clear Lake was producing a few splake. East Twin Lake had low fishing pressure, with only a few pike caught.
Lake Margrethe: Ice fishing was going strong. Though the bite slowed, anglers were finding walleye, pike, bluegills and a few perch.
Higgins Lake: Finally froze over; however, the ice was not safe yet, as it will take a good week or more of cold temperatures and very light winds to shore up the ice.
Houghton Lake: The ice was bad in the North Bay near the Muskegon River, near the Cut River and Denton Creek. A quad went through the ice along a pressure crack that runs from Long Point to the Heights area, so stay clear of it. There is a pressure crack between the lighthouse and the DNR launch on the south end. The bite was hit-or-miss along the drop-offs when using a gold jigging spoon with orange or green. Panfish were hitting mousies and wax worms. For walleye, jigging was not working, so most were just putting a small minnow down the hole and leaving it alone. Pike were hitting on anything.
Lake St. Helen: Anglers caught crappie, bluegills and the occasional walleye.
Tawas: There was not much to report. There was no fishable ice and no boat anglers.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Thumb Lake: Had ice with some water on top near the boat launch. A few were fishing around the island and in the west basin, but ice conditions were unknown. Ice conditions in the east basin were also unknown. A couple splake were caught when jigging minnows or using tip-ups in 5 to 12 feet around the island and near the boat launch. The occasional perch was also caught. Some tried fishing at the public beach; however, there were no reports of any success.
Lake Leelanau: The North Lake recently had areas with open water, and though the lake had locked up, nowhere were ice conditions safe at this time. On the South Lake, the ice off the Park Road access was not safe yet, maybe by the weekend. Most anglers were fishing from the DNR launch on the west side and up to Fountain Point. Though the bite was hit-or-miss, some large walleye were caught.
Traverse City: Had little to report, as both the East and the West Bay were still wide open. Several small lakes in Grand Traverse County had fishable ice where anglers were getting panfish and small pike.
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Ice fishing for crappie, pike and walleye is going strong on both lakes. Lots of fishing activity near Mitchell State Park.
Hamlin Lake: Had no ice.
Sunrise Lake: In Osceola County is beginning to see some activity, with small panfish being caught.
Mecosta County: The bite was slow on Lake Mecosta, with only a handful of sunfish and crappie caught. Those fishing Haymarsh Lake in the state game area reported sunfish and a few bigger crappie. Anglers were out on Chippewa Lake and taking a few perch, sunfish and pike.
Inland lakes across the region are producing bluegill, crappie, pike and walleye.
Lake Fanny Hooe: In Copper Harbor was producing splake and lake trout.
Lake Antoine: In Dickinson County was producing some perch for ice anglers; however, the fish were running small.
Little Bay De Noc: With the colder temperatures, anglers were fishing the Kipling area and north to the Days River. Though there is ice, many areas were not safe for travel, so extreme caution needs to be used. Catch rates remained steady, with most getting six to 12 fish with a few jumbo perch mixed in.
The best catches were in 17 to 30 feet with minnows and wigglers, though wigglers were taking more. Walleye catches were spotty, and most fish were undersize. Anglers were targeting 20 to 30 feet while using tip-ups with minnows or jigging raps. A couple anglers were taking vehicles out from Kipling; however, this is very dangerous and should be avoided. The best means of travel was by foot. A few have been walking out at Gladstone and fishing the channel. The Escanaba River and south had been unfishable.
Manistique River: Anglers caught a couple steelhead and coho.
Manistique Lake: Anglers were catching several small perch on Big Manistique. Walleye success did increase but was still slow.
Munuscong Bay: Was producing a fair number of perch and a few pike. Due to unsafe ice conditions in many areas, fishing pressure has been low.
Caribou Lake: Near Detour was producing the occasional walleye.
Cedarville and Hessel: There was no fishing activity on Musky Bay or Government Bay in the Les Cheneaux Islands. Conditions were unknown; however, there was no open water compared to last week. In Hessel Bay, ice conditions on the west side were unknown; however, those fishing the east side caught some 8-inch perch when jigging minnows and wax worms in 15 to 18 feet.
Brevoort Lake: Was producing a few walleye and small perch.
Fishing Tip: A lead alternative you might try
Do you typically fish with lead jigs in the winter? Have you considered trying something different?
Tungsten jigs can be an excellent alternative, and they are heavier and denser than lead options. Although they often are smaller than their lead counterparts, they often produce similar sensations while fishing with them.
The next time you head to your favorite tackle shop, consider picking up some tungsten jigs to add to your inventory.