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Michigan Fishing Reports

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As we head toward the middle of January, ice fishing is becoming more widespread; however, caution still needs to be used. Anglers are targeting crappie, bluegills, bass, pike and walleye. 

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Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: Boat anglers caught walleye when slow trolling in 23 to 25 feet east of Stony Point.  

Lenawee County: Ice anglers are getting panfish on Lake Hudson, Sand Lake and Devils Lake.

Washtenaw County: Ice fishing has been slow. Crappie and other small panfish were caught on Four Mile Lake. On Independence Lake, anglers caught panfish along with several pike on tip-ups.    

Oakland County: Anglers are getting out on a few lakes, but the ice was still too thin on many. The bite is mixed and was good on some waters and slow on others. Try a tungsten jig with a wax worm or spike in the deeper holes if the ice is safe. Bluegills were a foot or two off the bottom. Crappie can be taken on emerald shiners near the drop-offs and along the edge of the weed beds. Pike were hitting large golden shiners. 

Lake St. Clair: Limits of walleye were caught between St. Clair Shores and Grosse Pointe when trolling flicker minnows and rapalas. Perch fishing is starting to pick up in the bays. 

St. Clair River: Continues to produce some walleye.     

Saginaw Bay: Conditions have not changed much. At best, anglers could only get out a couple hundred yards in most places. Catch rates have been very slow at Pinconning Park, and no fish were caught at the Linwood Marina. A fair number of anglers were at Finn Road, but no one caught a fish worth keeping. At Vanderbilt Park, the ice was not thick enough about 200 yards out, and that is where the fish are this time of year. On the east side, ice conditions vary greatly, as there were areas of open water and others that just froze over in the last few days. Anglers need to use extreme caution.  Catch rates were poor, with only a handful of small perch caught and released. 

Saginaw River: Conditions have not improved much over the past week, as conditions remain less than ideal for ice or open-water fishing. The boat ramps are iced-in, not usable at this point. A few small perch were caught at the mouth at the yacht club.    

Tittabawassee River: Conditions here have also not changed over the last week, as ice jams and iced-in boat launches prevent anglers from getting out. Overall, the action has been very slow.

Southwest Lower Peninsula

Anglers are starting to get out on some bays and small lakes in the region; however, use extreme caution and avoid the large lakes as well as the deeper areas on all lakes. 

Calhoun County: Anglers were out on several lakes in the area. Some were getting limit catches of bluegill. 

Barry County: Good perch fishing was reported on Gun Lake. 

Grand River near Grand Rapids: The occasional steelhead continues to be caught. In Ottawa County, limit catches of bluegill were coming off Jubb and Eastmanville bayous.  Fishing slowed on Bruce’s and Lloyd’s bayous. 

Muskegon Lake: Perch were caught in open water. Pike were taken through the ice along the north shore. 

Muskegon River: Had reports of a good perch bite in the areas with good ice.    

White River: Steelhead fishing was slow. 

Northeast Lower Peninsula

Black Lake: Had ice fishing off Zolner Road. Catch rates were slow, with only small perch and pike caught. 

Burt Lake: Had ice for foot traffic only. A few fish were caught at sundown; however, anglers were not able to get out far enough for decent catches of walleye and perch. 

Montmorency County: McCormick Lake still had open water, except near the boat launch. Ice was starting to form along the west side. A couple small brown trout were caught in 32 to 37 feet. 

Otsego Lake: Ice anglers are getting some legal walleye, but many were small. 

Fletchers Pond: Anglers caught pike and largemouth bass using tip-ups with large shiners or suckers. Bluegill, perch and sunfish were caught on tear drops with wax worms. The bite was hit or miss. Most of the waterbody was accessible; however, there are still a few dangerous spots, so be sure to use caution. 

Higgins Lake: Ice is just starting to form. 

Houghton Lake: Ice fishing activity has increased. Pike and walleye were caught at the Middle Grounds. Anglers found panfish along the south shore. 

Lake St. Helen: Panfish and the occasional walleye were caught on the Second and Third Lake. 

Ogemaw County: Had moderate fishing pressure even though the ice on most lakes was questionable in some areas. Small perch were caught on Peach Lake. 

Tawas: Ice anglers going out from the access road near Jerry’s Marina caught some lake trout when jigging spoons in 8 to 12 feet. Walleye were caught in the same area when using a jig tipped with a minnow and spoons; however, many were sub-legal. Boat anglers in the bay caught walleye and lake trout when casting plastics near the edge of the forming ice. 

Au Gres: A lot of anglers were fishing inside Eagle Bay Marina. Pike were caught on tip-ups while bluegill and crappie were hitting wax worms. It was busy between the Pine River and Sagatoo Road. A lot of the shelf ice blew out, but there was still some shore ice hanging on. A few nice perch were taken, but anglers had to sort through a lot of small ones for a few keepers. 

Au Gres River: Had a few anglers; however, the ice was only a few inches thick and extreme caution needs to be used. The walleye caught were sub-legal.

Northwest Lower Peninsula

There was safe ice on some small lakes in Charlevoix and Antrim counties, but anglers still need to be cautious as temperatures are above average.    

Lake Charlevoix: A few anglers started to venture out on the South Arm.    

Kalkaska County: Lake Skegemog had a good number of anglers fishing from the Baggs Road launch. Look for weeds when drilling holes and use jigs with wigglers or wax worms. Perch fishing was steady along with pike, crappie and an occasional lake trout. Manistee Lake had lots of walleye anglers, though fishing was slow. Try bouncing rapalas in 15 feet. For crappie, try florescent jigs.    

Grand Traverse County: Walleye, pike and bluegill activity is picking up on the lakes with safe ice. Steelhead activity was slow on the Boardman River. 

Leelanau County: Fishing activity was very slow, as ice conditions tend to be unsafe. 

Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Ice fishing is going strong on both lakes, with lots of anglers out. 

Manistee County: Anglers are getting panfish on some of the smaller lakes.    

Manistee River: Continues to produce a small number of steelhead, including some nice fish. On the upper river, nymph and streamer fishing was good. 

Mecosta County: Pike, crappie and bluegills were caught on Lake Mecosta and Chippewa Lake. No word on perch. Slow fishing on Tubbs Lake and Horsehead Lake. 

Pentwater River: Steelhead fishing was slow.

Upper Peninsula

Ice formation has been slow and was still not safe in many areas on the east side. Anglers are venturing out, but extreme caution needs to be used. The panfish action has been slow, but pike anglers were doing well.   

Indian Lake: Was starting to produce some nice fish. 

Manistique Lake: Is producing walleye and pike.    

Milakokia Lake: Was producing some nice walleye. 

Sault Ste. Marie: Ashmun Bay was producing a couple whitefish. 

Munuscong Bay: The walleye bite was slow. Anglers are catching mostly perch. 

Cedarville and Hessel: A few anglers off Cedarville caught undersized pike in Musky Bay when jigging minnows. Musky Bay does have some ice, but the south side of the bay is open water. A few anglers were fishing Cedarville Channel, but no word on catch rates. Ice conditions in Government Bay are unknown. There is open water off North Point before entering the bay. Hessel Bay had some ice; however, conditions on the west side of the bay were unknown. A few perch up to 11 inches were caught when jigging minnows and wax worms in 13 to 17 feet. A couple splake were caught on minnows in 8 to 12 feet. 

Brevoort Lake: Was producing walleye and perch. 

Fishing Tip: Targeting perch on Lake St. Clair

When anglers think of Lake St. Clair, they often think of bass or muskellunge fishing – but during the winter months, many think of it as a yellow perch destination!

There are a few techniques to target fish on the lake, including staying on the move and focusing on areas where the perch are most likely to be found. Perch on Lake St. Clair often will hang out on the vast, shallow flats as they look for smaller fish to prey on. Since structure is limited during the winter months, they’ll use the shade of the ice cover to fill in that role. Fishing these areas can often offer anglers great success with large-size fish!