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WEEKLY FISHING REPORT 2/10/21
This upcoming coming weekend is Michigan’s Winter Free Fishing Weekend! Saturday, Feb. 13 and Sunday Feb. 14, both Michigan residents and nonresidents can fish for free. While no license is required, all regulations still apply. Even with the extremely cold temperatures, anglers are reminded to use caution. Never go out alone, take a cell phone, check the ice ahead of you with a spud and stay away from pressure cracks as well as any inlets or outlets where there is a constant current.
All anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license.
Southeast Lower Peninsula
Lake Erie: Anglers were catching a fair number of perch when jigging minnows at Pointe Mouillee.
Huron River: Downriver Marina was producing panfish through the ice.
Washtenaw County: Catch rates were poor to fair across the county. Silver Lake was producing some bluegill and crappie. Bluegill and redear sunfish were caught on Cedar Lake. Lake Independence was hit or miss for bluegill and crappie. A couple bluegills were caught on Walsh Lake. Fishing was tough on Joslin Lake, with only a few small panfish caught.
Oakland County: Traveling by machine on the inland lakes should be done with caution, as reports of machines going through the ice were still coming in. Panfish and perch are being caught throughout the county using tear drops and wax worms. Pike are hitting on tip-ups. A couple lake trout were caught in shallow water on Maceday Lake.
Lake St. Clair: A few limits of yellow perch were caught near the access site at Fair Haven. Bluegills were caught on small jigs with wax worms.
St. Clair River: Fishing is slow. Ice flow is prevalent.
Saginaw Bay: Fishing and catch rates continue to be slow due to ice conditions. Very few walleye anglers had been out. Yellow perch fishing was hit or miss, with the better action at Pinconning and the Linwood Marina, though most of the fish were throw-backs. On the east side, a few anglers were found at Vanderbilt Park and the Finn Road access site, but no fish were recorded. Wildfowl Bay was still producing, though anglers are sorting through a lot of small ones to get a couple keepers. Perch fishing from Sebewaing to Bay Port is slow, with mostly small fish being caught.
Saginaw River: Anglers are getting out at all locations; however, caution still needs to be used. Walleye fishing was spotty, with only a couple fish taken from Veterans Park on M-13, north of the Zilwaukee Bridge near Crow Island, off the Zilwaukee boat launch and near First Street. Anglers are sorting out the small ones to get a few keepers. Good baits were an orange jig tipped with a minnow or a blue and silver #3 jigging rap. Crappie were caught around the docks at Bay Harbor Yacht Club in Bay City.
Tittabawassee River: Continues to not be fishable at this point.
Southwest Lower Peninsula
Most lakes have ice for foot traffic in the south and southwest region; however, snow cover may hide areas where the ice is thinner. While the deep freeze is making ice, the bite has slowed. Anglers are marking panfish in deeper water; however, they did not want to bite. Those getting a few are sorting through the small ones for a few keepers.
Kalamazoo County: Anglers were just starting to fish the north end of Gull Lake; however, avoid the middle of the lake, where there was open water. Those fishing the bayous of the Kalamazoo River caught perch and sunfish.
Allegan County: Perch and bluegills were caught in Silver Lake when using spikes and minnows. Swan Lake and Duck Lake were producing crappie and bluegills.
Clinton County: Catch rates have slowed. A couple bluegills were caught on Muskrat Lake when using spikes.
Ionia County: Bluegills were marked in 40 feet or more, but the bite was slow on Sessions Lake. Morrison Lake had the better crappie fishing and a few small perch.
Kent County: Bluegills were caught on spikes in Murray Lake.
Ottawa County: There were slow catches of bluegill reported on Lloyd’s and Bruce’s bayous along the Grand River.
Muskegon County: Big Blue Lake and White Lake were producing pike and bluegill. Perch were caught in White Lake. Those jigging on Muskegon Lake caught walleye and perch.
Muskegon River: Anglers fishing the sections with safe ice caught multiple species, including walleye and perch toward dark. Perch seem to more consistent throughout the day. More anglers are spearing for pike.
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Cheboygan County: Burt Lake has slow catch rates for perch and walleye. The fish being caught are good size, but the numbers are low. Mullett Lake was producing some perch.
Montmorency County: Voyer Lake had good bluegill action. Clear Lake had moderate splake catches along with perch. Both East and West Twin Lake were slow, with only a few walleye and perch taken. Trout fishing picked up on McCormick Lake. Lake Fifteen was producing a few smelt and brown trout.
Fletchers Pond: Anglers caught small perch and pike.
Oscoda County: Northern pike are being speared or taken on tip-ups on Mio Pond. The occasional walleye and a few perch were caught in 10 to 20 feet when jigging. Decent-size bluegills were found in 25 to 45 feet on Perry Lake, though the bite can be slow until you locate them.
Alcona County: Fishing was slow. A couple pike and crappie were caught on Trask Lake.
Higgins Lake: Has a good number of anglers out on the ice. Anglers should avoid the areas with springs, inlets and outlets and near the points. The smelt action was good between West Street and the North State Park, where fish were hitting spikes and wax worms anywhere from 3 feet to 40 feet down. Smelt anglers are also getting a few cisco. Perch fishing was fair to good. Lake trout were found at 80 feet and deeper. Rainbow trout were still being caught in the shallows.
Houghton Lake: Was producing some nice perch. Bluegills and the occasional crappie were taken on small jigs with spikes, wax worms or wigglers. Anglers are reporting fewer northern pike. Walleye fishing was slow.
Lake St. Helen: Panfish and an occasional walleye were caught on the Third Lake.
Tawas: Had a slow week of fishing with anglers only getting a few lake trout, the occasional brown trout and a few small perch. The trout were caught on spoons or jigs tipped with minnows, and the perch were caught on minnows in 8 to 10 feet.
Tawas River: Before the river froze up, a brown trout and a lake trout were caught when casting spoons and body baits at Gateway Park.
Au Gres: A few pike were speared inside Northport Marina and on the south side of the breakwalls. A couple lake trout were caught on spoons. Perch fishing was good, with limit catches taken in 4 to 8 feet with jack hooks or jigs tipped with minnows north of the Pine River.
Au Gres River: Small walleye, along with a few keepers, were caught on jigs and spoons tipped with minnow heads.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Grand Traverse County: Both the East and the West Bay had open water. Anglers have caught fish through the ice on Lake Dubonnet, Long Lake and Silver Lake.
Leelanau County: A few limit catches of walleye were taken on the south end of South Lake Leelanau. On Little Glen Lake, the perch bite was slow. The occasional steelhead was seen in the Crystal River.
Benzie County: Ice conditions on the inland lakes are improving. Those on the smaller lakes have caught panfish.
Lake Missaukee: Fishing activity was slow, but anglers were getting a few walleye and perch.
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Had fewer anglers, as cold temperatures have kept many off the ice. Though the bite has been slow, those braving the elements did find some panfish.
Manistee River: There has been no word on steelhead fishing, as the action is not as good during extremely cold temperatures.
Oceana County: The inland lakes had more ice than the coastal lakes. Perch are being caught on Pentwater Lake, with lots of sorting. Pike were hitting tip-ups on Hart Lake and Crystal Lake.
Newaygo County: More anglers have been out and are bringing more vehicles out. This has caused issues with four wheelers and side-by-sides going through the ice. Caution needs to be used.
Mecosta County: Perch are being caught on Lake Mecosta. Small crappie and bluegills were caught on Hillview Lake. Chippewa Lake was giving up some bluegill and perch. Anglers on the Haymarsh Lakes were getting some limits of bluegill, but the action was hit or miss.
Inland lakes in the region were producing good numbers of walleye and perch prior to the cold front. Panfish were found in deeper water.
Keweenaw Bay: Has some ice; however, conditions can change daily, so extreme caution needs to be used when venturing out. Those heading out have caught splake, brown trout, coho and a few pike.
Little Bay de Noc: Perch have been caught off Kipling. Walleye were caught off Escanaba when fishing along the drop-off. Anglers are using jigging raps and tip-ups with sucker minnows.
Munising: Fishing pressure decreased with the brutal cold weather and up to 12 inches or more of snowfall. Wind chills have been as low as 25 below with north winds. A few anglers were out; however, catch rates for coho, whitefish and splake were down. Whitefish were in 50 to 60 feet. Some were marking smelt. Schools of coho were coming through, but not everyone caught fish. The bite was best in the morning.
Big Manistique Lake: Was producing a fair number of walleye.
St. Marys River: A few whitefish were caught in Ashmun Bay. Perch were caught in Fowlers Bay.
Cedarville and Hessel: A fair to good number of perch were caught off Cedarville by those jigging minnows. Perch were also caught in Hessel Bay. No word on splake.
Fishing Tip: Targeting walleye? Wait until the sun goes down!
While many anglers pack up their gear and head off the ice after dusk settles in, some anglers will stick it out – especially if they’ve got a lighted shelter. This can be an ideal time to target walleye and to see some angling success.
Many anglers adopt a simple presentation when targeting walleye in the dark – they jig a spoon to catch the fishes’ attention and then offer them a setline with a minnow nearby. Focus on baits that glow to appeal to the walleye’s senses, and keep the minnows small to accommodate their slower appetites.